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Thread: Hardware Review: XoByte miniSpark Startup/Shutdown Controller

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
    are you sure you're computers are WOL compatible and WOL has been enabled in the bios?
    Yes I'm sure they are, even tested it before ordering the device.
    Doesn't matter in this case anyway because the MiniSpark is not even being discovered by the XoByte software.

  2. #12
    VENDOR - XoByte M3Sharif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupraDan88t View Post
    Has anyone else actually purchased and used this product - everything I can find is reviews from months back.
    I received the MiniSpark unit and set it up as described in the instructions... and ran thru the troubleshooting described in the instructions.
    The 3 computers I've tried it on all fail to discover the device, the green light does blink the way it's supposed to but there's apparently no link - computers all report network cable unplugged and no lights on the NIC interfaces (should the lights on the NICs light up and blink as if plugged into a normal hub/router?).
    I've also tried multiple known-good ethernet cables. I did test the NIC by plugging it directly into my router and it connects fine.

    I'm assuming I have a defective device but I wanted to post here first (I also emailed Xobyte support yesterday, probably too soon to expect a response) to see if anyone had any thoughts of anything I could be missing.
    Thanks!

    Computer: Windows 7 Ult 32bit
    Acer Aspire notebook
    (This is my first post but I've been lurking here on and off for years)
    Hey Dan,

    I hope replacing the bad ground connection you had to miniSpark resolved the problem and that the unit is fully functional and meeting all your needs. Feel free to post about your experience and opinion of our product so others can benefit.

    Thanks and good luck.

  3. #13
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    Yep, searching for a ground issue got me on the right path - The problem was actually a faulty 12v bench power supply that's only putting out a dirty 7 volts...

    I've got other issues at the moment but I think/hope they're PC related.
    The app from the XoByte website to test of WOL works wakes my PC up just fine but the MiniSpark is unable to wake it up.

    What happens is that Windows can discover and use the MiniSpark and input 1's power state to standby/shutdown the pc but it wouldn't wake up via the MiniSpark. When I start the laptop back up my NIC is disabled by Windows with a code 43 ("Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems") then I have to delete the NIC (nForce Networking Controller) from device manager and reboot and even then, it's only able to re-enable the NIC when the minispark is unplugged.

    I've tried booting up with the MiniSpark attached/powered-on/etc... Tried a few versions of drivers for my NIC, all with the same results. My next step is to set up the whole shebang on my Thinkpad with Windows XP and see how that goes, if all is well I'll probably just buy a WOL-enabled USB NIC to go between the MiniSpark and my Carputer... No one ever said this was supposed to be an easy hobby

  4. #14
    VENDOR - XoByte M3Sharif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupraDan88t View Post
    Yep, searching for a ground issue got me on the right path - The problem was actually a faulty 12v bench power supply that's only putting out a dirty 7 volts...

    I've got other issues at the moment but I think/hope they're PC related.
    The app from the XoByte website to test of WOL works wakes my PC up just fine but the MiniSpark is unable to wake it up.

    What happens is that Windows can discover and use the MiniSpark and input 1's power state to standby/shutdown the pc but it wouldn't wake up via the MiniSpark. When I start the laptop back up my NIC is disabled by Windows with a code 43 ("Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems") then I have to delete the NIC (nForce Networking Controller) from device manager and reboot and even then, it's only able to re-enable the NIC when the minispark is unplugged.

    I've tried booting up with the MiniSpark attached/powered-on/etc... Tried a few versions of drivers for my NIC, all with the same results. My next step is to set up the whole shebang on my Thinkpad with Windows XP and see how that goes, if all is well I'll probably just buy a WOL-enabled USB NIC to go between the MiniSpark and my Carputer... No one ever said this was supposed to be an easy hobby
    One issue our customers have encountered with Win7 is that StandBy and Hibernate can shut down the NIC controller on certain machines (this renders WOL unusable since the NIC is off). Using Sleep on the other hand will leave the NIC powered. We will be releasing a SW update shortly that adds Sleep as a new option for the Shutdown Action.

    This is the first time I've heard of the NIC being completely disabled even after manually powering up. Keep us updated and let me know if I can help in any way.

  5. #15
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    Well it looks like I have all my issues with the XoByte figured out now. What I did was download the nForce drivers from nVidia's site and even tho Windows barked that the currently installed drivers were newer I used the ones from nVidia instead and then things seem to be working now.

    My one question though, the XoByte software puts the computer to sleep as expected but it goes into Hybrid sleep even though I have hybrid disabled in the Windows power settings. I was wondering if there is a way to have it go into one of the "lighter" sleep modes or if a future version of the software may allow choosing S2, S3, Hybrid, etc... - not really a big deal since the system boots from hibernation in about 6 seconds anyway.
    Since I have hybrid sleep disabled I suspect this could be another strange driver issue - this computer (Acer Aspire 5520) seems to have silly little driver issues with everything...

    Thanks for the help on this thread and in emails - I do recommend the MiniSpark to anyone needing laptop startup/shutdown control just make sure you have good power/ground, my minispark seems to be really really particular about that, more than other 12v hardware I've worked with before.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupraDan88t View Post
    Well it looks like I have all my issues with the XoByte figured out now. What I did was download the nForce drivers from nVidia's site and even tho Windows barked that the currently installed drivers were newer I used the ones from nVidia instead and then things seem to be working now.

    My one question though, the XoByte software puts the computer to sleep as expected but it goes into Hybrid sleep even though I have hybrid disabled in the Windows power settings. I was wondering if there is a way to have it go into one of the "lighter" sleep modes or if a future version of the software may allow choosing S2, S3, Hybrid, etc... - not really a big deal since the system boots from hibernation in about 6 seconds anyway.
    Since I have hybrid sleep disabled I suspect this could be another strange driver issue - this computer (Acer Aspire 5520) seems to have silly little driver issues with everything...

    Thanks for the help on this thread and in emails - I do recommend the MiniSpark to anyone needing laptop startup/shutdown control just make sure you have good power/ground, my minispark seems to be really really particular about that, more than other 12v hardware I've worked with before.
    Glad to hear it's working!! We are in the process of updating our Software Application to be allow selection of any shutdown/sleep mode listed in the Start Menu. How your machine maps each setting to an actual sleep modes(Hybrid/S2/etc ...) will be a machine configuration issue. We are limited to choosing one of the start menu settings.

  7. #17
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    Car battery voltage monitoring

    Hi
    Just wondering if this interface has any option of monitoring the input voltage i.e car battery voltage

    the idea is to send the laptop into hibernation when the key is switched off. If the car battery goes below a certain voltage to initiate a full shut down

  8. #18
    VENDOR - XoByte M3Sharif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cham View Post
    Hi
    Just wondering if this interface has any option of monitoring the input voltage i.e car battery voltage

    the idea is to send the laptop into hibernation when the key is switched off. If the car battery goes below a certain voltage to initiate a full shut down
    Hi,

    Our product currently does not have a built in voltage detector. Our General Purpose Inputs need to be driven high to trigger an action.

    We are willing to investigate designing an external circuit that would work in conjunction with miniSpark™ to accomplish this though. We would need some information from you as to the exact voltage level you want to detect.

    There are a couple issues with the scheme you're trying to implement that you might want to consider ...

    1) The difference in power consumption between Hibernate and Shutdown may be minimal.

    2) In order to transition from Hibernate to Shutdown we would first need to fully power up the PC then Shut it down. The additional power required for this may cause even more issues with the car battery if you picked a voltage that is too low.

    If you're still interested in coming up with a custom solution we would be more than happy to work with you.

    Thanks

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