Power up laptop with lid closed

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
I have 4 IBM ThinkPads (T21). The power button is under the lid so
that I have to open the lid to turn on the laptop. But my problem is
that I can't open the lid because I've stacked these laptops in a box.
Tonight I tried to bring somehow the power button outside of the
laptop. Unfortunately the power button is part of the keyboard which I
can't open.

Does anyone have an idea how I can work it to power up the laptops
without opening the lids? I'm thinking about a solution to add to
wires which I can connect to do the same as pressing the power button.

Any help is very appreciated

Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

Stefan Mueller wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
You didn't ask, so I assume you've figured out all the cooling issues.

There are also lots of issues about what happens when you close the lid.
Usually, they're configurable.  Make sure that all works before you
invest too much in the switch solution.

It's possible that the power switch hooks directly to the keyboard
A little poking with an ohm-meter might divulge which pins to short.

There's an ethernet function that allows you to turn on a system
by sending a magic packet to it.  I've used it on a desktop.
You'll have to check the bios to see if your laptop has that function.

Some systems will automatically reboot after power failure.  Check bios
for something like that.

Have you considered low-tech solutions?  Something glued or wedged
such that the switch gets mashed when you pull on a string or twist a
wire with a bump on the end?

Return address is VALID!

Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

Stefan Mueller typed on Sat, 26 Jan 2008 18:30:15 -0800 (PST):
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I had the same idea. I have two Toshiba 2595XDVD ('99 era) and two
Gateway MX6124 ('06 era) laptops. Hook them all to a KVM switch and have
4 computers to access. Mount them on a home made rack. Although what I
quickly discovered was running closed laptops gets really hot. So that
killed the whole idea.

So I would test the heat issue before you go any further. It seems to me
that laptops are not designed to run with the lid closed. As the heat
build up is tremendous. Anyway good luck on your project. :-)

email: change kom to com

Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

BillW50 wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
One possibility is to physically remove the lid/display and blow air
across the space.
Networks are getting fast enough that you can use VNC and eliminate the
KVM switch.

Depending on why you need multiple computers and whether you need
specific hardware support, emulation can be used.
Since I discovered VirtualPC, I took out all the redundant hardware.
The only time I need separate hardware is when I need hardware support
for something not emulated in VirtualPC.  I can run linux and Win2K
emulated simultaneously on an XP system.  There's a lot to be said for the
ability to cut text out of one OS instance and paste it into another.

Return address is VALID!

Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

mike typed on Sun, 27 Jan 2008 15:18:09 GMT:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

That is a good thought Mike. But I believe in buying cheap and to buy
more often. Plus I believe in purchasing the same make and model for
backup purposes. Thus I can swap out the hard drives and I am back in
business in less than 60 seconds. Plus the spare allows me to have more
processing power as well.

I have tried VNC software like Remote Desktop Control
(http://www.remote-desktop-control.com /) and it is okay for web pages
and email and the like, but not for video streaming and stuff. Otherwise
I like it a lot. Plus there are just some stuff you can't do well under
these conditions.

Things like VirtualPC and Remote Desktop Control hits the PC processor
pretty hard. And with me buying cheap like Celeron M processors... the
PC can easily bog down. Thus KVM switch seems like the solution to me in
my case, don't you think? Most of the time the CPU use is nil anyway for
what I do. Thus occasionally I need a bit more power and thus fire up
another laptop. :)

email: change kom to com

Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

First of all thanks a lot for all your replies.
I'll try to cover all your replies/solutions.

Hmmm, I haven't really thought about the cooling. Like mentioned I've
4 IBM ThinkPads (T21) stacked in a box. This box has two fans.
Nevertheless, the laptops and especially the power supplies get quite
hot. But it never was a problem. Perhaps I have to think about the
cooling in the future. Thanks a lot for the hint.

"It's possible that the power switch hooks directly to the keyboard
connector. A little poking with an ohm-meter might divulge which pins
to short."
Yes, I've already thought about that but I didn't use my ohm-meter
because I'm not sure if the small voltage of my ohm-meter won't
destroy the Intergrated Circuits on the keyboard. Does someone know if
this really could be a problem?
Additionally the connectors on the keyboard are very very thin so it
would be very hard to solder a wire to those connectors.

The solution with the magic packet (called 'Wake on LAN') is
unfortunately not supported on the T21 (IBM ThinkPad). This would be
the most professional solution for my problem.

I do have docking stations f=FCr my laptops but I can't use them because
they need too much space in my box. The suggestion to find on the
docking station the power connectors is a very good idea but there are
so many connectors so that it's almost impossible to find the right
connectors even if they exist. I think I can't find a manual for the
docking station.

I see it will be very hard if not even impossible to power on my
laptops without opening the lids.


Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That really depends on the laptop.  For two examples:

I have a Dell Inspiron 3800.  The CPU is cooled by a heat pipe from the
CPU to a small heat sink block in the rear corner of the case, with a
tiny fan that sucks air in one vent and blows it out another.  There's
also a heat pipe that runs underneath the keyboard, dissipating heat
through the whole area of the keyboard.  But there's no internal
airflow, so the rest of the motherboard and the disk get pretty warm
over the space of several hours.  Closing the display, thus preventing
the keyboard from being cooled by convection, would make it even worse.
I wouldn't expect it to live very long like that.

I also have a year+ old Gateway machine, model unknown, with a Turion
TL-50 CPU.  Though its CPU generates more heat, there's a much more
effective cooling fan, and it runs on low speed almost all the time.
This cooling fan pulls cooling air from multiple vents all around the
case bottom, and this airflow seems to be enough to keep everything
pretty cool.  The outside of the case, at least, never gets even warm.
So, as long as you mounted this with a supply of fresh air for the case
vents, and carried away the hot exhaust air without recirculating it,
I'd expect this laptop to run just fine when closed - until the fan
dies.  Then it would be toast, literally, quite quickly.


Re: Power up laptop with lid closed

Stefan Mueller wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

another idea...
my dell docking station has a power switch.
Maybe there's a pin on the docking connector that can be used as
a power swtich.

Return address is VALID!

Site Timeline