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After installing Ubuntu 10.10, the battery indicator worked fine (both percent remaining and estimation on time). I then installed and configured some software (Skype, Pidgin, Thunderbird, removed Empathy and Evolution, ect) and the battery meter, when clicked, always says "(estimating...)"

I've tried running the battery down to zero and charging it fully again. If I go into the history or details, the percentage is recorded correctly.

Any ideas?

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My apologies. I didn't find that when searching. I'll leave the question undeleted though, just because it has more details. – xd1936 Oct 16 '10 at 5:34
Having same problem with my Lenovo N200 with 11.04. Going to try the applet. – Tahir Akram Oct 4 '11 at 20:52
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is known bug that affects HP, Compaq, Dell and other manufactures. This is because of a change made in gnome-power-manager where by the estimate is done on time remaining, rather than percentage. This change does not play nice with some hardware and is why you are seeing (estimaing...) constantly.

The bug report about it is here if you fancy a read:

At this time, I believe there is no fix available. However you can click on the estimating... and it will bring up a more detailed view of your battery info, which will display the percentage of charge.

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But why did it work before? – xd1936 Oct 14 '10 at 16:26
I'm not sure, but if you have one of the systems specified in the bug report, there's not much you can do at this time. – Pandorica Oct 14 '10 at 16:29
Correction, it's a bug in upower. A patch has been released to enable timed statistics to work under the affected laptops/netbooks – Pandorica Nov 2 '10 at 22:19

Battery Status is a good alternative applet that will show the battery percentage.

Run these two commands to install a ppa for the new indicator:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:iaz/battery-status && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install battery-status

Now start the new battery indicator (it will replace the default indicator for future logins):

nohup /usr/lib/battery-status/battery-status --indicator &

If this bug affects you, say so at the bug report:

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I works great. And it should be the answer for the question. – Tahir Akram Oct 4 '11 at 20:58


Entry #91 fixed my x64 HP Pavilion:

Steps to apply @Brian's PPA update:

1) From a terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:brian-rogers/power

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

2) Reboot

3) Login normally, click on the battery icon

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I experience this behaviour whenever I use a power adaptor that cannot supply the appropriate amount of power to the laptop, such as using a monitor adaptor for my laptop (I left mine at home that day). There's probably been an update to the kernel (most likely, but it could be something else) that's causing Ubuntu to not get the appropriate amount of charge out of the wall. Try booting up with the previous kernel version(s) and see what happens.

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I'm using an original power adaptor so that is not the case for me, but I will try loading with a previous kernel. I am running an unstable one so that may be the reason... – dhojgaard Oct 14 '10 at 11:02
You were right. When I use the kernel 35-22 Ubuntu can estimate the time left... Thank you.. – dhojgaard Oct 14 '10 at 15:02

I had this problem, as far as i search there is not any way to solve this problem in unity panel but i solved it buy installing cairo-dock. It has some theme that can show percentages over its image.

You can install cairo-dock from repository

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock

then after running it:

  1. in cairo-dock configuration go to add-ons tab.
  2. tick "Power Manager" applet and click apply button.
  3. in the dock right click on "Power Manager" applet and from "power manager" menu click on edit button.
  4. in shown dialogue goto "Configuration" tab.
  5. from first combo bos ("choose the style of disply") select "Gauge".
  6. open Gauge section and from "choose one of the available theme" select a theme that show percentages in its image (theme like, "Battery-Mono" , "Battery:MeeGo theme" , "Battery:Oxygen theme" ,...)
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