Posted by: tranquilpc | January 17, 2010

The Power (AC Recovery) Issue

The Intel Mini-ITX (Atom 230, 330 and N510 powered) main boards provide excellent value for money.  But over the last few years we have seen issues with the AC Power recovery, that is that systems auto power on after a mains interruption, an important function for many installations.

What causes the problem – It seems that the ATX standard lays down specific details on the exact timing of ‘power ready signals’ between the BIOS and the DC/DC board etc – after many months of working with Intel and various DC/DC board suppliers no one would admit to the issue being in their court.  Of course if a full sized desktop PSU was used, the issue was not detected, but who uses a regular full sized ATX in a low power, small system, such as made by Tranquil and 1000’s of other vendors ?

In August 2009, a ‘partial solution’ was found, which seemed to address the issue – to fit a 22uF cap across the power switch pins.  This solution worked, at least on 230 and 330 based systems (in most cases).

TPC0105However the launch of the D510MO systems in January again raised the question of AC recovery.  This time a 100% solution had to be implemented, one that can be applied to ALL systems, easily and quickly.

The only 100% solution had to be based on a hardware fix, that always ‘started’ the system every time power was re-applied, without interrupting the normal function of the Power Switch for shutdown / hard re-boot / start-up.

The TPC0105 module is the solution.  It is a tiny active dongle that sits on the main board front panel header and then replicates the pins for normal installation (front panel cables).  It has been tested on all Atom powered Mini-ITX main boards, with a 100% success rate.  (it’s like a little robot that presses the power button, each time the system is powered – it does not rely on the BIOS being set to AC Recovery enabled)


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