timer-control of PC?

I'm trying to find a simple way to turn on my PC multiple times each day. I use the BIOS to turn it on now to record radio streams. I'd like something external to the PC, and something I could use to set several On Times each day. I don't know where to start. Should I attempt adding a relay to parallel the PC's power switch and then activate the relay? Should I attempt to build Rube Goldberg mechanism to mechanically activate PC's power switch? Wake-On-Lan doesn't seem to be the answer as how would I reliably send signal while I sleep? Even if you don't know of something specific, I'd be interested in where to look or approaches to investigate. Thanks, Scott

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gyromild10 years ago
My old AMD K6 2 machine have an option to power itself up whenever I press a keyboard key (unfortunately my current PC doesn't)..Is your Dell have such option in BIOS?

If you do, you can rig an old keyboard + an alarm clock (with multiple alarm setting) + relays..The alarm triggers the relay which in turn simulate as if a particular keyboard key is pressed (just a matter of completing the circuit).
Or you can rig an old keyboard + analog clock + contact switches. The hour hand of the clock triggers the contact switch at different times of the day, which in turn makes it as if a keyboard key is pressed. Getting accurate placement of the switches may be hard, plus you will only have a 12 hour cycle.

Alternately you can rig the PC housing's power switch with those same approaches, but it'll no longer be external

Turning the PC back off shouldn't be a problem since you already know your way with scripts..

All the best, sorry for the rather low tech / archaic suggestions :) electronics is not my forte..
tscottme (author)  gyromild10 years ago
Thank you for those ideas. Unfortunately my Dell doesn't have a "wake on key press" option. It has an option to turn on if AC power is restored, unfortunately it seems only to work if power is removed while turned on. I wnoder what spec a relay must have to ne put in parallel with the PC's power switch. I've got a couple of cordelss drills laying around. I wish I could figure out how to make them turn one revolution and stop. I could easily put a cam on the end of the shaft and the cam would press the PC power switch when power is supplied to drill. Thanks again for any ideas.
> I wnoder what spec a relay must have to ne put in parallel with the PC's power switch. . In the US, the max a wall socket is supposed to handle is 15A. Just about any relay with contacts rated for 5A (my monitor and power-hungry 2.8GHz PentiumD are only pulling 3.7A right now) or greater should work.
NachoMahma10 years ago
. If you have a second computer, you may be able to use the "Wake-On-LAN" feature. Setup your schedule on the second computer and have it startup the "main" computer to run your record-then-shutdown script/batch. Just guessing, never tried anything like that.
LasVegas10 years ago
I assume (perhaps incorectly) that the PC, like the Mac has a setting where you can define shutdown and startup times. Why not simply create a startup batch file that, based on the startup time, changes the shutdown and startup time for the next cycle. This could handle any number of cycles during any given day, week, month or even year.
tscottme (author)  LasVegas10 years ago
The Dell PC has a setting in the BIOS, available only at startup, to define a startup time. I use that now. However, that means I start PC for the earliest show and then after PC records earliest show it waits for hours and hours and hours before it records the later shows. I'm proficient with writing scripts to do various things, but none of those scripts can access the BIOS settings, as far as I can tell. On my PC to enter the BIOS menu you need to press the F2 function key at a time during startup before the OS is even loaded.
Idea (Light bulb above head dings on) Buy yourself a really cheap alarm clock, preferably with multiple alarms. Then cut the wires leading to the piezo buzzer and put them in parallel to the PC power switch. Then when the alarm goes off, it will activate the power to the PC. To shut down again, set another alarm and ensure that it will hold the power button on for five seconds to shut it down. You could always research Thyristor latching circuits if the output to the piezo isn't steady. You could even make to whole rig USB powered.