Flicking a circuit breaker to electrical power cycle hundreds of desktop computers inside interactive museum exhibits is hardly excellent. Computer systems are inclined to get cranky when improperly shutdown, and there is an non-zero threat of information loss. Nevertheless, monetary problems ruled out professional pc management methods, and manually shutting down each and every exhibit at the stop of the day is not useful. Tasked with acquiring a option, [Jeff Glass] combined off-the-shelf UPS (uninterruptible ability provide) hardware, a Featherwing and some Python to give the museum’s laptop-operate displays a preventing chance.
With no dramatically shifting the 1-touch close-of-day method, the only way to appropriately shutdown the hundreds of personal computers embedded in the museum exhibits involved working with several UPS models, maintaining the PCs briefly run on soon after the mains ability was cut. This in by itself solves very little – though the UPS can cause a safe shutdown by way of USB, this signal could only be been given by a one Computer. These are off-the-shelf purchaser quality units, and were hardly ever intended to securely shut down extra than just one laptop or computer at a time. Having said that, each and every 300 watt UPS unit is really capable of powering many pcs, the only limitation is the shutdown signal and the single USB connection.
To get around this, the Home windows task scheduling service was set up to be triggered by the UPS shutdown sign, which alone then induced a tailor made Python script. This script then relays the shutdown signal from the UPS to each other computer system in the museum, in advance of shutting itself down for the night.
While many desktops can be enabled to boot on ability loss, the UPS and protected shutdown scripts intended that this wasn’t an alternative. To get all over this, an ESP32 Featherwing and a minimal little bit if CircuitPython code sends out WOL (wake-on-LAN) alerts more than Ethernet immediately on electrical power up. This unit is powered by a non-UPS backed power outlet, indicating that it only sends the WOL signal in the early morning when mains power is restored by using the circuit breaker.
There are undoubtedly a wide range of option options that seem ‘better’ on paper, but these could gloss above the potential costs and disruption to a multi-acre museum. Doing work inside the constraints of reality means that the much less evident resolve often ends up currently being the ideal 1. How would you have tackled this issue? Sound off in the feedback below. And whilst you are below, make positive to check out out our protection of other UPS options, like this supercap UPS.