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Thread: Remote laptop startup

  1. #1
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    Remote laptop startup

    I'm planning to use a Thinkpad T23 laptop for my car-PC and I'm currently working on the automatic startup/shutdown. My plan is to buy a 12V car adapter for the laptop and connect that to the ignition. That way, the laptop will have power only when the ignition is on. Then I will configure XP to standby once the ignition turns off and the laptop goes to battery power (can be done by configuring the XP power settings). However the big kahuna has been how to make the laptop automatically resume upon ignite. So far, WOL (Wake-On-Link) seem to be the way to go. WOL will resume the system from standby when the configured network interface has link. To test this, I made a small loopback adapter consisting of a RJ45 plug where I connect pin1 to pin3 and pin2 to pin6. Then I enabled WOL on the NIC (Network Interface Card) (the advanced tab on the NIC configuration dialogue accessed from the network connection properties) and marked the box to allow that NIC to resume the system from standby (done under power settings in the NIC configuration dialogue).
    I tested this on an IBM Thinkpad T20 (3Com 10/100 Mini-PCI NIC) running W2K and it worked flawlessly from standby. Couldn't test hibernate though as the PC was running PointSec software that is incompatible with hibernate functionality.
    I then tried this on a Thinkpad T23 (Intel Pro 10/100 VE NIC) running XPPro but that did not work. At first, the NIC driver did not support WOL so I downloaded the latest version of the driver from Intel. XP would not accept that driver automatically so I had to force it. After a reboot, I had the Wakeup settings under the NIC properties so I set it as on the T20 laptop but this time no go. The laptop would not resume when I inserted my loopback adapter in the NIC.

    I attribute this purely to software issues. The BIOS power settings on the laptop are only applicable when the laptop is running APM software. Microsoft W2K and XP are using ACPI where all powersettings are software configurable, thus rendering the BIOS power settings mute. So wether or not WOL works is a matter of NIC driver functionality and so far it seems that 3Com drivers support this feature and Intel drivers do not (although it looks like they should).

    If I get it to work, it's a small thing to take two relays, controlled by the ignition switch, to bridge those four pins in the NIC slot to resume the laptop from standby. Haven't had the possibility to try it in hibernate mode but I guess as it is OS controlled it will not work because in hibernation the laptop is completely shutdown and thus, any OS functions will not run.

    It would be nice to know if anyone else has fiddled with this and actually got it to work (with an Intel NIC).
    ich bin anders...

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate GingerPrince's Avatar
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    I haven't, but I've been looking for exactly this sort of solution for my Fujitsu laptop. It doesn't support wake-on-key or wake-on-usb, but I think it may suppory wake-on-lan. It's a centrino laptop so I'm assuming the NIC is Intel.

    I'll post back when I've tried.

    GingerPrince

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  3. #3
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    There is a difference between Wake-on-LAN and Wake-on-Link. Wake on link only require a link on the network interface to wakeup while wake on LAN requires a magic packet to be sent to the interface. This packet requires some sort of software on the sending part like a PocketPC.
    ich bin anders...

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate GingerPrince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambush
    There is a difference between Wake-on-LAN and Wake-on-Link. Wake on link only require a link on the network interface to wakeup while wake on LAN requires a magic packet to be sent to the interface. This packet requires some sort of software on the sending part like a PocketPC.
    Aww bumcakes.

    Ah well, at least I don't need to waste my time trying to short out my LAN port! Cheers, Sy

    GingerPrince

    Car changed for TVR Griffith 500, so computer de-installed. Using a Dension 100ix w/60Gb HD unit in the interim.

    Carputer Install - http://www.stuffandting.com/carputer/
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  5. #5
    FLAC NiN^_^NiN's Avatar
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    If you have a modem built-in u should have wake-on-ring support u can build a circuit to make the laptop startup then

    most laptops support this feature that i know of
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambush
    It would be nice to know if anyone else has fiddled with this and actually got it to work (with an Intel NIC).
    Great info, trying to set up the same, uh, setup, except with a T20 running WinXP. Post your results...

  7. #7
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    I am using an IBM X21 and decided to get a docking port to mount the laptop in so i can just wire the power button up to a small circuit to detect when I turn the ignition on. The laptop will then go into standby a few minutes after the power supply is cut when i turn off the ignition. All my devices will be attached to the docking port so i can easily remove the laptop for security if i leave the car somewhere for a while. I got the docking port for 20 off ebay and it retails at 350.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Monkey
    ...so i can just wire the power button up to a small circuit to detect when I turn the ignition on. The laptop will then go into standby a few minutes after the power supply is cut when i turn off the ignition. All my devices will be attached to the docking port so i can easily remove the laptop for security if i leave the car somewhere for a while.
    Check out this thread...
    what is the better option, laptop or regular computer?
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  9. #9
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    yeah been watching that thread, but I dpnt seem to be able to get my laptop to resume when AC is turned back on. am using win2k at the moment as thats what it came with but will be putting XP on ASAP and will try then. Think it will be better to have a bullet proof turn on and also a manual button on the dash than relyiong on my PC to sense the power is on again. Need to have a proper play when i have time. Thinking i might just ditch the laptop all together after anyway and build an athlon mobile/opus system as this is only 700mhz and i will need to sort out a decent sound card (I have a PCI slot in the docking port i was ognna use for a cheap soundcard instead of a usb one but don't think it is gonna like it if the invertor goes off during engine start)

  10. #10
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    If one wants to solder in their laptop the RC network mod for the powerbutton will do the trick. Connected to the ignition it will "press" the powerbutton automatically at ignite. I have created a case with IBM for the problem with Wake-on-Link using Intel NIC and XP, hopefully they wont ignore me.

    Another idea, as Nin says, would be to use the Wake-on-Ring function. I looked into that before finding the Wake-on-Link functionality but I never got it to work (never put too much energy into it either).

    What I've found out so far regarding WOR (Wake-on-Ring):
    If the system detects an incoming call (voltage transition on pin 9 - Ring Indicator on the serial port) the system should resume. To do this You would have to do the following:
    1) Configure a modem on a COM-port. I guess this could be a "non-existent" modem as You will only simulate a call so I would just install a standard 9600 modem on COM1.
    2) Configure this modem to resume the system (power mgmt settings on the modem properties)
    3) Send the transition on pin9 on the serial port. I do not know if the Incoming Call alert triggers on 5VDC level on this pin or if it triggers on the voltage transition (ie going from GND to +VDC) but it shouldn't matter. The RS-232 specification states that the signal level must be withing 3-15VDC meaning that You can input 12VDC on pin9 to resume the system using WOR. HOWEVER, if the laptop circuits does not fully comply with the RS-232 specs You might kill it so I would recommend using 5VDC if possible. Also, I would assume that the COM ports on the laptop has built-in pull-down resistors to GND so You won't have to bother about that - just input a low voltage signal when the system should resume.
    I will test this as soon as I get my new laptop (so I can use the old one for testing) which should be in a week or two.
    ich bin anders...

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