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Question: Do you have any interest in the board described below?  (Voting closed: March 09, 2012, 03:34:41 PM)
Yes. Would definitely buy (yesterday). - 6 (19.4%)
Yes. Would likely buy. - 9 (29%)
Maybe. Have concerns or questions. - 4 (12.9%)
No. Price is too high. - 5 (16.1%)
No.  I just don't have a use for it - 7 (22.6%)
Total Voters: 31

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Author Topic: Is there any interest in a hardware board which will allow remote power cycling  (Read 18435 times)
DeathAndTaxes
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Gerald Davis


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March 02, 2012, 03:34:41 PM
 #1

Background (can safely skip if TL/DR):

on edit: removed as it seems to be a distraction.

..


Remote out of band power control
There are PDU that offer ability to power cycle devices remotely but they tend to be very expensive and have insufficient wattage for a large number of rigs.  For example the unit in the link below has 16 individually switched outlets but only 5.76 KW of switchable power or about $100 per KW.  Using conventional remote power solutions is cost prohibitive. 
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-PDUMH30HVNET-Distribution-Switching/dp/B0013HY9E2

So why not just shutdown/reboot the rig via the command line using ssh?  That certainly is a solution most of the time but the rig may be unresponsive, the mining software may hang when it tries to shutdown with crashed GPUs, or rig may hang during reboot.

An analog power switch is essentially fool proof.  Power rig off, wait, power rig on.  It can't be defeated by failing software on the mining rig. I am gauging interest (no guarantees, no pre-orders, no timelines just gauging interest) for a control board which would provide remote out of band power control for multiple mining rigs.

Tentative simplified board specs:
  • Requires a host "server" (any non mining computer) with an RS-232 port (USB to RS-232 adapters are available for ~$10)
  • Can physically power on, power off, and power cycle up to 8 rigs (multiple boards could be used to control more rigs)
  • Linux and windows OS supported.
  • Will expose an API for integration into existing or custom applications (like hypothetically ANUBIS)

Cost: ~$100 (rough estimate)
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DeathAndTaxes
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Gerald Davis


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March 02, 2012, 03:51:53 PM
 #2

Well for me with a cooling failure the entire rig could become unresponsive and keeping it powered on without cooling is a good way to slag couple thousand worth of gear. 

So for myself having an out of band controller is simply a requirement.  One would be gambling every second that no rig would become unresponsive in a "loss of coolant" accident.   That is just an asininely stupid risk to take.  So I will be building my custom controller anyways.  I already have an "server" which has no miners and runs p2pool anyways.

Now for other users there may not be a demand.  If people never run into an unresponsive rig or a rig which hangs during reboot then there likely is no value.  That is what I am trying to gauge before I build 20 boards that nobody needs. Smiley
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Gerald Davis


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March 02, 2012, 04:14:42 PM
 #3

If you worry about the water flow, you should put flow sensors with network/wired interface into your loop and detect that
on your supervisor machine.

Pump failure, overheating should be of concern, I agree.  In that case, supervisor should immediately cut the power to the failing rig.
In your setup, you need S/W power management/distribution to control power to all your rigs.  Just buy off the shelf.

apc.com or any other.


I think you are missing the point.  I am already building a control board for myself.  I have done extensive research.  Off the shelf PDU are cost prohibitive and custom networked sensors are expensive and complex.  I already have a solution for myself I am just seeing if others would be interested in a scaled down version for rebooting rigs.  I now regret putting any of that background in the first post (on edit: removed).

The purpose of the thread is to gauge interest in an out of band power control board.  I will put you down as "No. Have no use".  Thank you for keeping this on topic.

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March 02, 2012, 06:37:15 PM
 #4

Background (can safely skip if TL/DR):

on edit: removed as it seems to be a distraction.

..


Remote out of band power control
There are PDU that offer ability to power cycle devices remotely but they tend to be very expensive and have insufficient wattage for a large number of rigs.  For example the unit in the link below has 16 individually switched outlets but only 5.76 KW of switchable power or about $100 per KW.  Using conventional remote power solutions is cost prohibitive.  
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-PDUMH30HVNET-Distribution-Switching/dp/B0013HY9E2

So why not just shutdown/reboot the rig via the command line using ssh?  That certainly is a solution most of the time but the rig may be unresponsive, the mining software may hang when it tries to shutdown with crashed GPUs, or rig may hang during reboot.

An analog power switch is essentially fool proof.  Power rig off, wait, power rig on.  It can't be defeated by failing software on the mining rig. I am gauging interest (no guarantees, no pre-orders, no timelines just gauging interest) for a control board which would provide remote out of band power control for multiple mining rigs.

Tentative simplified board specs:
  • Requires a host "server" (any non mining computer) with an RS-232 port (USB to RS-232 adapters are available for ~$10)
  • Can physically power on, power off, and power cycle up to 8 rigs (multiple boards could be used to control more rigs)
  • Linux and windows OS supported.
  • Will expose an API for integration into existing or custom applications (like hypothetically ANUBIS)

Cost: ~$100 (rough estimate)

Recently, I bought such a device for $24.54 at Amazon.
It is the "USB Net Power 8800 Single Outlet Network AC Power Controller" and it has a USB cable. While intended for Windows, someone has written a Linux driver, which can be downloaded. In fact, I use it with Ubuntu Linux.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Single-Outlet-Network-Controller/dp/B004L7NDVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330713310&sr=8-1

I use it to power-cycle my %^$#%& DSL modem, which once in a while decides to go catatonic.
I wrote a perl script which detects that the aggregate hash rate of all graphics cards on this particular rig has fallen to 0.0 MH/s, whereupon the script turns the power to the modem off for one second, then on again.
Works like a charm.

Edit: I just looked at the type plate of this device, and it says "6 Amps".
       Definitely OK for a DSL modem, but probably too lightweight for a 4-GPU or 5-GPU mining rig.
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March 02, 2012, 07:56:36 PM
 #5

It sounds pretty much like what I already use.  See Kit 108 on kitsrus.com.  It is a serial port controlled relay board with 8 relays.  Available assembled from sources including:


I just had to wire it into the power switch of each machine.  I used some phone wire spliced with these power switch extension cables:


So yes, it's a good approach, and I would have been interested in a ready made solution with all the necessary wiring if it were available when I was looking, but I already have what I need now.
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1ngldh


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March 02, 2012, 09:15:31 PM
 #6

This place makes a ton of awesome little boards and control relays that would be perfect for this. Tons of options. Have a browse through their site, you won't be disappointed at the selection.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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March 02, 2012, 11:09:06 PM
 #7


  For my remote systems, it's always nice to go issue a remote physical power-on and off reboot should something crash.  I was really thinking of how to do this aside from setting up and testing WOL.

  If a simple box / interface that is hooked up to the machine(s) could cycle them off and on remotely if necessary that'd be great. 

  I'm interested to see how this works out.  For $100 that's not bad at all to invest in.

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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March 03, 2012, 01:49:06 AM
 #8

I'd probably be in for a couple at least.

If you're searching these lines for a point, you've probably missed it.  There was never anything there in the first place.
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March 03, 2012, 03:55:02 AM
 #9

I'd be in for 1 maybe 2.  Can't even count how many times I've waited days for someone to power cycle my remote rigs.  Angry

Losing hundreds of Bitcoins with the best scammers in the business - BFL, Avalon, KNC, HashFast.
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March 03, 2012, 04:39:09 AM
 #10


  For my remote systems, it's always nice to go issue a remote physical power-on and off reboot should something crash.  I was really thinking of how to do this aside from setting up and testing WOL.

  If a simple box / interface that is hooked up to the machine(s) could cycle them off and on remotely if necessary that'd be great. 

  I'm interested to see how this works out.  For $100 that's not bad at all to invest in.

OK, PM me how many you want, I'll buy them at Amazon for $24.54 (see my previous post), mark them up to $100 and resell them to you.
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Gerald Davis


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March 03, 2012, 05:05:26 AM
 #11


  For my remote systems, it's always nice to go issue a remote physical power-on and off reboot should something crash.  I was really thinking of how to do this aside from setting up and testing WOL.

  If a simple box / interface that is hooked up to the machine(s) could cycle them off and on remotely if necessary that'd be great. 

  I'm interested to see how this works out.  For $100 that's not bad at all to invest in.

OK, PM me how many you want, I'll buy them at Amazon for $24.54 (see my previous post), mark them up to $100 and resell them to you.

Maybe you have trouble reading so I'll help you.
Quote
Can physically power on, power off, and power cycle up to 8 rigs (multiple boards could be used to control more rigs)

So you going to buy him 8 for $200 and mark it down to $100?  Your a nice guy.

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March 03, 2012, 06:16:58 AM
 #12


  For my remote systems, it's always nice to go issue a remote physical power-on and off reboot should something crash.  I was really thinking of how to do this aside from setting up and testing WOL.

  If a simple box / interface that is hooked up to the machine(s) could cycle them off and on remotely if necessary that'd be great. 

  I'm interested to see how this works out.  For $100 that's not bad at all to invest in.

OK, PM me how many you want, I'll buy them at Amazon for $24.54 (see my previous post), mark them up to $100 and resell them to you.

Maybe you have trouble reading so I'll help you.
Quote
Can physically power on, power off, and power cycle up to 8 rigs (multiple boards could be used to control more rigs)

So you going to buy him 8 for $200 and mark it down to $100?  Your a nice guy.



Please realize that few, if any, people will need 8 individually switched outlets.
Thank you.
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March 03, 2012, 06:24:27 AM
 #13

You could make a little board that has a relay (or multiple relays for multiple machines) that shorts the motherboard reset switch. Make it controlled by a serial or parallel port of another machine, so you don't need high tech network hardware, just log into another always-on machine or a $20 used POS laptop and send the port the reset command.

Here's a page for making easy parallel port circuits: http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/parallel_output.html#relaycontrol



Building your own relay controlling circuits

The following circuit is the simples interface you can use to control relay from parallel port:

                             Vcc
                              |
                              +------+
                              |    __|__
                            Relay   /^\  Diode 1N4002
                             Coil  /---\
                              |      |
                              +------+
                              |
                           | /
                 4.7K    B |/  C
parallel port >-\/\/\/\/---|        NPN Transistor: BC547A or 2N2222A
data pi                    |\  E
                           | V
                             |
parallel port >--------------+
ground pin                   |
                          Ground


Pretend I just made one, hook up your reset switch leads to each machine here:

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March 03, 2012, 07:15:28 AM
 #14

Please realize that few, if any, people will need 8 individually switched outlets.
Thank you.

There are plenty of people on this forum that have multiple mining rigs.  Those USB switched outlets are great for a few rigs, but they'll start getting expensive (combined with the fact that you'd also start needing a USB port for each).

The OP asked if people were interested in a board.  I don't recall him asking for snide remarks.


I'd be interested in some boards if the software was right.  If we're looking for something that just hits the reset switch on the board though, they can easily be built from parts at iorelay (and they make expandable units).

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March 03, 2012, 08:45:06 AM
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Oh god yes dude! I totally support your project, and I'll be the first buyer.  Grin
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March 03, 2012, 08:47:02 AM
 #16

I could make a unit with a web control panel that could be used to control up to 8 units via the mainboard power switch pins (or reset) for about $25 retail. I would use a PIC18F86J65 controlling some FETs. It would be about 2"x1" in size. I have these microcontrollers in stock and can get boards made in a couple weeks. Since I already have a similar board design done the only real additional work involved would be the code to host a web interface.

(The similar design is for my fpga miner controller posted elsewhere on the forum).

Could likely do up to 16 computers for another $5 or so. I guess making long jumper wires would be a bit fiddly though so maybe they would be extra. But I could include a small Nokia style power adapter or it could be made to plug into a molex easily enough.


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March 03, 2012, 02:57:09 PM
 #17

Reset switch is not sufficient to reset some dead cards.  Only a power cycle works.  A reset watchdog board is not anything I'd be interested in as it would be completely useless in most situations where I need to remotely restart a rig.

If you're searching these lines for a point, you've probably missed it.  There was never anything there in the first place.
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March 03, 2012, 04:11:58 PM
 #18

I could make a unit with a web control panel that could be used to control up to 8 units via the mainboard power switch pins (or reset) for about $25 retail. I would use a PIC18F86J65 controlling some FETs. It would be about 2"x1" in size. I have these microcontrollers in stock and can get boards made in a couple weeks. Since I already have a similar board design done the only real additional work involved would be the code to host a web interface.

(The similar design is for my fpga miner controller posted elsewhere on the forum).

Could likely do up to 16 computers for another $5 or so. I guess making long jumper wires would be a bit fiddly though so maybe they would be extra. But I could include a small Nokia style power adapter or it could be made to plug into a molex easily enough.



Now we're talking.
That's a reasonable price!

Do yourself a favor and source cables from China, for instance via Winstronics http://www.winsusa.com/ instead of soldering or crimping them
yourself.
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March 03, 2012, 07:36:09 PM
 #19

Reset switch is not sufficient to reset some dead cards.  Only a power cycle works.  A reset watchdog board is not anything I'd be interested in as it would be completely useless in most situations where I need to remotely restart a rig.

I've experienced this as well (particularly after a power brownout).

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twobitcoins
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March 03, 2012, 09:00:45 PM
 #20

Reset switch is not sufficient to reset some dead cards.  Only a power cycle works.  A reset watchdog board is not anything I'd be interested in as it would be completely useless in most situations where I need to remotely restart a rig.

I've experienced this as well (particularly after a power brownout).

I don't think you are talking about the same thing.  I have experienced cases where the power switch is more reliable than the reset switch at fully restoring a machine to working condition, especially when GPUs get into funny states.  I have also experienced cases where the motherboard power switch is not enough to bring the machine back up, and cutting power to the power supply is needed.  I think that happens when a safety feature in the power supply triggers as a result of some power issue.  It is rare enough that I don't worry about it--the motherboard power switch technique works well enough for me.
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