More Power Saving

I made the first step towards power saving for my computers a while ago when I moved the blog to a shared linux virtual machine in the states a while ago (rather than hosting it on an old PII here), and now I’ve made another step.

LeeW demonstrated that a Mini-ITX low-power PC wasn’t worth the money, so a cheaper, more direct approach was needed: total cost £10.

I’ve now got the IPCop router PC and Debian internal server doing timed shutdowns overnight: The boxes do a halt, and a cheapy plug-in timer from Maplin shuts the power 10 min later, then wakes them back up in the morning.

The Debian box was easy: just add

0 0 * * * /sbin/shutdown -i0 -g0 now > /dev/null

to root’s crontab (it says at 0 minutes past 0 (i.e: midnight), on any day of any month, of any year, run a shutdown command to runlevel 0 (halt), with no grace period, and do it ‘now’) make sure the power recovery options in the BIOS say to boot, and Bob is your auntie’s live-in lover: The box gets shut down cleanly, timer kills the power, power returns, box boots.

The IPCop box gave an odd challenge: There’s a built in GUI to shutdown the OS, so that was easy, but it powers down the box, and theres no setting in the Dell Optiplex E1 BIOS to boot automagically- you have to push the button.

I found the answer in IPCop’s code, in /etc/rc.d/rc.halt: there’s a line that actually does the shutdown:

if [ "$1" = "halt" ]; then
        halt -i -d -p
else
        reboot -i -d
fi

If you remove the -p, the system halts, but the power stays on, so the box boots when the timer switches back on 🙂

Next on the list is that telewest box. The timers were 2 for 10 quid……

4 Responses to “More Power Saving”

  1. Countre Bumpkin Says:

    I think I might adopt another approach and generate enough power to run my computers and secondly the TV rig which seems to consume quite a lot when it’s all going. I have taken the step of switching off everything when I’m at work or sleeping, thus saving at least 16 hours woth of standby power.

    I’m looking into a using a low powered version of IPCOP when I eventually connect the internet up….

  2. stymaster Says:

    Trouble is, your low-power box will cost £££, unless you can get an old laptop and somehow attach enough ethernet to it, which might be hard. That was the thinking of the mini-ITX box, but it’s too expensive.

  3. MarkyB Says:

    Stop faffing about and get a wind generator in your back garden FFS.

    Ya know ya wanna……hippy 🙂

  4. stymaster Says:

    Hmmm….1kW maximum, realistic output- maybe a few hudred watts. Plus it’s nearly 1500 quid. Oh, and the control unit uses 6W on it’s own. Bargain.


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