Difference between revisions of "Backlight"

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[[Category:Laptops]]
 
[[Category:Laptops]]
 
[[Category:Power management]]
 
[[Category:Power management]]
Screen brightness can often be tricky to control. On many machines, physical hardware switches are missing and software solutions may or may not work well. Make sure to find a working method for your hardware! Too bright screens can cause eye strain.
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[[ru:Backlight]]
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[[ja:バックライト]]
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Screen brightness might be tricky to control. On some machines physical hardware switches are missing and software solutions may not work well. However, it is generally possible; be sure to use a method that works for your hardware.
  
 
There are many ways to adjust the screen backlight of a monitor, laptop or integrated panel (such as the iMac) using software, but depending on hardware and model, sometimes only some options are available. This article aims to summarize all possible ways to adjust the backlight.
 
There are many ways to adjust the screen backlight of a monitor, laptop or integrated panel (such as the iMac) using software, but depending on hardware and model, sometimes only some options are available. This article aims to summarize all possible ways to adjust the backlight.
  
==Overview==
+
== Overview ==
There are many ways to control brightness. According to this discussion[https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-video-intel/+bug/397617] and this wiki page [https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/Debugging/Backlight], the control method could be divided into these category:
 
* brightness is controlled by vendor specified hotkey. And there is no interface for OS to adjust brightness.
 
* brightness is controlled by OS:
 
** brightness could be controlled by ACPI
 
** brightness could be controlled by graphic driver.
 
all methods expose themselves to user by /sys/class/brightness. And xrandr/xbacklight could use this folder and choose one method to control brightness. But it is still not very clear which one is preferred by xbacklight as default.
 
''See FS#27677 for xbacklight, if you get "No outputs have backlight property"''
 
* brightness is controlled by HW register throught setpci
 
  
==ACPI==
+
There are many ways to control brightness. According to this [https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-video-intel/+bug/397617 discussion] and this  [https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/Debugging/Backlight wiki page] the control method can be divided into these categories:
It is often possible to adjust the backlight by ACPI. This controls the actual LEDs or cathodes of the screen. When this ACPI option is available, the illumination is controllable using a GUI slider in the Display/Screen system settings or by simple commands on the CLI.
+
 
 +
* brightness is controlled by vendor-specified hotkey and there is no interface for the OS to adjust the brightness.
 +
* brightness is controlled by either the ACPI or the graphic driver.
 +
* brightness is controlled by HW register through setpci.
 +
 
 +
All methods are exposed to the user through {{ic|/sys/class/backlight}} and xrandr/xbacklight can choose one method to control brightness. It is still not very clear which one xbacklight prefers by default.
 +
 
 +
== ACPI ==
 +
 
 +
The brightness of the screen backlight is adjusted by setting the power level of the backlight LEDs or cathodes. The power level can often be controlled using the ACPI kernel module for video. An interface to this module is provided via a folder in the sysfs at {{ic|/sys/class/backlight}}.
 +
 
 +
The name of the folder depends on the graphics card model.
  
Different cards might manage this differently. Check {{ic|/sys/class/backlight}} to find out:
 
 
{{hc|# ls /sys/class/backlight/|
 
{{hc|# ls /sys/class/backlight/|
intel_backlight
+
acpi_video0
 
}}
 
}}
  
So this particular backlight is managed by an Intel card. It is called {{ic|acpi_video0}} on an ATI card. In the following example, acpi_video0 is used.
+
In this case, the backlight is managed by an ATI graphics card. In the case of an Intel card it is called {{ic|intel_backlight}}. In the following example, {{ic|acpi_video0}} is used.
  
 
The directory contains the following files and folders:
 
The directory contains the following files and folders:
  
actual_brightness  brightness        max_brightness    subsystem/    uevent             
+
{{hc|# ls /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/|
bl_power          device/            power/            type
+
actual_brightness  brightness        max_brightness    subsystem/    uevent             
 +
bl_power          device/            power/            type
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
The maximum brightness can be found by reading from {{ic|max_brightness}}, which is often 15.
 +
 
 +
{{hc|# cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/max_brightness|
 +
15
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
The brightness can be set by writing a number to {{ic|brightness}}. Attempting to set a brightness greater than the maximum results in an error.
  
The maximum brightness (often 15) can be found by running {{ic|cat}}:
+
# tee /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness <<< 5
  
# cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/max_brightness
+
=== Kernel command-line options ===
15
 
  
Brightness can then be set (as root) with {{ic|echo}}. Obviously you cannot go any higher than your screens maximum brightness. The values for maximum brightness and brightness in general vary wildly among cards.
+
Sometimes, ACPI does not work well due to different motherboard implementations and ACPI quirks, resulting in, for instance, inaccurate brightness notifications. This includes some laptops with dual graphics (e.g. Nvidia/Radeon dedicated GPU with Intel/AMD integrated GPU). Additionally, ACPI sometimes needs to register its own {{ic|acpi_video0}} backlight even if one already exists (such as {{ic|intel_backlight}}), which can be done by adding one of the following [[kernel parameters]]:
  
  # echo 5 > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness
+
  acpi_backlight=video
 +
acpi_backlight=vendor
 +
acpi_backlight=native
  
Sometimes ACPI does not work well due to different motherboard implementations and ACPI quirks. This include some models with dual graphics (e.g. Nvidia-optimus/Radeon with intel (i915)) and some examples with this problem in notebooks such as Dell Studio, Dell XPS 14/15/17 and some Lenovo series, Kamal Mostafa kernel developer make [https://launchpad.net/~kamalmostafa/+archive/linux-kamal-mjgbacklight patches] for solved this issue included after 3.1 kernel version. You can try adding the following kernel parameters in your bootloader(grub, syslinux...) to adjust ACPI model:
+
If you find that changing the {{ic|acpi_video0}} backlight does not actually change the brightness, you may need to use {{ic|1=acpi_backlight=none}}.
  
acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor
+
{{Tip|
 +
* On Nvidia Optimus laptops, the kernel parameter {{ic|nomodeset}} can interfere with the ability to adjust the backlight.
 +
* On an Asus notebooks you might also need to load the {{ic|asus-nb-wmi}} [[kernel module]].
 +
* Disabling legacy boot on Dell XPS13 breaks backlight support.
 +
}}
  
or
+
=== Udev rule ===
  
acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=legacy
+
If the ACPI interface is available, the backlight level can be set at boot using a [[udev]] rule:
''acpi_backlight=vendor will prefer vendor specific driver (e.g. thinkpad_acpi, sony_acpi, etc.) instead of the ACPI video.ko driver.''
 
  
==Switching off the backlight==
+
{{hc|/etc/udev/rules.d/81-backlight.rules|<nowiki>
 +
# Set backlight level to 8
 +
SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="acpi_video0", ATTR{brightness}="8"</nowiki>}}
 +
 
 +
{{Note|The systemd-backlight service restores the previous backlight brightness level at boot. To prevent conflicts for the above rules, see [[#systemd-backlight service]].}}
 +
 
 +
{{Tip|To set the backlight depending on power state, see [[Power management#Using a script and an udev rule]] and use your favourite [[#Backlight utilities|backlight utility]] in the script.}}
 +
 
 +
== Switching off the backlight ==
  
 
Switching off the backlight (for example when one locks the notebook) can be useful to conserve battery energy. Ideally the following command inside of a graphical session should work:
 
Switching off the backlight (for example when one locks the notebook) can be useful to conserve battery energy. Ideally the following command inside of a graphical session should work:
  sleep 1 && xset dpms force off
+
  $ sleep 1 && xset dpms force off
 
The backlight should switch on again on mouse movement or keyboard input. If the previous command does not work, there is a chance that {{ic|vbetool}} works. Note, however, that in this case the backlight must be manually activated again. The command is as follows:
 
The backlight should switch on again on mouse movement or keyboard input. If the previous command does not work, there is a chance that {{ic|vbetool}} works. Note, however, that in this case the backlight must be manually activated again. The command is as follows:
  vbetool dpms off
+
  $ vbetool dpms off
 
To activate the backlight again:
 
To activate the backlight again:
  vbetool dpms on
+
  $ vbetool dpms on
 +
 
 +
For example, this can be put to use when closing the notebook lid using [[Acpid]].
 +
 
 +
== systemd-backlight service ==
  
For example, this can be put to use when closing the notebook lid as outlined in the entry for [[Acpid#Laptop_Monitor_Power_Off|Acipd]].
+
The [[systemd]] package includes the service {{ic|systemd-backlight@.service}}, which is enabled by default and "static". It saves the backlight brightness level at shutdown and restores it at boot. The service uses the ACPI method described in [[#ACPI]],  generating services for each folder found in {{ic|/sys/class/backlight/}}. For example, if there is a folder named {{ic|acpi_video0}}, it generates a service called {{ic|systemd-backlight@backlight:acpi_video0.service}}. When using other methods of setting the backlight at boot, it is recommended to [[mask]] the service {{ic|systemd-backlight@.service}}.
  
 +
Some laptops have multiple video cards (e.g. Optimus) and the backlight restoration fails. Try [[systemd#Using units|masking]] an ''instance'' of the service, e.g. {{ic|systemd-backlight@backlight\:acpi_video1}} for {{ic|acpi_video1}}.
  
==Backlight utilities==
+
{{Style|Poor wording, needs to be merged with the previous paragraphs.}}
===xbacklight===
 
You can adjust the backlight through the xorg-server command {{ic|xbacklight}}. The utility is provided by the {{Pkg|xorg-xbacklight}} package in [extra].
 
  
A useful demonstration was posted by [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pi3iKMAJcY gotbletu on YouTube]. He suggests the following commands to adjust the backlight:
+
From the systemd-backlight@.service man page:
  
* brighten up:
+
systemd-backlight understands the following kernel command line parameter:
xbacklight -inc 40
 
  
* dim down:
+
  systemd.restore_state=
  xbacklight -dec 40
 
  
===xcalib===
+
Takes a boolean argument. Defaults to "1".
The program [http://xcalib.sourceforge.net/ xcalib] can be downloaded from [https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=10969 AUR] and used to dim the screen. Again, the user gotbletu posted a demonstration on [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9xsvntT6i4 Youtube]. This program can correct gamma, invert colors and reduce contrast, the latter of which we use in this case:
 
  
* dim down:
+
If "0", does not
xcalib -co 40 -a
+
restore the backlight settings on boot. However, settings will
 +
still be stored on shutdown.
  
This program uses ICC technology to interact with X11 and while the screen is dimmed, you may find that the mouse cursor is just as bright as before.
+
== Backlight utilities ==
 +
 
 +
=== xbacklight ===
 +
 
 +
Brightness can be set using the {{Pkg|xorg-xbacklight}} package.
 +
 
 +
{{Note|1=<nowiki></nowiki>
 +
* xbacklight only works with intel. Radeon does not support the RandR backlight property.
 +
* xbacklight currently does not work with the modesetting driver [https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=96572].
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
To set brightness to 50% of maximum:
 +
 
 +
$ xbacklight -set 50
 +
 
 +
Increments can be used instead of absolute values, for example to increase or decrease brightness by 10%:
 +
 
 +
$ xbacklight -inc 10
 +
$ xbacklight -dec 10
 +
 
 +
Gamma can be set using either the {{Pkg|xorg-xrandr}} or {{Pkg|xorg-xgamma}} package. The following commands create the same effect.
 +
 
 +
$ xrandr --output LVDS1 --gamma 1.0:1.0:1.0
 +
$ xgamma -rgamma 1 -ggamma 1 -bgamma 1
 +
 
 +
{{Tip|These commands can be bound to keyboard keys as described in [[Extra keyboard keys in Xorg]].}}
 +
 
 +
If you get the "No outputs have backlight property" error, it is because xrandr/xbacklight does not choose the right directory in {{ic|/sys/class/backlight}}. You can specify the directory by setting the {{ic|Backlight}} option of the device section in xorg.conf. For instance, if the name of the directory is {{ic|intel_backlight}}, the device section can be configured as follows:
 +
 
 +
{{hc|/etc/X11/xorg.conf|
 +
Section "Device"
 +
    Identifier  "Card0"
 +
    Driver      "intel"
 +
    Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
 +
EndSection}}
 +
 
 +
See {{Bug|27677}} and [https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=651741] for details.
  
===redshift===
+
=== Other utilities ===
The program [http://jonls.dk/redshift/ redshift] in the community repository uses {{ic|randr}} to adjust the screen brightness depending on the time of day and your geographic position. It can also do RGB gamma corrections and set color temperatures. As with {{ic|xcalib}}, this is very much a software solution and the look of the mouse cursor is unaffected. To execute a single quick adjustment of the brightness, try something like this:
 
  
redshift -o -l 0:0 -b 0.8 -t 6500:6500
+
* {{App|brightnessctl|Lightweight brightness control tool (Wayland compatible).|https://github.com/Hummer12007/brightnessctl|{{AUR|brightnessctl}}}}
 +
* {{App|light|Light is the successor and C-port of ''LightScript''.|https://github.com/haikarainen/light|{{AUR|light}}}}
 +
* {{App|acpilight|acpilight contains an "xbacklight" compatible utility that uses the sys filesystem to set the display brightness. Since it doesn't use X at all, it can also be used on the console and Wayland and has no problems with KMS drivers. Furthermore, on ThinkPad laptops, the keyboard backlight can also be controlled.|https://github.com/wavexx/acpilight/|{{AUR|acpilight}}}}
 +
* {{App|illum|ilum monitors the brightness up and brightness down keys on all input devices (via libevdev) and adjusts the backlight when they are pressed (via sysfs). Written for newer BIOS/UEFI that does not automatically handle those buttons for you. This is an alternate to handling those buttons via acpi handlers or via x11/wm hotkeys.|https://github.com/jmesmon/illum|{{AUR|illum-git}}}}
 +
* {{App|relight|The package provides {{ic|relight.service}}, a [[systemd]] service to automatically restore previous backlight settings during reboot along using the ACPI method explained above, and ''relight-menu'', a dialog-based menu for selecting and configuring backlights for different screens.|http://xyne.archlinux.ca/projects/relight|{{AUR|relight}}}}
 +
* {{App|calise|The main features of this program are that it is very precise, very light on resource usage, and with the daemon version (.service file for systemd users available too). It has practically no impact on battery life.|http://calise.sourceforge.net/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page|{{AUR|calise}}}}
 +
* {{App|brightd|Macbook-inspired brightd automatically dims (but does not put to standby) the screen when there is no user input for some time. A good companion of [[Display Power Management Signaling]] so that the screen does not blank out in a sudden.|http://www.pberndt.com/Programme/Linux/brightd/|{{AUR|brightd}}}}
 +
* {{App|lux|lux is a POSIX-compliant Shell script to control brightness on backlight-controllers.|https://github.com/Ventto/lux|{{AUR|lux}}}}
 +
* {{App|BacklightTooler|BacklightTooler is a backlight control tool with brightness auto-adjustment using a webcam.|https://github.com/cotix/backlighttooler}}
 +
* {{App|Clight|Inspired by calise, but written in C and with many more features, its initial aim was to turn your webcam into a light sensor: it will adjust screen backlight based on ambient brightness.|https://github.com/FedeDP/Clight|{{AUR|clight-git}}}}
  
===relight===
+
=== setpci ===
[http://xyne.archlinux.ca/projects/relight relight] is available in [http://xyne.archlinux.ca/repos Xyne's repos] and [https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=66487 the AUR]. The package provides a service to automatically restore previous backlight settings during reboot along using the ACPI method explained above. The package also contains a dialog-based menu for selecting and configuring backlights for different screens.
 
  
===setpci (use with great care)===
 
 
It is possible to set the register of the graphic card to adjust the backlight. It means you adjust the backlight by manipulating the hardware directly, which can be risky and generally is not a good idea. Not all of the graphic cards support this method.
 
It is possible to set the register of the graphic card to adjust the backlight. It means you adjust the backlight by manipulating the hardware directly, which can be risky and generally is not a good idea. Not all of the graphic cards support this method.
  
Line 94: Line 163:
 
  # setpci -s 00:02.0 F4.B=0
 
  # setpci -s 00:02.0 F4.B=0
  
===Calise===
+
=== Using DBus with Gnome ===
The software [http://calise.sourceforge.net/wordpress/ calise] can be found in AUR.
+
 
* Stable version: {{AUR|calise}}
+
Brightness can also be adjusted as the gnome controls do. Changes are reflected in the gnome UI using this method.
* Development version: {{AUR|calise-git}}  
+
gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.Set org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen Brightness "<int32 50>"
 +
 
 +
Steps in brightness for keyboard contol can be implemented with this method as well.
 +
gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen.StepUp
 +
gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen.StepDown
 +
 
 +
== Color correction ==
 +
 
 +
=== xcalib ===
 +
 
 +
{{Note|''xcalib'' does ''not'' change the backlight power, it just modifies the video LUT table: this means that your battery life will be unaffected by the change. Nevertheless, it could be useful when no backlight control is available (Desktop PCs). Use {{ic|xcalib -clear}} to reset the LUT.}}
 +
 
 +
The package {{AUR|xcalib}} ([http://xcalib.sourceforge.net/ upstream URL]) is available in the [[AUR]] and can be used to dim the screen. A demonstration video is available on [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9xsvntT6i4 YouTube]. This program can correct gamma, invert colors, and reduce contrast, the latter of which we use in this case. For example, to dim down:
 +
 
 +
$ xcalib -co 40 -a
 +
 
 +
This program uses ICC technology to interact with X11 and while the screen is dimmed, you may find that the mouse cursor is just as bright as before.
 +
 
 +
=== Xflux ===
 +
 
 +
Xflux is the [http://justgetflux.com f.lux] port for the X-Windows system. It fluctuates your screen between blue during the day and yellow or orange at night. This helps you adapt to the time of day and stop staying up late because of your bright computer screen.
 +
 
 +
Various packages exist in the AUR that use ''f.lux''.[https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/?O=0&K=xflux] The "main" package is {{AUR|xflux}} which handles the command line functionality of ''f.lux''. Various daemons exist to handle the automatic startup of the xflux package.
 +
 
 +
=== redshift ===
 +
 
 +
[[Redshift]] uses {{ic|randr}} to adjust the screen brightness depending on the time of day and your geographic position. It can also do RGB gamma corrections and set color temperatures. As with {{ic|xcalib}}, this is very much a software solution and the look of the mouse cursor is unaffected. To execute a single quick adjustment of the brightness, try something like this:
 +
 
 +
redshift -o -l 0:0 -b 0.8 -t 6500:6500
  
It basically computes ambient brightness, and set screen's correct backlight, simply making captures from the webcam, for laptop without light sensor.
+
{{Tip|If your longitude is west or your latitude is south, you should input it as negative.
For more information, calise has its own wiki: [http://calise.sourceforge.net/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page Calise wiki].
+
Example for Berkeley, CA:  
 +
redshift-gtk -l 37.8717:-122.2728
 +
}}
  
The main features of this program are that it's very precise, very light on resource usage, and with the daemon version (.service file for systemd users available too), it has practically no impact on battery life.
+
=== Clight ===
  
== KDE ==
+
[https://github.com/FedeDP/Clight Clight], available as {{AUR|clight-git}}, can adjust the screen temperature depending on the current time of the day.  
[[KDE]] users can adjust the backlight via System Settings -> Power Management -> Power Profiles.
+
It tries to use {{pkg|geoclue2}} to retrieve the user position if neither latitude or longitude are set in the configuration file.
If you want set backlight before kdm just put in /usr/share/config/kdm/Xsetup :
+
It also supports fixed times for sunrise and sunset.
  
xbacklight -inc 10
+
=== NVIDIA settings ===
  
== NVIDIA Settings ==
 
 
Users of [[NVIDIA|NVIDIA's proprietary drivers]] users can change display brightness via the nvidia-settings utility under "X Server Color Correction." However, note that this has absolutely nothing to do with backlight (intensity), it merely adjusts the color output. (Reducing brightness this way is a power-inefficient last resort when all other options fail; increasing brightness spoils your color output completely, in a way similar to overexposed photos.)
 
Users of [[NVIDIA|NVIDIA's proprietary drivers]] users can change display brightness via the nvidia-settings utility under "X Server Color Correction." However, note that this has absolutely nothing to do with backlight (intensity), it merely adjusts the color output. (Reducing brightness this way is a power-inefficient last resort when all other options fail; increasing brightness spoils your color output completely, in a way similar to overexposed photos.)
 +
 +
=== Increase brightness above maximum level ===
 +
 +
You can use [[xrandr]] to increase brightness above its maximum level:
 +
 +
$ xrandr --output ''output_name'' --brightness 2
 +
 +
This will set the brightness level to 200%. It will cause higher power usage and sacrifice color quality for brightness, nevertheless it is particularly suited for situations where the ambient light is very bright (e.g. sunlight).
 +
 +
== External monitors ==
 +
 +
DDC/CI (Display Data Channel Command Interface) can be used to communicate with external monitors implementing MCCS (Monitor Control Command Set) over I2C. DDC can control brightness, contrast, inputs, etc on supported monitors. Settings available via the OSD (On-Screen Display) panel can usually also be managed via DDC.
 +
 +
[http://www.ddcutil.com/ ddcutil] can be used to query and set brightness settings:
 +
 +
{{hc|# ddcutil capabilities {{!}} grep Brightness|
 +
  Feature: 10 (Brightness)
 +
}}
 +
 +
{{hc|1=# ddcutil getvcp 10|2=
 +
VCP code 0x10 (Brightness                    ): current value =    60, max value =  100
 +
}}
 +
 +
# ddcutil setvcp 10 70
 +
 +
== Troubleshooting ==
 +
 +
=== Backlight PWM modulation frequency (Intel i915 only) ===
 +
 +
Laptops with LED backlight are known to have screen flicker sometimes. This is because the most efficient way of controlling LED backlight brightness is by turning the LED's on and off very quickly varying the amount of time they are on.
 +
 +
However, the frequency of the switching, so-called PWM (pulse-width modulation) frequency, may not be high enough for the eye to perceive it as a single brightness and instead see flickering. This causes some people to have symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain.
 +
 +
If you have an Intel i915 GPU, then it may be possible to adjust PWM frequency to eliminate flicker.
 +
 +
Period of PWM (inverse to frequency) is stored in 4 higher bytes of {{ic|0xC8254}} register (if you are using the Intel GM45 chipset use address {{ic|0x61254}} instead). To manipulate registers values install {{Pkg|intel-gpu-tools}} from the official repositories.
 +
 +
To increase the frequency, period must be reduced. For example:
 +
 +
{{hc|# intel_reg read 0xC8254|
 +
0xC8254 : 0x12281228|
 +
}}
 +
 +
Then to double PWM frequency divide 4 higher bytes by 2 and write back resulting value, keeping lower bytes unchanged:
 +
 +
# intel_reg write 0xC8254 0x09141228
 +
 +
You can use online calculator to calculate desired value http://devbraindom.blogspot.com/2013/03/eliminate-led-screen-flicker-with-intel.html
 +
 +
To set new frequency automatically, consider writing an udev rule or install {{AUR|intelpwm-udev}}.
 +
 +
=== Inverted Brightness (Intel i915 only) ===
 +
 +
Symptoms:
 +
* after installing {{ic|xf86-video-intel}} systemd-backlight.service turns off the backlight during boot
 +
** possible solution: mask systemd-backlight.service
 +
* switching from X to another VT turns the backlight off
 +
* the brightness keys are inverted (i.e. turning up the brightness makes the screen darker)
 +
 +
This problem may be solved by adding {{ic|i915.invert_brightness&#61;1}} to the list of [[kernel parameters]].
 +
 +
=== sysfs modified but no brightness change ===
 +
 +
{{Note|This behavior and their workarounds have been confirmed on the Dell M6700 with Nvidia K5000m (BIOS version prior to A10) and Clevo P750ZM (Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme) with Nvidia 980m.}}
 +
 +
On some systems, the brighness hotkeys on your keyboard correctly modify the values of the acpi interface in {{ic|/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/actual_brightness}} but the brightness of the screen is not changed. Brigthness applets from [[desktop environments]] may also show changes to no effect.
 +
 +
If you have tested the recommended kernel parameters and only {{ic|xbacklight}} works, then you may be facing an incompatibility between your BIOS and kernel driver.
 +
 +
In this case the only solution is to wait for a fix either from the BIOS or GPU driver manufacturer.
 +
 +
A workaround is to use the inotify kernel api to trigger {{ic|xbacklight}} each time the value of {{ic|/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/actual_brightness}} changes.
 +
 +
First [[install]] {{Pkg|inotify-tools}}. Then create a script around inotify that will be launched upon each boot or through [[autostart]].
 +
 +
{{hc|/usr/local/bin/xbacklightmon|<nowiki>
 +
#!/bin/sh
 +
 +
path=/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0
 +
 +
luminance() {
 +
    read -r level < "$path"/actual_brightness
 +
    factor=$((100 / max))
 +
    printf '%d\n' "$((level * factor))"
 +
}
 +
 +
read -r max < "$path"/max_brightness
 +
 +
xbacklight -set "$(luminance)"
 +
 +
inotifywait -me modify --format '' "$path"/actual_brightness | while read; do
 +
    xbacklight -set "$(luminance)"
 +
done
 +
</nowiki>}}

Latest revision as of 14:08, 9 August 2017

Screen brightness might be tricky to control. On some machines physical hardware switches are missing and software solutions may not work well. However, it is generally possible; be sure to use a method that works for your hardware.

There are many ways to adjust the screen backlight of a monitor, laptop or integrated panel (such as the iMac) using software, but depending on hardware and model, sometimes only some options are available. This article aims to summarize all possible ways to adjust the backlight.

Overview

There are many ways to control brightness. According to this discussion and this wiki page the control method can be divided into these categories:

  • brightness is controlled by vendor-specified hotkey and there is no interface for the OS to adjust the brightness.
  • brightness is controlled by either the ACPI or the graphic driver.
  • brightness is controlled by HW register through setpci.

All methods are exposed to the user through /sys/class/backlight and xrandr/xbacklight can choose one method to control brightness. It is still not very clear which one xbacklight prefers by default.

ACPI

The brightness of the screen backlight is adjusted by setting the power level of the backlight LEDs or cathodes. The power level can often be controlled using the ACPI kernel module for video. An interface to this module is provided via a folder in the sysfs at /sys/class/backlight.

The name of the folder depends on the graphics card model.

# ls /sys/class/backlight/
acpi_video0

In this case, the backlight is managed by an ATI graphics card. In the case of an Intel card it is called intel_backlight. In the following example, acpi_video0 is used.

The directory contains the following files and folders:

# ls /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/
actual_brightness  brightness         max_brightness     subsystem/    uevent             
bl_power           device/            power/             type

The maximum brightness can be found by reading from max_brightness, which is often 15.

# cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/max_brightness
15

The brightness can be set by writing a number to brightness. Attempting to set a brightness greater than the maximum results in an error.

# tee /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness <<< 5

Kernel command-line options

Sometimes, ACPI does not work well due to different motherboard implementations and ACPI quirks, resulting in, for instance, inaccurate brightness notifications. This includes some laptops with dual graphics (e.g. Nvidia/Radeon dedicated GPU with Intel/AMD integrated GPU). Additionally, ACPI sometimes needs to register its own acpi_video0 backlight even if one already exists (such as intel_backlight), which can be done by adding one of the following kernel parameters:

acpi_backlight=video
acpi_backlight=vendor
acpi_backlight=native

If you find that changing the acpi_video0 backlight does not actually change the brightness, you may need to use acpi_backlight=none.

Tip:
  • On Nvidia Optimus laptops, the kernel parameter nomodeset can interfere with the ability to adjust the backlight.
  • On an Asus notebooks you might also need to load the asus-nb-wmi kernel module.
  • Disabling legacy boot on Dell XPS13 breaks backlight support.

Udev rule

If the ACPI interface is available, the backlight level can be set at boot using a udev rule:

/etc/udev/rules.d/81-backlight.rules
# Set backlight level to 8
SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="acpi_video0", ATTR{brightness}="8"
Note: The systemd-backlight service restores the previous backlight brightness level at boot. To prevent conflicts for the above rules, see #systemd-backlight service.
Tip: To set the backlight depending on power state, see Power management#Using a script and an udev rule and use your favourite backlight utility in the script.

Switching off the backlight

Switching off the backlight (for example when one locks the notebook) can be useful to conserve battery energy. Ideally the following command inside of a graphical session should work:

$ sleep 1 && xset dpms force off

The backlight should switch on again on mouse movement or keyboard input. If the previous command does not work, there is a chance that vbetool works. Note, however, that in this case the backlight must be manually activated again. The command is as follows:

$ vbetool dpms off

To activate the backlight again:

$ vbetool dpms on

For example, this can be put to use when closing the notebook lid using Acpid.

systemd-backlight service

The systemd package includes the service systemd-backlight@.service, which is enabled by default and "static". It saves the backlight brightness level at shutdown and restores it at boot. The service uses the ACPI method described in #ACPI, generating services for each folder found in /sys/class/backlight/. For example, if there is a folder named acpi_video0, it generates a service called systemd-backlight@backlight:acpi_video0.service. When using other methods of setting the backlight at boot, it is recommended to mask the service systemd-backlight@.service.

Some laptops have multiple video cards (e.g. Optimus) and the backlight restoration fails. Try masking an instance of the service, e.g. systemd-backlight@backlight\:acpi_video1 for acpi_video1.

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: Poor wording, needs to be merged with the previous paragraphs. (Discuss in Talk:Backlight#)

From the systemd-backlight@.service man page:

systemd-backlight understands the following kernel command line parameter:

systemd.restore_state=

Takes a boolean argument. Defaults to "1".

If "0", does not restore the backlight settings on boot. However, settings will still be stored on shutdown.

Backlight utilities

xbacklight

Brightness can be set using the xorg-xbacklight package.

Note:
  • xbacklight only works with intel. Radeon does not support the RandR backlight property.
  • xbacklight currently does not work with the modesetting driver [1].

To set brightness to 50% of maximum:

$ xbacklight -set 50

Increments can be used instead of absolute values, for example to increase or decrease brightness by 10%:

$ xbacklight -inc 10
$ xbacklight -dec 10

Gamma can be set using either the xorg-xrandr or xorg-xgamma package. The following commands create the same effect.

$ xrandr --output LVDS1 --gamma 1.0:1.0:1.0
$ xgamma -rgamma 1 -ggamma 1 -bgamma 1
Tip: These commands can be bound to keyboard keys as described in Extra keyboard keys in Xorg.

If you get the "No outputs have backlight property" error, it is because xrandr/xbacklight does not choose the right directory in /sys/class/backlight. You can specify the directory by setting the Backlight option of the device section in xorg.conf. For instance, if the name of the directory is intel_backlight, the device section can be configured as follows:

/etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Device"
    Identifier  "Card0"
    Driver      "intel"
    Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
EndSection

See FS#27677 and [2] for details.

Other utilities

  • brightnessctl — Lightweight brightness control tool (Wayland compatible).
https://github.com/Hummer12007/brightnessctl || brightnessctlAUR
  • light — Light is the successor and C-port of LightScript.
https://github.com/haikarainen/light || lightAUR
  • acpilight — acpilight contains an "xbacklight" compatible utility that uses the sys filesystem to set the display brightness. Since it doesn't use X at all, it can also be used on the console and Wayland and has no problems with KMS drivers. Furthermore, on ThinkPad laptops, the keyboard backlight can also be controlled.
https://github.com/wavexx/acpilight/ || acpilightAUR
  • illum — ilum monitors the brightness up and brightness down keys on all input devices (via libevdev) and adjusts the backlight when they are pressed (via sysfs). Written for newer BIOS/UEFI that does not automatically handle those buttons for you. This is an alternate to handling those buttons via acpi handlers or via x11/wm hotkeys.
https://github.com/jmesmon/illum || illum-gitAUR
  • relight — The package provides relight.service, a systemd service to automatically restore previous backlight settings during reboot along using the ACPI method explained above, and relight-menu, a dialog-based menu for selecting and configuring backlights for different screens.
http://xyne.archlinux.ca/projects/relight || relightAUR
  • calise — The main features of this program are that it is very precise, very light on resource usage, and with the daemon version (.service file for systemd users available too). It has practically no impact on battery life.
http://calise.sourceforge.net/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page || caliseAUR
  • brightd — Macbook-inspired brightd automatically dims (but does not put to standby) the screen when there is no user input for some time. A good companion of Display Power Management Signaling so that the screen does not blank out in a sudden.
http://www.pberndt.com/Programme/Linux/brightd/ || brightdAUR
  • lux — lux is a POSIX-compliant Shell script to control brightness on backlight-controllers.
https://github.com/Ventto/lux || luxAUR
  • BacklightTooler — BacklightTooler is a backlight control tool with brightness auto-adjustment using a webcam.
https://github.com/cotix/backlighttooler || not packaged? search in AUR
  • Clight — Inspired by calise, but written in C and with many more features, its initial aim was to turn your webcam into a light sensor: it will adjust screen backlight based on ambient brightness.
https://github.com/FedeDP/Clight || clight-gitAUR

setpci

It is possible to set the register of the graphic card to adjust the backlight. It means you adjust the backlight by manipulating the hardware directly, which can be risky and generally is not a good idea. Not all of the graphic cards support this method.

When using this method, you need to use lspci first to find out where your graphic card is.

# setpci -s 00:02.0 F4.B=0

Using DBus with Gnome

Brightness can also be adjusted as the gnome controls do. Changes are reflected in the gnome UI using this method.

gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.Set org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen Brightness "<int32 50>"

Steps in brightness for keyboard contol can be implemented with this method as well.

gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen.StepUp
gdbus call --session --dest org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power --object-path /org/gnome/SettingsDaemon/Power --method org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Power.Screen.StepDown

Color correction

xcalib

Note: xcalib does not change the backlight power, it just modifies the video LUT table: this means that your battery life will be unaffected by the change. Nevertheless, it could be useful when no backlight control is available (Desktop PCs). Use xcalib -clear to reset the LUT.

The package xcalibAUR (upstream URL) is available in the AUR and can be used to dim the screen. A demonstration video is available on YouTube. This program can correct gamma, invert colors, and reduce contrast, the latter of which we use in this case. For example, to dim down:

$ xcalib -co 40 -a

This program uses ICC technology to interact with X11 and while the screen is dimmed, you may find that the mouse cursor is just as bright as before.

Xflux

Xflux is the f.lux port for the X-Windows system. It fluctuates your screen between blue during the day and yellow or orange at night. This helps you adapt to the time of day and stop staying up late because of your bright computer screen.

Various packages exist in the AUR that use f.lux.[3] The "main" package is xfluxAUR which handles the command line functionality of f.lux. Various daemons exist to handle the automatic startup of the xflux package.

redshift

Redshift uses randr to adjust the screen brightness depending on the time of day and your geographic position. It can also do RGB gamma corrections and set color temperatures. As with xcalib, this is very much a software solution and the look of the mouse cursor is unaffected. To execute a single quick adjustment of the brightness, try something like this:

redshift -o -l 0:0 -b 0.8 -t 6500:6500
Tip: If your longitude is west or your latitude is south, you should input it as negative.

Example for Berkeley, CA:

redshift-gtk -l 37.8717:-122.2728 

Clight

Clight, available as clight-gitAUR, can adjust the screen temperature depending on the current time of the day. It tries to use geoclue2 to retrieve the user position if neither latitude or longitude are set in the configuration file. It also supports fixed times for sunrise and sunset.

NVIDIA settings

Users of NVIDIA's proprietary drivers users can change display brightness via the nvidia-settings utility under "X Server Color Correction." However, note that this has absolutely nothing to do with backlight (intensity), it merely adjusts the color output. (Reducing brightness this way is a power-inefficient last resort when all other options fail; increasing brightness spoils your color output completely, in a way similar to overexposed photos.)

Increase brightness above maximum level

You can use xrandr to increase brightness above its maximum level:

$ xrandr --output output_name --brightness 2

This will set the brightness level to 200%. It will cause higher power usage and sacrifice color quality for brightness, nevertheless it is particularly suited for situations where the ambient light is very bright (e.g. sunlight).

External monitors

DDC/CI (Display Data Channel Command Interface) can be used to communicate with external monitors implementing MCCS (Monitor Control Command Set) over I2C. DDC can control brightness, contrast, inputs, etc on supported monitors. Settings available via the OSD (On-Screen Display) panel can usually also be managed via DDC.

ddcutil can be used to query and set brightness settings:

# ddcutil capabilities | grep Brightness
  Feature: 10 (Brightness)
# ddcutil getvcp 10
VCP code 0x10 (Brightness                    ): current value =    60, max value =   100
# ddcutil setvcp 10 70

Troubleshooting

Backlight PWM modulation frequency (Intel i915 only)

Laptops with LED backlight are known to have screen flicker sometimes. This is because the most efficient way of controlling LED backlight brightness is by turning the LED's on and off very quickly varying the amount of time they are on.

However, the frequency of the switching, so-called PWM (pulse-width modulation) frequency, may not be high enough for the eye to perceive it as a single brightness and instead see flickering. This causes some people to have symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain.

If you have an Intel i915 GPU, then it may be possible to adjust PWM frequency to eliminate flicker.

Period of PWM (inverse to frequency) is stored in 4 higher bytes of 0xC8254 register (if you are using the Intel GM45 chipset use address 0x61254 instead). To manipulate registers values install intel-gpu-tools from the official repositories.

To increase the frequency, period must be reduced. For example:

# intel_reg read 0xC8254
0xC8254 : 0x12281228

Then to double PWM frequency divide 4 higher bytes by 2 and write back resulting value, keeping lower bytes unchanged:

# intel_reg write 0xC8254 0x09141228

You can use online calculator to calculate desired value http://devbraindom.blogspot.com/2013/03/eliminate-led-screen-flicker-with-intel.html

To set new frequency automatically, consider writing an udev rule or install intelpwm-udevAUR.

Inverted Brightness (Intel i915 only)

Symptoms:

  • after installing xf86-video-intel systemd-backlight.service turns off the backlight during boot
    • possible solution: mask systemd-backlight.service
  • switching from X to another VT turns the backlight off
  • the brightness keys are inverted (i.e. turning up the brightness makes the screen darker)

This problem may be solved by adding i915.invert_brightness=1 to the list of kernel parameters.

sysfs modified but no brightness change

Note: This behavior and their workarounds have been confirmed on the Dell M6700 with Nvidia K5000m (BIOS version prior to A10) and Clevo P750ZM (Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme) with Nvidia 980m.

On some systems, the brighness hotkeys on your keyboard correctly modify the values of the acpi interface in /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/actual_brightness but the brightness of the screen is not changed. Brigthness applets from desktop environments may also show changes to no effect.

If you have tested the recommended kernel parameters and only xbacklight works, then you may be facing an incompatibility between your BIOS and kernel driver.

In this case the only solution is to wait for a fix either from the BIOS or GPU driver manufacturer.

A workaround is to use the inotify kernel api to trigger xbacklight each time the value of /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/actual_brightness changes.

First install inotify-tools. Then create a script around inotify that will be launched upon each boot or through autostart.

/usr/local/bin/xbacklightmon
#!/bin/sh

path=/sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0

luminance() {
    read -r level < "$path"/actual_brightness
    factor=$((100 / max))
    printf '%d\n' "$((level * factor))"
}

read -r max < "$path"/max_brightness

xbacklight -set "$(luminance)"

inotifywait -me modify --format '' "$path"/actual_brightness | while read; do
    xbacklight -set "$(luminance)"
done