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Auto Start-Up and Shut-Down


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This year I setup a separate computer for my strictly for Planet Christmas and LOR. I didn't want to wast even more power during the day running the computer when LOR wasn't running so I wanted a way to automatically turn on and turn off the computer in case I for got to go downstairs and turn it on and in case I wasn't home. A timer wouldn't work because even when the timer applied power to the computer the computer won't turn on unless you push the button on the front. And when the timer would have cut power to the computer the computer wouldn't be able to go through the Shutdown Process

It was simple to solve the automatic start-up problem. All I did was when the computer was starting up I hit F2 and that brought me into the BIOS of the computer were I told the Computer to turn on at x:xx, fifteen minutes before the Show was supposed to start. Once the computer is running is the LOR takes over from there, Once I schedule a show to run.

To solve the automatic shut down process it was a bit more hard. So I will try to explain it as best I can. First I wrote a shut down command in Notepad using command abbreviations from the CMD. I then took the command I wrote in Notepad and put it in Schedule Tasks under system Tools. Then once the command is in schedule Task I scheduled it to run the shutdown command fifteen minutes after the LOR show ends.

Please tell me if there is an easier way to do this for next year but now that I have the command written I think I am going to stick with the way I have it

Feel free to copy me and do this for your display next year. It will be a little confusing if you don't know to much about computers. It was a little challenging for me.

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Hello Richard,

Not sure for the reason of shutting down power each night. The computer doesn't burn that much power. My computer is dedicated to my LOR show only as well. I left power on to mine 24/7 and just had the LOR scheduler do it's thing. But I guess if I didn't want power to it 24/7, I would do it the way you talked about.

Tom

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The computer doesn't pull enough power to notice it on your electric bill. I leave 3 computers running 24/7. My LOR computer starts running the LOR program everynight without me being home. I love that feature.

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I didn't even think of this, I'm going to an animated display for 2007

Planning on a new PC for the wife & re-use her PIII-670 for the show
I guess I also need to figure out where I am going to put the PC

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Well I was turning it off every night because my dad had siad the computer would use a lot of power and my mom didn't like the fact that it was on downstaires overnight. I though it would be fine.

Ricky

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Well I think as long as you have your monitor shut down after an hour or so in the display setup in your control panel you should be fine.

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You don't have an option (other than "other") for leaving it on 24/7. I think that's what most of us do. Lots of us even play music during the off-hours, via the computer...

I keep my primary computer on 24/7 anyway -- I need quick access to it and haven't had luck with XP's hibernate feature. As for the LOR computer, I guess I don't worry about a few more watts when you're running tens of thousands of lights that suck up magnitudes more power...

-Tim

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Most computers have a 250/350 watt power supply

So is the most power it will use if you had it fully loaded & running everything
My 17" CRT uses over 100w
If you shut the monitor off every night (or when not in use) that will save some power

But comparing my PC using 350w to my 12,000w display is crazy
My display will be shut down when I go to bed
I will also shut my PC off at the same time

Before leaving for work in the morning I will turn it back on
That will eliminate approx 8 hours of "idle" use & save some power
But I may just run it 24x7 to broadcast music

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I haven't put a meter on the computer, but I'm guessing it's much less than 300 watts when just sitting there idle or even when playing music files. I don't run the monitor on the LOR computer at all, unless I'm there doing something on it.

If you manually turn the computer on and off that's every day, but I find it a little silly to spend $$'s and time automating it via X-10 or what not when the power savings is negligable...

-Tim

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I think just to get an idea of usage I will test my monitor & PC tomorrow with the Kill A Watt meter to see what they use

I know my TV/DVD/VCR & Stereo use 100w when they are all shut off
Stand by power on a lot of devices is pretty high

We now shut the power strip off when we go to bed
Turn it back on when we get home

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Alot of on and offs are not the best thing for a computer also. Especially if you live in a cold climate and the basement is not heated. I don't really know allot about the automated powering off thing, but what I do know is that if not done properly and a show is still running. (You are testing after the lights are out). You risk losing your data. I would just leave it on.....





--Daniel L

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Daniel wrote:

Alot of on and offs are not the best thing for a computer also. Especially if you live in a cold climate and the basement is not heated. I don't really know allot about the automated powering off thing, but what I do know is that if not done properly and a show is still running. (You are testing after the lights are out). You risk losing your data. I would just leave it on.....
--Daniel L


I agree with Daniel. I am a full time IT. There are two key reasons for leaving a machine on in this category - the first is stabilized temperature. The shutting down and subsequent cooling off and then restarting of fans and hard drives will quickly shorten their lives. The second is also in Daniel's post - the possible loss of data during automated shutdown. The power draw on most machines is quite low when there is no monitor operating. It may cost a dollar to run that machine 24/7 for the season - maybe.

BUT - it's good to see folks being creative in their ways of operating their PC's. Writing scripts to automate operations - pretty good!
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Lets not forget . . .

PC using, say 200w will in 24 hours use 200 x 24 /1000 = 4.8Kwh

Someone mentioned a 12kw display - what on for ? 2 hr = 24kwh or 4hr = 48Kwh

That PC is going to use 1/10 the power as your display . . . .

What we do? LOR ran on our server sweet! Was concerned the video surveillance also running on it may have interfered with it but nothing obvious. An electronic time clock turned on relays that powered up the Dlight boards, power transformers, a couple of PC's, car stereo, monitors, etc 2 minutes before show start and turned power off 5 min after show end. One PC was an AT box so no prob starting that. Other machine an ATX box so changed the BIOS to "Power ON after Pwr Fail" Both machines ran a shortcut to this : C:WINDOWSRUNDLL.EXE user.exe,exitwindows 1 to shut them down

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I just used my Server to run the LOR. I use my Server for playing MP3's around the house, backing up pictures, and transferring files between home and work. So it's on all the time.

-Evan

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Maybe I will just leave my computer on next year after waht all of you said and I like the Idea of running Songs all the time the show is off.

Ricky

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tfischer wrote:

You don't have an option (other than "other") for leaving it on 24/7. I think that's what most of us do. Lots of us even play music during the off-hours, via the computer...


Sorry I was going to put that option in but completly forgot and the bad part is I can't go back and add it in

Sorry
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On 24/7 with the scheduler set to turn stuff on and off 'round the clock! Even with the Christmas display all put away snug 'till next year, it's still controlling the yard light the window candles, sconces and soffett lights.

jeff

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Doing a real time evaluation of my current LOR box - (uses a 330 watt power supply, (which will give me a total max output of 330 watts if and when i ask for it)), clamping my Digital amp meter on the system -


  • boot up readings up to .73 amps @ 120 volts = 88 watts
  • static readings .54 amps = 65 watts -
  • use 70 watts for example - 70 X 24 /1000 = 1.68 KWh x .0602 = $0.101136 per day - roughtly 10 cents per day on the high side using my local energy costs ($0.0602 per KWh)

Thats what it costs me to run a server in my house - about 10 to 12 cents per day. Your milage may vary.

Guess I errored on the low side - 30 days of operation would cost a little over $3. My bad. Been a while since i calculated at current rates.

You can find on-line electrical converts at :

http://www.jobsite-generators.com/power_calculators.html

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I tested my 17" crt & it uses 55w, so shutting that off unless needed will help
I shut my PC down every night. On weekends I leave it running during the day unless I know I will be gone for several hours
I also look at wear & tear on the PC, not just the cost of running it
If a PC is run 24x7 it may decrease the useful life of the PC
Since I upgrade every 2 years this is normally not a problem for my Main PC
But my wife gets my hand me down, so by the time her PC is "retired" it's 4 years old
If it's only run 8 hours a day that's normal use
If it's run 24 x 7 then it's the same as using a PC for 12 years
If I now need that PC after my wife's is upgraded - then I need it to last 6 years

So turning off my PC when not in use makes sense for me
My current monitor is 6 years old, my wife ended up w/19" flatpanel from the upgrade last year. My back-up monitor is 8 years old now
My last PC died, so my wife's PC was not upgraded & is close to 6 years old
It's a PIII -700, so I plan on upgrading mine this year to replace hers

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Knocking on wood, I've never had a PC die. I've had hard drives die, power supplies, etc. but not an entire PC (not counting laptops, which are too darned integrated to fix easilly).

It makes good sense to turn off a CRT (old tube style) when not using it. LCD displays tend to be much lower power anyway, and have a power-save mode that's very efficient...

In reality, you'd save a ton more money by shaving an hour a day off of your display hours, or running one less day during the season...

-Tim

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