Tips needed for extending laptop battery life

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Old Marcus
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Tips needed for extending laptop battery life

Postby Old Marcus » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:10 pm

I've installed Felicia on my dad's laptop and it's going to be used out at festivals, where easy access to mains power is a rarely found commodity. I need every possible way to increase battery life on the laptop, as I've heard Ubuntu 8.10 and it's derivatives gobble the battery a fair amount. I also head about something you can do with the filesystem to reduce the amount of writes it does to the hard drive? I've been looking but I can't find it.

Any help would be appreciated, cheers.

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Re: Tips needed for extending laptop battery life

Postby Fred » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:50 pm

Old Marcus,

I am working on a set of recommendations along those lines now. I will post them when they are ready.

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Re: Tips needed for extending laptop battery life

Postby DevAdv » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:32 pm

things i can think of off the top of my head would be:
-install proper video card drivers so the power saver mode works.
-add the power applet to your bar and set it to power save mode.
-turn down the brightness on your screen, i would imagine this has to be done in the bios as i don't know if your specific laptop can do it through linux.
-turn off unneeded services that access different hardware you don't use. specific things would be bluetooth, wifi, etc.. having these things not constantly active and on means less or no power being used by them.
-try to cut down on the usb devices you use as this draws A LOT of power.
-if your going to be away from your laptop on and off for more then 10-20 minutes at a time set it so that your screen turns off while inactive. your screen draws a lot of power as well.
-try not to use the cd/dvd drive that much as this is another power drainer.

these are basic easy things i can think of off the top of my head. theres other more difficult things to do but ill let the pros guide you on them.

im sure theres more easy ones but...

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Re: Tips needed for extending laptop battery life

Postby AK Dave » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:16 am

If you want decent battery life from a laptop, you have to start with a laptop that has decent battery life. Its that simple. No amount of strenuous effort is going to give me more than about 1.5hr of life out of THIS laptop. Its an older Gateway dualcore Turion with a 6-cell battery rated for 4800maH. Sorry, but anything more than about 1.5hr is optimistic. Disable all services possible, dim the screen, use suspend with draconian powersave settings, and I can use it in bits and spurts but I'll have a hard time watching a feature length movie to completion.

Other laptops? 18hr battery life is do-able. Got a spare battery? Lots of life. My netbook? Easily 3.5hr without regard for powersaving, or 4hr (plus) by economizing.

Want decent battery life? Start with a laptop that HAS decent battery life. Anything else? Consider it a "desktop replacement" that can be "temporarily untethered".

Okay, the problem with Ubuntu (linux in general) and many laptops is the hard disk. Seriously. Windows does powersave stuff that ignores the hardware defaults, while linux assumes that the manufacturer's defaults are intelligent. There are ways you can force other defaults on your hardware. But if you use noatime and journal=writeback for your ext3 filesystem, you probably don't need those other measures. So thats where to start.

Install powertop. Do what it says. It is usually right. Google any advice it offers before making the advice permenant. Sometimes powertop is very wrong.

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