Petter Reinholdtsen

Making battery measurements a little easier in Debian
15th March 2016

Back in September, I blogged about the system I wrote to collect statistics about my laptop battery, and how it showed the decay and death of this battery (now replaced). I created a simple deb package to handle the collection and graphing, but did not want to upload it to Debian as there were already a battery-stats package in Debian that should do the same thing, and I did not see a point of uploading a competing package when battery-stats could be fixed instead. I reported a few bugs about its non-function, and hoped someone would step in and fix it. But no-one did.

I got tired of waiting a few days ago, and took matters in my own hands. The end result is that I am now the new upstream developer of battery stats (available from github) and part of the team maintaining battery-stats in Debian, and the package in Debian unstable is finally able to collect battery status using the /sys/class/power_supply/ information provided by the Linux kernel. If you install the battery-stats package from unstable now, you will be able to get a graph of the current battery fill level, to get some idea about the status of the battery. The source package build and work just fine in Debian testing and stable (and probably oldstable too, but I have not tested). The default graph you get for that system look like this:

My plans for the future is to merge my old scripts into the battery-stats package, as my old scripts collected a lot more details about the battery. The scripts are merged into the upstream battery-stats git repository already, but I am not convinced they work yet, as I changed a lot of paths along the way. Will have to test a bit more before I make a new release.

I will also consider changing the file format slightly, as I suspect the way I combine several values into one field might make it impossible to know the type of the value when using it for processing and graphing.

If you would like I would like to keep an close eye on your laptop battery, check out the battery-stats package in Debian and on github. I would love some help to improve the system further.

Tags: debian, english.

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