DIY Low-power PSU for home server use

diy_pc_psu

[Viktor] decided to replace his old power hungry home server with a model that is much easier on the old electric bill. The new motherboard uses an Intel Atom chip and consumes far less power than its predecessor. He figured there was no reason to use a bulky ATX power supply when all he needed was 12V for the mainboard and a pair of 5V rails for his hard drives, so he decided to build a PSU himself.

He sourced a 100VA toroid transformer as the basis of the power supply due to its popularity with audio amp builders, adding a standard bridge rectifier and smoothing capacitor before regulating the DC output. A pair of switching regulators were added, one for the 6A, 12V, and a second for the 1.5A, 5V supply. The motherboard only requires about 18W at full tilt, so the PSU should be more than sufficient for his needs.

Schematics and board layouts are available for free on his site, if you are in the market for your own DIY low-power PSU.

Looking for more build to suit electronics?  Check out this DIY amp we featured just the other day.

[Thanks, Chris]

Internet controlled remote

How often does this happen to you? You’re leaving on a long trip, and half way there you remember the TV was left on. Never? Alright then, how about wanting to control an Xbox 360 from within the other room and you don’t have the remote. Still a rare occurrence?

Perhaps you have a better situation where an internet controlled IR remote, that can be programmed to work with any TV or IR accepting device, would be useful. [Nicholas McClanahan] starts off with USB Propeller from Parallax, adds an Ethernet module making a mini server, and ends with an IR LED and receiver. The code is nearly as simple being a combination of SPIN, Html, and JavaScript. All coming together under a nice website GUI that prompts for what IR signals to send. To make the project even more straightforward, [Nicholas] has included an Instructable as well. In the end though, while the hack is great, we’re still trying to find a decent enough use. Video after the rift.

[Read more...]

Serial port controlled CPU fan

[Christian] was running a Linux box as a home server but needed a way to quiet the noisy machine. Like many Linux servers, he’s using some pretty old hardware which doesn’t have an on-board header for the CPU fan which generates much of the unwanted sound. Those headers are nice because software can monitor the CPU and board temperature and adjust the fan accordingly.

[Christian's] solution was to use the serial port for the task. He built a small circuit in which serial pin 3 drives the base of a transistor, pin 5 provides ground, and a floppy drive power cable supplies 5 volts. From there he wrote a RUBY program to monitor the CPU temperature and generate a PWM signal on the serial port, throttling the fan speed as needed.

[CC Photo Credit: Garrette via Flickr]

Server enclosure from 22 rolls of tape

Who needs metal, wood, or acrylic if you are talented with duct tape? This server is housed in a 20-sided enclosure made entirely of duct tape, 22 rolls of it. A team of seven completed the project after eight build session over the course of about ten days. It’s currently in use at this year’s MillionManLan 9 as confirmed by this incredibly boring live feed.

However whimsical, we do appreciate the build process. Tubes are rolled until they reach the specified thickness, then cut to length on a chop saw. More sticky stuff is applied to the joints and piece by piece the frame comes together. From the diagram laying off to the side in one of the pictures it looks like they did the smart thing by designing this in CAD before getting their hands dirty sticky.

GuruPlug, the next generation of SheevaPlug

Meet GuruPlug, an all-in-one server that is now available for pre-order. This is the next generation of the popular SheevaPlug that features some added goodies. The base model sells for the same $99 and appears to have the same specs as the original but for $30 more, the GuruPlug Server PLUS moves to 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one eSATA connector, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. All of this for $129 and it only pulls 5 watts? Wow.

Update: Thanks to [Foerdi] and to [Phil Burgess] for the pointing out that the hardware diagram on the features page shows WiFi and Bluetooth for both models.

[Thanks Chris]

Control your tree from anywhere

We honestly never thought we would see an internet controlled Christmas tree before, sure maybe a remote controlled claw or online soccer robots, but a tree? Regardless, team [Schwippy] did just that. 5 separate sets of lights are connected to 5 individual x10 modules. The x10s are listening over the household’s AC lines for commands from a server in the other room, with its own x10. At about 12$ a module, the project can get expensive quick, totalling over 200$ for [Schwippy's] setup. Just to control a tree, but anything to spread the holiday cheer, right?
[Thanks Yon]

Server not as think as you drunk it is

server-in-whiskey-bottle

[Janos] pulled off a unique case mod by fitting a computer system inside of a whiskey bottle. Inside you’ll find a 733MHz processor, 256MB of ram, a 40GB hard drive, and a 60 watt power supply. The specs seem a little light but since this mod is from 2006 we certainly understand. Using the right server software this will still keep up with today’s demands.

It sounds like the hardest part was putting holes in the bottle. After a few failed attempts, [Janos] found a professional glass grinder to cut the openings for him.

The whole thing was running a little hot and instead of filling the bottle with oil (oh, how we wish he had) he added a second fan in the bottle’s neck and drilled some air intake holes. This brought the temperature under control while preserving the boozy look of this creative enclosure.

[via Lifehacker]