Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

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rdm2
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Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by rdm2 »

Hi all

Forgive me posting this here - but I know someone will have some smart idea.

I'm trying to build a setup for someone with mobility issues. His PC needs to be on a high shelf to maximise floor space and desk space. The issue is he's struggling to reach the PC (tower case) power switch now it has to be on the high shelf. What he needs is some sort of "breakout box" located near the keyboard such that he can power the machine on without standing up. I've seen extension leads with switches for each socket but, while this will clearly energise the PSU - it won't turn the machine on - though it will obviously hard power down the machine by effectively cutting the mains.

I've built PCs myself so I know there's a connection from the case power switch to the motherboard. Effectively I just need to bypass the case switch to something external (or somehow move the case power switch outside the case) - but I'm not into soldering and I don't like fiddling with mains.

Anyone know someone who could build me something? If not, is there an off-the-shelf solution.

Cheers
R
cmorley
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by cmorley »

Sounds like you need something like this https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195242265494 ... SwoP1i26Ve

I searched "PC remote power button" and similar on eBay.
Beebson
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by Beebson »

I thought this a bit and, without soldering and without fiddling with the mains or anything else, there is a simple solution - get a remote controlled robot arm to turn on/off the PC. It doesn´t have to be a robot arm or robot of any kind, just some little device, can be a tool, toy, anything, as long as it is remote controlled or can be fitted with a remote control, it has a motorised moving part, what can be moved back and forth with a remote control and that device can be tightnened to the shelf somehow, just like those working lamps, what can be tightened to the edge of the table. You could fit something to that moving part, like a thin wooden pole or metal bar. This device could then push that thin pole/bar against power button and then come away from it, remote controlled. Turning the PC off will happen the same way. There are lots of small devices what can do the job! I can´t think of any particular device now, but somebody elses can surely suggest you some.
nicolagiacobbe
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by nicolagiacobbe »

There are many ways to do it but cmorley suggestion is the best one. If you really want to keep the PC lid shut then (maybe) the following page could be of help: https://okeygeek.com/how-to-start-a-com ... -keyboard/
The snag is that both the PS/2 connector must be present and the BIOS should be able to enable the wake-on from PS/2, but it is at least worth a try.
Otherwise there are other solutions but much heavier in terms of development both HW and SW i.e. to use the wake-on-lan system with a simple board like the Rabbit or similar (here suggested just because it brings a full TCP/IP stack ready to use).
Please tell us which solution did you choose as we could try to give other suggestions.
(BTW Beebson idea is excellent!)
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by nicolagiacobbe »

And, if you want to try Beebson idea, a good source of automation is a small RC-car, very cheap if new, could be found free if used and the entrails can be easily suited for the goal of pressing a button.
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baz4096
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by baz4096 »

rdm2 wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:15 am
I've seen extension leads with switches for each socket but, while this will clearly energise the PSU - it won't turn the machine on - though it will obviously hard power down the machine by effectively cutting the mains.
Some BIOSes have a setting allowing you to specify what happens in case of a power cut and subsequent restoration - usually three options. Stay off, Previous State, and Power Up.

However, I think cmorley's suggestion is likely the best, and there are some reasonably cheap solutions similar to the one he mentioned. There's even some that extend USB and audio plugs as well as the power and reset buttons; useful for memory sticks and headsets.
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1024MAK
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by 1024MAK »

Well, in essence, all the user “power” button is on modern PCs is a single pole single throw (SPST) momentary push switch. It normally operates off the +5V standby/auxiliary supply, not the mains supply. It sends a signal to the motherboard.

So all you need, is a suitable switch/push button, a plastic box to mount the switch in/on, some wire, and a suitable connector to connect to the pin header on the motherboard. The easiest way to get suitable connectors is to buy some dupont cables from eBay, or get something similar from elsewhere. Then joint these into a longer cable to your switch.

Yes, some soldering will be required, as it’s hard to get suitable push switches with screw terminals. And if you solder the joints from your cable to the dupont cables, then cover with heatshrink sleeving, that makes the bit in the PC a bit neater.

Mark
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IanJeffray
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Re: Slightly OT - simple hardware issue (but not Acorn!)

Post by IanJeffray »

rdm2 wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 11:15 am
it won't turn the machine on
Many (most, even?) BIOS's will let you set the default power state - so that it does switch on when it receives mains power. This is important for machines used as 'servers' for example -- I rely on it.
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