Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Anything to do with New Zealand Classic or Vintage Computing not covered in the other forums

Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby RonTurner on Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:17 pm

Turning computers On and Off with remote control power boards: I have been setting up a computer room for some of my Vintage Computers and trying out different things, really I want the most convenience possible and thought I would try one of those remote control power boards so computers can be turned on and shut off via remote control instead of feeling around for on/off switches and crawling under the table to turn off the power :x

I was wondering how well it would work, and I can confirm it works really well, no I can sit there and flick a computer on just by pressing a button on the remote, when I want to shut them off, I just press "all off" and a relay kills all the power, meaning my computers are definitely not live! and therefore safe and I am not prepared to go out with 30 year old PSU's live (eg: C64's etc) I seem to be getting one hardware failure every few hours :|

The monitors are piggy backed on the computers power plugs so both turn on together, there are four computers
for four sockets, the PC monitor is for the PC that can be used to play wave files into the VZ200/System80/Spectrum, I wrote the program to convert VZ200 emulator images into Wave files myself last year.

The computer closest is a spectrum (what a pretty cool spectrum to) with full keyboard and home made interfaces and
doesn't have one of those bizarre crap ribbon cables that sinclair used.
Im only working things out so far, so I used Unisys data cassettes as ends, they will be replaced.
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:42 am

Nice room!
Damn that's a good idea. Where did you get your remote boards from?

My main power outlet is behind one of my desks, making it quite awkward to shut the room off.
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby tezza on Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:05 pm

Very nice setup Gavin,

What is the make/model of that expansion box/disk drive holder about the System 80?
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby RonTurner on Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:20 pm

The PSU board is from Jay Car $74, you need the one with an extra "always live" socket if you intend on daisy chaining them for more than 4 outlets. There are cheaper ones $55 that have 4 outlets.

I wasn't sure if there would be some unknown effect by starting the computer and monitor at precisely the same time (like failure to boot) but it does work every time.

The Triple Disk Drive unit (made of heavy gauge steel) was manufactured here in Christchurch, Im not at home today but its written on the sticker, something about "foreman" Rd or electronics Christchurch, but will definitely let you know exactly when I can read the sticker. (there are some of those giant capacitors inside.)

The system 80 was from a deceased estate auction TradeMe (and local) and came with a boxed interface and another interface, it belonged to a guy that had a pharmacy here in ChCh, and it was his son who sold it who is a Doctor here in Chch.

The monitor is a Kaga green screen with a one of those plastic tinted filters in front ( so 70's / 80's )

The spectrum is cool, what you cant see is that you just take a spectrum (with or without a dead keyboard) and plug it into the rear connector and you get full travel keyboard and both types of joystick interface and a reset button and composite mod, the keyboard has a great tactile feel and definitely doesnt feel like carbon pads, ever seen a spectrum with a numeric keypad 8)

Thats the Vidi-Ad monitor that sits above the BBC (duodrive left), I have since meet the guy that wrote the machine code ROM for the Vidi-Ad monitor (Ian Jenson) , but my Vidi-Ad has had the Z80 board removed ! It was interesting to meet Ian and learn a little about Vidi-Ad (he also gave me the source code to Vidi-Ad). Ian told me there where 2000 Vidi-Ad monitors produced, I believe this monitor is one of two remaining in the wild.

There is a VZ200 sitting between the System-80 and Spectrum (out of shot). There is a PC Tower under the VZ200 and a LED monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse above the VZ200, the PC is to provide Audio Wave File loading (even though I can actually load off cassette tapes, and I have a library of tapes for each in the table draws) and running emulators on etc.

There is another Table on the otherside (out of photo) with a Woz Limited edition GS and Apple 2 Europlus, the Woz and Europlus are expanded to the Max, I will probably put a IIc on that table also.

The Woz is Zip Chipped and Ram Factored and has a Hard Drive :P

I intend on making the setup more permanent, this is a mockup (with stacks of tapes on ends) to see how im going to get on with the layout, ie: how will they fit on the table etc.

There is still lots of work to put into it, I will probably add stereo PC speakers and a sub woofer to the Commodore128D and the BBC needs a volume control (it absolutely blasts your ears out at full volume), the spectrum needs stickers printed to put the keywords on the front edge of each key, and the system 80 wont boot strap off the floppy drive, but I believe the interfaces are dodgy (print fre produces inconsistent results).

Im considering on adding an on/off led and internal speaker/volume control to the spectrum.
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby Gibsaw on Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:25 pm

Hah. I had a vidi-ad for several year's in the 90's. Played a demo loop, and had the mouse.

Sadly it eventually went to the tip, as I couldn't make it be the "super-vga" that I was struggling to afford, no-one wanted it and I never had the programming keyboard for it.

Bugger...You know... Hindsight and all that. :?
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby RonTurner on Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:28 pm

Mines been stripped of the Z80 board and the mouse wires snipped off, but I do like the fact it has composite and RGB input.

Ian told me they picked up 9V Dc by wrapping wire around the LOPT ! cool idea :D

It does not provide a very good picture (see photo), when the room light is switched on it seems to activate the phosphor slightly giving a very poor contrast between black and coloured pixels. ( ie: when the monitors back ground is grey then grey is the nearest thing to black you will ever see)

The best monitor every made IMHO is the commodore 1901, pure eye candy. Jet black / black pixels, comparable to todays LCD/LED contrast ratios.
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby RonTurner on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:37 pm

Tezza, the drive unit has CSPE Electronics 116 Foreman Rd Christchurch on the sticker,
I presume they manufactured the steel case and internal PSU here in Christchurch at that address,
Its very tidy & sturdy construction supports a monitor with ease.
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Re: Remote Control ON/OFF Computers

Postby RonTurner on Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:00 pm

Gibsaw wrote:Hah. I had a vidi-ad for several year's in the 90's. Played a demo loop, and had the mouse.

Sadly it eventually went to the tip, as I couldn't make it be the "super-vga" that I was struggling to afford, no-one wanted it and I never had the programming keyboard for it.

Bugger...You know... Hindsight and all that. :?


I think it was programed with a mouse? I know there is only one Din socket and a vidi-ad mouse plugged into that, but I could be wrong as part of mine is missing, I would have to check the source code to determine if there is a keyboard routine or just a mouse.

I am sure they have plug in eprom cartridges and its running a Z80 CPU basically an all in one computer.
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