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Thread: Intrest in a Software Shutdown Controller?

  1. #1
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    Interest in a Software Shutdown Controller?

    I am just trying to gauge an interest level for a hardware/software solution which does the following....


    Senses when car is shut off (ACC line loses 12v)
    Brings a screen to the foreground with an option to continue on battery power, which if is not chosen within a specified time, results in a hibernation/suspension/shutdown.

    This would not really be a replacement for a hardware shutdown controler, but rather a compliment to it.


    My current status on this project is as follows:

    Using a serial port and a relay to sense the loss of 12v. It is rather easy to detect in software when pins 7 and 8 of a serial port are shorted together. I am currently testing this with a USB -> Serial adapter and a paper-clip, but the hardware is working in regards to this. The circuit for this would be REALLY simple, just one relay and a few wires. USB to serial adapters are cheap.

    I've written a simple VB6 app which "reads" that status change on the serial port. A screen with a large button and a count-down timer is then displayed. If the button is pressed (disabling the count-down), the program is minimized and the computer continues operating on battery power until the user or hardware shutdown controller shuts it down. If the button is not pressed, and the count-down reaches zero, then the program takes a shutdown action, which for me is currently using RR's SDK to tell it to hibernate. This action could be anything though (I've done a straight hibernation without RR, using API Calls but I prefer to let RR know the hibernation is happening).

    Here is a screenshot of my first version



    I know it isn't much, but I saw a GPS unit which does this (Garmin c330) and thought it was pretty slick. If other people are interested in using something like this, I would be interested in making this better(I used a few ugly hacks in my code) and releasing it, probably making it configurable and skinable (currently all configurable options are hardcoded)


    Scott

  2. #2
    What can I say? I like serial. Curiosity's Avatar
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    That's kinda what I used to have. The only problem doing it that way, is that once in a great while my PC doesn't completely shut down so it's stuck on, using power and the SDC had no way to time out and cut the power.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity
    That's kinda what I used to have. The only problem doing it that way, is that once in a great while my PC doesn't completely shut down so it's stuck on, using power and the SDC had no way to time out and cut the power.
    I've thought about that, and that's why it isnt a total replacement for a hardware SDC. I'm using the uSCD now, which has a variable timer to cut power after the car is off, but it just leaves the pc on for up to 1/2 an hour before cutting power, and I want to have the option to just shut it off immediately, without touching so many buttons (when the car is off, i want to get out, not navigated menus)...

    Scott

  4. #4
    What can I say? I like serial. Curiosity's Avatar
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    Ah, OK. Either immediate or up to 30 minute delay and it will always cut the power. That seems like a good idea, as long as it aborts the shutdown timer if you get back in and turn ACC on.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity
    Ah, OK. Either immediate or up to 30 minute delay and it will always cut the power. That seems like a good idea, as long as it aborts the shutdown timer if you get back in and turn ACC on.
    I actually had not considered continuing a count-down on the computer, since I have a hardware shutdown device as well, which ensures the PC shuts off , yet aborts when I turn on ACC, has timer, etc. However, implementing another timer in software would not be difficult. It would work in much the same way, waiting maybe 30 minutes after clicking "continue on battery power", and if ACC is still off, then display the "continue on battery power" dialog again...


    No software controller can deal with the PC in a locked state (if hibernate/shutdown fails, or if the PC just locks up), that is why I said this would really need to be used as a supplement to a hardware SDC (which can deal with a locked PC and prevent battery rundown).

  6. #6
    What can I say? I like serial. Curiosity's Avatar
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    If you had the software timer, then you could shutdown properly before the SDC times out and kills the power. So it would probably be 28 minutes max. The next feature request would be to run sync software, so it could transfer a few files in that time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity
    If you had the software timer, then you could shutdown properly before the SDC times out and kills the power. So it would probably be 28 minutes max. The next feature request would be to run sync software, so it could transfer a few files in that time.
    Well the time will be configurable, so each user could set their own length of time. I think I would use 30 minutes, with a 60 second "continue on battery power?" screen.

    As far as "other" features, I think I could setup a way to launch another program if you click "continue". I'm sure I'll think of more features as I go along. For now I'm going to work getting the config file working and getting a task bar icon setup. I'm pretty new to using VB6, so it will be a while before I get everything right

    Scott

  8. #8
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    I've done some more work on this and I am at the point where it does everything I want it to do. If this is something you would like to see released, please post here and I'll try tol put up detailed instructions, a simple wiring diagram, and a beta version of the app.

    New things which I've added include a configuration file, a systray icon, control all options are now within a configuration screen....

    Scott

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