Antonio Pitasi

A personal space for personal thoughts

AcePC T11 battery "problem"

An intro

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I always wanted to have a little domestic server for simple stuff that can be useful. In particular I wanted something similar and a bit more powerful than a Raspberry PI, that’s why my research brought me to this Chinese manufacturer called AcePC (https://www.iacepc.com/) - I know their website it’s not promising but their computers are actually good and low cost.

The main feature that made me by a T11, was the CPU architecture, in fact it has a fanless Intel Cherry Trail. I like that because it’s typically easier to find packages for that architecture and I can run Docker like I was on my laptop without any problem.

The “problem”

After the unboxing, the first thing to be done was to format the drive and install Arch Linux. So that’s what I did.

I also installed Gnome thinking that a DE may be useful in case I decide to use this PC as a TV Box.

And that’s where I first saw something weird: Gnome was telling that the battery is discharging.

Wait what? This thing has a battery? And why is it discharging?

I checked the specs and searched the internet to find out that no, this computer has no batteries, and I’m not the only one with this problem - it basically happens on every Linux installation probably because it’s detected as a tablet.

Well, that’s an annoying icon but I said to myself it’s okay, I do not care if Linux thinks a battery is powering my machine. I turned off any powersave function anyway.

[ed.: I still don’t know why Linux detects this battery so if you have any information you can contact me so I can update this post]

The TRUE problem

Fast-forward a month of daily usage.

I’m using this AcePC as a DNS server with Pi-Hole, it’s a cool project that you should check out if never heard of it.

It happens, quite often actually, that the AcePC T11 suddenly stops working. I can’t SSH into it, and I can’t surf the web because I no longer have a DNS resolver. That’s a shame, I really liked that little PC.

Everytime, I go check it and I find it completely powered off with also its LED turned off. I have to unplug and plug it again so it power on again.

After that happened a bunch of time I was pretty annoyed so I finally took some time to have a serious look into this.

It didn’t take me that long to realise it was just powering off, gracefully (I just ran journalctl and looked for Rebooting). But who was initiating the shutdown routine?! [drumroll] …The low battery.

Solution

Okay so now I know where the problem is and the first thing I did was to search into the web if somebody else was having this problem. The official AcePC forum is basically useless because its being targeted from a massive spam attack and nobody seems to care about it.

Lucky for me I found this Amazon.com review that really saved me a lot of time.

Basically, update your /etc/UPower/UPower.conf, setting:

NoPollBatteries=true

The NoPollBatteries option will make your UPower daemon rely on updates sent by the battery itself, instead of asking the battery for its percentage continuously. Good thing is, there is none of this events and your battery percentage won’t be updated at all.

Moreover

I contacted AcePC and I’m waiting for a response, but I’m really glad to have found a workaround in the meanwhile - I finally have a true domestic server!