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USB/PS2 relay socket

sync peripherals' power with computer's
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
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Being a humble student, I live in one small room; this is my dining room, my sitting room, my study and my bedroom. This makes my computer a beast of somewhat unusual burden: it is my stereo, my tv, my typewriter. It is connected to a scanner, a vcr, a printer, speakers powered from the mains etc... For a lot of this, it's fine for it to be left on all the time. The monitor switches itself off, of course. But the scanner has a bright light but no power switch, and the speakers buzz (very) quietly when the computer is switched off. I can hop in bed with a book with some music playing, or go to bed and watch the telly, and even switch off the computer with my remote keyboard, but that damn humming and the light continue... So I needlessly have to get up and walk around switching things off and unplugging this and that...

I'd like a simple plug/socket arrangement with an extra lead plugging into either the usb or ps2 (keyboard) socket. This would have an additional socket so that other peripherals could still be added, and be connected to a relay in the plug which would power down the socket. Then I could plug an extension socket set into it, and all the peripherals would power down as soon as i switch off the computer.

yamahito, May 27 2002

Slave computer power http://www.hobbes-u...s/pwrmgt/pg/pg.html
You can still manage to press the button on the PC, right? [drew, May 28 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Build your own http://www.electron...witcher/index.shtml
[drew, May 28 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Clap on! Clap off! http://www.cornells...sseentv/clapper.htm
[MrWrong, May 28 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Think Geek: Mini Power Minder http://www.thinkgee...tronic/6ee4/?cpg=cj
Oct 05 2004: I think this is almost precisely what you describe. [krelnik, Oct 05 2004]


       Run the flex round to your bed, and stick a switch in it (the flex) and then run it back round to the socket. Not much electrical work in it either.
[ sctld ], May 27 2002

       Get a smart UPS to:
a) Filter the noise you're getting from your speakers, and
b) Kill power to all the devices when the computer itself shuts down.

       A power strip will accomplish this as well, but manually.
phoenix, May 27 2002

       phoenix: UPS?   

       perhaps in UB's honour, i should rename to "sock-ettes"   

       oh, that's really bad, isn't?
yamahito, May 27 2002

       UPS is an American parcel delivery service. Why not send the offending devices far, far away. Or get some earplugs to block out the humming and close your eyes to prevent light reaching them.
brewmaster, May 27 2002

       yeah, but the smart bit confused me...   

       A power strip which turns off when the computer shuts down is what i was talking about... didn't really make it clear, did I?
yamahito, May 27 2002

       Uninterruptable Power Supply. [phoenix] I didn't know that they made smart ones that would shut down the power to all of its outlets when the computer was shut down. Makes sense, but I couldn't find anything in a search for such a UPS feature (I did, however, draw the line at having to download and read the .pdf format users manuals for APC UPS systems).
bristolz, May 27 2002

       Maybe you could invent some form of remote control plug adaptor - much like a simple multi-way triple adaptor but with an infa-red receiver and a switch. I'm no expert but it sounds pretty simple.   

       Alternatively you could write some form of virus that will brute-force your PC's power supply thus causing all your fuses to blow. Could be more costly though: what's your financial position??
NickTheGreat, May 27 2002

       I've never seen a commercial complete device to do this, but it's quite easy to make up a DIY unit. A small relay can be driven directly from the RS232 port (you probably have a spare one nowadays), and this can switch either the mains supplies directly if the load is small, or drive a second larger relay to switch as much power as you need. All isolated from the PC, so no danger of letting the smoke out. Arrange the relay to be held closed when the 12V appears on the port, ie when the PC is actually powered up. Internal relay boards and commercial external I/O relay systems would do the same, but obviously cost more, and need driver software to achieve the same end.
drew, May 27 2002

       NTG: why would I want another remote control to lose?   

       I think I might actually bake one of these myself. The ps2 route is the easiest to do, I think.
yamahito, May 27 2002

       Or wire your plug into a wall switch at your bed.
[ sctld ], May 27 2002

       I'm a)renting b)moving in a month c) too lazy to flip an extra switch.   

       Besides, you could market this.
yamahito, May 27 2002

       Rods, I was waiting for someone to suggest that. 350W is barely enough for my computer, so no, it wouldn't be suitable.   

       The machine under the stairs, which does jobs as a router/ftp/http server depending on what mood i'm in uses just this method to look after my network hub/cable modem.
yamahito, May 27 2002

       I have baked a device like this for a commercial endeavor. It controls 2 separate low current devices (one of which could easily be a relay) from an RS-232 port. It uses optoisolator/optocouplers with Darlington outputs. The RS-232 port's RTS/DTR lines drive the LEDs in the optocouplers. The current for the chip and driven device is supplied by a "wall wart". (The circuitry fits in a 9-pin D-sub connector shell along with the 9 pin connector.) The RS-232 port requires a bit of software so isn't exactly what you want.   

       Half of this circuit, using the power supplied by the USB or PS/2 port in place of the RS-232 control line would supply you with well isolated control of a relay to switch your power strip.   

       Just don't try to run it with the external wall wart plugged in to the switched power strip.<g>
half, May 27 2002

       I don't know of a product (UPS or otherwise) which will kill peripheral power without pressing one more switch - [half]'s device and [Rods Tiger]'s suggestion excluded. But what's one more switch?
phoenix, May 27 2002

       Just hook them all into the same power source and turn off the power source. You don't need some elaborate device for that.
Chris38183, May 27 2002

       chris: my sockets are all behind a desk and underneath piles of wires. But you're right, of course I don't need this. If I did, I'd have it. Of course it's not much trouble turning off my speakers (i can do it from a handy volume knob) or unplugging my scanner. That's not the point.   

       Necessity may be the mother of invention, but zaniness and laziness are the contesting parents of the half-baked idea, in my book.
yamahito, May 27 2002

       [yamahito], I think this is a decent idea and seems fairly inexpensive and simple to build. You sure this isn't baked by someone? I may have to dig around for a USB and/or PS/2 pinout and have a go at this myself. Should be dead simple to pack the circuitry in to a power strip.
half, May 28 2002

       half: well, i didn't search *too* thoroughly, as I had very little idea which criteria to use in narrowing the search. But let me know how it goes: I'm thinking of giving it a shot in a week or two, when i've finished this uni work.
yamahito, May 28 2002

       I just remembered somewhere, some time seeing a device that sensed the current draw in an outlet to switch another outlet on/off. That might be a cleaner way to do this if the threshold in the sensing circuit was adjustable to allow for the "always on" circuitry of the "master" device.
half, May 28 2002

       . . . and it all comes lurching back on at the crack of dawn.
bristolz, May 28 2002

       ...and switches off again on a cloudy day. Or when a truck stops outside your window.
angel, May 28 2002

       Yup ([drew]), that'll do the trick, although it does the job a little differently to what I had in mind (by monitoring the power drawn through the computer power lead); still, that makes this baked.   

       Now, if only they sold them in the UK... I might be making my own after all..
yamahito, May 28 2002

       See link for DIY version
drew, May 28 2002

       My brother used to have his home entertainment centre hooked up to The Clapper (see link). Only problem was when the TV/radio/CD player turned itself off by "clapping" in the proper rhythm...
MrWrong, May 28 2002

       //NTG: why would I want another remote control to lose?//   

       I object to being abbreviated. Henceforth, please refer to me as [NickTheGreat] or simply God.
NickTheGreat, May 28 2002

       I'm sorry, I'll never call you that again, NTNSG.
yamahito, May 28 2002

       Oh ha-di-ha-ha *unimpressed*
NickTheGreat, May 28 2002

       BTW [yamahito]: when you say PS/2 do you mean PlayStation 2 or those annoying mouse sockets you always end up not knowing which way up to put the socket in to (do you follow me...?)?
NickTheGreat, May 28 2002

       no, i don't mean the playstation... >sigh<   

       //ps2 (keyboard) socket// or the mouse socket, they're pretty much the same.
yamahito, May 28 2002

NickTheGreat, May 28 2002

       This is a pretty good idea and easy to bake, as drew, half, and RT have pointed out ... like others I also have an optotriac+relay box plugged into a spare port on my machine (to turn the desk lamp on and off; the switch is hard to reach). It would be trivial to connect it to the power line of a USB port if the machine had a USB port.   

       The port would probably turn off when the machine went into sleep mode, which might or might not be what you want.
wiml, May 28 2002

       Somebody makes power strips with built-in motion detectors. Microsoft uses them in many of their labs.
SeattleBrad, May 30 2002

       Hey, someone baked this. See link.
krelnik, Oct 05 2004

       How often do you use your scanner?   

       If your like me, and havnt used it in almost 3 years, it might be easier to just turn it off and leave it off.
andrew1, Sep 27 2005


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