How to improve Ubuntu Laptop Power Management

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With each release cycle the Linux kernel and the distributions implement new improvements in terms of laptop power management. Therefore even plain standard installations can show quite good results.

Additional possibilities to save battery power are easily found on the web with the search engine of your choice. But selecting the right solutions for your particular hardware and Linux flavour from the myriad of wikis, blogs and forums is much more difficult and often requires advanced Linux knowledge on behalf of the user.

TLP brings you the benefits of advanced power management for Linux without the need to understand every technical detail.

TLP does not replace but enhance the existing power management of your Linux installation. TLP applies it's settings upon system startup and on every change of the power source.

TLP packages are available for Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, openSUSE and Ubuntu.


TLP is a pure command line tool with automated background tasks. It does not contain a GUI.
Settings depending on the Power Source

Kernel laptop mode and dirty buffer timeouts
Processor frequency scaling including "turbo boost" / "turbo core"
Power aware process scheduler for multi-core/hyper-threading
Hard disk advanced power magement level and spin down timeout (per disk)
SATA aggressive link power management (ALPM)
PCI Express active state power management (PCIe ASPM) – Linux 2.6.35 and above
Runtime power management for PCI(e) bus devices – Linux 2.6.35 and above
Radeon KMS power management – Linux 2.6.35 and above, not fglrx
Wifi power saving mode – depending on kernel/driver
Power off optical drive in drive bay (on battery)

Additional functions

I/O scheduler (per disk)
USB autosuspend with blacklist
Audio power saving mode – hda_intel, ac97
Enable or disable integrated wifi, bluetooth or wwan devices upon system startup and shutdown
Restore radio device state on system startup (from previous shutdown).
Radio device wizard: switch radios upon network connect/disconnect and dock/undock
Disable Wake On LAN
WWAN state is restored after suspend/hibernate
Untervolting of Intel processors – requires kernel with PHC-Patch
Battery charge thresholds – ThinkPads only
Recalibrate battery – ThinkPads only

Install TLP in ubuntu

Preparing your system


Please remove user specific power save settings and scripts (for example in /etc/rc.local), otherwise expect unpredictable results
Please remove laptop-mode-tools

Open the terminal and run the following command

sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw tp-smapi-dkms smartmontools ethtool

Sandy Bridge and newer models (X220/T420, X230/T430 et al.) require an additional:

sudo apt-get install acpi-call-tools

Details of packages

tlp (PPA) – Power saving
tlp-rdw (PPA) – optional, Radio Device Wizard
tp-smapi-dkms (universe) – optional ThinkPad only, tp-smapi is needed for battery charge thresholds and ThinkPad specific status output of tlp-stat
acpi-call-tools (PPA) – optional ThinkPad only, acpi-call is needed for battery charge thresholds on Sandy Bridge and newer models (X220/T420, X230/T430 et al.)
smartmontools (main) – optional, needed by tlp-stat to display disk drive S.M.A.R.T. data
ethtool (main) – optional, needed to disable wake on lan

Now install TLP by running the following commands from your terminal

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

Start TLP program

You can start using the following command

sudo tlp start

Use the tlp-stat terminal command to check if TLP is working properly

sudo tlp-stat

and check the output for
+++ System Status
TLP power save = enabled
power source = ...

More useful commands

Show battery information only:

sudo tlp-stat -b

sudo tlp-stat --battery

Show configuration only:

tlp-stat -c

tlp-stat --config

Show radio devices switch state only:

tlp-stat -r

tlp-stat --rfkill

Show temperatures and fan speed only:

tlp-stat -t

tlp-stat --rfkill

Show trace output from /var/log/debug:

tlp-stat -T

tlp-stat --trace, --rfkill

You check here for full configuration details.

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