Fan Problem on Thinkpad L512 with Suse 12.1

Hi Community,

After the last suse-update (about 28.1.2012) the directory /proc/acpi/ibm was gone. I used to control fan speed via “echo level X > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan”.
Also, there is no /sys/bus/platform/drivers/thinkpad_acpi directory.

The fan is not working at all, at the moment. So, after a short time I have to switch of the computer.

Does anyone has an idea how to control the fan???

Thanks a lot for any hint!

(Lenovo L512, Core i5, openSUSE 12.1 (x86_64), Linux 3.1.0-1.2-desktop x86_64, KDE 4.7.2, rel. 5)

Please check out this link on our forum about fan control:



Follow up

Try pressing F5 at the Grub boot menu and switch to SysV Init so that it boots up using SysV instead of Systemd.

It might be easier to set up.

If that does not work, you could have a faulty fan. Please read this: as others owners of L512 are experiencing the same thing.

Second follow up

Additional VERY IMPORTANT information about enabling your fan is located in: /usr/src/linux/Documentation/laptops/thinkpad-acpi.txt

Please navigate to this site and read about thinkpad+acpi_extras.

ThinkPad ACPI Extras Driver | Free software downloads at

Hi Romanator,

thanks a lot for your replies. I think the main problem is, that the computer is a “L-series”, i.e. not really a business-class thinkpad. So, it seems it is not well supported by Linux.

I’ve tried the links you posted:

  • managing the fan via /proc/acpi/ibm/fan (as described by the first link) does not work since this directory is gone
  • I did not notice that booting with SysV changes anything
  • I don’t think that there is a hardware failure since the fan stopped working immediately after updating the OS

I did not try to compile a dedicated kernel yet (and don’t have any experience with this). Could this be a way out? What parameters/configurations do I need?

Has anyone experience with a kernel for a L-series thinkpad?


I was told by the main person working on the kernel:

“Use the proper sysfs files instead”

Since I do not own a laptop, I’ll have to turn this over to a laptop user.

Calling ThinkPad users that have fan control with openSUSE 12.1.

Since the fan control is disabled by default. It’s just a matter of creating a /etc/modprobe.d/50-thinkpad_acpi.conf file and enabling it
by adding the following line:


Resave your changes and restart your laptop.

Hi Romanator,

thanks again for answering.

I read “/usr/src/linux/Documentation/laptops/thinkpad-acpi.txt”. But, it does not help me since the /proc/acpi/ibm directory is gone. The same holds for the link ThinkPad ACPI Extras Driver | Free software downloads at

What do you mean by “Use the proper sysfs files instead”? I do not have the directory /sys/bus/platform/drivers/thinkpad_acpi. So, is there another helpful sysfs-directory?

What I meant about “Use the proper sysfs files instead” is that rather than using extra programs, we are to use configuration files to enable features that are already provided in the kernel.

Since the fan control is disabled by default. It’s just a matter of creating a /etc/modprobe.d/50-thinkpad_acpi.conf file and enabling it
by adding the following line:


Resave your changes and restart your laptop. Have you tried this yet? If not. Please try it.

Also, ensure that you are running the latest BIOS from Lenovo.

Informative links about sysfs, the Linux kernel and the ThinkPad:

[ is sysfs&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDkQFjAC&]( is sysfs&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDkQFjAC&

Sysfs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thinkpad-acpi - ThinkWiki

You can also ask on the Lenovo Linux Forum

Please check with Google. Google is your friend.

Follow up to creating a /etc/modprobe.d/50-thinkpad_acpi.conf file for fan control:
Add the following 2 lines:


Normally, the fan is automatically controlled by the EC or embedded-controller.
However, the L512 series users have been experiencing faulty fans that will not turn on. Even after a BIOS update.

It can be replaced by contacting Lenovo.

Hi Romanator, thanks for your patience.

I did search the internet in the first place. I found most of the links you’ve posted. But they either describe how to control the fan via /proc/acpi/ibm/fan or /sys/bus/platform/thinkpad. Both methods do not work since both directories are not present. I guess they are supported for the more common thinkpad series like T and R, but not L, SL or Edge.

I found discussions in other forums (Ubuntu, Lenovo) where people experienced similar problems with L- or SL-Thinkpads. But no solution.

So, does anyone have any experience with an** L**-series thinkpad and got it to work?

(Here is my 50-thinkpad_acpi.conf:
options thinkpad_acpi experimental=1 hotkey=0xffffff
options thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1
options thinkpad_acpi fan=“leve2 2”

This does not work. And, yes, I’ve updated the BIOS.)

The /proc directory is no longer used starting with the 3.x kernels. It is replaced by /sys.
Some of those references date back to 2010. A lot of things have changed since then.

Does the fan turn on under Windows?

And… Have you tried commenting out the three lines and adding:

fan control=1

Resave the changes.

Please add this repo to Yast.

Index of /repositories/home:/luca_b:/branches:/home:/assmannst/openSUSE_12.1

Look for a file called thinkfan and install it.

Once installed type: man thinkfan or thinkfan --help for additional info on how to use it.

If it doesn’t work, please also ask on and look for Linux section.

Something is missing. Sometimes a typo or a line missing in the .conf files.

Also, please type “su -” (without quotes) then “hwinfo”.

Next, type: “lsmod” (without quotes) and paste them in between the



The L512 is the replacement for the R-series.

Alternate Option – If all else fails
I can also recommend downloading the openSUSE 11.4 ISO and see if that works for you. It uses an older kernel.

Can anyone else that owns a ThinkPad please chime in?

Have you read this?

[Lenovo Thinkpad L512 [LinLap - Linux Laptop Wiki]](

Hi Romanator,

I’ve installed the thinkfan utility you mentioned and tried to start it. It said something like “Cannot find config file”. While fiddling with the thinkfan.conf file the fan started to run! Amazing program! I’ve deinstalled thinkfan and the fan keeps running, even after rebooting and before the operating system (Win7 or Linux) starts.
So, now I’m really a puzzled penguin…HW-bug? buggy BIOS? Why did it stop working when I installed a new kernel?

Lessons learned: Don’t buy a L-ThinkPad!

Good to hear that you’ve got it working. Not good that you deinstalled the program.
You can stop the fan (if it won’t stop) by removing the module. BTW Which kernel did you install?

Please type: “uname -a” (without the quotes) and post it using the


To find the fan module:

Type in: "lsmod" (without the quotes)

To remove the fan module:

Type in: "rm mod name" and then type: "lsmod" to check if it's gone.

After checking a lot of websites, it looks like the fan type and/or lot number that Lenovo put in the L-series are substandard. 
For an extra $200 - $300 you could have purchased a T-series ThinkPad. Lenovo has a lot of sales this year before the newer versions come out in the next quarter. 
They also sell very reasonably priced "refurbished" and "open box" versions of ThinkPad T-series. And they work great under openSUSE.

Check out the hardware section under Laptops on the openSUSE wiki.

Follow up

After installing the thinkfan program:

  1. set up configuration file
  2. run thinkfan
  3. type in: modprobe thinkfan
  4. type in: lsmod

Using the “modprobe” command loads the module in the present kernel or even your newly installed kernel.
Using the “lsmod” command show a list of the modules loaded.

From thinkfan README, please try typing “su -” (without quotes) then

modprobe thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1

This should load the module

The following portion was copied from thinkfan README:


The default config file location is /etc/thinkfan.conf. You should start with
one of the supplied example configs and tweak from there. There are two
different hardware interfaces:

a) /proc/acpi/ibm/ (default)
Most IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads and some other Lenovo models support this. You
need the thinkpad_acpi kernel driver (see below).

b) /sys/class/hwmon/
This is a generic interface which is not hardware-specific. You need an
hwmon-driver for your system that allows reading temperatures and
controlling the fan from userspace.

Configure hardware interface (IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads)

First, you need to load the thinkpad_acpi module with fan_control=1:

modprobe thinkpad_acpi fan_control=1

See your distribution documentation for how to load modules at bootup with
custom options.

Then you might want to check out which fan levels your fan controller
supports by doing something like this:

for i in 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7; do
echo “level $i” > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
echo “level $i…”
sleep 6
cat /proc/acpi/ibm/fan | egrep “^speed”
echo “level auto” > /proc/acpi/ibm/fan