[ltp] [W510] decreasing power use, increasing battery life: screen and lid issues

Tom Roche linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Mon, 03 Dec 2012 17:37:17 -0800

Can I get advice on ways to improve a Thinkpad W510's battery life when
running debian? I'd especially like to improve its power management,

* allowing screen brightness control via Fn-Home/Fn-End

* making the close-lid event just turn off the screen, instead of
  sleeping the box (i.e., suspending to RAM)

I recently got a W510 on closeout (pretty good price). I installed LMDE
(a testing/wheezy-based distro), but am only getting slightly more than
2 hours use from a fully-charged battery. This is usually plenty, but
this week I'm traveling at a conference where the meeting rooms seem to
have no accessible power outlets :-(

One major problem seems to be screen power management: the screen is
always on full brightness, and cannot be reduced by Fn-End.

Another major problem is, closing the lid does not (solely) turn off the
screen: instead, it sleeps the box. This means I am sometimes forced to
keep the lid up and screen on when not necessary. Note I have made the
appropriate change in the gnome-power-manager UI, but the behavior of
the box does not change.

I thought I could fix at least the first problem by switching the video
driver from nouveau to nvidia proprietary, but that breaks boot, as
described here


So I'd appreciate other suggestions (as well as advice regarding ways to
roll back the nvidia install!)

TIA, Tom Roche <Tom_Roche@pobox.com>