At OnLogic we produce high-quality, ruggedized, fanless and ventless PC solutions designed to reduce failure points and ensure minimal downtime for our clients. Reliable power is something that many industrial computer users face on a daily basis, and some of our computers even feature in-system Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) to avoid data loss and the other problems that unstable power can cause (more about that here).
While UPS solutions and industrial grade components go a long way toward ensuring system longevity, there are still situations where power loss is inevitable. Extended outages, or applications where a UPS system can’t be installed, can lead to systems powering down. But what happens when power is restored and the hardware needs to be powered back on? Industrial and rugged PCs are often mounted in hard-to-reach, out-of-the-way places, where simply pressing the power button is either highly inconvenient or downright impossible.
In these situations, wouldn’t it be ideal if the computer just powered up on its own once power was restored? Thankfully, our entire product line has this capability, and it’s just a setting away. Depending on the system, this setting can be enabled using hardware or software, but either way it’s easy and reliable.
Setting Up Auto Power-On Using Software
Many IPC systems have this automatic power up function built into the system’s BIOS or UEFI, the sort-of mini-operating system that loads before Windows or Linux. Accessing this BIOS or UEFI is the same process for all computers; during startup repeatedly press either the DELETE or F2 keys on your wired keyboard (sorry, wireless won’t work). The setting, usually found under “Advanced” or “Chipset” menus, is unfortunately not named consistently, so a little browsing may be necessary. Examples of how some popular motherboard manufacturers indicate the automatic power-on setting are:
Restore on AC/Power Loss -> set to ‘Power On’
Restore AC Power Loss -> set to ‘Always On’
PWRON After PWR-Fail -> set to ‘Pwr On’
AT/ATX mode -> set to ‘AT Mode’
Once you’ve made the change, save and exit the BIOS or UEFI and you’re done!
Auto Power-On Using Hardware
Some motherboard manufacturers will offer a hardware setting for enabling auto power-on in place of, or in addition to, the software option. Hardware options in the form of a motherboard pin header ensure that a dead CMOS battery or BIOS reset won’t affect the setting. The drawback can be that changing the appropriate jumper requires opening the case which can be challenging for fanless, ventless systems, so it’s ideal to add the jumper during assembly. Even then, support and functionality of this hardware method isn’t universal, so a software solution is frequently the more desirable choice.
You can test the hardware auto power-on function by shutting down your computer, then disconnecting the AC power adapter. Wait 1 minute, then reconnect the power adapter. Without pressing any buttons, the system will (almost magically) turn on.
Auto power-on is just more way our systems can be setup and essentially forgotten thanks to their ease-of-use, ultra-reliability and diverse feature set. If you have questions about enabling auto power-on, or any of the features of our industrial hardware, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Solutions Specialists.