UPDATED: RF Remote Control Power Button

Overall Score

When I was around eight years old my parents gave me a ‘101 projects in electronics’ kit.  The type with a bunch of components, all board mounted, with spring clips and hook up wires.  After building each and every project, I soon graduated to disassembling transistor radios (for parts) and fashioning all sorts of fun trinkets such as a DC generator to shock my friends, or simple optical trip alarms which would emit a high pitched, tremendously annoying screaching sound.  Though I have slowly put aside that hobby, the skills I acquired in my youth come in handy every so often.  Such is the case with a recent query in our forums concerning an easy but effective method to relocate the power button on a chassis.

Though seemingly straightforward, my silly brain churned into overdrive first with an idea of using a wireless doorbell to fashion a wireless on/off button.  Not satisfied with a general passing — could this work — idea, I quickly turned to one of anyone’s best resource, Google (Bing just does not cut it quite yet).  I quickly ran across a site the provided parts for making simple RF remote controls and from there the idea took off.  I built a prototype with 25 bucks and some spare parts, and bingo, a great four page ‘how to’ is born.

Aside from a desire to provide a service to the forum member who originally posed the question, I also have such a need for this mod.  Maintaining a home server has it’s problems, and, because it is a server, it is shoved away from all the other equipment in another room in ‘unattended mode’.  I am often confronted with the desire to shut down the server (avoiding the wake on lan approach) for a few reasons.  One is to save hard drive lifetime, but more importantly avoid unwanted waking from accidental clicks generated by the random play of a 3 year old on a computer he should not be touching to begin with.  As such, it would be nice to simply power up without having to run up and down the stairs (call me lazy).

The project is quite simple, though probably more expensive than a stock solution. I have not found many off the shelf remote controls for powering up PCs, most are IR driven meaning you need to be in front of the PC to have it function.  The entire project can be done for the 35-45 dollar range, depending on what you may already have or not have.  Regardless, I was impressed with the result as the device works better than what I had originally expected for the idea and it is quite handy to sit at one’s main build and power up other systems on the network without ever leaving your chair.


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