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Author Topic: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?  (Read 8950 times)

kevin

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[How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« on: May 25, 2005, 12:12:10 PM »

I am thinking of buying the X10 ActiveHome
Pro software with the USB computer
tranceiver. Mainly what I want to be able to
do is turn computers on and off remotely. So
for instance, I can remote desktop into my
home computer while I am at work, open the
x10 software and send a command to turn a
certain computer in my house on or off. I
need to know what particular module I need
to do this... I am sure I need a 3 pin
module but was looking at these 2 different
ones:

-X10 Pro Appliance Module with AGC (3 Pin)
(http://www.activehomepro.com/accessories/pro
/pam02_wa1_s.html)

OR

-X10 Appliance Module (3-pin) Grounded
(http://www.x10.com/automation/am466_s.html)

Do I need the more expensive AGC one if I am
hooking computers to this? what will having
AGC do for me that the second one without it
won't do?


The next thing I was wondering is, I have
about 4 server computers all plugged into
the same power strip. The power strip is
plugged into a single wall outlet. Can I put
4 of these x10 appliance modules into the
power strip, and then one computer into each
module? will this still work turning on and
off each computer seperately? or will it
turn the ENTIRE power strip on and off?

Thanks!
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X10 Pro

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2005, 01:18:47 PM »

Kevin: A regular X10 appliance module should
be fine. If you plug 4 appliance modules into
a power strip you will be able to control
each of them separately. Your biggest problem
is likely to be getting your computer to
start up when power is restored. Most PCs
these days don't have hard power switches.
Instead they work like your TV probably does
-- when you plug it in, it has power but
doesn't start until you press the button. If
you can find a way around that you should be
good to go.
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Tigger

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2005, 01:42:44 PM »

 
I use one of the X10 outlets for this
exact purpose.  An alarm panel turns
off this outlet daily, and then back on
again a minute later.

The computer (running windows ME) is set
to ALWAYS start up in normal mode.

The computer is in a remote area, and this
was done to ensure that the system is always
up-and-running.

Initially, the machine was an old 233-mhz
system with an "AT" power supply, so it
wasn't an issue.

When that motherboard failed due to age,
I replaced it with a newer unit,
with an ATX power supply.

Since I needed the PC to power up whenever
power was applied, I tied the GREEN WIRE
on the ATX motherboard connector to GROUND.

This basically straps the power supply "ON".

(You won't be able to just short the power
switch - this will cause the machine to
either cycle on/off or go into standby mode.)



T
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roger1818

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2005, 02:36:50 PM »

Kevin,

A few things you need to consider:

  • Most computers have an option in the BIOS to allow you choose what to do when power is restored.  The three options typically are:

    • 1.) Stay Off
    • 2.) Turn On
    • 3.) Return to state before power was removed. (Typically the default.)

  • You probably would want to switch to the second option. It is wise to do a proper shutdown before removing the power to ensure that you won’t lose any data or cause any corruption on the hard drive.  This will not happen if you use an appliance module to turn off the computer.  A better option might be to use a universal module in “momentary” mode and connect it to the power switch on the computer.  The computer will do a proper shutdown when turned off this way.  It will also turn on the computer.

  • Make sure the power-strip you are using doesn’t have any RMI/EMF filters.  These filter out the X10 signal and prevent the modules from working.

  • Also, have you considered using Wake-Up-on-LAN to power on the computers?  Both the motherboard and network card need to support this feature for you to use it.


[TTA Edit: Re-formatted to utilize new forum software's full screen width (and added a couple of LISTs) for improved readability. ;) ]
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 10:54:52 AM by TakeTheActive »
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zotee98

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 11:24:33 AM »

has anyone had any luck with wake on lan and routers. i tired this method but have not been able to get it to work. good suggestion about the grounding! might go that way.
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Oldtimer

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 09:30:58 PM »

Here's a bit of history to show how far we've come.

In the early 1980s I wanted to be able to access my IBM XT DOS home computer from work to be able to grab the occasional file I needed:

  • To turn the computer power on I used the then available X10 telephone responder which reacted to a tone module you carried with you not regular touch tones.  The Appliance module simply turned the computer power on and off.

  • I added some steps to the boot BAT file so after the appliance module turned on the computer power the computer would start a program called BLAST if you didn't hit a key right away.  If you did hit a key when you were at home a primitive menu came up on the screen instead.

  • BLAST activated the 1200 baud modem so it would answer the phone and link with my 1200 baud modem and BLAST program at work.  BLAST then gave me file transfer access and the ability to run programs in batch mode on my home computer from the office.

  • We had two phone lines at the house.  The computer modem was on one line and the X10 telephone responder was on the other.  One of the batch files on my home computer shut the system down when I was done, then I called back on the X10 line and turned the computer power off.


[TTA Edit: Added WHITESPACE to improve readability.]
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 02:58:23 PM by TakeTheActive »
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TakeTheActive

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2007, 03:07:54 PM »


...A better option might be to use a universal module in “momentary” mode and connect it to the power switch on the computer.  The computer will do a proper shutdown when turned off this way.  It will also turn on the computer.

The most recent computer hardware and OS that I'm familiar with is my 2001 Dell Dimension 4100 running Win2K Pro SP4. (I also have a 2003 Dell PowerEdge 400SC, but I'm only now getting around to setting it up. :-[ )

It is my experience that turning a computer off by pressing the Power Button or removing power (i.e. unplugging it from the wall outlet) *BOTH* result in the possible corruption / loss of files and the *ONLY* safe way to power down is by CLICKing on START -> Shutdown -> Shutdown. If the computer is ACPI-compliant, it will turn off at the end of that sequence. Otherwise, there will be a message on the screen stating (words to the effect of) "It is now safe to turn off your computer."

Have things changed since then? ???
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TakeTheActive

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2007, 03:29:21 PM »


  • ...Initially, the machine was an old 233-mhz system with an "AT" power supply, so it wasn't an issue. When that motherboard failed due to age, I replaced it with a newer unit, with an ATX power supply. Since I needed the PC to power up whenever power was applied, I tied the GREEN WIRE on the ATX motherboard connector to GROUND. This basically straps the power supply "ON".
     
    (You won't be able to just short the power switch - this will cause the machine to either cycle on/off or go into standby mode.)


  • ...Also, have you considered using Wake-Up-on-LAN to power on the computers?  Both the motherboard and network card need to support this feature for you to use it.


  • has anyone had any luck with wake on lan and routers. i tired this method but have not been able to get it to work. good suggestion about the grounding! might go that way.

I've given this subject "random thought" on-and-off over the years and the POWER DOWN was always the "stumbling block" for me. Looking at it again today, after a long absence, I'd suggest:

  • POWER ON: Universal Module in 'momentary' mode across the computer's PUSH ON / PUSH OFF Power Switch contacts.

  • POWER OFF: I would investigate how (something like) APC Powerchute Software (for their UPS) signals the computer to "Close All Open Programs and Shutdown *NOW*!". My UPSs connect to my PCs via a 'custom' DB-9 Serial Cable. I'd "assume" that the UPS toggles a pin (i.e. DTR?) and that triggers the PowerChute software into action.

Note: Within the next day or so, I'll try to look at the BIOSes in my three latest computers (Dell 400SC, Dell 4100, Gateway 6400) and see if there are any options for changing the function of the PUSH ON / PUSH OFF Power Switch that I'm currently not aware of.
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Oldtimer

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Re: [How-Do-I] Turn a Computer ON and OFF With X10 Modules?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2008, 11:01:50 PM »

I'm adding this post to this thread because I think the program "Poweroff" might be a useful tool if you're trying control a computer remotely, particularly since it has a rich set set of command line options for use in batch files which are supported in both AHP and several 3rd party add ons.

We have been using the scheduled POWEROFF function for over six months on my wife's computer without any problems and I just added it to my computer. Our computers power down automatically just after our normal bed time in case we forget to do so or are late getting home. I expect to start experimenting with the remote control POWEROFF and WAKE-ON-LAN functions soon. These applications do not require batch files, by the way, unless you want to use them that way.

The other functions directly supported are LOGOFF, REBOOT, SHUTDOWN, STANDBY, HIBERNATE, TURN ON MONITOR, TURN OFF MONITOR, NO ACTION and LOCK.

Click on this link to get more information and download your own copy to play with.  The manual is included.

http://users.telenet.be/jbosman/applications.html

I'd suggest creating a "Poweroff" folder in "Program Files" to download the zip file and extract it.

The manual is included in the zip file.  It's eleven pages but you only need to print the first eight since the rest is a change history.

Pay particular attention to the "Save Settings" explanation under Figure 11 and the "Create Service" explanation under Figure 12 if you want to schedule regular occurrences of a particular function such as POWEROFF.

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