Ubuntu: How to control fan speed?


How can I control the computer's fan speed?

On Windows there is a wonderful program called SpeedFan.


Note before starting:

This functionality depends on both your hardware and software. If your hardware doesn't support fan speed controls, or doesn't show them to the OS, it is very likely that you could not use this solution. If it does, but the software (aka kernel) doesn't know how to control it, you are without luck.

  1. Install the lm-sensors and fancontrol packages.
  2. Configure lm-sensors

    1. In terminal type sudo sensors-detect and answer YES to all YES/no questions.
    2. At the end of sensors-detect, a list of modules that need to be loaded will be displayed. Type "yes" to have sensors-detect insert those modules into /etc/modules, or edit /etc/modules yourself.
    3. Run sudo service module-init-tools restart. This will read the changes you made to /etc/modules in step 3, and insert the new modules into the kernel.
      • Note: If you're running Ubuntu 13.04 or higher, this 3rd step command should be replaced by sudo service kmod start.
  3. Configure fancontrol

    1. In terminal type sudo pwmconfig . This script will stop each fan for 5 seconds to find out which fans can be controlled by which PWM handle. After script loops through all fans, you can configure which fan corresponds to which temperature.
    2. In my case I set interval to 2 seconds.
  4. Set up fancontrol service

    1. Run sudo service fancontrol start. This will also make the fancontrol service run automatically at system startup.

In my case for CPU I used:

Settings for hwmon0/device/pwm2:    Depends on hwmon0/device/temp2_input    Controls hwmon0/device/fan2_input    MINTEMP=40    MAXTEMP=60    MINSTART=150    MINSTOP=0    MINPWM=0    MAXPWM=255   


If you own a ThinkPad, there's a piece of software called thinkfan that does exactly this. As the name obviously suggests, it is specifically made for ThinkPads (thinkpad_acpi).

The thinkfan software is available in the standard ubuntu software repositories, but it does require a few steps to configure.

Here's an easy step-by-step guide:


(which is basically a translated version of this German guide: http://thinkwiki.de/Thinkfan)

Relevant Information from Post:

Step 1. Install the thinkfan software and the sensors:

sudo apt-get install thinkfan lm-sensors  

Step 2. Make sure that the daemon controls the fan by editting the thinkpad.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/thinkfan.conf  

by adding the following line:

options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1  

Step 3. Make the daemon load automatically at start-up by editting the file:

sudo nano /etc/default/thinkfan  

making sure that the START key is set to yes, i.e. there should be a line that says:


Step 4. Detect your laptop's sensors:

sudo sensors-detect  

and just choose the default answers whenever you're prompted by hitting Enter.

Step 5. Load the new modules. From ubuntu 13.10 this done by:

sudo service kmod start  

while for previous versions like 13.04 you instead will need to do:

sudo service module-init-tools start  

Step 6. Figure out which sensors are in use:


(the ones that indicate 0 degrees are not in use, I don't know why those are "detected" too). Remember which ones are in use.

Step 7. Find out the full paths of these sensors:

find /sys/devices -type f -name "temp*_input"  

The output should be a list of paths like /sys/devices/...

Step 8. Copy-paste the paths to the sensors into the configuration file /etc/thinkpad.conf. To do this, first open up the file:

sudo nano /etc/thinkfan.conf  

There should already be a line like

#sensor /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal (0, 10, 15, 2, 10, 5, 0, 3, 0, 3)   

(the #-symbol means that that line is commented out). Add a line starting with sensor (without the #-symbol) and copy-paste you first sensor. Repeat this if you have more than one sensor. For example, on my machine, the output in step 7 yields

/sys/devices/virtual/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp3_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp4_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp5_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp6_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp7_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp1_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp8_input  /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_hwmon/temp2_input  /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp4_input  /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp2_input   

The ones that are in use in my machine are the ones in the first and the last two lines, so I added the three lines:

sensor /sys/devices/virtual/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input  sensor /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp4_input  sensor /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp2_input   

Step 9. Finally we can set the fan speed levels in the configuration file. Open the /etc/thinkpad.conf file if it wasn't open already.

sudo nano /etc/thinkfan.conf  

The fan levels I use on my ThinkPad x201 are:

(0, 0, 51)  (1, 50, 52)  (2, 51, 55)  (3, 54, 58)  (4, 56, 63)  (5, 60, 70)  (6, 66, 79)  (7, 74, 92)  (127, 85, 32767)   

The last line ensures full fan speed (127 = "disengaged" i.e. unregulated). You can fiddle with these levels to fit your needs/wishes, but PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

Step 10. Reboot. Everything should work now. In order to check whether thinkpad is runnning correctly, use

sudo thinkfan -n  

which starts thinkfan in verbose mode. You might want to stop the thinkfan daemon first:

sudo /etc/init.d/thinkfan stop  

If you want to start the thinkfan daemon again, type:

sudo /etc/init.d/thinkfan start  

Just to be complete, my /etc/thinkfan.conf configuration file is:

# IMPORTANT:  #  # To keep your HD from overheating, you have to specify a correction value for  # the sensor that has the HD's temperature. You need to do this because  # thinkfan uses only the highest temperature it can find in the system, and  # that'll most likely never be your HD, as most HDs are already out of spec  # when they reach 55 °C.  # Correction values are applied from left to right in the same order as the  # temperatures are read from the file.  #  # For example:  # sensor /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal (0, 0, 10)  # will add a fixed value of 10 °C the 3rd value read from that file. Check out  # http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Thermal_Sensors to find out how much you may  # want to add to certain temperatures.    # Syntax:  # (LEVEL, LOW, HIGH)  # LEVEL is the fan level to use (0-7 with thinkpad_acpi)  # LOW is the temperature at which to step down to the previous level  # HIGH is the temperature at which to step up to the next level  # All numbers are integers.  #    # I use this on my T61p:  #sensor /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal (0, 10, 15, 2, 10, 5, 0, 3, 0, 3)    #(0, 0, 55)  #(1, 48, 60)  #(2, 50, 61)  #(3, 52, 63)  #(4, 56, 65)  #(5, 59, 66)  #(7, 63, 32767)      # My settings for my ThinkPad X201: (kris)    sensor /sys/devices/virtual/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input  sensor /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp4_input  sensor /sys/devices/platform/coretemp.0/temp2_input    (0, 0, 51)  (1, 50, 52)  (2, 51, 55)  (3, 54, 58)  (4, 56, 63)  (5, 60, 70)  (6, 66, 79)  (7, 74, 92)  (127, 85, 32767)  


Install and configure the lm-sensors and fancontrol packages:

sudo apt-get install lm-sensors fancontrol  

Documentation for configuring them is available on their man pages.

This is a function that is supposed to be provided by a ACPI-compliant BIOS, but it seems that most motherboard vendors don't bother to follow the standard.


For several Dell computers you can install i8kutils package:

sudo apt install i8kutils  

If you have a non-tested Dell (like my Dell XPS 14z), you might have to force loading of kernel module:

sudo modprobe i8k force=1  

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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