Fix for the Thinkpad overheating problem!

Discussion in 'Linux Compatibility and Software' started by mujtaba, Feb 10, 2012.

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  1. mujtaba

    mujtaba ZzzZzz Super Moderator

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    In another thread in this forum, I pointed out my woes with my Thinkpad giving the "Critical temperature reached" error and shutting down on some versions of Linux such as Debian Squeeze.

    After doing some poking around and searching the internet, I finally reached this: Patch for overheating ThinkPads [Gertverdemme.nl] which claims that upgrading Thinkfan to version 0.7.3 will fix the problem. However, this fix appears not to have reached stable releases such as Debian Squeeze. I took the dive and installed it on my Ubuntu-based Mint (which also suffered from this problem, albeit at a lesser degree) and I haven't been facing the problem of sudden shutdowns for a while now *knock wood*

    I will hopefully be able to test this version of Thinkfan with Debian Squeeze when I am less busy.
     
  2. SemiExpert

    SemiExpert Notebook Consultant

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    I'm not a big fan of "stable" releases with old versions of kernel. You're better off with Debian Testing if you have more recent hardware, since there are a lot of kernel fixes for newer hardware issues. Beside, Debian stable has a very, very slow release cycle.
     
  3. ThinkRob

    ThinkRob Notebook Deity

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    I disagree with this actually.

    Yes, by all means run a newer kernel. But most of userland doesn't have any hardware dependency, and going with testing not only exposes you to potentially more buggy software, but also means that you *don't get timely security updates*. That might be OK for a non-Internet-connected box, but for something that you regularly take onto public networks... yikes. Despite what some people think (and despite the mis-information that some projects spread), testing is not a rolling-release distro!

    Personally I'd recommend stable with a newer kernel (either from backports.debian.org or hand-rolled with kernel-package -- the latter is very, very easy) and perhaps some other packages from backports if necessary. That will get you proper security support, new hardware support, and all of the stability that makes Debian a good choice.

    I've never run into a ThinkPad running Debian which overheats in its default configuration. I run cpuburn for a couple hour bake-in on every laptop that I set up, and not once have I seen one go into thermal shutdown for non-hardware reasons. (I've seen plenty overheat due to bad thermal paste jobs or broken fans, but that's another story.) The reason for this, I suspect, is that unless you've gone and specifically overridden it, the EC's default behavior is to control the fan independently of the OS -- so even if your OS doesn't handle fan/temp control properly the machine won't roast itself. In order to break this behavior, you have to load something like tp_smapi *and* explicitly enable the module's fan control *and* then manually control the fan.
     
  4. mujtaba

    mujtaba ZzzZzz Super Moderator

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    While it seems to be in Debian testing, it doesn't appear to have made its way to Ubuntu either (except the yet-to-be-released 12.04)
     
  5. ThinkRob

    ThinkRob Notebook Deity

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    My bet is that the package didn't go into sid until after 11.10 was forked. 12.04 will be forked from testing, so it makes sense that it's in there.
     
  6. mujtaba

    mujtaba ZzzZzz Super Moderator

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    I have seen multiple instances of people complaining about it (the two bug tracking links in the page linked in the original post as well as other, scattered stuff). It seems to be an issue with T400 and T500 at least.
     
  7. ThinkRob

    ThinkRob Notebook Deity

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    Fair enough.

    I ran a T500 under both Lenny and Squeeze for quite some time and never ran into any issues, but that's a generation older than the T410/X201s which are mentioned in the reports.

    The Debian bug is what I figured, namely that userland control of the fan doesn't work as you'd expect. Not great, but there's a reason that fan_control is 0 by default.

    The linked Ubuntu bug report is interesting, as it seems to point to a quirk in the X201's EC behavior (or a bug in thinkpad_acpi's exposure of it.) I'd be curious if it's not a genuine BIOS/EC bug since AFAIK thinkpad_acpi hasn't made any major changes there recently.
     
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