Phone Controlled Computer Starter

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Introduction: Phone Controlled Computer Starter

Have you ever wanted to start your computer while you are away from home to access some files? Or maybe you wanted to start a download of a new game, so that it would be done when you got home. This project will show how to start and control your computer from anywhere in the world.

We will use a NodeMCU and the Blynk app to start the computer. After it has been turn on, the TeamViewer App will be used to control the computer.

Step 1: Parts & Programs

Parts

  • A computer to turn on
  • NodeMCU (or ESP8266)
  • Project enclosure
  • Cables
  • Optocoupler (Opto-isolator) i used "Sharp PC817"
  • Resistor 200ohm

Programs

  • Blynk App (on Phone)
  • Arduino IDE (on Computer)
  • TeamViewer (on Computer and Phone)

Step 2: TeamViewer

Download the TeamViewer software on the PC that you want to control. Create an account and add your computer to your list of computers. You can control your computer from another computer or by phone.

Step 3: TeamViewer (To Control Computer)

Also download the TeamViewer App from the store, it is free. Login and go to your computers and from there it is just to click on the computer that you want to control.

Step 4: Blynk (To Start Computer)

The Blynk App will be used to trigger the NodeMCU board that will start our computer. Download the app from the store and make an account. Create a new project and add a button to pin 4 (if you use that pin).

Step 5: Program the NodeMCU With Arduino IDE

The pictures contains most of the information in this step.

Arduino IDE

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software (Here We can download the Arduino IDE)

Blynk

https://github.com/blynkkk/blynk-library/releases (Here we can download the code library for the project)


Add the ESP8266 board to the Arduino IDE

https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino (This is the website where we find the following link)

"http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json" (We will need this link)

Step 6: Make the Hardware

solder the optocoupler as the schematics show.

Step 7: Power the NodeMCU

The board needs power and I do not want to cut open the wires on my power supply. I added a usb power plug to the back of the case to make it easy to supply the board with power.

Step 8: Connect the Wires

This part is quite easy. Dissconect the cable that goes from the power button to the motherboard and plug in one of the two cables from the NodeMCU instead. Now connect the power button cable (that you just dissconected) to the other cable from the NodeMCU board and you are done.

Remember that the current can only flow in one direction in the optocoupler so if it does not work, then you have plugged the cable in the wrong way. (This is not harmful to your computer).

Step 9: The Build in Moving Pictures

I provided a short video of the build. If you want to see a test of the build, there is some at the end of the video!

Thank you for reading my instructable!

Digital Life 101 Challenge

Participated in the
Digital Life 101 Challenge

Hack Your Day Contest

Participated in the
Hack Your Day Contest

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

3 People Made This Project!

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48 Comments

0
TrucM
TrucM

5 years ago

use wake on lan instead ^^ most if not all routers support it, all computers as well.

0
trev.mlt1
trev.mlt1

Reply 1 year ago

Every thread on this subject someone says the same thing "use wake on lan". That is not a solution or even remotely helpful when a computer hangs or freezes. This is an IPMI/BMC type solution that is for people who are well beyond a WOL tool but don't have the feature built into their hardware. Thanks for the help on this - I built this with an ESP32 and it is perfect for remote server power management for a system running multiple VMs and a media server.

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 5 years ago

I actually used Wake on Lan before. I don't like to have cables through the house and would rather have a WiFi solution. But if you don't mind cables, then Wake on Lan works to.

0
joneskdale
joneskdale

Reply 5 years ago

Well done for the work you have done - although readers could also consider some other methods. Wake on Lan being mentioned already - If you don't want cables, my Dell Laptop will Wake on Lan over WiFi as long as its power adapter is connected so check out it yours will. For a desktop that I didn't want to run ethernet cables to, I used a ethernet over the mains adapter and this then gives Wake on Lan to the PC. You can also get a Belkin Mains switch which you can control via a DO button on your phone. Just set the BIOS to turn on when mains is applied. You mention that TeamViewer is free. Yes it is free for personal use but users should not that commercial use requires quite an expensive license.

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 5 years ago

Thanks for your response! After reading your comment I understand that I should have written more about alternatives and why and why not one might choose to take on the issue the way I did. I thought I would put my thoughts here in a comment instead. There are many possibilities to get this working and one should choose the route that one is most comfortable with. The price would probably be one of the main benefits when comparing these alternatives. And one of the main flaws would be that one actually needs to build it to a higher degree than the others. Mains switches and Ethernet over mains is about 6 times the price of this build even though they are on the cheap side with some of the cheapest ones priced at £30 and the Belkin £39.99. One would get the benefit of plug and play with these alternatives which are a good thing. But one will in the case of the Mains switch get other problems. If power would to be lost and then returned for any reason, the computer would turn on. There is of course ways around this to. With the case with Ethernet over mains adapter, preparing and change the settings will take some time in both builds. If one is used to work with routers or if one is used to program micro-controllers might be the real deal breaker for these two. But to have a laptop with the ability as you mentioned "my Dell Laptop will Wake on Lan over WiFi as long as its power adapter is connected" is surely one of the best solutions and I will check it out!

0
joneskdale
joneskdale

Reply 5 years ago

I don't want to detract from the work you have done as it is a very good solution. I've also recently purchased an ESP8266 and will be using it soon. I use the Belkin WiFi switches for some of my similar requirements. You mentioned that they are expensive at £39.99. I paid £24.99 with free delivery from MyMemory.co.uk http://www.mymemory.co.uk/Belkin/Smart-Plugs and also bought some from Maplins at the same price as they offer a price match. My Ethernet over mains were a present so that was a no brainer !! Thanks for your instructable.

0
LelandC
LelandC

1 year ago

I built something like this a while back. I used an Omega2 and MQTT for my build.
I like your build, the Optoisolator is a nice touch to do an isolated open collector switching. The +5VSB would work just fine without the need for the Cellphone charger. I used a BC549 NPN Transistor for the switching. I might redo mine in the future and use an Optoisolator.

0
MohdH64
MohdH64

4 years ago

i cant use for esp standalone why ? cant upload

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 4 years ago

I guess this answer is a bit to late. But I might be able to help you now, but you will have to provide me with a bit more information about what you have done and what isn't working.

0
FusionN
FusionN

4 years ago

Hello and thanks for good news here, I like use alternative LiteManager software for free and fast remote control computers into local or Internet, cross-platform \ Windows, Android, Mac. It's very simple and secure. All the best!

0
DTMan101
DTMan101

4 years ago

Would it be a bad idea to use a transistor in place of the octocoupler?

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 4 years ago

Using an octocoupler allow me to power the nodeMCU from an external
power source (the 5v phone charger), while controlling the computer
connected to another power source (the computers psu). You can use a transistor with two sources of power like I did, if you connect the grond
of the power supplys together. You can also use a transistor and do it
like "kpqowieuryt" did, only use the internal power supply of the
computer. Read his comment for more info, hope this helps.

0
DTMan101
DTMan101

Reply 4 years ago

thanks. I think I'll attach the high side of the on button to the collector and and the low side to the emitter in parallel. I think it would also be a good idea to attach a digital pin to the power indicator light, then map that to a blynk virtual pin.

0
kpqowieuryt
kpqowieuryt

5 years ago

Awesome proyect. Thanks for the ible. Has anyone tried powering this out of the +5vsb of the pc psu?

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 5 years ago

Thanks. :) and for the power of the psu. When the power supply is turned of it still supply power. But only to the big motherboard connector and not to the common +5v that is plugged to all the other components. But if one would cut the cable connected to the "big" connector and pull the power that way it should work. I have not tried this, I don't want to modify my power supply. I suppose one could make an adapter and cut that instead and keep the powersupply out of harms way.

0
kpqowieuryt
kpqowieuryt

Reply 5 years ago

I was in deed refering to the 5v rail that is always powered regardless of the computer being on. I plan to try this so i will come back with my results. Thanks again

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 5 years ago

Yes, please do. I have not tried it myself, it will be fun to read the results. :)

0
kpqowieuryt
kpqowieuryt

Reply 5 years ago

Done xd. I have it actually running inside my computer powered out of th 5v standby rail. So the nodmcu is always on even with the computer off. I bought a 20cm atx extension cable, with a male and female 24 pin conector, and soldered wires to this instead of directly to the psu cable. This way i am not touching either the motherboard or the psu and still getting +5vsb(purple wire on the atx connector). I can even change the node to a new computer or new psu without problem. I have also wired the 5v normal rail to the adc on the nodemcu through a 2:1 voltage divider so i can remotely monitored the level on this rail and wheter the computer is actuallt on or off instantly. Used a pc827 (2x optocouplers in a single package) so i can extend this to a second near computer. I am also thinkng on adding a servo to phisically press the power button on a laptop. If i come around to doing any of this i will update. Thanks for the indtructable

0
Ekras
Ekras

Reply 5 years ago

This is clearly a better upgrade than my solution. Good work!

0
Ekras
Ekras

5 years ago

Blynk announced that they will move to a
new server so you will need to download the newest library and reflash
your nodeMCU. If you made this before today. cheers

You can read about it on there facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/blynkapp/?ref=nf