TLP FAQ

This document answers frequently asked questions about TLP.

Contents

  1. Installation and Configuration
  2. System Performance
  3. Processor Frequency Scaling
  4. Suspend / Hibernate
  5. Disk Drives
  6. Radio Devices (Wifi, Bluetooth, WWAN)
  7. Graphics
  8. Audio
  9. USB
  10. Powertop
  11. Battery
  12. Drive Slot / Ultrabay
  13. Features excluded from TLP intentionally
  14. Links

Installation and Configuration

How do I install TLP on a development release of my distro?

TLP packages for new distro versions appear in due time for the release. If you want to use TLP with alpha or beta releases, download the packages for the predecessor and install them manually with the package manager.

Does TLP conflict with other power management tools like laptop-mode-tools, Jupiter, etc.?

Yes. There can only be one, so don't use two tools for the same purpose simultaneously.

Hint: Powertop isn't a power management tool, so the former doesn't apply to it, refer to the powertop section.

Important: TLP explicitly refuses to run when laptop-mode-tools is installed.

Does TLP run on my laptop (not a ThinkPad)?

TLP runs on every laptop brand. Setting the battery charge thresholds is available for IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads only.

How can I change TLP's settings?

See TLP Configuration.

Does TLP work on Kubuntu, Xubuntu and the like?

Yes, all features of TLP are independent of the desktop environment.

Why do my TLP settings not apply correctly in Kubuntu (KDE)?

Symptom: on battery the AC settings are effective and vice versa.

Cause: power profile settings have been changed in "System Settings → Power Management → Edit Profile".

Solution: prerequisite for TLP is the correct setting of "Enable system power saving" in the "CPU and System" tab:

Apply accordingly to user generated profiles.

I do not use Network Manager, how do i install tlp without tlp-rdw in Ubuntu/Debian?

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends tlp

Does TLP work with other Linux distros?

Possibly. There is no support however.

You can try to install the source tarball from Github:

tar xfvz linrunner-TLP-VERSION-COMMIT.tar.gz
cd linrunner-TLP-COMMIT

# as root
make install
chkconfig --add tlp # or the distro specific command to enable a service

System Performance

System excessively slow on battery

ThinkPad T60 and T420 users reported this issue. Workaround:

SATA_LINKPWR_ON_BAT=medium_power

Processor Frequency Scaling

Settings are not or incompletely applied

When tlp-stat, Section "Processor", shows values that do not reflect configuration, there are several possible causes:

Conflict with your distro's settings

Solution: disable them as follows:

Ubuntu
sudo update-rc.d -f ondemand remove

Revert change with:

sudo update-rc.d ondemand defaults
Debian
update-rc.d -f cpufrequtils remove # as root

Revert change with:

update-rc.d cpufrequtils defaults # as root

Invalid frequency settings

Solution: tlp-stat shows the correct values for your cpu. Example:

/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_frequencies = 2400000 1600000 800000 [kHz]

No ondemand governor with intel_pstate

/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_driver = intel_pstate
/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor = powersave

Since kernel 3.9 the new scaling driver intel_pstate is available and enabled by default on Intel Sandy Bridge (or newer) hardware. intel_pstate supports the governors powersave (recommended default) and performance only, ondemand is gone.

Suspend / Hibernate

Kernel 3.0: impossible to suspend on battery

ThinkPad T400 users reported this issue. It is caused by powering off the optical drive on battery. Disable the setting with:

BAY_POWEROFF_ON_BAT=0

Disk Drives

Why is my hard disk drive parking the read-write heads so frequently (clicking noises)?

The APM setting for battery mode

DISK_APM_LEVEL_ON_BAT=128

corresponds to the Ubuntu default and should cause no problems. Unfortunately drive manufacturers interpret the APM levels quite spaciously to save power.

Solution: try values > 128. See TLP Configuration.

Why doesn't my hard disk drive spin down?

Stopping the system disk for extended periods of time is unlikely to work, because applications and system daemons wake up the disk frequently. There is no real solution for this other than changing many applications and daemons.

How can I stop my 2nd hard disk drive?

To spin down after 1 minute (= 12 · 5 seconds) idle time use:

DISK_SPINDOWN_TIMEOUT_ON_AC="0 12"
DISK_SPINDOWN_TIMEOUT_ON_BAT="0 12"

See TLP Configuration.

Why is my Crucial M4 SSD so slow on battery?

The Crucial M4 reduces performance according to the APM level. You may disable APM with

DISK_APM_LEVEL_ON_AC="255 255"
DISK_APM_LEVEL_ON_BAT="255 255"

Radio Devices (Wifi, Bluetooth, WWAN)

XFCE desktop / Xubuntu: Bluetooth is not disabled upon system startup

Cause: the XFCE Desktop uses the Blueman bluetooth applet, which enables bluetooth when started.

Solution: you have to remove the bluetooth applet from autostart or uninstall the package blueman. Alternatively you may patch the blueman-applet (see LP #908375).

Radio states are not restored according to RESTORE_DEVICE_STATE_ON_STARTUP=1

Cause: conflict with other settings, i.e. DEVICES_TO_DISABLE/ENABLE_ON_... .

Solution: don't use RESTORE_DEVICE_STATE_ON_STARTUP=1 and DEVICES_TO_DISABLE/ENABLE_ON_... simultaneously.

Cause: systemd 209 (or higher) implements its own radio state restore scheme.

Solution: use either RESTORE_DEVICE_STATE_ON_STARTUP=1 or systemd's approach but not both.

Why is usb autosuspend not enabled for my integrated wwan (umts) card?

Cause: some cards do not work reliable with USB autosuspend mode enabled, so by default TLP doesn't apply usb autosuspend for most integrated wwan cards.

Solution: force usb autosupend for wwan with

USB_BLACKLIST_WWAN=0

Refer to TLP Configuration.

Graphics

Radeon

Why does my display flicker upon changing the power source?

This is caused by the radeon power profile (driver radeon only, kernel 2.6.35 an above). To disable the setting use:

RADEON_POWER_PROFILE_ON_AC=default
RADEON_POWER_PROFILE_ON_BAT=default

See TLP Configuration.

Nvidia Optimus

Why does my laptop consume so much battery power?

Laptops with Optimus hybrid graphics contain two graphics units: one from Intel on the processor die ("integrated", iGPU) and one from Nvidia ("discrete", eGPU). Linux uses the Intel unit by default, but at the same time the unused Nvidia unit is enabled and uses a lot of battery power because no driver is loaded.

TLP can't do anything about this – Possible solutions are:

I use PRIME to disable the eGPU, why is it always re-enabled after boot?

Exclude the eGPU from runtime power management:

RUNTIME_PM_BLACKLIST="01:00.0"

Hint: to check whether "01:00.0" matches your Nvidia eGPU, use

lspci | grep VGA

Refer to TLP Configuration too.

Audio

When encountering problems with the sound output on battery, for example clicking noises, try to disable audio power save completely:

SOUND_POWER_SAVE_ON_AC=0
SOUND_POWER_SAVE_ON_BAT=0

See TLP Configuration.

USB

USB device doesn't work

Symptom: some USB devices – scanners for example – do not work reliable when TLP activates USB autosuspend mode.

Solution: lookup the corresponding USB device ID with lsusb, add it to USB_BLACKLIST and reconnect the device.

Hint: TLP automatically excludes all input devices (HID) like keyboards and mice from USB autosuspend. You do not need to enter those in USB_BLACKLIST.

Powertop

Disclaimer: TLP was not designed to make powertop happy.

Why use TLP? I applied power save settings with powertop already

Powertop isn't a power management tool but merely an analysis tool. Any recommended settings you apply with powertop get lost upon the next system reboot. To make powertop's settings permanent you need a tool like TLP.

TLP's default configuration contains all appropriate powertop recommendations and implements them automatically.

Why does Powertop suggest more power saving settings with TLP already running?

Important: TLP applies maximum power savings on battery power only, so unplug ac power before checking with powertop.

Not all suggestions from Powertop make sense or are safe to implement:

Message "VM writeback timeout"

Powertop insists on a value of 1500 centisecs, whereas TLP's defaults are 1500 on ac and 6000 on battery power. If you incline towards powertop's opinion then change the setting to:

MAX_LOST_WORK_SECS_ON_BAT=15

Message "Runtime PM for PCI Device"

Powertop is of the opinion, that Runtime PM should be enabled for all PCI(e) devices. Unfortunately this may cause problems.

As experience with an earlier version of TLP shows, some laptops cannot shutdown cleanly, but reboot instead, when this settings is enabled for all devices. Therefore by default TLP enables Runtime PM for a safe subset of PCI(e) devices only.

Conclusion: either ignore this powertop message or force Runtime PM for all devices with the setting

RUNTIME_PM_ALL=1

Message "SATA ALPM link power"

Some laptops refuse ALPM for particular SATA links. It is impossible to change from max_performance to min_power. One cause may be an open link to the docking stations drive bay (when not docked).

Workaround for X-Series ThinkPads: enter BIOS setup. Go to "Security → IO Port Access" and change Ultrabay access to "disabled". Saves approx. 0.4 W.

Message "Wifi powersave"

For some wifi cards – for instance the Intel 3945abg – the Linux kernel does not support wifi power save.

Message "USB autosuspend"

TLP intentionally exempts input (HID) and wwan (3G, UMTS) devices from autosuspend. This behavior is immutable for input devices. To reenable autosuspend for wwan devices use the setting:

USB_BLACKLIST_WWAN=0

Message "HD audio powersave"

Probably incorrect suggestion by powertop.

Powertop shows a very high power consumption for device xy – what can i do?

It is impossible to measure the power consumption of individual laptop components. Therefore the readings in "Device stats" column "Power est." are rough estimations that are obviously wrong and should be ignored.

Battery

Why is my battery charged up to 100% – ignoring the charge thresholds?

Possible causes are:

Laptop is not a ThinkPad

All battery features in TLP work only with ThinkPads.

tp-smapi is not installed

See Installation for your distro.

Installation of package tp-smapi-dkms fails (Ubuntu)

Symptom: package install shows

Setting up tp-smapi-dkms (0.41-1) ...
Creating symlink /var/lib/dkms/tp-smapi/0.41/source ->
/usr/src/tp-smapi-0.41
DKMS: add completed.
Error! Your kernel headers for kernel 3.X.0-YY-generic cannot be found.
Please install the linux-headers-3.X.0-YY-generic package,
or use the --kernelsourcedir option to tell DKMS where it's located

Solution: install package linux-generic-headers.

Kernel module tp_smapi is not loaded

Try to load manually with

sudo modprobe -v tp_smapi

and check tp-smapi Troubleshooting for a solution matching the error message.

tp-smapi does not support the following models:

ThinkPad T420(s)/T520/W520/X220

tp-smapi doesn't support all battery functions on Sandy Bridge generation ThinkPads. Symptoms are:

tlp-stat shows

/sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/start_charge_thresh = (not available)

tlp setcharge or fullcharge shows the message

start => Warning: cannot set threshold.

tlp discharge or recalibrate show the message

Error: discharge function not available for this ThinkPad model.

Cause: on Sandy Bridge generation ThinkPads tp-smapi does neither support the lower threshold nor forced discharging on AC power.

Solution: TLP automatically uses tpacpi-bat when the kernel module acpi_call is available, see Installation.

ThinkPad T430(s)/T530/W530/X230 (or newer models)

Solution: TLP automatically uses tpacpi-bat when the kernel module acpi_call is available, see Installation.

Battery has been removed

By removing (and re-inserting) the battery the charge thresholds are reset to factory settings (96 / 100%). To restore TLP's settings the following two steps are needed:

or use

sudo tlp setcharge

See Change Battery Charge Thresholds.

Charge thresholds shown by tlp-stat do not correspond to the configured ones

Possible causes are:

Configuration was not activated

After changes to the configuration it is necessary to reboot. Alternatively use

sudo tlp start

or

sudo tlp setcharge

to activate the thresholds.

ThinkPad Edge (E/S) series, L series, SL410/510

On these models the threshold values shown by tlp-stat do not correspond to the written values. For example the setting START_CHARGE_THRESH_BATx=75 / STOP_CHARGE_THRESH_BATx=80 shows 75 / 74. The described behavior is caused by the firmware, not by TLP. Nonetheless the charge thresholds work as configured.

What exactly does the lower charge threshold START_CHARGE_THRESH_BATx do?

START_CHARGE_THRESH_BATx ensures that the battery is not recharged immediately after every short discharge process. The charging process starts only when the previous discharge was below the value of START_CHARGE_THRESH_BATx.

Why does the panel show the battery "charging" despite charge thresholds are effective?

All existing panel applets use the standard kernel interface – files below /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/ – which doesn't give the charge state correctly when charge thresholds are present. The values in /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/ – shown by tlp-stat -b – are correct. There is no solution at the moment.

Do charge thresholds discharge the battery on AC power?

No. Otherwise they would be callled dis-charge thresholds.

Can I prevent the discharging of the battery by setting the lower threshold?

No. Discharging the battery can be prevented only by connecting the power supply or switching off your ThinkPad.

How do I disable the charge thresholds?

Remove the charge thresholds from the configuration by inserting a leading '#'

#START_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=75
#STOP_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=80

and use

sudo tlp fullcharge

to immediately activate the factory settings 96 / 100%.

My battery does not charge anymore after recalibration, shows X% remaining capacity constantly

Most probable cause: battery is defect – and was it even before the recalibration attempt.

Drive Slot / Ultrabay

Why is the optical drive not powered off on battery?

Possible causes are:

ThinkPad without Ultrabay

SL/Edge models for instance.

Incompatible Laptop

At the time of writing this functionality is tested with ThinkPads only.

Features excluded from TLP intentionally

Links

TLP

Other