Low power PC's

mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,247 ✭✭✭✭✭
Toms Hardware Guide has a series on building a low power, solar powered PC rig. They ended up @ 61W 24/7 (23 w for the monitor, 18")

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/06/technical_foundations_diy_solar_powered_pc/
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/13/hardware_components/
http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/howtodiy/solar-pc-live-test/

They made a clever / scary tracker for their array.

Lots of details about DVD drives, and CPU's for low power usage. They did a LOT of footwork tracking stuff down.

Mike
Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
|| Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
|| VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

Comments

  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    Yep saw that. Looking at the log, they where short on power. System shut off about every day.
  • paulstamserpaulstamser Solar Expert Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    I didn't read everything on those links, but my Mac laptop computer (14" screen) uses 24 watts, altho I wish it were less....
  • lamplightlamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    thats cool, i was looking through the details and thinking, all right they got it right! M2 wide variable input dc power supply (what i use) to gain maximum efficiency from the power supply to run straight off DC (or you could even ac with a ac/dc adapter its still less power)

    then i got to the cpu choice and i think thats where they went wrong. VIA cpu's offer more bang for the buck than amd athlons, heck even the new intel core 2 duo's (like in the mac, and what my office pc uses) do much better for idle power down. buyt to be faior this area is really hard unless you have actual systems to compare side by side.

    i never mentioned it here but i upgraded my VIA based web server to a laptop based with a new via processor, its not as fast as some pc's but i got a huge power decrease with a faster pc! its all in how it idles. ill post links to a little more info if anyones interested.. for now this is the processor it has:
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/195

    another thing im surprised about is that they did not use a laptop hard drive in the system, that makes a big difference! it used to be somehwat more difficult as you needed to buy an adapter but now with SATA laptop drives its the exact same interface as the SATA in new desktop computers, SATA drives use less power than traditional drives as well (which they did use).
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,247 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    I think this would be a good thread for you to post what you have for your low power PC, others here may enjoy it. (I would, anyway) Maybe list parts, and why. I know when I built my last tower, I used the older Northwood (intel) CPU because it was about 20 - 30 watts less than the newer ones, but I was after cooler fan noise reduction.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • lamplightlamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    Hi Mike
    yeah i did (ad nauseum) on this site before they put this newer forum software on and it wiped out alot of our old stuff. still an update is in order..
    i have one of these im going to put into my desktop pc's power supply
    http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.417/.f

    its not an variable input 12v so wouldnt run direct of the 12v battery bank, \but the product in the article (the M2 auto power supply) could run any pc direct of a 12v battery bank even during absorb (as ive done it :)

    sure ill post more, right now the webserver (in my tagline) is an everex (via C7-M processor) laptop so no customization was needed, run it direct off 12v with an iGo 12v dc plug.

    i do have a backup webserver that has the M2, laptop hard drive and mini-itx motherboard, ill post details sometime soon
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    I second using Via processors

    http://www.solar-guppy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=95&highlight=itx

    I had a web/ftp box I built, used about 11 watts and ran my web-site/fourm for about 2 years before I moved to a hosting service, not because of the computer, just having to make sure the internet was always working!

    Also, this is a bit dated, but a via document on power usage

    http://solar-guppy.com/downloads/via_power.pdf
  • BrluxBrlux Solar Expert Posts: 73 ✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    I have ran a VIA EPIA MII mini ITX motherboard with a 1 GHz processor. there are some very neat power supplies available for these motherboards that operate form 12-24V DC. I also have an older F1703 17" LCD HP monitor that I found will operate with an input ranging between 10-18V DC. I found it in the garbage and after a little research found they have a manufacturing defect that causes cold solder joints on the power inductors in side of it, easy fix, they are always on ebay because people think they are dead.
    I have used this setup for about 3 years and It is great for most tasks. I did however upgrade to a powerful desktop recently for work reasons. The via struggled to run my Controller development studio and I wanted dual screens.

    Here is a picture of the computer.
    http://members.cox.net/brlux/IMAG0194.JPG
    http://members.cox.net/brlux/IMAG0191.JPG
    I didn't even bother putting it in a box, I just nailed it to the wall, Kinda cool. People have contests to see how strange of a enclosure they can mount these boards in. My favorite is a toaster with the CD drives where the toast comes out, An old Apple 2E, and a DVD player.

    Really I find the simplest low power computer to be a laptop, Get one of the Auto/Air power supplies and run it directly from your 12V system.
  • lamplightlamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Low power PC's

    cool! thats basically what ive run, but with a laptop hard drive and a usb webcam i had the wattage down to 11-15w depending, this was running a webserver. i have a via fanless model (ive run 4-5 of the various super efficient via's) thats my backup web server, but also am not doing exactly as you say: running a laptop as my webserver now, its ideal and the new via c7-m processor is fast and very efficient in low power modes. i actually disabled the system fan and while its warm, its not hot so so far so good. ;) since im not pushing the system (its mostly just serving web pages, with my wife occasionally using it for web and email)

    if anyone runs linux, theres a new program out for linux called powertop, very very cool. would love to have something like this for windows!
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