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I have a "server" besides my desktop, and I'd love to be able to control it whenever my network connectivity fails due to various reasons without having to move the monitor and keyboard cables.
My ideal solution would be a small keyboard plus monitor packed in a 5.25" bay of the server. They would
sit sandwitched one on top of the other inside the bay when not in use, and I could slide them out whenever I needed to. The "monitor" would be a small, 640x480, monochrome LCD (bonus points for green/black display like the old VT100's). The keyboard would use the laptop layout. And I'd be happy.
You wonder why I don't buy a KVM? Because I don't want it to mess my video signal -- I'd only switch the monitor maybe once a month, but I'd have to pay with degraded signal all the time.
You wonder why I don't buy an old monitor and a new keyboard? Because I don't have the space around the desk to afford that waste for occasional use. Plus it would look lame, as opposed to an uber-cool, mega-geeky combo in one of my server's bays.
(??) Be a Better Geek
Just get a rack, slacker :-) [contracts, Oct 12 2004]
KVMs with no signal degredation at up to 1600x1280 [reap, Oct 13 2004]
(?) Ericsson chatboard
Here's a possible keyboard for ya... [BunsenHoneydew, Jul 11 2005]
PSOne LCD VGA hack
... and a 5" 640x480 color monitor... you could always leave off the red/blue lines :) [BunsenHoneydew, Jul 11 2005]
(?) Gameboy Terminal Server
serial graphic terminal [BunsenHoneydew, Jul 12 2005]
Not VGA, but emulates a 4x20 LCD and virtual keyboard over serial. [BunsenHoneydew, Jul 13 2005]
||contracts, thanks for the link, but you probably missed the part which read "I don't have the space around the desk to afford that waste for occasional use"... Cool gizmo anyhow.
||I like neat and simple solutions.[+]
||Not quite what you want, but consider a small "point of sale" monitor available in color and mono as small a 6" diagonal or so, often surplus or used. It won't fit in a bay, but mine is no wider than the CPU tower case. I used to use it as the smaller of two in a dual monitor set up. IF you had a big case w/ lots of room, metal working tools and a brave heart, you could graft one of these into the front of a unit.
||That would definitely solve the problem, even if the system completely tanks.
||However if the vast majority of the times you need to swap the monitor and keyboard are because of network problems (not the OS crashing etc), you might be able avoid most of the monitor switching hassle at a fraction of the cost by using a headless solution that allows you to controls the system over a serial port.
||Another thought. I've seen pull-out keyboard trays for rack mount computers in factories. I know I could make a riser 2 inches high or maybe less with a bottom mount ball bearing drawer slide and a smaller keyboard inside it. Just for fun, I'd pivot the keyboard at the center so it could turn normal-wise once the drawer is pulled open. The riser would fit exactly under the tower case, of course. You know, I think I might try building it for one of my spare computers.
||You know, re-reading your
description, I sense that you're
proposing a standardised, mass-
produced unit, rather than some
kind of one-off homebrew kludge.
||Suggestion: the drivebay mount is
a dock, and the display/kb/(and
trackpad?) unit can be removed
and swapped to another tower,
similar to the removeable hard
||Make them hot swappable and
you're on a winner.