Friday, January 29, 2010
Vault-OS, Power Hogs and Expedient X86 Devices
I've now run the PowerBASIC for DOS Sentry program on three different platforms. A PC/104 board, a cheap laptop converted to compact flash storage and a Wyse thin client with a new PXE.
The first two devices are power hogs. Sorry, people but my power supply meter doesn't lie. The first two devices draw between 2 amps and 7.5 amps when running and never less than 1 amp when in standby/hibernate. The laptop requires a universal battery at 17.5 volts. That's a lot of juice for a real-time system that doesn't rely on mains access. Practically speaking, just not practical. This is one of the reasons I have been unable to keep Vault-OS running for long before I discover it has drained the shelter batteries.
Unacceptable. We want Vault-OS to run on anything forever with no more power than comes off the average cheap solar panel. It has to run fairly smoothly 24 hours a day on a variable voltage and current even with programmed hibernations. In a perfect world, around 500 ma would be ideal ... but where do you get an X86 with those kinds of specs? Sounds like a pipe dream.
Turns out the Wyse 1125SE running from it's console DOS can do it!!!!! Hey, aren't you glad some complete stranger on the internet is doing all this free research for you? After running 72 hours off a simple 12v rechargeable battery I am convinced these thin clients are the direction I should concentrate my efforts on.
Here's where I stand on this problem right now. I have to exit the thin client manager into the firmware console and then load my program from a USB plugged in and run it with a configuration file. I am trying to figure out how to skip the thin client firmware at bootup, go straight to the DOS console and run my program straight from the flash card. Including during an unexpected system reset.
When I get this figured out and running, I will put up my first cut of source code up for Vault-OS Sentry and the explanation of how I burned it to the Wyse 1125SE.