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Looking for a MB that supports 4 serials and is low power

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February 16, 2010 7:22:24 PM

Hi all
I haven't built up a system in ages, so I'm looking for a suggestion and maybe generate some conversation about low power computing.

I'd like a low power system (in watts) that will run Win 7 with modest graphics and will support at least 4 serial ports on the motherboard. If needed I could start with one or two on the MB and add a serial card with 4 more, but i digress. I'll be looking for a DC-DC power supply so I can run the computer off 12 volt battery banks. (hence the need for low power) I'll be generating the power from solar and wind so I don't want to waste any power heating up things I don't need.

I prefer to not use the usb to serial methods as I already do that with a laptop and it's a mess.

This system will be mounted on a sailboat, connected to SSB Radio, Pactor Modem, AIS system and probably a Navtex receiver. All these devices have serial connections so I'd like to avoid the usb-serial dongle thing.

Keeping things as simple as possible is a goal.

Anyway if you have any thoughts about this I'd sure like to hear about it.

Thanks
a c 248 ) Power supply
February 16, 2010 7:27:47 PM

WOW!

This has got to be the most unusual request for assistance I've ever read. I don't have a clue but I hope you can pull it off.

No emergency power generator on board?
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February 16, 2010 7:33:50 PM

I do have other ways to recharge the batteries, but I'm trying to avoid running diesel engines as much as possible. No doubt some amount of running the genset will take place.

Thanks
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a c 144 ) Power supply
February 17, 2010 8:32:13 AM

The problem is, as you know, that the serial port is virtually obsolete in the modern PC world. I doubt if you are going to find a low power motherboard that supports 4 serial ports.

Googling "serial port boards" gave several hits. This looks promising:
http://www.quatech.com/catalog/pci_express_lowprofile.p...
and prices don't look too outrageous for what is a niche product.

Combine with an Atom CPU and low powered motherboard.
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February 17, 2010 3:30:53 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, they are all very useful. I'll let you know if I find the perfect fit.
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
February 17, 2010 3:34:48 PM

I'd probably look for a laptop, or even a netbook that would satify your needs with a express card slot. Get a car cig lighter adaptor and run directly off of your +12V

Express cards for laptops/netbooks
Two serial ports
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&source=hp&...

Available in one, two and four port serial configurations
http://www.quatech.com/catalog/expresscard_performance....

jsc helped my search.
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February 17, 2010 4:05:11 PM

RetiredChief-

The quatech site turns out to be a gold mine of ideas. I see they have a serial to ethernet device that would allow me to connect all these serial devices to the network, then run my apps from other computers as required.

Thank you very much.
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February 24, 2010 1:43:59 PM

Best answer selected by darrellsmith.
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February 24, 2010 1:47:18 PM

Thanks for all the help, I think I've found the answer I'm looking for with either the serial-ethernet-gizmo or the mini embedded computers found here http://www.mini-box.com/site/index.html

Hope I can help one of you some time.
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