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Thread: Empty battery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Empty battery?

    I have a Dell XPS13 9300 with Lubuntu 20.04.3 installed. Occasionally the LXQt battery status indicator disappears, or else shows no charge left; in the latter case clicking to obtain the Battery Info window indicates that the battery is empty -- see attached image. (The battery isn't empty, as the charging cable could well be disconnected with the computer running on battery power. Rebooting usually restores a working battery status indicator).

    This problem seems to be correlated with a failure to shut down correctly, reaching Plymouth but remaining there.

    A similar laptop (XPS13 9360, also with Lubuntu 20.04.3) doesn't have this problem

    I'd be grateful for advice on whether this problem can be resolved.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Xubuntu

    Re: Empty battery?

    I have had issues before with Dell's not reporting battery correctly, not charging past a certain percentage, etc. A few thing to try:

    Remove EVERY cable from laptop. Remove battery. Press and hold START button for about 15 seconds. Wait 5 minutes and reinstall battery and charger ONLY. Fire it up and see what happens. IF that seems to correct the issue, then hook up other cables. Note: If you are using a powered USB hub, that can cause problems like you are having.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    melbourne, au
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    1,279
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    Lubuntu Development Release

    Re: Empty battery?

    I can't provide any help sorry, but I'll provide some comments.

    - I've never experienced this issue
    - I'd check your hardware; to me that's the most likely (from my experience)

    I've been asked to explore this issue before (I forget which cycle) and I didn't find any issues in 5-6 laptops I had access to. The issue however is likely to occur only with some laptops. In exploring this issue I reported the following (if I recall correctly; it was a number of cycles ago).

    - battery reporting is less accurate if your batteries are in poor health
    - the battery info isn't updated every second; some detail (power-attached, disconnected) is monitored more regularly than other details (energy full, remaining etc as these details change less often); so some stats are older than others you're shown. I forget how long it took for all stats to be updated (which may vary on release) but I vaguely recall 5 mins.

    If your box is failing to shutdown; what are you using to shutdown? A SysRq command? (ie. REISUO maybe). I'd likely explore systemd journal (`journalctl`) looking for clues on the last shutdown if the prior session shutdown is impacting the issue.

    Sorry I don't really have any clues. But the fact that I was asked (Lubuntu team) to explore this issue does imply you're not likely the only person experiencing this (or equivalent). Note: I'm not a developer so wasn't looking at code, just QA-testing


    Additional thought: You're using the LTS, but didn't state which kernel stack you're using. As switching stacks is pretty easy, and you can install & have both stacks installed without effect (other than slightly more disk space, larger bandwidth for updates as two stacks to upgrade) I'd likely add the other kernel stack choice & see if that influences behavior.

    The default stack for Lubuntu 20.04 LTS installs with 20.04 or 20.04.1 media was the GA, however 20.04.2 or later media defaulted to HWE. This differs to Ubuntu Desktop (which defaulted to HWE for all new installs of 20.04; I'm mentioning this as the wiki doc assumes Ubuntu Desktop installs). https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEnablementStack
    Last edited by guiverc; November 14th, 2021 at 12:43 AM. Reason: additional thought: kernel stack

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    80

    Re: Empty battery?

    Thanks for the two comments. I'm particularly interested in the remark by Autodave about powered USB hubs, because the 9300 with the battery indicator problem has a 4-way powered USB hub plugged into one of the USB-C sockets. I wonder if there are any details of how this can cause problems? I'll disconnect the hub for an extended period (maybe a week or so) and see if the problem fails to recur.

    I'll investigate the shutdown problem separately. On the question of kernel stacks: ubuntu-drivers list-oem gives a null result, so I assume HWE, but I won't experiment with this until the result of the USB hub test is clearer.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Pennsylvania
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    3,625
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    Xubuntu

    Re: Empty battery?

    I have had SO many weird issues with powered hubs.....especially when the hub itself seems to be working OK. I do not trust them at all any longer and refuse to use them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Beans
    80

    Re: Empty battery?

    Nearly a week of running without the powered USB hub. There has been no recurrence of the battery indicator problem, and in addition the computer has always shut down promptly. I think that's reasonable evidence that the USB hub has caused both problems, so thanks for the suggestion. I'll mark the thread as solved.

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