TLPUI is a great Graphical User Interface for TLP power management for Linux

Linux is really great, but most Linux distributions are out of the box not optimized to get the most working hours out of your laptop. On a desktop you don’t need to improve battery life of course, but on your laptop you should give some attention to optimize your power consumption. Up Till this very moment it has never possible to squeeze as much hours out of your laptop with Linux as compared to macOS and Windows, but things are getting better and better. To optimize power management you can use the program TLP, which offers a good configuration out of the box for improved power management and improved battery life on your laptop. TLP has a lot of options for you to configure, but needs to be done via the command line. But luckily there is an additional graphical user interface available as well. TLPUI is a great graphical user interface for TLP power management for Linux. So let’s see what both TLP and TLPUI have to offer.

What is TLP

As already said in the introduction most Linux distributions are not really optimized to get the most working hours out of your laptop battery. You need a dedicated application that gives you advanced power management capabilities on every controllable aspect in your machine. TLP is a very extensive solution, but the nice thing is that it offers out of the box a default configuration already optimized for most machines. But on top of that default settings there is a lot to adapt to fulfill your specific needs. TLP gives you all the buttons, switches and rotating wheels to tweak your components like the processor, hard disks, wireless components, network devices and graphics and sound devices. Think about processor frequency scaling, power aware process scheduler for multi-core and hyper-threading, wifi power saving mode, hard drive advanced power management, audio power saving and Input/Output schedulers. And on top of that TLP provides some Thinkpad specific options like calibration of the battery. Later in this article I will describe how to download and setup TLP before setting up TLPUI.

What is TLPUI

TLP offers a lot of options that need to be controlled via the command line. But for many normal mortals the command line remains a frightening path to the unknown and a lot of us prefer to stay on the clearly visible paths with road signage and traffic signs, which we also call a Graphical User Interface. And luckily for us TLPUI offers that great GUI for TLP.

How to install TLP on Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distributions

A lot of distributions already have TLP and TLPUI available in their software repository. So it is wise to first have a look in your Software Manager. On Linux Mint do the following:

1) Search for “Software Manager” in the search bar in your Application Menu.
2) Start Software Manager.
3) Search for “TLP”.

4) Click on TLP.
5) Click on Install.

If TLP is not in the repository of your Ubuntu based distribution or if you want to use the most recent version of TLP than we have to do a side step to the command line to install it via the official PPA.

1) Start a terminal session via the keyboard combination Ctrl + Alt + T.
2) To add the TLP PPA type the following command followed by enter:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp

3) To update your system type the following command followed by enter:

sudo apt-get update

4) Install the packages tlp, tlp-rdw, tp-smapi-dkms and acpi-call-dkms via the following command:

sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

5) ThinkPads require an additional command:

sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms

As we are not going to use the command line to setup and use the TLP application we now go directly to the installation of TLPUI.

How to install TLPUI on Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distributions

On Linux Mint do the following:

1) Search for “Software Manager” in the search bar in your Application Menu.
2) Start Software Manager.
3) Search for “TLPUI”.

4) Click on TLPUI.
5) Click on Install.

If TLPUI is not in the repository of your Ubuntu based distribution or if you want to use the most recent version of TLPUI than we have to do a side step to the command line to install it via the Linux Uprising PPA. The website www.linuxuprising.com is a great and informative website on everything Linux related and I highly recommend it.

1) Start a terminal session via the keyboard combination Ctrl + Alt + T.
2) To add the TLPUI PPA type the following command followed by enter:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linuxuprising/apps

3) To update your system type the following command followed by enter:

sudo apt-get update

4) Install the packages tlp, tlp-rdw, tp-smapi-dkms and acpi-call-dkms via the following command:

sudo apt-get install tlpui

How to use and setup TLP and TLPUI

1) Open your Application Manager, search for “TLPUI” and start the application.

The following screen will be shown to you.

Here we see two main tabs, Configuration and Statistics.

As already mentioned TLP gives you a generic out of the box optimized configuration that should work great with your laptop. After installing TLP my Dell Latitude E7450 gives me on average 1.5 hours longer battery life than before installation, which is in my opinion incredible. But you can change the settings of a lot of components to adapt it to your personal situation and preferences.

The configuration screen gives you the option to change some general settings and change settings for Audio, Disks, Graphics, Network, PCIe, Processor, Radio, Radio Device Wizard, USB and Thinkpad Battery. So let’s go through all of them.

General

Here we have the options to enable TLP and set the TLP default mode for AC or Battery.

Audio

Here we can set the audio save mode and enable or disable the audio controller.

Disks

This Disks related part gives a very extensive list of options that can be manipulated. Think of disk idle seconds that sets the time the laptop mode has to wait before doing a sync, settings per available disk, disk spinning settings, link power management, seconds of inactivity before suspension and settings for optical drives.

Graphics

Here all settings are focused on radeon graphics cards, like focus on clock speed and performance or on battery life.

Network

WiFi power savings mode and LAN wake on settings.

PCIe

PCI Express Active State Power Management performance focussed or power saving focussed. Inclusion or exclusion of PCIe components.

Processor

CPU scaling settings, CPU scaling frequency, Performance settings in different AC and Battery situations, CPU Boost enabling or disabling, adapt number of cpu cores and hyperthreading to the load.

Radio and Radio Device Wizard

Settings for radio devices like Bluetooth, WiFi and WWAN.

USB

Options to suspend USB, blacklist or whitelist certain USB devices.

Thinkpad Battery

When you use a Thinkpad laptop these are extra options for you. You can set battery charge thresholds so charging starts only in specific situations.

Final words

If you want more details of everything TLP has to offer, please have a look at the TLP website.
https://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-linux-advanced-power-management.html. In my opinion TLP and TLPUI are great additions for your Linux based mobile experience. In my case I get at least one hour extra and sometimes upto two hours. That’s 25% more than I get without TLP. Give it a try and see what you can squeeze out of your laptop battery.