« on: January 14, 2008, 07:37 AM »
I have an idea for a hardware/software unit which I can't find on the market anywhere. Although donation coder is a software development forum I thought that someone might like to pick it up.
I often leave my computer running on "autopilot", performing various downloads, recording audio or video items off-air via a TV tuner card for timeshifting and so on.
I prefer not to leave my computer on all the time as this wastes energy, so I get it to switch itself on from cold using the BIOS timer and switch itself off again using a software shutdown utility.
Unfortunately the BIOS timer is limited to either a single event on a specified day or the same time every day.
I'd like to be able to get the computer to switch itself on from cold at different times on different days, or even at different times during the same day.
So the idea is to build a small timer module to fit into a spare 3.5 or 5.25 inch drivebay. (ideally a 3.5 inch version as this could be fitted into either)
It would be wired into the motherboard in place of the normal on-off switch. (most motherboards seem to connect to the power switch with a simple 2-pin connector)
The unit would include a normal on-off switch for non-timer use.
The unit should be programmable to switch the computer on (i.e. electronically press the on switch) at a number of preset dates and times. (a two week 8 event timer would be the bare minimum but as memory is cheap these days a 256 event 1 year timer or better would be ideal).
There would be no need for the unit to switch the computer off. There are loads of freeware timer and shut down software products available which could do that. (if the unit were to switch off the computer by electronically hitting the power switch it would cause all sorts of potential data corruption problems)
If the user makes a mistake and programs the unit to switch the PC on when it is already on, then it should not have any effect at the programmed time (pressing the on switch on a PC which is already running would probably switch the machine of, make it hibernate, reboot or similar)
A very desirable enhancement would be to link the unit to the computer, probably via USB, and to provide a windows program to set the timer. If this also included a simple shutdown program the whole thing would be self-contained. (date, on time, off time, specific days, every day, weekdays only etc)
So, any takers?