Zarcon Dee Grissom's Idea Page
Updated 02DEC2008
Home > Ideas > EasyWatch, Intro.
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AeroCool EasyWatch Intro.
What I had been looking for, was a custom build item I could not afford to build.

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Idea#014 Page 1

After three years, I decided I'd get a useless flashy toy that did absolutely nothing for my electric bill or SETI cluster. In the end I failed miserably. I have long wanted to get a CRAY display from one of there supercomputers, and slap it on the front of my workstation. With the exception of Voltage monitoring, CPU/RAM/Interconnect load display, and Direct BIOS control, I got what I wanted.

AeroCool EasyWatch

The AeroCool EasyWatch floppy drive thing is flashy, lights up, and looks cool. It also includes a simplified db meter, triple fan RPM numeric displays, triple zone temperature numeric displays (in Celsius default or Fahrenheit), very audible fan failure/over temp alarm, some kind of automated fan speed control. And best of all, it dose all of that with out sucking a single CPU cycle away from BOINC, or wasting all kinds of power. About the only thing that is not entirely functional is the little round thing in the top left of the display, that spins when the unit can sense fan speed.

Before I start to sound like I've been sold out by AeroCool, they didn't have to, let me start at the beginning. I long for gages and displays that can tell you at a glance whats going on. My Second x86 box, an IBM 80286 cinder block, had five multimeter's, and two indoor/outdoor thermometers duck taped to the front of it. that way if it had an issue, I could instantly tell, hay the BIOS battery is low, or this chip is to hot. good displays reduces the guesswork in diagnosing failure or judging a modifications effectiveness.

The meter scars remain.

Eventually between changing the batteries in the meters, and them dieing from age. I started looking into displays that would operate directly off the computers power supply. They do exist, and them "Panel-mount meters" are ridiculously priced for replacing a multimeter's battery, and killing the auto-shut-off feature. So the answer was either pay over $300 for each single item display at the time, or destroy a few perfectly good $50 digital multimeter's to make them fit in a CDROM bay. "O" and there is still that annoying auto shut off feature to disable.


So if I wanted to monitor the CPU temp, VGA temp, Hard drive temp, and chip set temp simotaniously. thats $1200 worth of panel mount displays. Now I also want to monitor the +12v, +5v, +3.3v, 5vsb, and BIOS battery voltage simotaniously, Thats Another $1500 worth of displays. Way to expensive for a computer, and there is not enough room to squeeze all of that equipment on the front of the computer without the displays reading multiple items. Besides the air intake factor, and disk dive placement delima. The Panel mount displays Are a no go.

Now to modify a digital multimeter's meter to do the job, unlike removing the indoor thermistor from an indoor/outdoor thermometer and placing it on a wire extension for another zone. Digital multimeter's are almost entirely surface mount technology (SMT) things. To relocate the display and boards on ribbons to fit, and maintain any of the digital multimeter's accuracy, that needs to be done in a soldering oven, with pre-manufactured parts. If I had freewill access to such equipment, I'd build the same thing AeroCool made, with the addition of voltage levels.

For the past five years, I played with TI and National Semiconductor chips, in ExpressPCB. Designing all sorts of simple Bar graph displays. Making enough readouts fit in a drive bay is still daunting me, unless I use TSOP parts. And I don't have the toys to play with SMT stuff.

Over the past few years, these drive bay fan controllers, started to actually include useful stuff. They migrated beyond simple switches, or knobs. Now they have fan RPM, and temperature monitors in them, with digital readouts. How ever, they either required scrolling threw a list of measurements, or required software that was flaky, and well stole cycles away from BOINC. What I'm looking for needs to have it's own dedicated Micro-controller that is willing to work all by it's self, or be simple hard ware logic completely independent from the motherboard.

<NULL< - ^Ideas^ - >PG2 (Box and Unit)>

Home > Ideas > EasyWatch, Intro.
Box and Unit.
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