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I am using ArchLinux on an HP Pavilion dv9000t which has overheating problems. I did all what I can do to get a better air flow in the laptop and put a better thermal paste but there is still a problem:

the fan stops spinning when the CPU temperature is low (even if the GPU temperature is high, which is problematic).

I found out I can get the fan running by launching some heavy processing commands (like the yes command). However, it is not a solution because I need to stop this command when the CPU gets too hot and launch it again when the fan stops (so that the GPU does not get hot).

I tried to control the fan using this wiki, but when I run pwmconfig, I get this error:

/usr/bin/pwmconfig: There are no pwm-capable sensor modules installed

Do you know what can I do to get the fan always spinning?

Edit:

The sensors-dectect output is the following:

~/ sudo sensors-detect 
# sensors-detect revision 6170 (2013-05-20 21:25:22 +0200)
# System: Hewlett-Packard HP Pavilion dv9700 Notebook PC [Rev 1] (laptop)
# Board: Quanta 30CB

This program will help you determine which kernel modules you need
to load to use lm_sensors most effectively. It is generally safe
and recommended to accept the default answers to all questions,
unless you know what you're doing.

Some south bridges, CPUs or memory controllers contain embedded sensors.
Do you want to scan for them? This is totally safe. (YES/no): 
Module cpuid loaded successfully.
Silicon Integrated Systems SIS5595...                       No
VIA VT82C686 Integrated Sensors...                          No
VIA VT8231 Integrated Sensors...                            No
AMD K8 thermal sensors...                                   No
AMD Family 10h thermal sensors...                           No
AMD Family 11h thermal sensors...                           No
AMD Family 12h and 14h thermal sensors...                   No
AMD Family 15h thermal sensors...                           No
AMD Family 15h power sensors...                             No
AMD Family 16h power sensors...                             No
Intel digital thermal sensor...                             Success!
    (driver `coretemp')
Intel AMB FB-DIMM thermal sensor...                         No
VIA C7 thermal sensor...                                    No
VIA Nano thermal sensor...                                  No

Some Super I/O chips contain embedded sensors. We have to write to
standard I/O ports to probe them. This is usually safe.
Do you want to scan for Super I/O sensors? (YES/no): 
Probing for Super-I/O at 0x2e/0x2f
Trying family `National Semiconductor/ITE'...               No
Trying family `SMSC'...                                     No
Trying family `VIA/Winbond/Nuvoton/Fintek'...               No
Trying family `ITE'...                                      No
Probing for Super-I/O at 0x4e/0x4f
Trying family `National Semiconductor/ITE'...               No
Trying family `SMSC'...                                     No
Trying family `VIA/Winbond/Nuvoton/Fintek'...               No
Trying family `ITE'...                                      No

Some hardware monitoring chips are accessible through the ISA I/O ports.
We have to write to arbitrary I/O ports to probe them. This is usually
safe though. Yes, you do have ISA I/O ports even if you do not have any
ISA slots! Do you want to scan the ISA I/O ports? (YES/no): 
Probing for `National Semiconductor LM78' at 0x290...       No
Probing for `National Semiconductor LM79' at 0x290...       No
Probing for `Winbond W83781D' at 0x290...                   No
Probing for `Winbond W83782D' at 0x290...                   No

Lastly, we can probe the I2C/SMBus adapters for connected hardware
monitoring devices. This is the most risky part, and while it works
reasonably well on most systems, it has been reported to cause trouble
on some systems.
Do you want to probe the I2C/SMBus adapters now? (YES/no): 
Using driver `i2c-i801' for device 0000:00:1f.3: Intel 82801H ICH8
Module i2c-dev loaded successfully.

Next adapter: nouveau-0000:01:00.0-0 (i2c-0)
Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively): 

Next adapter: nouveau-0000:01:00.0-1 (i2c-1)
Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively): 

Next adapter: nouveau-0000:01:00.0-2 (i2c-2)
Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively): 

Now follows a summary of the probes I have just done.
Just press ENTER to continue: 

Driver `coretemp':
  * Chip `Intel digital thermal sensor' (confidence: 9)

Do you want to overwrite /etc/conf.d/lm_sensors? (YES/no): 
Unloading i2c-dev... OK
Unloading cpuid... OK

The file /etc/conf.d/lm_sensors contains:

HWMON_MODULES="coretemp"

And the file /etc/modules-load.d/lm_sensors.conf contains:

coretemp
acpi-cpufreq

The command sensors outputs this:

~/ sensors
coretemp-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 0:       +46.0°C  (high = +85.0°C, crit = +85.0°C)
Core 1:       +47.0°C  (high = +85.0°C, crit = +85.0°C)

acpitz-virtual-0
Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +49.0°C  

nouveau-pci-0100
Adapter: PCI adapter
temp1:        +60.0°C  (high = +95.0°C, hyst =  +3.0°C)
                       (crit = +115.0°C, hyst =  +5.0°C)
                       (emerg = +115.0°C, hyst =  +5.0°C)
  • I don't think the yes command is heavy CPU-wise. Other than that, good question :) – phunehehe Jun 11 '13 at 4:05
  • Have done your configuration correctly? Hve you run sensors-detect yet? – Bananguin Jun 11 '13 at 9:45
  • I already ran sensors-detect and I added its output to the post. For the yes command, I took me some time to find out it is better to increase the CPU temperature than four simultaneous grep on the entire hard drive (I don't know why it is CPU intensive, though). – antoyo Jun 11 '13 at 15:26
  • 1
    First things first. How long has it been since you've disassembled the laptop and cleaned it as thoroughly as possible? I cleaned one yest for a friend. The airways are very small and collect lots of dust, pet hair, etc. Having the fan always on may not be the best solution. – bsd Jun 22 '13 at 11:53
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    If you have an overheating problem, and you are not overclocking then you should perform root cause analysis and repair the problem. Configuring the fan to run all the time might let the box live a little while longer but eventually it will fail. A through cleaning and potentially reapplying thermal compound seems like a more appropriate fix to me. Laptops are built tight with very little room for airflow. – bsd Jun 23 '13 at 13:45
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I did a bit of excavation and found that your laptop has a flaw from the manufacturer (the NVIDIA chip, specifically) and the only solution is to do a "reflow" as explained here.

You can buy a cooling pad for the time being to make the laptop life span longer, but won't solve the temperature problem.

About not being able to run pwmconfig, the BIOS don't include (from the HP documentation) any method to manually modify the fan speed, hence pwmconfig fails as there isn't any module that allows control over this values.

For other laptops, I recommend to check your manual/specifications and see if they include support for this modules. Running sensors-detect isn't going to hurt if you aren't sure or your documentation don't include the information. Also remember that sometimes Linux don't include the modules even if your machine includes support, so you have to keep yourself updated with the latest kernels releases and pray.

  • The GPU broke this morning so I had to do a reflow. However, the problem is still present. I reflowed it at 160°C. Is it the good temperature? It already has a cooling pad but it does not seem to help in any way. – antoyo Jul 14 '13 at 19:08
  • @antoyo not gonna lie to you, I'm not a expert in hardware of laptop (although I can disassemble/ensemble one), maybe asking is some specialized forum will shred some lights. I did a small search myself about 'what's reflow', etc. but they didn't mention anything about temperature. BTW, if my answer did help you please accept it, it kinda bogus me that I still see it in /unanswered questions ;) – Braiam Jul 15 '13 at 0:57
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I finally decided to choose a hardware solution.

I cut two wires from the fan and now the fan always spin (at the max level though).

I found this solution in this blog post.

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