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I now use Thinkfan by way explained in http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_control_fan_speed. To see what I want to achieve please skip to the end of post to GOAL first, the rest is to show my current understanding of the issue.

I installed package:
apt install thnkfan, then enabled manual control by

echo 'options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1' | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/thinkpad_acpi.conf 

then restarted laptop as per web page above. For automatic control it said some scripts should be loaded and the scripts provided for dwonload are lengthy. (An ACPI fan control script can be used to override the firmware's fan algorithm with gentler, quieter version.)

  • 1st question is: doesn't installation of thinkfan w/out manual control option enabled overrides firmware algo? What does thinkfan install do if not that?

Now I've found another page https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=119546 that states that for configuration that control fan speed in accordance with sensors file /etc/thinkfan.conf should be edited, no extra scripts mentioned. It says to add hwmon /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp to the file and then a table of temperatures. In my laptop in that file I have table with temperatures, but no hwmon like line, even commented, it has though link to thinkwiki page (although about sensors, not setup (http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Thermal_Sensors)).

  • 2nd question: even that thinkwiki page is listed in my package, looks like thinkwiki when talking about control scripts is outdated?

The page https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=119546 also talks about testing thinkfan w/out restart as opposed to mentioned thinkwiki page.

  • can thinkfan work fully w/out laptop restart after install?

And lastly, I do remember a web page discussing how to avoid fan being turned on due to short temperature peaks.

  • how to do that?

Some current system info with manual control working, Linux Mint 19.1:

# /etc/init.d/thinkfan status

● thinkfan.service - simple and lightweight fan control program
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/thinkfan.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead)
  • why is service inactive, what does it mean?

GOAL:

To be able to control fan speed on a number of thinkpad models with debian based systems both manually and via sensors with configuration that enables to skip short temperature peaks with and w/out laptop restart after thinkfan install.

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