Lab version of Rack Power Management

After I posted the previous blog entry about rack power management, I thought there should be an option that would be good (and cheaper) for home lab racks. Should have thought about the Home Automation Kit – Turn It On With X10.com! folks earlier. I have used their stuff in the past, never thought about using it for this type of application. This first graphic is what the X10 appliance module (3 Prong version) looks like. This is the module that you should look at as it has a heavy duty relay built into it that should be able to turn on just about anything you would want to have it power up (short of a 6500 series chassis ). When you take a look at the X10 site, look around for a little bit and you should be able to find a special they were running (at least as of 7/19/10) where you buy 3 appliance modules (3 prong) and get a fourth one free. That bundle brings the price per module down to a little over $10 each. When I found the special pricing, it was a little over halfway down on the main page. It is a LONG page, so you will need to scroll for a bit to get to it.

You have the modules and now all you need is the controller. Here is where the PHC01B comes into the picture. You can buy this in either black or white. The controller talks to 8 modules max. Price as of 7/19/10 is $13. In my case, I will probably get a black controller for one rack and a white controller for the other rack of gear that I have. This is probably the ultimate out of band control system since it does all its signalling over the AC power line with no network configuration or access necessary. You could of course get two controllers of the same color and use a label maker to indicate which controller is for what rack. This combination of controller and modules requires minimal work to get things running. You set the “house” code on the controller and set that house code on each module that will respond to this controller. Each module will get is own number assigned to it. If you end up getting this solution set up for two racks, you will want to have each rack on a different house code. You a module in rack one respond to House code A, module 1 and another module in in rack two respond to House Code B module 1 and not have any conflicts between the device in either rack.

If you were going to setup for 8 devices, the cost would about $97. In the US, orders above $50 ship at no charge. If you are thinking about this solution, I would appreciate if you would go to the X10 site through this link – Home Automation Kit – Turn It On With X10.com!.

You are almost home. I will assume at this point, that you have some type of power strip that you are connecting all of your Cisco devices to in the rack. These modules will cover about one and a half outlet spaces, so you will need to look at a Liberator Power Strip Adapter a Liberator Power Strip Adapter. Basically they are a very very short extension cord that will allow you to plug in all the X10 modules into your power strip without having to buy a collection of power strips or an expensive PDU (Power Distribution Unit). The deal I have here for you from Amazon’s website is for a pack of 5. So if you are setting up for 8 devices, you will need to purchase 2 of the 5 packs. If you can find another minor item, the cords will ship free since the order will be over $25. This bring the grand total for this solution to around $125 for 8 devices.

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