Author Topic: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required  (Read 1298 times)

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Offline BezITAD

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Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« on: April 27, 2021, 01:44:29 am »
Hello,

I run a small ITAD business, and I'm trying to go portable. At the moment, I use laptops running linux / dhcpd / tftpd / node.js / mongodb. Basically, network booting equipment using the laptops ethernet and performing maintenance operations via the laptops wifi.

I want to switch the laptop out for an SBC. All it really needs is ethernet and wifi, running an embedded linux image. The main thing is keeping the unit low power and running off a battery. All of this fitting into a nice case if possible and looking presentable.

I've done a lot of searching and I think the closest I have to a working product solution is a Raspberry Pi 3/4B with a PiJuice HAT. Perhaps that PiSugar may also work. The problem with the Raspberry Pi, is it's kind of overkill for the requirements, I don't need any form of output from the unit, it's all going to be API and TTY based maintenance via wifi.

The unit itself is pretty much just going to be serving out a 15mb embedded linux image via ethernet for network booting purposes. On battery power, maybe the wifi could even be turned off and then plugged into power for the maintenance. The main vision I have for this is making it super portable, but I'd love if a single unit was at least ultra conservative on the power consumption.

I see a lot of products out there, and they are definitely overkill. The idea of carrying a big chunky battery around for this is a little extreme, then having a cable from one to the other, not workable. The PiJuice HAT is probably a very convenient way to connect the two up, but the Pi's power consumption is a real let down.

Any ideas? Portability of this product is key, having a stable way to capture data is required here. I basically just want to plug it into devices by ethernet, network boot, obtain data collection via API and JSON Curl.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 09:53:18 am »
First you say wifi, then you say ethernet ... there's some more compact IoT boards, but then won't have a chunky ethernet connector.
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 10:29:16 am »
First you say wifi, then you say ethernet ... there's some more compact IoT boards, but then won't have a chunky ethernet connector.

It requires both. An ethernet connection to serve PXE images via dhcpd / tftpd. Then the ethernet will be used for API calls.

The wifi will essentially be for maintenance and viewing the data in a node.js / express output.

I've been doing a lot of searching, and it kind of feels like nothing does this perfectly. You can get the wifi / ethernet, but then it's a high consumption. Most modern units are really too high in consumption to be considered for battery operation.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2021, 10:47:13 am »
How about Shield96 with ATSAMA5D27?

Wake on WiFi is less than ideal for power consumption whatever you do.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 10:48:45 am by Marco »
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 11:37:54 am »
How about Shield96 with ATSAMA5D27?

Wake on WiFi is less than ideal for power consumption whatever you do.

That definitely looks very low power. Unsure about the security aspects of it. Not a great deal of information available on this board. Will keep reading.

As per the wake on Wifi, well, perhaps on battery could even just disable Wifi. The idea would be to perform an office floor sweep of equipment, one desk at a time, then upload the results to a central API. Having multiple devices for the job, combining the data at the end. Integration with a battery solution is definitely the key, and gaining enough hours on the battery to be convenient.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 01:38:16 pm »
For the moment the prices are obviously insane, but that's par for the course.
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 10:31:31 pm »
Any other alternatives to Shield96? Similar hardware?
 

Offline mac.6

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2021, 08:34:19 pm »
if you have ethernet then just use PoE.
Otherwise having ethernet + wifi with permanent connection is a no go for battery operated solution (unless the battery is big). Do your math.
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2021, 11:50:41 pm »
if you have ethernet then just use PoE.
Otherwise having ethernet + wifi with permanent connection is a no go for battery operated solution (unless the battery is big). Do your math.

The wifi can be disabled whilst on battery, the ethernet is a temporary connection and certainly not going to derive power from it for the short amount of time it's connected. Which is why I was looking for a low power option. Been looking at beaglebone green gateway, and adding a cape to it. There was a cape that takes 4x AA lithium batteries. Now, it can function with just two batteries, as the unit has them in parallel.

How much life I get out of this option is another issue entirely. Yeah, a large battery solution is on the cards. But, reducing the power consumption footprint is the most important factor. Otherwise Cubieboard with a fat massive battery. I guess the concept of reducing power to the bare minimum is the projects goals, since I don't see dhcp server requiring a lot of cpu.
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2021, 04:11:59 am »
What about an AR9331 board running OpenWRT?
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline Berni

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2021, 05:28:25 am »
Sounds like you actually need a rooted Android phone along with a linux compatible USB to Ethernet dongle plugged into it.
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2021, 09:03:12 am »
What about an AR9331 board running OpenWRT?

That's a good suggestion, OpenWRT supports dhcp, tftp and node.js. MongoDB? Unsure of. I might just stick to Ubuntu Server / Console / Core. But, AR9331 board is a good start.
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2021, 09:14:51 am »
Sounds like you actually need a rooted Android phone along with a linux compatible USB to Ethernet dongle plugged into it.

Well, I wouldn't want to go too far off the course here. I want to narrow this down into the most efficient means of performing the set task. There's a lot of boards that have a bunch of features that are excessive to my needs, hell, I'm even trying to ditch any type of video.

I have a few options I've narrowed down to, Beaglebone Green Gateway, but it needs a battery cape that works for me. There was some Firefly board I was looking at, but it doesn't have an easy way to add a battery. I think the Cubieboards were a little bit too on the high side but those at least come with a decent power jack and have been tested. Guy claims 8 hours out of a 5700 lipo. That's a pretty big battery, so I'm assuming the board is consuming too much.

Ideally I want to find something that isn't going to require soldering or anything, has the charging onboard. Yet, most products aren't thinking about battery power.

To me, I think that if it's possible for a mobile phone to carry two days worth of charge, getting 8 hours out of a dhcp / node / eth / wifi combo that a) isn't going to always be plugged in b) could even disable the wifi when on battery. It shouldn't be so far out of the realm of possibilities. I think this search has become my entire existence.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2021, 05:39:20 pm »
Lime2 from Olimex had on-board power management and you can plug Li-Ion directly into it:

https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/Home-Server/LIME2-SERVER-NO-HDD/open-source-hardware


They also sell the "Teres-1" as a laptop in kit form, and I assume it also runs from a battery (and the thing is modular)
 

Offline BezITAD

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Re: Low-consumption, portable, battery operated SBC required
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2021, 09:34:18 am »
I went and ordered a Vocore2 Ultimate. It lacks the battery, but it's power consumption is definitely very low. Will look to build some form of pluggable power for it. Just waiting for it to arrive, it's taking forever to ship.
 


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