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gzt

gzt
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  #1819218 10-Jul-2017 21:54
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richms:

Stick with a spinning HDD if you are going to keep doing unclean shutdowns, IME SSD's are much more prone to corruption when having the power yanked from under them.


On a tangent to that, and slightly off topic because OP has W7, Windows 10 seems particularly prone to boot problems after a bad or even some kind of a mildly unsatisfactory shutdown...

Rikkitic

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  #1819226 10-Jul-2017 22:04
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Thanks for the tips. I have been doing some reading and it sounds like modern hard drives are designed to park safely if the power fails. The main problem seems to be surges, which wouldn't be the case here. 

 

I don't remember what I did at the time and I haven't checked yet, but I may have already set the BIOS to start on power up. I will check it again. If I can get it to auto-start even after a clean shutdown, then my problem is solved. As far as Win 10 goes, I wouldn't go near it for something like this. I am using Win 7 for a reason.

 

 





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gzt

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  #1819251 10-Jul-2017 22:46
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Rikkitic: I have been doing some reading and it sounds like modern hard drives are designed to park safely if the power fails.

The way I see it, they are designed to try very hard to park safely with no power but they will not always succeed.



Aredwood
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  #1819260 10-Jul-2017 23:27

Best non ups way to achieve what you want - get a grunty 12V relay that can switch mains, such as the Jaycar SY4040 take a 12V power feed from the computers power supply, or if the computer has a firewire port on the back, they often run at 12V. And wire it to the relay coil. Take the incoming mains power, and run it through the relay contacts, and wire a mains rated pushbutton momentary on switch in parallel with the relay contacts. Then wire all of your equipment downstream of the relay.

 

Check in the CMOS setup of your computer, to check and enable the option of auto on when mains is turned on. It is probably set currently to remember the last state, instead of always auto on.

 

To use - press and hold the button which will temporally power up all of your mains equipment. As soon as the computer begins booting, release the button. The relay will now be turned on using the power from the computer to keep itself on.

 

When you have finished using the computer, just click shutdown in the normal way. The computer does it's thing and turns itself off. When it turns off the 12V going to the relay stops, so the relay turns off, and cuts power to the input to the computer and all of your other devices. Therefore no vampire loads or constantly energised power supplies. When off the mains power is only reaching to the mechanical contacts in the relay and pushbutton. So no different to a lightswitch that is turned off.

 

This will do exactly what you want. But of course has the big drawback of needing to do mains wiring to make it work. The best way to build it would probably be to install the relay and pushbutton in a small box, with a cord for power in and another for power out. Usual disclaimers for doing anything mains related apply of course.






ANglEAUT
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  #1819261 10-Jul-2017 23:44
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Rikkitic: ... The main problem seems to be surges, which wouldn't be the case here. 
A surge suppressor would be the best protection here. Some UPS have this built in.

 

Rikkitic: ... but I may have already set the BIOS to start on power up. I will check it again. 
Most modern BIOS' you can set to auto start the PC at a specific time in addition to the start-up mode after a power outage. You switching off at the wall would be considered a power outage from the p.o.v. of the PC. You could set the BIOS to always power on "when power is restored".

 

Rikkitic: ... If I can get it to auto-start even after a clean shutdown, then my problem is solved.
In my opinion, this is where it gets messy. The BIOS settings will not care about a clean or dirty shutdown. It'll just power up. Why do you want it to auto-start only after a clean shutdown?

 

 

 

I understand your desire not to want to crawl underneath the table to power on the PC, but we also are humans with a knowledge base of tools. There is more than one way to skin the cat. Have you tried

 

     

  1. Using a long stick to press the power button? -------------------> I/O
  2. Considered using a robotic arm to press the button? See here for one example?
  3. Considered bring the power button closer to you by removing it from the case and extending the cables of the switch? I.m.o. less firehazard than overloading a power bar.

 

 

 

* Edited to insert link





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  #1819296 11-Jul-2017 06:58
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Aredwood:

 

Best non ups way to achieve what you want - get a grunty 12V relay that can switch mains, such as the Jaycar SY4040 take a 12V power feed from the computers power supply, or if the computer has a firewire port on the back, they often run at 12V. And wire it to the relay coil. Take the incoming mains power, and run it through the relay contacts, and wire a mains rated pushbutton momentary on switch in parallel with the relay contacts. Then wire all of your equipment downstream of the relay.

 

Check in the CMOS setup of your computer, to check and enable the option of auto on when mains is turned on. It is probably set currently to remember the last state, instead of always auto on.

 

To use - press and hold the button which will temporally power up all of your mains equipment. As soon as the computer begins booting, release the button. The relay will now be turned on using the power from the computer to keep itself on.

 

When you have finished using the computer, just click shutdown in the normal way. The computer does it's thing and turns itself off. When it turns off the 12V going to the relay stops, so the relay turns off, and cuts power to the input to the computer and all of your other devices. Therefore no vampire loads or constantly energised power supplies. When off the mains power is only reaching to the mechanical contacts in the relay and pushbutton. So no different to a lightswitch that is turned off.

 

This will do exactly what you want. But of course has the big drawback of needing to do mains wiring to make it work. The best way to build it would probably be to install the relay and pushbutton in a small box, with a cord for power in and another for power out. Usual disclaimers for doing anything mains related apply of course.

 

 

I am not afraid of working with mains power. I have been doing it for years. I like the creativity of your solution but may try a UPS-type approach first. Because of the positions of the switches, it is much easier to switch at the wall.

 

 





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Suckerpunch
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  #1819327 11-Jul-2017 07:59
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Most business grade Dell's have power on timing settings in the bios, e.g. power on at 6.30am daily and auto power on when AC returns.

 

You could run a raspberry pi and use Wake on Lan functionality to wake the PC up at a specific time. Unsure of the power consumption of a Raspberry Pi, versus just leaving the laptop\pc running over night.

 

 




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  #1819341 11-Jul-2017 08:23
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Aredwood:

 

 

 

When you have finished using the computer, just click shutdown in the normal way. The computer does it's thing and turns itself off. When it turns off the 12V going to the relay stops, so the relay turns off, and cuts power to the input to the computer and all of your other devices. Therefore no vampire loads or constantly energised power supplies. When off the mains power is only reaching to the mechanical contacts in the relay and pushbutton. So no different to a lightswitch that is turned off.

 

This will do exactly what you want. But of course has the big drawback of needing to do mains wiring to make it work. The best way to build it would probably be to install the relay and pushbutton in a small box, with a cord for power in and another for power out. Usual disclaimers for doing anything mains related apply of course.

 

 

(quote trimmed) - That's quite a nice solution!

 

Rikkitic:

 

I am not afraid of working with mains power. I have been doing it for years. I like the creativity of your solution but may try a UPS-type approach first. Because of the positions of the switches, it is much easier to switch at the wall.

 

 

When I started reading this, my thoughts were with using a UPS.

 

Cable from outlet into the UPS, multiboard plugged into the UPS, UPS cabled to PC via USB or Serial (this will depend on the UPS model and method of comms)

 

Setup UPS monitoring software in Windows 7 so that the machine is shutdown if the power is out for more than 15 seconds (or so) AND to power off the UPS as well

 

In the BIOS of the PC, set the power option to always on when power is restored (I don't recall the exact wording on Dell BIOS)

 

A couple of issues, though:

 

- The UPS will stay on until the computer shuts down (meaning you could switch off at the wall, and the gear will remain on for as long as it takes to shutdown the machine.)
- The UPS will require replacement batteries from time to time.  (Mine last about 5 - 8 years before starting to complain)
- When powering back on, I think you will need to press the power button on the UPS as well.

 

Cheers!


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  #1821165 12-Jul-2017 11:36
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I have been thinking about ways to solve this and my idea is to use logic gates to drive relays to do the on/off switching of the computer. Tiny relays only have to simulate the power switch press for a few seconds so could easily be powered by small batteries. ICs also have low power consumption. I haven't worked out the details, which are probably beyond my limited electronics know-how, but the general idea is that there would be a double throw relay that is held on when the mains power is on. When the power goes off, the relay falls to its rest position, which completes a circuit that tells another relay to briefly operate the computer power switch to shut it down. When the power comes back on, the first relay switches up, which also activates the computer power switch to boot it back up. Together with this would be a five-minute UPS to keep the computer powered while shutting down. I know this would work. I'm just not sure exactly how to go about it.

 

In the meantime, I have been trying to get the computer going again at least temporarily, but the drive is doing puzzling things. It was booting after a fashion, and I tried chkdsk on it but got inconsistent results. Eventually, after many tries, I was able to do a complete scan from Windows (not the command line, which kept stopping at 11%) and after many hours it finished and said there were no problems. But after that the drive would no longer boot at all. Almost immediately there would be BSOD that would go past too fast to read. Windows repair did not make any difference. So after chkdsk, which says there was no problem, a drive that previously did boot, now won't boot at all.

 

I ran several diagnostic tests on the drive and they all report no problems at all. I can also still read the drive fine, it just won't boot. I have another identical drive that I am restoring from an image backup and I will then format and restore the first drive, but I find it puzzling that every diagnostic test I run on it says it is okay but I still can't get it to work.

 

 





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Rikkitic

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  #1821276 12-Jul-2017 14:14
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If anyone is still following this, here is the latest:

 

First, I have checked the BIOS and discovered that my clever pc is set to always auto-start after power off, even if the shutdown is clean. That is great news because it means all I need is a UPS that can shut it down. No other complicated circuitry is necessary.

 

Second, after a lot of really confusing results from various tests and chkdsk, I finally discovered that I have either a bad SATA cable or a bad port. This is the second time in a few months that I have run into something like this. What is it with these SATA cables?

 

Anyway, after I restored a brand-new drive and got the same Windows error that the drive couldn't be read, and went through the same Windows repair rubbish that went nowhere, as a last resort I decided to change the SATA cable. Suddenly it works fine. WTF???

 

Although the unclean shutdowns worked well for a long time, I will still take a lesson from this and get a UPS. I still don't understand exactly what happened, but there must be multiple issues involved. The damned SATA cable complicated things, but I don't think it was the original source of the problem, though I suppose anything is possible.

 

 

 

 





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turb
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  #1821354 12-Jul-2017 15:59
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Did you get around to trying a new cmos battery?

Over the years I've known it solve a lot of weird startup behaviour, bios issues, 'faulty' drives etc.

KISS




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Rikkitic

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  #1821361 12-Jul-2017 16:30
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No I didn't. I was completely preoccupied with the drive issue. But it is a good idea and I will do it just as an extra precaution. The computer (and battery) are very old, so that could well be part of the problem. Thanks for the tip.

 

 





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  #1821379 12-Jul-2017 17:00
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I have a box of four ClimateSmart remote controlled stand-by eliminators that I can give you so you won't have to reach for the powerpoint switch.

 

PM me if you want them. I'm in Lower Hutt.


Rikkitic

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  #1821413 12-Jul-2017 17:34
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That is very generous of you though I might need more than four. I haven't even considered anything like that as a possibility. I will get in touch.

 

 





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Rikkitic

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  #1821649 13-Jul-2017 09:42
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I think I have found a perfect answer to this. I should have thought of it when I originally set things up.

 

I have made a shortcut to shutdown.exe and assigned a keypress to it. I already have IR control of the computer via a menu that works with the Harmony One remote. It is very easy to add the shutdown command to the menu. So I can now easily do a clean shutdown from a single keypress on the Harmony.

 

That is already sufficient but I intend to take it a step further. It should be fairly straightforward to add a second command that will start a delayed power down after issuing the computer shutdown command. This can control a standby eliminator device or something similar that cuts the power. By pressing a single button on the Harmony the computer will shut down correctly, and five minutes later all power will be cut. In the morning the standby eliminator can be switched on from the Harmony, which will also cause the computer to auto-boot.

 

  





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