Monitoring temperature using lm-sensors

lm-sensors is a great package that can be used to monitor various kinds of system information like CPU and motherboard temperature, CPU core voltages, system uptime etc. But installing this package alone is not enough, it must be setup correctly.

Step 1

The first step would obviously be to download the package. If you already have the package installed in your system then you can skip this step and move on. If not, run the following command –

#apt-get install lm-sensors

I’m assuming you have apt package manager setup before running the above command. If the installation goes smoothly we can now proceed with the setting up of the package.

Step 2

We must now ensure that we have the necessary files created under /dev. If you have a static /dev then you must manually create them –

# cd /dev && ./MAKEDEV i2c

If you have a dynamic /dev, then you need to load the i2c-module in the following manner -

# modprobe i2c-dev

The next step is to proceed with the configuration.

Step 3

Now type the following command –

# sensors-detect

Follow the instructions that sensors-detect throws in your face. Note – In most cases, it is safe to accept the default values provided by lm-sensors. After the configuration is done we now have to add the modules that sensors-detect gave us. We add these modules into /etc/modules manually through a text editor or by running the following command –

# modprobe -a i2c-viapro i2c-isa eeprom w83627hf

Note – Above values indicate the modules that I was asked to load by sensors-detect. In your case, you may have different values.

Once this is done there is just one final step left.

Step 4

Now type the following command –

# sensors

On my pc, I was presented with the following output –

microsoft:/proc# sensors
Adapter: ISA adapter
VCore: +1.71 V (min = +2.18 V, max = +0.35 V) ALARM
+3.3V: +3.20 V (min = +0.66 V, max = +2.88 V) ALARM
+5V: +4.76 V (min = +3.44 V, max = +0.43 V) ALARM
+12V: +11.86 V (min = +1.95 V, max = +7.84 V) ALARM
-12V: +0.96 V (min = -1.42 V, max = +2.20 V)
-5V: +5.10 V (min = +0.43 V, max = -0.48 V) ALARM
V5SB: +5.38 V (min = +5.16 V, max = +0.03 V) ALARM
VBat: +3.22 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +3.20 V) ALARM
fan1: 0 RPM (min = 4017 RPM, div = 2) ALARM
fan2: 4115 RPM (min = 20454 RPM, div = 2) ALARM
temp1: +34°C (high = +9°C, hyst = +99°C) sensor=thermistor
temp2: +48.0°C (high = +100°C, hyst = +95°C) sensor=thermistor
Sound alarm disabled

Adapter: SMBus Via Pro adapter at 5000
Memory type: DDR SDRAM DIMM
Memory size (MB): 256

Adapter: SMBus Via Pro adapter at 5000
Memory type: DDR SDRAM DIMM
Memory size (MB): 256

Now that’s a lot of information! Some users may have problems i.e their output may appear garbled or incorrect (esp. if your hardware is very new or very old) In such a case you might want to make changes to the /etc/sensors.conf file.

If you prefer a GUI, then you might want to check out frontends for lm-sensors like ksensors, wmtemp or xsensors

Please click the link below to download this article in PDF format (zipped) –



About synapse
Programming, motorcycles and photography. Want to do more, but only have time for so much!

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