battery status indicator shows 'estimating'

Bug #1231550 reported by Scott Moser on 2013-09-26
This bug affects 10 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Charles Kerr
indicator-power (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sometime in saucy my battery icon started showing '(estimating...)' for the 'time' in the menu bar.

This could be because I:
a.) am plugged into power
b.) have used the thinkpad 'tp-smapi-dkms' packages to control my battery, telling it to not charge even though its plugged in

I'm not sure.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 13.10
Package: indicator-power 12.10.6+13.10.20130918.2-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.11.0-8.15-generic 3.11.1
Uname: Linux 3.11.0-8-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.12.4-0ubuntu1
Architecture: amd64
Date: Thu Sep 26 12:09:50 2013
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationDate: Installed on 2011-10-19 (708 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Release amd64 (20111012)
MarkForUpload: True
SourcePackage: indicator-power
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to saucy on 2013-05-20 (129 days ago)

Related branches

Scott Moser (smoser) wrote :
Scott Moser (smoser) wrote :

so its probably related to the fact that I've explicitly told the battery not to charge while plugged in.
Thats accomplished by:

sudo sh -c "echo $stop > $bat_d/stop_charge_thresh && echo $start > $bat_d/start_charge_thresh"

More info at
and that requires tp_smapi module loaded.

Charles Kerr (charlesk) wrote :

Yes, telling the battery to not charge even though it's plugged in is what's confusing indicator-power -- upower is reporting that the battery is charging, but understandably isn't providing a time-remaining estimate. In these situations, the indicator shows 'estimating' because it doesn't have enough information from upower to guess at a time.

One possibility is that we could push this upstream to upower, saying that the `charging' state is inaccurate here because the battery isn't charging.

At the indicator-power level, we could also look at the wattage being consumed. Your upower dump does list the `charging' state, but that only 0.0033 W are being used. I'm a little uncomfortable with adding heuristics to second-guess what upower is reporting, but it's a thought.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in indicator-power (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in indicator-power:
assignee: nobody → Charles Kerr (charlesk)
Reece (reece) wrote :

Similar issue here, although I think the cause is different.

See attached screenshot.

1) The menu shows estimating... even though the battery is present and charged.
Furthermore, none of the other devices have useful information.

2) Note that the menu icon is for a mouse, not a battery.
If I unplug power, the indicator icon momentarily shows a full battery.
When I plug in again, it switches to a mouse icon.

3) I use 3 mice and 2 keyboards with this laptop. These are Logitech "unified" devices. I think what we're seeing is that upower reports all mice and keyboards registered with the unified receiver, even if not present.

Reece (reece) wrote :

upower -d corresponding to comment #6

Timse (timshel86) wrote :

I think Reece, your problem is related to this other bug:

In my case, I have no mouse icon, and the battery indicator is stuck on the estimating message.

htrex (hantarex) wrote :

I'm seeing the the battery indicator stuck on the estimating message on a Dell XPS 9560 using Ubuntu 16.04.2 with 4.10.0-20-generic #22~16.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Thu Apr 20 17:43:29 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux.

The Dell XPS, as the Thinkpad of the OP, has a charge limiter to prolong the battery life in the years. It can be set on a range from 55 % to 100% of the battery capacity.

upower reports the state as "charging" but the energy-rate is just 0,0114 W.

I think that when the rate is so low, detecting a trickle charging it's more a fact than a guess.

This is the upower dump (some unimportant bluetooth external devices removed):

upower --dump
Device: /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/line_power_AC
  native-path: AC
  power supply: yes
  updated: sab 29 apr 2017 15:47:39 CEST (10348 seconds ago)
  has history: no
  has statistics: no
    warning-level: none
    online: yes
    icon-name: 'ac-adapter-symbolic'

Device: /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/battery_BAT0
  native-path: BAT0
  vendor: LGC-LGC8.33
  model: DELL 5XJ2871
  serial: 3343
  power supply: yes
  updated: sab 29 apr 2017 18:38:26 CEST (101 seconds ago)
  has history: yes
  has statistics: yes
    present: yes
    rechargeable: yes
    state: charging
    warning-level: none
    energy: 55,6092 Wh
    energy-empty: 0 Wh
    energy-full: 95,8512 Wh
    energy-full-design: 96,9912 Wh
    energy-rate: 0,0114 W
    voltage: 11,7 V
    percentage: 58%
    capacity: 98,8246%
    technology: lithium-ion
    icon-name: 'battery-good-charging-symbolic'

Device: /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/DisplayDevice
  power supply: yes
  updated: sab 29 apr 2017 15:47:39 CEST (10348 seconds ago)
  has history: no
  has statistics: no
    present: yes
    state: charging
    warning-level: none
    energy: 55,6092 Wh
    energy-full: 95,8512 Wh
    energy-rate: 0,0114 W
    percentage: 58%
    icon-name: 'battery-good-charging-symbolic'

  daemon-version: 0.99.4
  on-battery: no
  lid-is-closed: no
  lid-is-present: yes
  critical-action: HybridSleep

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