Saturday, December 27, 2008

Aircraft Manager: Save Battery By Turning Off WiFi and Bluetooth

This guide in for Ubuntu 8.04 & 8.10, for Ubuntu 9.04 use this guide

One of the sacrifices I had to make when choosing to install Ubuntu 8.10 was that there would be no way to turn off WiFi and/or Bluetooth. The battery would drain faster from keeping them powered, even when not in use.

Dell released Aircraft Manager, a program for turning these devices off, in lpia form, for Ubuntu 8.04 when the Mini was first shipped. Seeing how I was not running an lpia system, I was hesitant to install the package. Recently it was brought to my attention that there is a Aircraft Manager.deb usable in both i386 and lpia systems.

Download the Aircraft Manager .deb

Once installed, you can find Aircraft Manager in System>Preferences, under the title Airplane Mode

It allows you to turn off WifFi, Bluetooth, or both
Screenshot-Airplane Mode

And you can also put the Mini into Airplane Mode for safe usage while flying
Screenshot-Airplane Mode-1
Since someone asked:
The reason flights ban laptops is that they emit radio waves. All wireless devices do, and the navigation and flight control computers on airplanes are designed to sense even very weak signals coming from far away. Radio waves with just the right power and frequency can, in theory, introduce errors in computing equipment.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.


Anonymous said...

be not astonished, in aircraft mode, the batteri doesn't charge anymore, I think this is to avoid extra electric consumption in airplane.

Anonymous said...

What about Fn+2 which toggle wifi/bt ? How have it again ?

Tad said...

I love your desktop layout shown in this post and am new to ubuntu. Is this an out of box theme or other configuration?

redDEAD said...


It's Ubuntu Netbook Remix, check out the article in the site's archives.

billy said...

anyone figure out how to get the fn+2 toggle working?

Anonymous said...

Any idea about how to switch the bluetooth off by default?
I usually don't need it and I don't want to switch it off any single time a reboot the mini.

James said...

bluetooth can be disabled in the BIOS

chis said...

I was quite surprised to find out that the battery did not charge in airplane mode - this is not very obviously documented. It cost me many hours of work when I found that I had no battery charge.

Also, I am not sure what the interface dialog to airplane mode really is asking. What do the check boxes on the Power tab mean? Do they turn off wifi and bt right away? or only if you go to the other tab and enable airplane mode? In that case, why have a wifi option on the other tab?

I think it is a very poor user interface and a badly documented concept.

redDEAD said...

I think it is a very poor user interface and a badly documented concept.

I say the same thing about Windows.

chis said...

redDEAD, I certainly agree with you about Windows.
But do you have any actual helpful suggestions for people trying to understand how to use Airplane Mode?

redDEAD said...

The Power Tab will turn WiFi and Bluetooth off immediately.

Airplane Mode disables the mini from emitting raido waves and crashing the plane.
I'm sorry I thought the article explained it in detail. I hope this comment clears everything up.

m477 said...

Where can I download the source code?

mach said...

my wired Ethernet stopped working after installation of aircraft manager, any suggestions on a removal procedure ?

redDEAD said...


it is a kernel bug not aircraft manager. during grub in the boot sequence hit esc and chose an older kernel to load into. ethernet will work.

Anonymous said...

I got rid of Dellbuntu and installed Kubuntu8.10. It works very well and looks amazing.
One big problem and that's what Im googling around to see if there is a solution.

The Mini 9 used to give me a touch under 4hrs. Now with Kubuntu installed Im getting 58mins.
I understand the lpia architecture situation and how the Dellbuntu was made to take addvantage and I was prepared to take a hit battery wise figuring anything above 2hrs would be an acceptable but 1hr is not.
I dont have bluetooth and turning off the wifi might be ok when watching a video but most of the time the netbook is made to access the net so its not much use.

Are there some other things we can do to save some battery life?

Does anyone else go from 4hrs on the original install to 1 hour?

Im gonna keep looking around,.

redDEAD said...

man i don't know whats up with that. I'm getting a touch under 4 hours with Ubuntu 8.10 i386. I'm thinking it's KDE4, which is still pretty buggy. I'd try the KDE irc or Ubuntu forums for help.