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Thread: Kali Linux destroying laptop battery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    2018-Apr
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    Kali Linux destroying laptop battery?

    Hello guys!
    Got a question for you today. I'll try to be as detailed as possible.

    So i recently got this mid 2012 Macbook Pro - Intel i5 3210m - GPU Intel HD 4000 - 8GB RAM - 2x256GB SSD.

    I installed Kali on one of the 2 ssd drives.
    As usual, loving it so far (i always install Kali on the hard drive and then tweak it for everyday use with a user account, as it's just faster than any other debian based distro i tried so far)

    I'd like to point out that when i got the Macbook Pro, i checked the battery cycles count and it was 132. Not bad at all. That should mean a fairly new battery.

    After i started using Kali i noticed that i was having overheating issues so i installed TLP and Thermald to keep them at bay, with fairly good results. The overheat was reduced by a good margin.
    The Battery life has never been as good as OSX, but i am not surprised, that's a common Linux issue.
    Anyway, moving on, i used Kali on this machine for the past month or so , most of the time attached to power. I've probably used it on battery for no more than 10 times.
    It's worth noting that when i started using Kali, i noticed that Gnome would show me 99% battery life even at full charge, but i thought, no big deal, it's just 1% must be a bug.
    After a while tho i started noticing the top number was decreasing constantly. Yesterday, the "fully charged" number was 92%. So i started investigating.
    I booted in OSX and checked the battery cycles and, ***, it now shows 432 cycles O.O

    I also noticed that in OSX now the battery drains faster than before. So i started searching info on the web and noticed that other people, from other linux distros complained about this issue. There is one in particular that complains about ubuntu on his laptop, destroying 2 batteries in a period of just 4 months total .

    So, what do you guys think? You think is possible that Kali is "destroying" my Macbook Pro Battery?

    What is your opinion?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    While I'm no Mac expert, I just don't see how Kali could be trashing the battery. A laptop will use the power it needs based on running programs and services. What shows up when you run top or ps in Kali? Any runaway/looping processes?

    You may need to visit your local Mac store, and see what they can tell you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    2018-Apr
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    Quote Originally Posted by grid View Post
    While I'm no Mac expert, I just don't see how Kali could be trashing the battery. A laptop will use the power it needs based on running programs and services. What shows up when you run top or ps in Kali? Any runaway/looping processes?

    You may need to visit your local Mac store, and see what they can tell you.
    I am not a fan of Mac OS by any chance, i use it only for Logic Pro X.
    I thought exactly the same as you, that i don't see how Kali could be trashing the battery, that's why i am trying to figure out what the issue might be.

    as far as top goes, nothing looks strange. I have the "usual" memory and CPU usage of the Desktop Environment. A little surprise by powertop to be honest with you, that drains apparently 195mb of RAM. But still, i am on a total combined used ram of 1GB on 8, which seems pretty acceptable.

    I noticed one thing. While no Web Browser is open i have a power consumption that averages at 13.6w according to Powertop. As soon as i run either Chromium or Firefox, that jumps to 25-27w. (around 16-17w if it's just light browsing like reading this forum)

    I was also worried that Gnome was causing this issue. (Gnome Shell and mutter sadly are very bad now, laggy and stuttery, in both X and Wayland sessions. X still performs better by the way, at least on my machine)
    So i installed KDE, which seems to be running much smoother. But at least for now, i think i will not be seeing any major change in Battery life.

    I also tried a little test (it is what it is and cannot be taken as "accurate" but it could give a minimal idea of the difference between the OSes in terms of power consumption.

    I fired up Chromium on both OSes and opened up Youtube and started watching videos, which is notoriously resource hungry.
    On Kali with KDE i am seeing on average a 1% drop in battery life every 1 and half minute. (sometimes little less)

    On OSX I am seeing a decrease in percentage of about 1% every 2 minutes 10/ 2 minutes 20. Sounds like a lot of difference if you do the math. I mean i can tell while using Kali on Battery that the juice goes away much faster, so no surprise on that.

    Just for your reference, please see a similar complaint made by an Ubuntu user a while ago:

    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1092254

    And as you can see, the post author in this case is not using a Macbook, but a thinkpad (which is notoriously a very very good laptop for linux users)

    Do you have any thoughts about it??

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Very confusing. I did look at the ubutunforums.org post referenced, and that left me more confused.

    I assume you're using the latest version of Kali? Have you tried pulling the battery out, running on AC power, and re-running your tests?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    2018-Apr
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    Quote Originally Posted by grid View Post
    Very confusing. I did look at the ubutunforums.org post referenced, and that left me more confused.

    I assume you're using the latest version of Kali? Have you tried pulling the battery out, running on AC power, and re-running your tests?
    yup, latest version of Kali. I have to note tho, in the last few days, i ve been using it by daily checking the cycles from OSX, and it doesn't look like i am using more cycles than i should... that is very confusing...:///

  6. #6
    Join Date
    2013-Aug
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    Just like a car battery or any other battery, the more you use it, the more power it takes.
    So, it's kinda understandable that Kali will take a little more power then Mac OS. Since Mac's are for personal use and Kali is more like "Work Related".
    Once the systems boots, you should check the running apps on both OS's and compare them, I bet you have almost 2x more apps on Kali then on Mac.
    This being said, you should try to keep checking your battery usage with some application on Kali and try to understand what is draining your battery that fast, probably a process you don't even need..

    Bottom line, I have 8 Lappys at home all with Kali, some lappys are 15 years old and the battery still hangs in there for over an hour in most of them. Some of them don't have all the apps running, and others have just wireless and network sniffers (which drain the battery under an hour).

    In 6 years I never had battery related issues that didn't come from application usage or any other messed up configuration.

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