Health Monitoring with lm_sensors

A fairly simple tool that can catch hardware problems before they become disasters.
/proc

lm_sensors creates files under /proc with sensor values in them. You can create a custom monitoring system by writing scripts that check the values from these files or parse the results of the sensors command.

The source distribution for lm_sensors includes a simple Bourne shell dæmon, healthd.sh, that sends e-mail to the root account if any sensors indicate an alarm state.

GUI Clients

A bunch of programs are available that check lm_sensors values or display them in some cool-looking fashion, including applets for KDE and GNOME and several window managers. The resources section has some links to get you started.

I've been running the elaborate GKrellM, a GTK applet designed to make an impressive panel of monitors. The screenshot to the right shows it running on my system, with not only lm_sensors data but also with S.M.A.R.T. hard disk temperature data and the BubbleFishyMon plugin. (BubbleFishyMon represents memory load as the water level, CPU activity as bubbles and network packets as fish swimming back and forth. The rubber duck is just for fun.)

Conclusion

It takes a bit of work to get lm_sensors working on your system, but it's well worth it. You might catch a hardware malfunction early, before it becomes serious. Even if you don't have any problems, it's reassuring to be able to check up on the health of your system quickly.

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Do we need to have health monitoring sensors installed.

Anonymous's picture

Hi all,

Apart from our normal PC, do we need additional hardware, to use this.
to get status of PC health.

/rtkrvj

Lm_sensors; Adam Curtis

Anonymous's picture

Sensors in most cases would have been useful when my computer malfunctioned. What I would like to know is are there sensors for video cards. GPU's like to overheat somtimes.

Re: Lm_sensors; Adam Curtis

Anonymous's picture

the S3 savage4 has one. There's a module for Matrox g400, so I think it does it too.

Moaning Goat Meter

steveha's picture

I really, really wanted to mention the Moaning Goat Meter in this article. I didn't because it was too much of a stretch (since MGM doesn't yet support lm_sensors). But check it out:

http://www.xiph.org/mgm/

Do not miss the FAQ!

If you are a Perl hacker, maybe you can add lm_sensors support to MGM. MGM is crying out for it (or moaning for it, perhaps).

If you use KDE, you can monitor lm_sensors with KSysGuard

Anonymous's picture

You may need to add sensors to the list of inputs in the /etd/ksysguard.conf file, but it it will allow the hardware sensor status to be displayed in the KDE 'panel'.

It's not as pretty as GKrellM, though. It also won't do logarithmic scaling (useful for things like network data traffic). I've still to investigate if GKrellM can do that either.

warning to Thinkpad owners

Anonymous's picture

Be very careful with LMsensors if you have a IBM ThinkPad laptop. There is a risk of damaging it with these programs.

for more information see:

http://www.linux-thinkpad.org/bm/tp_mailing.html

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