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Author Topic: Low Current Draw Netbook  (Read 12938 times)

KK0G

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Low Current Draw Netbook
« on: October 28, 2013, 10:29:48 PM »
Rays thread on e-mail over radio got me to thinking (dangerous 8) ) about powering a computer of some sort when the SHTF. Obviously most all desk tops are out of the question, the lack of inputs/outputs on tablets makes them a pain in the ass, laptops are at least feasible, but my guess is that a netbook of one flavor or another might be ideal. So of course I tried my Google foo and came up with about 16 gazillion hits when I searched "low current draw netbook". The problem is two fold; first very few manufacturers publish specs on current draw and second; most of what I do find is out of date since any computing device is obsolete about 2 nano seconds after it hits the market. The Raspberry Pi sounds like a possibility but it would require at minimum a separate monitor and keyboard which is just more stuff to break, get lost, left behind etc.


So who has good intel on low power, cheap netbooks?
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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Quietguy

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 12:29:35 AM »
Nobody ever accused me of having good intel, but the Asus eeePC line seemed to be up there in battery life.  I have an eeePC 1005 10" netbook, but I use it as a Linux box even though it came with Windows 7 Starter.  I haven't verified their claims on battery life, but they had options:

10.5hrs, 6-Cell 63Wh Li-ion Battery
8.5 hrs, 6-Cell 48Wh Li-ion Battery
4 hrs, 3-Cell 23Wh Li-ion Battery

Unfortunately, the charger output voltage is 19 volts so it won't charge directly from a car battery, but 12 volt car chargers are available.

I have not used mine with any of the digital modes yet, but I believe it has the horsepower to handle them.  It runs Lubuntu nicely.  Newer models have more powerful processors but the 1005 is relatively cheap - around $100 to $150 on eBay depending on configuration.  Some of the newer 1005s had a faster processor than the original ones, so that is something to pay attention to.

Wally

KK0G

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 08:48:54 AM »
I saw the Asus eeePC line recommended in several threads, looks interesting and I've seen several on eBay for not much money.


I'm not up to speed on netbook voltage requirements but from what I've seen 19 volts is pretty common, finding one that operates on 12 volts would be ideal but I don't think there are many if any out there. 
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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Lamewolf

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 09:20:13 AM »
Rays thread on e-mail over radio got me to thinking (dangerous 8) ) about powering a computer of some sort when the SHTF. Obviously most all desk tops are out of the question, the lack of inputs/outputs on tablets makes them a pain in the ass, laptops are at least feasible, but my guess is that a netbook of one flavor or another might be ideal. So of course I tried my Google foo and came up with about 16 gazillion hits when I searched "low current draw netbook". The problem is two fold; first very few manufacturers publish specs on current draw and second; most of what I do find is out of date since any computing device is obsolete about 2 nano seconds after it hits the market. The Raspberry Pi sounds like a possibility but it would require at minimum a separate monitor and keyboard which is just more stuff to break, get lost, left behind etc.


So who has good intel on low power, cheap netbooks?

Use CW and a QRP radio and there will ne no need to worry about communications !  ;)

KK0G

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 10:50:29 AM »
Use CW and a QRP radio and there will ne no need to worry about communications !  ;)


CW QRP will always be my base line, go to for never fail communication, but the advantages of basic e-mail over HF is very appealing.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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madball13

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 11:13:51 AM »
I saw the Asus eeePC line recommended in several threads, looks interesting and I've seen several on eBay for not much money.


I'm not up to speed on netbook voltage requirements but from what I've seen 19 volts is pretty common, finding one that operates on 12 volts would be ideal but I don't think there are many if any out there.

I've got the 900 series running XP and it does the job. Small and seems pretty efficient with the battery. I use it for Winlink and PSK with a Signalink.

Lamewolf

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 11:54:09 AM »
Use CW and a QRP radio and there will ne no need to worry about communications !  ;)


CW QRP will always be my base line, go to for never fail communication, but the advantages of basic e-mail over HF is very appealing.

I just love the idea of a complete station that will fit in a coat pocket or spare pocket on my bug out pack !  A friend recently gave me an 40 meter MFJ Cub in kit form because he wasn't interested in CW or building a kit, so I gladly built it !  I've got it, an 8 cell AA pack, small straight key, earbuds, and a lightweight dipole made from speaker wire and fed with 10' of RG174 coax, a roll of nylon masons line and a couple of large sinkers to help get the line over tree limbs all packed away in an AK47 magazine pouch that is attached to my main pack in my vehicle.  With only 10' of feedline, the dipole makes a great NVIS antenna and if I need greater range, I deploy the hot side of the dipole as a vertical or invlerted L and lay the ground side out as a counterpoise wire.  Either way, the swr is in good shape and no tuner needed !  The cub only does about 2 watts out, but I have found that 2 watts works really well with CW !

Flatus

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 12:41:10 PM »
I am new (waiting on my callsign to be published on FCC.gov) but I have an easydigi interface to do PSK31 on my iphone and my handheld baofeng (cheap but works well) HT. Aren't there some packet radio apps (pocketpacket?) for the iphone that allow you to have a software based packet controller? Forgive my ignorance if packet radio isnt allowed on 2m or 70cm I'm still trying to figure all of this out. Sounds like an iPhone or Android would be a good choice for mutiple reasons (GPS, reference, easy to charge, spare batteries, etc) for digital comms on the go?

Sparky

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 12:42:55 PM »
I got an Asus eee pc 900 netbook from a friend. It uses a 12 volt power supply.  it is a small screen though, I believe it is the larger screens that require the higher voltages.  Also color screens are the power hogs, after multi-core processors.  It is a slow machine but for digital HF it does fine.  Also it uses an SSD drive so no moving parts in the hard-drive.

KK0G

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 01:35:22 PM »
I got an Asus eee pc 900 netbook from a friend. It uses a 12 volt power supply.  it is a small screen though, I believe it is the larger screens that require the higher voltages.  Also color screens are the power hogs, after multi-core processors.  It is a slow machine but for digital HF it does fine.  Also it uses an SSD drive so no moving parts in the hard-drive.


Now that's the sort of intel I'm looking for, thanks.


Quote
I am new (waiting on my callsign to be published on FCC.gov) but I have an easydigi interface to do PSK31 on my iphone and my handheld baofeng (cheap but works well) HT. Aren't there some packet radio apps (pocketpacket?) for the iphone that allow you to have a software based packet controller? Forgive my ignorance if packet radio isnt allowed on 2m or 70cm I'm still trying to figure all of this out. Sounds like an iPhone or Android would be a good choice for mutiple reasons (GPS, reference, easy to charge, spare batteries, etc) for digital comms on the go?


A phone would be good as far as power consumption goes but it suffers from the same lack inputs/outputs as tablets. Having a real USB port, audio in/out for the sound card and a keyboard would be requirements for me. While I have experience running digital modes (PSK, RTTY, Hellschrieber, Olivia, etc, etc), I have none with Winlink but I'm relatively sure the required software is Windoze only, I don't believe it can be run on a phones OS. A while back I researched doing Winlink using my beloved Mac and came to the conclusion that while possible it wasn't worth the giant headache to setup, I know when to give in and just buy a damn Windoze PC. 8)
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Flatus

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 01:43:35 PM »
I have an Easydigi interface that matches input/output of my iphone with the baofeng. I have been able to receive and decide psk-31 with the "psker" app. I see an RTTY app but not sure if this other app is just APRS app or if it can truly work in an offline/without internet connection.

KC3AOL

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 03:40:05 PM »
Well, the first question is what would you use it for?

KK0G

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 03:46:06 PM »

Well, the first question is what would you use it for?
It's main use would be digital modes including Winlink. Most any other uses would be secondary incidental.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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Quietguy

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 04:53:43 PM »
I have an eeePC 900 also, but I have a real problem with the smaller keyboard.  That's why I bought the 1005 - the screen is only 1" larger but the keyboard size is just enough bigger to make a difference for me.

As far as I know, the only way to run Winlink software on Linux or OS X is by running Airmail on WINE.  I have not tried it because friends told me that it did not work well so they bit the bullet and went to Windows.  The 900 will run WinXP (it was originally available with XP as well as Linux), but I don't think it will support Win7.  It has a 900 MHz Celeron processor.

Wally

KC3AOL

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Re: Low Current Draw Netbook
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 09:56:21 AM »
It's not out yet, but I'd probably go with this:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7427/acer-launches-iconia-w4-tablet-with-windows-81

You can use it touch screen only or you can hook up a USB keyboard/mouse.  Maybe something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/HDE-Foldable-Portable-Roll-Up-Keyboard/dp/B001GC9C9Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383141084&sr=8-1&keywords=flexible+keyboard

You could go Bluetooth, but that's going to draw some power as well.

One of the main things you'll want to low current draw is a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of the standard hard drive that spins disks.