Hardware

Build your own iBootBar for less than $50?

Earlier this week, I posted my review of the iBootBar from Dataprobe. It is an enterprise-grade remote power strip that allows you to cycle the power of connected devices from your LAN or from the Web. It is a very cool device; however, it is also pretty pricey at $485 to $745 and has more functionality than most home users would ever need.

In the discussion from that post, a couple of members (12AX7 & JamesRL) suggested other ways to perform power management tasks like rebooting. So I decided to see if I could recreate the functionality of the iBootBar using some things I have lying around the house.

x10_2

Here is what I used (from left to right in photo):

1. X10 RF remote

2. X10 appliance module

3. X10 transceiver unit

4. Basic 6-outlet power strip

Total cost of these items? Around $50 online.

First, I plugged the X10 transceiver unit, which sends the X10 signal through the electrical wiring of the house, into a wall outlet. Next, I connected the power strip to the X10 appliance module which I had plugged into the wall outlet.(BTW, you have to use the X10 appliance module instead of the X10 lamp module in order to support the power strip's 3-pronged plug) Then, I plugged my router, modem and switch into the power strip. Next, I made sure that the X10 remote and appliance module were set to the "house" code. Then, I took the remote upstairs to try it out.

Because the remote is RF, I was able to cycle the power to the modem, router and switch from the first and second floors of the house.

So with about $50 worth of stuff that I already had lying around, I was able to duplicate "some" of the functionality of the iBootBar.

Of course, this solution is limited to use at the same location as the equipment and doesn't provide you with any power monitoring tools. However, if you need a quick and easy solution to cycling the power on a device like I did, this method works very well.

If you need true remote power management capabilities for your networking, stick with the iBootBar.

Have you put together other similar hacks to solve problems like this? If so, we'd love to hear about them.

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