Thinkpad X201S Fan Control

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I noticed the other day (it was kind of hard to not notice, to be honest) that my laptop shut down abruptly when it overheated. This shouldn’t be the case, as the thermal controls on the mainboard should have spun up the fans.

After some poking around, I found that with the default ‘auto’ fan control, the top speed of ‘level 7′ only spins the fans around 4000RPM, even though when the feedback loop is disengaged (echo level disengaged > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan” they can spin up to 7000RPM, and bring the temperature down from the critical 100C mark.

This bug report suggests that something is completely amiss with the kernels thinkpad_acpi module, and nobody really knows why. The end result is that fans spin too slow on the Thinkpad range of laptops. This can, however, be resolved with a couple of edits and an additional package. The following instructions were tested on Ubuntu 12.10, most likely work exactly the same on all Debian versions and derivatives, and can be adapted for use on other Linux distros as well.

Firstly, enabled userland control of the Thinkpad fans with the following command -

echo options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1 >> /etc/modprobe.d/thinkpad.conf
rmmod thinkpad_acpi
modprobe thinkpad_acpi

This will enable the new settings for your current session, and all future sessions too.

You should now be able to set the fan speed manually with commands such as –

echo level 0 > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
echo level 7 > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
echo level disengaged > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
echo level auto > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan

The key bit here is to remember that ‘disengaged’ equates to ’127′ on the grand scale of speeds.

Next step is to install the thinkfan package, and enable automatic startup -

apt-get -y install thinkfan
sed -i s/START=no/START=yes/ /etc/default/thinkfan

Now, as above, the default fan speeds are too slow. So even if thinkfan commands a level 7 fan speed, it won’t be fast enough to keep your hardware cool. To make it run up to full speed, you have to disengage the feedback loop and let it run in failsafe mode. Don’t worry though, thinkfan will bring it back into ‘auto’ mode once temperatures are back to normal, so you can have normal battery life and normal noise levels once your compute process is complete.

Edit /etc/thinkfan.conf, and at the end adjust the endpoint for level 7, and insert a new line for fan speed 127. My thinkfan.conf is as below –

(0, 0, 55)
(1, 48, 60)
(2, 50, 61)
(3, 52, 63)
(4, 56, 65)
(5, 59, 66)
(7, 63, 66)
(127, 66, 32767)

Save thinkfan.conf, and start thinkfan with this

/etc/init.d/thinkfan start
Once 66C is passed, it will enter disengaged mode, and run at full speed until it reaches 66C or below again.

My aging quad core i7 2.13GHz laptop will happily run BOINC now, at 97C, so I say it’s working :-)

OWFS Server on The Raspberry Pi

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Quick and simple this one is. I have a DS9490R (internally it’s a DS1490F) one-wire bus master attached to my Raspberry Pi. 4 DS18B20 temperature sensors are hanging off the bus, and I’d like to access them from the home automation server.

On the Raspberry Pi, or the server/device that’s hosting the 1-Wire bus:

apt-get install owserver ow-shell
modprobe ds1wm
echo “ds1wm” >> /etc/modules

Edit /etc/owfs.conf such that the following parameters are entered. I’d advise commenting out the rest (at least, the rest of the server: directives)

! server: server = localhost:4304
server: usb = all
server: w1
server: port = 0.0.0.0:4304

Restart the 1-Wire server

/etc/init.d/owserver restart

All being well, the following command should output a listing of all the devices on the bus.

owdir -s localhost:4304 /

On the remote server, simply use the following command to read the data.

owread -s kitchenpi.vpn.glasgownet.com:4304 /28.DDBF1D030000/temperature

MQTT GPIO Monitoring

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My little Raspberry Pi seems to be growing arms and legs.

The other day I hooked up a simple PIR to it. I can’t remember where I got it, but it runs off 5v, consumes a low enough amount of milliAmps to be directly connected to the Raspberry Pi 5v supply, and outputs a TTL compatible 3.3v signal. Bonus!

I wanted to be able to signal to my MQTT broker when motion was detected, so it was time to start monitoring the GPIO pins. I wrote up this short app using the framework I’d made for MQTT-Republisher earlier. MQTT-GPIO-Trigger will accept a list of GPIO pins that you wish to watch, and will cycle through them all and fire off MQTT messages on any state change.

It uses the standard Linux sysfs interface to read the pin states, and if it detects the WiringPi library on the system it will use Gordons gpio command to export the pins to the system.

MQTT Republishing Itch

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So, I had an itch. A variety of data coming in from a variety of sources, all over different protocols and methods, with different names, heirarchies, and paths. For a while I’d been pushing the data into MySQL, but this seemed a bit of a hack, and it still didn’t really cure the problem as it was more of a historical record than an attempt at mapping between the source and the destination, as it were.

I’d been fiddling with MQTT for a while, and had started publishing data over it via my personal broker. And then I read Roberts post over at http://blog.hekkers.net/2012/09/18/mqtt-about-dumb-sensors-topics-and-clean-code/ about republishing it in a logical way.

So simple! So, I wrote a republisher. It’s very simple, and it scratches my itch (and hopefully Roberts too). Data comes in via whatever naming scheme or topic you like, and it gets republished in whatever fashion you want. The map is maintained in map.csv, and items are separated by commas. The MQTT spec doesn’t reserve any characters for the topic name, so I’ve used a comma out of CSV convenience.

The code is over at https://github.com/kylegordon/mqtt-republisher

Accessing Novell Groupwise from Ubuntu, Mint, etc

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We use Groupwise at work, and up until recently Groupwise support was available in Evolution. I don’t know why it was dropped, but it’s fairly easy to reinstate it again if you’re prepared to build from source.

These are the steps I used to build it on two Linux Mint installations, although it should work on Ubuntu and Debian too.

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and ensure you have deb-src equivalents for all your main, universe and multiverse repositories

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libedata-book1.2-dev libedata-cal1.2-dev evolution-dev libdb5.1-dev libcamel1.2-dev
sudo apt-build dep evolution

All being well, a big bunch of build dependencies will be installed

cd ~/src/
git clone http://git.gnome.org/browse/evolution-groupwise/
git checkout -b 3.2.0-patch EVOLUTION_GROUPWISE_3_2_0
# This is the patch for the SOAP port bug
git cherry-pick 3aae80f55d5fd565274f19210564e74d5350a66c
./autogen.sh

All being well, ./autogen.sh will finish and tell you to run make to compile it.

make ; sudo make install

Now, the makefile doesn’t seem to copy over some UI elements, which means the Proxy login feature destroys Evolution if you try to use it. A quick workaround is to copy them from your source tree to your system.

sudo cp src/plugins/*.ui /usr/share/evolution/3.2/ui/

Kill any existing Evolution components…

ps waux | grep -i evolutio[n] | awk {'print $2'} | xargs kill -9

Run evolution from the command line

evolution

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