Tame ThinkPad's Fan with thinkfan

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Nov 20, 2015 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Most Linux distributions run perfectly well on ThinkPad laptops right out of the box, save for a few minor annoyances. Fan control is one of them. On my ThinkPad T410 running Kubuntu, the fan kicks in right from the start and keeps going until I turn the machine off. The thnkfan tool removes this particular fly from the ointment. Since this handy tool is available in the official Ubuntu software repositories, you can install it using the sudo apt-get install thinkfan command. But to make it work on the ThinkPad, it's necessary to load the thinkpad_acpi kernel module with the fan_control=1 parameter that enables the fan control. To do this, run the following command:

sudo echo "options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/thinkpad_acpi.conf

Run then the sudo thinkfan -n command, and if everything works properly, it should take over fan control. To run thinkfan as a daemon process, omit the -n parameter.

In most cases, you'd want to run thinkpad automatically on boot. To do this, create a thinkfan.service configuration file in the /usr/lib/systemd/system directory. Open the file and add the following configuration to it:

[Unit]
Description=ThinkPad fan control

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/sbin/thinkfan -q

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Save the changes, reboot your ThinkPad, and run the ps aux | grep thinkfan command to check whether the thinkfan process is running.

To save you time and effort, I wrote a simple Bash shell script that automatically installs and configures thinkfan. Grab the script, make it executable using the chmod +x thinkfan_ubuntu.sh command, run the script, and you're done.

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