The “Cheapo” Ammeter

cheapo-ammeter-002Figure 1: The “cheapo” ammeter for keeping tabs on SoC/SBC power usage.

I have a number of SoC/SBC based “homemade tablets” and “homemade server” boxes that consume anywhere from 300 mA to several amps at 5 VDC.  I wanted an easy way to check the power consumption under various load scenarios (GPU=on versus GPU=off, WiFi=on versus WiFi=off, eight cores versus four cores versus one core, etc).

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In Search of the x86 SoC SBC

x86-soc-sbc-brd-bFigure 1The Vortex86Dx SoC SBC board is shown in the project box. Click to enlarge.

My emphasis has been to convert the computing equipment at my establishment to use low power “off the grid” devices such as the ARM Odroid and Pi SBC boards.  Yet, I have a small number of applications which have no open source equivalents, and so I need to have at least one “low power” off-the-grid x86 computer in the arsenal.  The normal desktops that I’ve used in the past are simply too piggish on the power plug.  The AMD64 box swallows 95 watts, and would be a difficult customer for my battery banks.

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Another SoC/SBC First Look

xu4-nondescriptFigure 1: A recent addition to the SoC herd is the xu4 from Hardkernel … (click to enlarge)

Posted 06/30/2016:

I love to get the brown non-descript boxes in the mail, especially when those boxes contain more SoC/SBC investigative opportunities. My gray-scale picture may not do it justice, but the XU4 that I’ve just now added to my lineup is the most powerful SoC/SBC yet …

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A collection of SoC Projects

allmylittledroids7Figure 1: A growing Collection of little Soc/SBC powered computers (click to enlarge).

Today, when I visited my own site, I realized how confusing some of the projects may seem, because they reference different boards and things, and it’s a little bit of a jumble, and it’s hard to tell the players without a program.  Figure 1 should sort out some of the details.  There are two “homemade” tablets and two “homemade” servers at this point, all ARM CPU architecture powered, by SoC based SBC boards.

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The Homemade Tablet’s Little Brother

serverodroidwithbattery1 Figure 1: We’re growing the family, and HT version two is being born. Here it is shown, perched on top of the original “homemade tablet” (click to enlarge).

Originally, the idea was to put a very small display on the panel of this Hammond aluminum enclosure. I’ve changed plans, and it will just be a server droid.

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