Thinkpad R500 Ubuntu Fan Control

Ubuntu has a rather nasty bug when it comes to temperature control on the Thinkpad line of laptops. The fans run at a lower RPM than necessary, which results in overheating and random shutdowns. The overheating has also caused perminant damage to some of the cells in my battery, significantly decreasing battery life.

Thinkfan is a utility that manually adjusts the speed of the fan based off of the system temperature, rather than leaving it up to acpi.

Setup steps:

  1. Install thinkfan:
    apt-get install thinkfan
  2. Set thinkpad_acpi to allow manual fan control:
    echo "options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1" >> /etc/modprobe.d/thinkfan.conf
  3. Set thinkfan to start automatically by setting

    in /etc/default/thinkfan

  4. Either reboot or reload the thinkpad_acpi module, and start thinkfan
    rmmod thinkpad_acpi && modprobe thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1 && /etc/init.d/thinkfan start

You can watch the fan information by issuing:

watch -n 0.5 'cat /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal ; cat /proc/acpi/ibm/fan | egrep "(speed|level):" ; cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep MHz'

If “level” has a value between 0 and 7, and changes by times, your thinkfan daemon is working.

Thanks to Jamie Strandboge and mejo

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