WeMo Devices - Cheap way to remotely reboot / turn on and off PC

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by Mike, Mar 9, 2014.

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  1. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    I wanted to share the inexpensive way that I am using to remotely reboot / turn on / turn off my dedicated Blue Iris server in case of freezing, lagging, etc. I picked up a WeMo switch that is plugged into my UPS backup power with my Blue Iris server plugged into the WeMo. After following the directions the WeMo came with to configure it, I then went into the computers BIOS to configure the PC to boot after power loss. In my case this option was under Advanced Power Management. If you want Blue Iris to load when the computer turns on then simply create a shortcut to Blue Iris into your 'Startup' folder. If I am unable to connect to the server remotely I open up the WeMo app on my phone, kill power to the switch, then turn it back on. The computer will automatically boot and Blue Iris will start.

    The WeMo isn't perfect but for this particular application, in my case, it has been working fine.

    I picked up the WeMo here - http://flark.it/wemo
     
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  2. dalepa

    dalepa Administrator

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    Sure could have used one of these years ago when PC needed to be re-powered all the time... I haven't need to reboot my i7/win8/BI PC in months... knock on wood...
     
  3. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Cool tip...Mike. Dalepa like you, my BI machines have been supper stable of the past 6 months or so, no reboots required....just chugs along. I had one machine go for 150 days before i updated for some new features.
     
  4. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    What version of Windows are you guys running on your BI machine? I'm on Windows 7 ultimate and it requires a reboot once a week'ish.
     
  5. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    windows 7 on all.
     
  6. beepsilver

    beepsilver Getting the hang of it

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  7. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Good call I forgot to mention that, I also have enabled Wake On Lan on my motherboard. On my phone I use an app called "WoL Wake On Lan Wan" and have ports 7 and 9 forwarding to my BI machine. To be honest though, since adding the WeMo I have not had to use WOL. Still a good idea to set up though!
     
  8. vector18

    vector18 Getting comfortable

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    I've been looking at the WeMo devices for my lights at home. I have X10 right now and my controller just crapped out. I think this would be a great idea to reboot a modem, but if the modem lost internet, it wouldn't work.
     
  9. networkcameracritic

    networkcameracritic Getting the hang of it

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    If you are looking to replace an X10 system, look at the Vera Lite from MiCasaVerde. I use it at our vacation home and it's great because I can control my thermostat, lights, door locks, motion detectors and such from 1 Android or iPhone app. There's no recurring charge, just buy the device and the ZWave devices. I know there are WiFi gizmos that accomplish the same thing, but they are not integrated into one interface and you can't control scenes, for example, when I unlock my front door, it automatically turns on lights. It texts me every time someone locks/unlocks the door or temperatures exceed a threshold. Even my IP cameras show on the interface.
     
    Mike likes this.
  10. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    As far as the cams displaying in the interface, does it only work with specific cameras?
     
  11. networkcameracritic

    networkcameracritic Getting the hang of it

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    It's very crude and not a replacement for an NVR or good app to view your cameras remotely. If the camera is supported it will show video, but for most cameras it just shows you a still and if you give it the url it may work. I have it setup with an Avtech and Panasonic camera and it just shows a still.
     
  12. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    I recently installed a Vera Lite in my home along with some Evolve Dimmer switches ($50 each), one Evolve outlet ($50) controlling a floor lamp, and 3 GE remote controls ($13 each).

    The Vera Lite isn't bad. I think it does a decent job of making an overly complex system easy to use. It is just a little buggy. I would occasionally get user interface issues, like my devices appearing to leave their assigned rooms and all appear in a different room under the same name as all the other devices.

    I had much more trouble with the other Z-Wave devices. The remote controls are absolutely horrible. Unreliable. Glitchy. What did I expect for $13 each?

    The Evolve outlet is fine and was easy to install. Powers my lamp on and off like a champ. Had to cut drywall and install an old-work junction box, but that is because all the outlets and switches in my house are some cheap all-in-one no-box-required style the manufacturer used to cut costs.

    The dimmer switches are so-so. It could just be a poor combination with my LED bulbs, but there is a 1 to 2 second delay for the lights to come on after pressing the top of a switch. Also had to cut drywall, install boxes, and do some not-insignificant rewiring to install each switch. But in the end I think it was worth it because now I can lazily turn the important lights on and off from anywhere without getting up ;)
     
  13. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    By the way, these are really awesome: http://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc.html

    8 remote-controllable outlets, wired ethernet, and an auto-ping feature to restart hanged devices, about $150 each shipped. Doesn't require a smartphone app either.
     
  14. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Good call @bp2008. A good friend of mine is friends with the guy who started that company, I plan on buying one of those real soon! My friend has a few and swears by them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
  15. tenac

    tenac n3wb

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    You could just run Blue Iris as a background service . It would load automatically on reboot . What is nice is if you have your PC password protected the Blue Iris program will still run before the password is entered. This is also good in case your windows updates and reboots without your knowledge .
     
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  16. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Good points! Thanks for the input :D

    I want to let everyone know that I ditched the WeMo the other day and finally sprung for a Digital Loggers switch. There is no comparison, the wemo is a toy and the DL is a tool. Only thing is the WeMo is $48 right now on Amazon and the DL switch was $129. I plan on using the WeMo on my other computer, just not my BI server.
     
  17. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    I almost bought another DL Web Power Switch today when I had to run a second extension cord across a room to the new computer that runs my Olympus camera. The camera and the PC are both on switched ports so I can reboot them if necessary.
     
  18. Razer

    Razer Pulling my weight

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    So, here is another amazing option for those needing remote power control.

    http://multi-link.biz/tag/ip-power-stone-4000/

    I use this for the modem and router at remote locations, but you could use it for whatever but as a modem and router solution it is close to perfect. This device pings internet web sites that you set, so Google, Yahoo, whatever. When it cannot ping a site for a set amount of time it will automatically power cycle the outlets. It will then wait say 15 minutes before rebooting again if internet is not restored, and keep it up until internet is back. I have mine set to 5 minutes, 15 minutes, then waiting an hour after that for example.

    This has a web page and you can manually power cycle a port also, so you could use it for a switch, or whatever. I've also set just outlet one to auto power cycle in some cases where I have a router with an aircard, the second outlet can then power cycle a computer, or whatever you want. These are amazing, I have many, many remote locations and this keeps me from either going out myself or dispatching someone to a site just for a simple power cycle which used to be a weekly occurrence. Just thought I'd share the product as we sure use them a lot.

    I have had a few fail, they are very sensitive to surges I believe. Usually after one of these goes crazy I'm also replacing a camera or something from a lightning strike it seems.
     
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  19. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    Not bad. Does that device have a clock / NTP support so it can schedule its own events accurately? Web Power Switch can't do that as far as I know.
     
  20. Razer

    Razer Pulling my weight

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    Yes it does, it has an NPT server that you can set to whichever server you desire. You can schedule events to happen also, daily reboots for example, one time reboots for a set time in the future etc. You can get email notifications when events occur, and it keeps a log file on the device also so you can see how often it has to reboot. I'll attach a sample page from the setup screens. You get to this from a port, just like a camera, we just port forward to the static IP we set for them.

    Capture.JPG
     
  21. paarlberg

    paarlberg Getting the hang of it

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    I use IPMI on many of our servers, you get access to the console and you can control power on the system as well. There are some motherboards that support add-on cards. I usually use Supermicro motherboards and you can get them on the Atom series and up processors. The great thing about the console, it is like logging on directly at the system and not via an RDP session. I will be putting together a dedicated box for BlueIris (or whatever I use in the future) with IPMI. A great thing about it is, you plug the box in and you can install the OS and everything from anywhere with access to the IPMI. It allows you to use virtual devices such as an ISO, CD, DVD, etc located on another computer.
     
  22. networkcameracritic

    networkcameracritic Getting the hang of it

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    I know you can do that with commercial servers, used to do it all the time at work as it lets you connect in as though you were in front of the server, but did not know you can buy a board to do that. Do you have more info on it. Also, if you want BlueIris cheap, WrightwoodSurveillance has it for $39.99.
     
  23. paarlberg

    paarlberg Getting the hang of it

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    A friend bought these

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V946JC/ref=pe_385040_30332200_pe_309540_26725410_item

    and

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005KSBU2Y/ref=pe_385040_30332200_pe_309540_26725410_item

    The price of a supermicro board with it built in is not terrible. It adds about $50-100 to the price, but it is worth it for management capabilities. There is a vendor in Atlanta that I get most of the servers for work from. They are very reasonable and have only had 1 or 2 issues with a server in 7 years.

    http://www.apaqdigital.com/
     
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  24. icerabbit

    icerabbit Getting the hang of it

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    That web enabled power switch is pretty interesting.

    I wouldn't mind having a smaller "home version" with 4 sockets for a modem, router & couple switches.

    They have their bases covered with power schedules & power cycling; so that you are not limited to manual on/off (modem and/or router down = no way to turn power back on manually)
     
  25. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    IPMI looks very useful. I hope this kind of thing becomes standard in the future, because there isn't a lot you can do with just a web power switch if your server decides it wants user input before it will boot up.
     
  26. icerabbit

    icerabbit Getting the hang of it

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    I can remotely reboot my router, through its default UI, but not my modem.

    People with some home automation box & switches probably have a simpler job of executing a small manual program or scene, where power to an outlet is turned off for a few minutes and restored; then going through programming that digital loggers power strip. It is not what I would call intuitive.
     
  27. TVille

    TVille n3wb

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    I have a BI installation at a remote cabin. The original setup there was webcam software with a Windows 98 PC. It FTPed a picture every hour to a web page. After a week or so, it would lock up and require a reboot. This was all through a dialup connection. Our solution was a $10 timer. At 4:00 am, it shut everything down, and returned power 30 minutes later. Simple. Effective. Cost efficient. Now the Windows 8 machine just runs. It has been running now for 2 months with no problems.

    But, I do like these solutions. The only problem is that the cabin is on satellite modem, and they won't take incoming connections.
     
  28. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    My dad has a cabin with an old WildBlue satellite modem. It takes incoming connections just fine :) But if you need a way to do an incoming connection with an ISP that blocks such things, there are several tools that will create a virtual LAN for you by tunneling out. Problem is you need a reliable PC to use any of them:

    Comodo Unite
    LogMeIn Hamachi
    NeoRouter if you prefer to run your own gateway server

    I'd love to find an easy and reliable method of VPN'ing out from behind an internet connection that won't accept incoming connections. But so far the only way I've had any success with is those software solutions that require the PC to already be working.
     
  29. TVille

    TVille n3wb

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    This is through HugheNet. They block LogMeIn however TeamViewer appears to work, although needing patience is an understatement....
     
  30. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    Hah tell me about it. WildBlue never blocked anything. Ditch Hughesnet if you can and get one of those new systems with higher speed and higher caps. Those plans are sadly not available in Wyoming yet, last I checked.