Pinephone hardware safety with Manjaro

Although I’m not too worried given Manjaro is a well maintained distribution and even the default OS on the Pinephone, I was a little concerned by an article I read on the safety of the device. It pretty much says “there’s no builtin security against overheating and voltage, if you don’t use the right software your house might burn down”. That’s… a bit more extreme than what I was expecting even from experimental Linux phones, even if I know that’s a scenario that’s unlikely in practice.

Still it warrants me asking: Does Manjaro and its kernel have careful safeguards in place to ensure no dangerous overheating or damage to hardware can occur? And are they carefully monitored so that a bad update doesn’t risk ending up in the stable branch and disabling a vital security measure?

Here’s one example, alongside the general balancing of voltages and charging to balance between the safest and most efficient clocking results in general: If an excessive temperature is detected on the sensors, will the device immediately power itself off?

The software, both Phosh and Plasma Mobile will only charge the battery to about 85% to prevent this overheating and “explosion” of the battery.

We are testing the PinePhone images alot, so we would be bound to find any such regression before it ever gets that far into the branches.

I don’t think the firmware has this feature (yet).


Never seen the battery above 89% - a safety measure for not overheating, and AFAIK is a kernel thing. Plamo is using more juice than Phosh, and during calls Plamo seems to heat more than Phosh, but not that much. Even blender works, and if i recall correctly the temperature was never over 82°C on my end …

And how was that different if the writer of that article would have said … “The entire Earth might burn down” …

I read about the 90% battery charge limit; That’s going to be a bit annoying and confusing to get used to, but it’s something I can live with if that’s for the better. I plan on using Plasma Mobile since KDE is also my desktop on PC Manjaro, luckily I understand that’s what the Pinephone already ships with :slight_smile:

If it’s a kernel limitation it should be safer compared to a random component handling the charging. So as far as protection against over-charging goes I figure it’s all good if you don’t use a non-official kernel, which is definitely something I don’t plan on doing. Beyond that the only other risk I’m aware of is something drawing too much power: I take it there’s only so much the PP can heat up with standard hardware, even if a software was to somehow use 100% of the screen / CPU / GPU / etc. There’s probably no “short-circuit the battery” signal that could be issued by software in any form.

Using the convergence set up with an updated version of Manjaro Phosh Beta 10 docked with my monitor, keyboard, mouse, and charger, the Usage app temperatures rose to 65-66C. I’ve read that it won’t operate above 62C. What caught my attention? I was creating bookmarks in Firefox and the keyboard would not fill in a website url. No distro response to a high temperature warned me to turn off the phone. I manually shut it down to cool off. After reading megi’s comments in his article, which was previously posted, I agree that we need better power management on these phones.

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Thanks for sharing. Can you think of anything specific you did that caused the temperature to rise, like any CPU intensive programs that might have been running? Just to be on the lookout.

For a moment I thought “66C isn’t that bad”. Then I remembered we’re talking about a phone, not a PC or laptop which have parts that can handle over 90C. For a mobile device that does sound quite high… not hot enough for anything to catch on fire I imagine, but it could still damage the device.