PC Power Down, Energy Saving

Reducing wasted elctricity and consequential carbon (CO2) emissions

Enterprise Edition

PC Power Down - Enterprise

The PC Power Down scheduling software is the core component that provides an easy-to-use management interface that is installed on a computer that is connected to the network and acts as a server. A selection of modules can then be added to the core software to manage whichever groups of equipment you have chosen to control.

Computers and Peripherals

Computers on the network are loaded with the PC Power Down client software. Individual PCs are identified by the scheduling software on the server and appear on a list. Once PCs are identified, they can be organised into groups such as departments, floors or buildings. The scheduling software then allows you to set the time each day when the PCs in a group are switched off and on again.

Switching Computers On and Off
When setting the schedule for a group of PCs, you can choose between shut down and power down.

If you choose shut down, the computers will power off completely, any open applications will be closed and any unsaved work will be lost.

If you choose power down, the computer uses the Microsoft® Windows hibernate(1) feature. The workspace including all open documents and applications are ‘saved' from memory to disk when the PC powers down. When the PC is powered up again it is returned to the original state: all documents are open and applications are running.

If a user is still working on their PC as the scheduled power down time approaches, fifteen minutes before the scheduled time the user is ‘screen-popped' with the option to allow the PC to power down against the schedule or to delay the power down to enable them to continue working.

Power up
If the PC is capable of remote wake-up(2) it is restarted against the schedule. PCs in a group that are scheduled to restart at the same time have their power up times slightly staggered to avoid potentially harmful power surges and circuit breakers being tripped.

Controlling peripherals
Computer peripherals are controlled by using an intelligent power-strip. There are several different styles of power-strip available all working on similar principles ranging from entry level products to fully standards compliant Intelligent Power Distribution Units (iPDUs) in the UK this includes compliance to BS 6396 for the "Installation of Electrical Power in Office and Educational Furniture". There are versions available to meet the requirements of countries world wide. The PC is plugged into a special socket on the power-strip. The peripherals such as printer, scanner or monitor are plugged into the same power-strip. When the PC is powered down or shut down, the block senses(3) that the PC is no longer drawing power and shuts off power to sockets that the peripherals are connected to.

When the power-strip senses that the PC is drawing power again, power is returned to the sockets that the peripherals are connect to, powering up the peripherals.

PCs are put into groups that can be controlled by a schedule. Groups can consist of any number of PCs and the PCs can be geographically spread throughout an organisation. For example, you could create a group that contained all telesales operatives and this could comprise users in two separate offices and a group of teleworkers or, the whole of the first floor or, a group of just a single user.

The scheduling module allows you to set a schedule for each group. You can set a simple schedule that switches PCs on and off at the same time each day or you can set different times each day. You can choose not power up PCs on any given day, this is particularly appropriate in hot-desking environments or with field based personnel that do not necessarily need the PC each day.

Holiday mode can be applied to any group, the wake up facility is disabled but a scheduled shut down or power down is scheduled for each day ‘just-in-case'. This is particularly appropriate in a schools environment where there are long holidays.

Open Windows - Maintenance, Upgrades, Ad hoc
Open Windows are scheduled times for the PCs in a group to be switched on and off again. These can be created as one-off events or scheduled to be recurring. Open Windows sit outside the main schedule and are generally used by IT staff for performing admin tasks such as upgrade, updates, install patches or virus updates.

Power on now
This feature can be used to manually instruct a group to either power up immediately.

Multiple sub-nets
If an organisation has a network that covers multiple sub-nets, our sub-net relay module allows PCs on sub-nets other than that of the server to be controlled. This helps to control PCs in larger organisations that can be located anywhere across a WAN (Wide Area Network).

Remote wake-up
The remote wake-up module allows an authorized user to access a web server where they can send a command to wake their PC. Once it is woken-up they can log on remotely in the normal way.

1 Requires a computer that is capable of hibernation.
2 Requires a computer that is capable of Wake on LAN (WoL)
3 Both types have a socket that is ‘always-live' which the computer is plugged into. There are two types of sensor; one detects the current being drawn through the ‘always-live' socket: the other type has a USB cable that senses when the computer has been powered down

Server Room Equipment

Equipment in server rooms can be powered up and down by PC Power Down. A rack-mounted IP power controller is installed in the server room. Power controllers can typically mange four or eight power supplies. If required, multiple power controllers can be installed.

Each power supply switch is identified by a separate IP address; this means that each of the power supplies managed by the power controller can be given individual schedules by the PC Power Down software. A typical use for this facility would be to power down IP telephones throughout an organisation: against the schedule the controller powers down the data-switch that provides Power over Ethernet (PoE) to the IP telephones, this result in the phones to be powered down completely. At the scheduled time, the switch is powered up and PoE is restored. Thin client devices can be controlled in the same fashion.

This technology is not limited to server rooms; you could, for example, install a power controller in a training room to manage all the electrical equipment such as a projector, a photocopier and a vending machine. This can be achieved as long as there is a network connection to the controller so it can receive the scheduling commands from the PC Power Down software.

Other Devices

Other devices that are not connected to a computer network are managed by sending wireless signals. A co-ordinator is installed that receives its instructions from the PC Power Down scheduling software. Devices that you want to manage such as network printers, photocopiers, air conditioning units, data projectors and water coolers are connected to the mains through an inline wireless controlled adapter.

The PC Power Down scheduling software is used in the same way as with PCs to control these devices. At the appropriate time, the PC Power Down scheduling software sends a command to the co-ordinator. The command is relayed to the specific inline wireless adapter that the equipment is connected through and the socket is powered down or up as appropriate.