Desktopfication of Laptops



  • A friend of mine has a laptop which he keeps on a table (yes, it's wooden) at home. He uses it mainly for work related stuff and never moves it from said table. So it's always connected to the power cord, there is a USB mouse and a USB keyboard hooked to it, also some speakers, a monitor for a second display, a controller and an external HDD drive.

    So I went to his place recently and saw the machine, and told him he should come to my house anyday bringing that laptop so we could play Left 4 Dead or Need for Speed in a LAN. the following conversation followed:

    "Nope, I'm not moving this computer from this table."

    "Seems like a waist to me, buying a laptop to use it as a desktop. Wouldn't it have been cheaper if you just bought a desktop? You could even buy a newer video card if the one you had got old that way."

    "Yeah, but laptops have a big advantage over desktops. You don't lose stuff you're working on when there's a blackout, I figure the battery on this one is good for at least a couple hours."

    "..." *facepalm*

    It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.[/quote]Maybe not for an external one, but did you see the prices of internal UPSes these days?!



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]when there's a blackout[/quote]

    Suck it up -> buy generator -> plug in fridge, computer, modem and/or router -> play games, eat food for hours on end in the dark

     



  • Internal UPS? ... I had no idea such a thing existed for consumer desktops!

    A few people I know have also desktopified their laptops. When pressed to explain, they usually end up saying something like "just in case we need to move around with it" or something. It's not like desktops are unmovable objects. Whatev.



  • Wait, who's Renan? Why are you stealing other posters' icons!?



  • [...]Seems like a waist to me, buying a laptop [...]







  • @blakeyrat said:

    Wait, who's Renan? Why are you stealing other posters' icons!?
     

    Formerly Renan "C#" Sousa. ūüôā



  • The fact that he said this:

    @Renan said:

    "You don't lose stuff you're working on when there's a blackout,"
     

    And you responded in earnest with this:

    @Renan said:

    It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.

    ...leads me to believe the Brazilian power grid is goddamn flakey?

     

     



  • ¬†Continuously on powercord -> the battery will probably be out of order within 6 months.



  • @tchize said:

     Continuously on powercord -> the battery will probably be out of order within 6 months.

    I can vouch for this.

    At least it's still got enough capacity for getting out of the toilet.

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @TsukikoRain said:

     

    Suck it up -> buy generator -> plug in fridge, computer, modem and/or router -> play games, eat food for hours on end in the dark

    You STILL end up needing a UPS unless you can afford an instant-cutover panel with a battery backup to power everything while the generator starts (or you can afford the diesel bills to idle the generator at all times - then you only need the instant-cutover panel)



  • @Weng said:

    You STILL end up needing a UPS unless you can afford an instant-cutover panel with a battery backup to power everything while the generator starts (or you can afford the diesel bills to idle the generator at all times - then you only need the instant-cutover panel)

    We had one at the hospital. They tested it monthly, and each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building. So... keep extra PSUs handy if you go that route.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Weng said:
    You STILL end up needing a UPS unless you can afford an instant-cutover panel with a battery backup to power everything while the generator starts (or you can afford the diesel bills to idle the generator at all times - then you only need the instant-cutover panel)

    We had one at the hospital. They tested it monthly, and each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building. So... keep extra PSUs handy if you go that route.

    Or install a bigassed power conditioner after the cutover panel, which is good enterprise practice anyway.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building.

    And here I thought that was just our generator that had a taste for destroying batteries and popping power supplies.  Glad to know I'm not the only one.  (Am I really glad?  I think I am...)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Weng said:
    You STILL end up needing a UPS unless you can afford an instant-cutover panel with a battery backup to power everything while the generator starts (or you can afford the diesel bills to idle the generator at all times - then you only need the instant-cutover panel)

    We had one at the hospital. They tested it monthly, and each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building. So... keep extra PSUs handy if you go that route.

    If the evergreening cycle of your equipment is 5 years, the timeline works beautifully. Even better, the generator is choosing the devices that need to be replaced first, so you save time (and avoid internal feuds). On paper, this looks optimal.



  • @thistooshallpass said:

    If the evergreening cycle of your equipment is 5 years, the timeline works beautifully. Even better, the generator is choosing the devices that need to be replaced first, so you save time (and avoid internal feuds). On paper, this looks optimal.

    We just replaced the PSUs, and put the computers back in service.

    For awhile we bought more expensive PSUs, on the theory that they would be able to handle the generator tests-- nope! They failed at about the exact same rate.



  • @tchize said:

     Continuously on powercord -> the battery will probably be out of order within 6 months.

     

    Or you let the battery discharge, plug it back into the wall, recharge, unplug, etc.. and the batteryw ill probably be ut of order within 6 months.

    In conclusion, laptop batteries blow spleens.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Nook Schreier said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building.

    And here I thought that was just our generator that had a taste for destroying batteries and popping power supplies.  Glad to know I'm not the only one.  (Am I really glad?  I think I am...)

    Essentially, the problem is that your live cutover is connecting both inputs together briefly. The backup-power is likely not in phase with the mains power, meaning you get a cycle or two with BOTH power systems online. This makes power supplies go kaboom. This is why you need a power conditioner. Incidentally, you'd see substantially less damage if the mains actually went out (i.e. they were doing the testing by yanking the mains cutoff) than using the cutover panel's self test. It would also be a much more realistic test. Of course, there are dangers inherent in disconnecting the mains to a large power hungry building, too. Arcing across the switch, for instance.



  • Bleh, just run a desk fan on the primary power pushing a balloon with a weight on it up a slope, so when power fails the fan stops and the weight slides down the slope, where the terminals to the backup are open to the air and the circuit is closed by the weight.



    Doubles as a defibrillator, too, which in a hospital, is a great way to save on equipment.

    So why is this called the Rube Goldberg Ward again?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    [quote user="Weng"]You STILL end up needing a UPS unless you can afford an instant-cutover panel with a battery backup to power everything while the generator starts (or you can afford the diesel bills to idle the generator at all times - then you only need the instant-cutover panel)

    We had one at the hospital. They tested it monthly, and each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building. So... keep extra PSUs handy if you go that route.[/quote]

    @Nook Schreier said:

    [quote user="blakeyrat"]each test it killed 2-4 PSUs out of the 250 or so in the building.

    And here I thought that was just our generator that had a taste for destroying batteries and popping power supplies.  Glad to know I'm not the only one.  (Am I really glad?  I think I am...)

    [/quote]

    Huh. You know, ours never does that, though we have found that our generator has a habit of starting up then making loud noises and shutting down again. And/or destroying the lift motors. We're pretty sure they only test it to prove that it still doesn't work.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Wait, who's Renan? Why are you stealing other posters' icons!?

    I hope it was not the changing of my nick that caused CS to stop working for some time yesterday.

    @dhromed said:

    The fact that he said this:

    @Renan said:

    "You don't lose stuff you're working on when there's a blackout,"
     

    And you responded in earnest with this:

    @Renan said:

    It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.

    ...leads me to believe the Brazilian power grid is goddamn flakey?

     

     

    The power grid is one of the most stable in the world, but OTOH it's got some really funny quirks. I live in the only place in the world where the polar lights over Antarctica can cause cause a blackout in tropical latitudes while keeping the grid parts closer to the pole untouched. I've spent sleepless weeks trying to understand it.



  • @tchize said:

     Continuously on powercord -> the battery will probably be out of order within 6 months.


    Most notebooks have Lithium batteries and those prefer to be always kept charged. So if it's continuously on power chord, the battery will probably be in better condition than if it wasn't. Lithium batteries are not known for their long life in general though.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @thistooshallpass said:
    If the evergreening cycle of your equipment is 5 years, the timeline works beautifully. Even better, the generator is choosing the devices that need to be replaced first, so you save time (and avoid internal feuds). On paper, this looks optimal.

    We just replaced the PSUs, and put the computers back in service.

    For awhile we bought more expensive PSUs, on the theory that they would be able to handle the generator tests-- nope! They failed at about the exact same rate.

     

    Remind me not to let you debug any of my systems - since a number of different UPS blow, it might make sense to look at the generator power conditioning first??

     



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.

    Maybe not for an external one, but did you see the prices of internal UPSes these days?!

    [/quote] 

     

    Reminded me of when we had these:

    http://www.recycledgoods.com/products/Emerson-UPS-PC188-1-PB188-1-AccuCard.html

     

     



  • @Bulb said:

    So if it's continuously on power chord, the battery will probably be in better condition than if it wasn't.
     

    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/28cd3s7.png[/IMG]

     



  • @nexekho said:

    Bleh, just run a desk fan on the primary power pushing a balloon with a weight on it up a slope, so when power fails the fan stops and the weight slides down the slope, where the terminals to the backup are open to the air and the circuit is closed by the weight.



    Doubles as a defibrillator, too, which in a hospital, is a great way to save on equipment.

    So why is this called the Rube Goldberg Ward again?

    You may think you're joking, but that principal is actually similar one of the ways wind turbine power generators can work in low wind regions.

    Those types of generators work best with gusts of wind, rather than slow wind even if constant. So one solution is to gear the slow wind rotation into a mechanically advantaged ratcheting crank that (for example) lifts a heavy load up the turbine's tower. Once at the top, the the gears reverse and the load drops, causing a quick gust-like turn of the turbine.

    UNFORTUNATELY I forget what this technique is called and Googling it is coming up with too much noise.



  • ¬†Addressing my curiousity, can anyone give a technical explanation for generators killing UPSes?



  • Did someone say looping power chord with the seventh an E?

    [url]http://www.supload.com/listen?s=ZIm9NS[/url]



  • @Master Chief said:

     Addressing my curiousity, can anyone give a technical explanation for generators killing UPSes?


    Someone said it earlier; most power supplies are built around the concept of a single, perfect 50/60Hz sine wave at a varying voltage/etc. and when you switch to another AC power supply without using a conditioner to ensure the output is correct, the wave might suddenly jolt or start going the other way from the perspective of the power supply and if both are engaged at once without being synchronous or conditioned, you might have them cause all kinds of weird interference. It almost certainly won't be a very nice sine.



    EDIT: just put together a quick Falstad demo (Google it, it's free, and EPIC) to demonstrate. one of the AC inputs has a phase offset (it's slightly behind the other) and when it's connected up the wave change is pretty destructive to anything not expecting it.

    [img]http://i.imgur.com/4PrPw.png[/img]

    Also, can we PLEASE have some proper fucking newlines for this board, tired of having to edit my posts and put breaks in by hand.



  • Am I the only one who finds it incredibly stupid that a device that exists solely to handle fluctuations and failures in a power system cannot handle fluctuations and failures in a power system?



  • The power grid is designed to be highly reliable in terms of the AC sinewave. The power supplies are very capable of working over a variety of loads and input voltages and are designed to fail instead of destroying what they're connected to. PC PSUs are meant to be ran on AC from the power grid. This problem is very rare in properly designed systems and likely is not a priority for PSU manufacturers.



  • @Helix said:

    Remind me not to let you debug any of my systems - since a number of different UPS blow, it might make sense to look at the generator power conditioning first??

    Actually I wager it was a lot cheaper to replace 2-4 PSUs a month. The expense of the PSU is nothing compared to the labor, and the labor is probably nothing compared to having a contractor come out and inspect the generator every month. Added to that, none of the desktop PCs affected were priority, the actual medical equipment didn't have an issue. Nobody's going to die if a billing workstation is dead for a few hours, especially when it's right next to 4 other ones. And if the computer was important, it was already behind a UPS which solved the issue.

    Plus you can look at it like some kind of Darwinian survival of the fittest PSU! We should have labeled them and kept track, damn, missed opportunity.

    @Master Chief said:

    Addressing my curiousity, can anyone give a technical explanation for generators killing UPSes?

    Did anybody mention that? I think we're all talking about them killing PSUs. (At least, in my case, none of the computers behind UPSes had issues.)

    @Master Chief said:

    Am I the only one who finds it incredibly stupid that a device that exists solely to handle fluctuations and failures in a power system cannot handle fluctuations and failures in a power system?

    But... but... but... UPSes can handle it. It's the PSUs (which don't exist "solely to handle fluctuations and failures in a power system" (well, ok, fluctuations to a certain extent) which have issues.



  • @nexekho said:

    @Master Chief said:

     Addressing my curiousity, can anyone give a technical explanation for generators killing UPSes?

    Someone said it earlier; most power supplies are built around the concept of a single, perfect 50/60Hz sine wave at a varying voltage/etc. and when you switch to another AC power supply without using a conditioner to ensure the output is correct, the wave might suddenly jolt or start going the other way from the perspective of the power supply and if both are engaged at once without being synchronous or conditioned, you might have them cause all kinds of weird interference. It almost certainly won't be a very nice sine.
    Some input smoothing and a decent capacitor in the output stage of the power supply will take care of it, but the best way to stop UPSes from eating power supplies is to buy on-line UPSes instead of standby UPSes.  It's easier than trying to figure out if you power supply is tolerant enough to handle a phase mismatch.

    BTW, most UPSes don't have a very pretty output wave shape.  Some cheap ones produce square wave output.



  • Ugh. I completely flipped the PSU and UPS mentions in this thread. Please disregard my other comments. facepalm



  • @nexekho said:

    Falstad
     

    Falstad is the shit. Yez.

    @nexekho said:

    Also, can we PLEASE have some proper fucking newlines for this board, tired of having to edit my posts and put breaks in by hand.

    Don't use Chrome.

     





  • @Renan said:

    A friend of mine has a laptop which he keeps on a table (yes, it's wooden) at home. He uses it mainly for work related stuff and never moves it from said table. So it's always connected to the power cord, there is a USB mouse and a USB keyboard hooked to it, also some speakers, a monitor for a second display, a controller and an external HDD drive.
    Several months ago, I bought a laptop.  It's pretty powerful (as laptops go) and I got it at a really good price.  At the time, I had the idea that I would carry it around with me all the time.  But, it turns out that I really don't need/want a computer with me all the time.  Not to mention some of the keys are in weird places and that touchpad thingy that you have to use for a mouse really sucks shit.  So it spends about 75-80% of the time sitting on my big (wooden) desk connected to a 24 inch monitor, a real mouse and keyboard and a 2 Terabyte external hard drive.  For things like video encoding its at least 4-5 times faster than my 4 year old desktop, and that makes it all worthwhile as far as I'm concerned.



  • @nexekho said:

    @dhromed said:
    Don't use Chrome.

    Am using Opera.
     

    I knew that was you!!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRMBxnxWiNQ



  • @Bulb said:

    Most notebooks have Lithium batteries and those prefer to be always kept charged.
    Actually, lithium batteries last the longest if they're kept around 40~60% charge, and in a cool place. Being fully charged or fully discharged will kill them the fastest (so if you know you won't be using the battery for a while, first discharge it fully and recharge it to calibrate the meter, then discharge it to slightly more than half, and put it in your fridge [not freezer]).



  • @dhromed said:

    The fact that he said this:

    @Renan said:

    "You don't lose stuff you're working on when there's a blackout,"
     

    And you responded in earnest with this:

    @Renan said:

    It's not like a UPS is really expensive, you know.

    ...leads me to believe the Brazilian power grid is goddamn flakey?

     

     

    I live in Mexico City, where the power grid was already flakey before the Federal Government went on and killed Central Power & Light, which served the power grid for the whole area. My Catalyst 2950 is the one thing that will tell me if any recent blackouts have occurred. Fortunately, it seems to be more of an oddity these days, as I've had only one this month, which is pretty good given that we usually get frequent blackouts every time it rains.

    Its been raining all week.

    Oh, and I used to have a UPS, but it just couldn't cope with a rash of blackouts last year, so now my only reliable computer is my company provided laptop.

     



  • Our company has recently built a new office in Brisbane that will house many business units currently spread around the city in different buildings.¬† They wanted to get a 6-star environmental rating for the building because, you know, 6 stars¬†is better than 5 stars.¬† It turns out that one of the requirements of that rating is that nobody is allowed a desktop on their desk. A laptop uses less power than a desktop - a 90w power brick is obviously going to consume less power than a 300w PSU, even if half that power is just heating up the battery and shortening its life.

    For the guys that actually do some serious number-crunching and 3D CAD work this is a problem. As each business unit relocates into the new building, we've been asked to take their desktops and hide them in server rooms in other buildings around the country so that the number-crunching can continue at the same speed as before.

    Just another swing in the client-server cycle.



  • @Qwerty said:

    Just another swing in the client-server cycle.

    No, that's just your one company being idiots.


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