Question How to make PC startup as soon as mains power is turned on (for arcade cabinet!) ?

Jan 30, 2021
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I'm building an arcade cabinet and for the real experience I want my PC to start up as soon as power is applied, i.e. I switch the master cabinet switch for everything (marquee, lights, audio amp etc.) on and the whole machine starts up - including of course the PC!

I heard that you can somehow use the wires for the power button for that but I wanted to ask the experts here. How do you do that, pelase?

Another question: I read that some people just turn off the power, effectively shutting down the computer instantly, since they say with modern SSD drives this could be done without harming the PC or Windows. Somehow I don't buy that. Any opinions on that?

And no, the BIOS "AC on power loss" option only works when the PC has suddenly lost power but not when it's shut down correctly so that is sadly not an option here.

So please, how do I get my computer to start up as soon as I switch on the AC power?

A big thanks in advance!
 

4745454b

Titan
Moderator
What is the switch connected to? It's pin 14 in the atx bundle that gets the signal. The problem is you need a momentary contact switch. Remember that if you push and hold the power button the pc would turn off. So if you have a SPST switch that always sends power then the pc will just turn off. If your switch goes to a logic board of some sort then there should be a way.

You don't want a hdd to lose power suddenly because the heads can crash onto the platters. This will damage them. Ssd and ram doesn't have read/write heads so this isn't an issue. OS corruption will happen before ssd damage happens.
 
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Jan 30, 2021
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Thanks a lot so far but I don't get it:

If you can have the PC start automatically after a power loss when you apply power again (via the BIOS), then why can't you do that without a prior power loss?!

Obviously, the BIOS tells the PC to start up after a sudden loss of power (or something to that effect). Why does it matter if I shut down the PC correctly or just pulled the plug?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Thanks a lot so far but I don't get it:

If you can have the PC start automatically after a power loss when you apply power again (via the BIOS), then why can't you do that without a prior power loss?!

Obviously, the BIOS tells the PC to start up after a sudden loss of power (or something to that effect). Why does it matter if I shut down the PC correctly or just pulled the plug?
In a normal shutdown, the OS is doing a bit of cleanup. There may be some files in a temp state, not yet fully written to the storage device.
Sudden unexpected OFF (power cut), and that data may be corrupted.
If this happens to be some part of the OS...it may not boot up next time.

Consoles and arcade systems are different, in that the whole "OS" is read from the original ROM as the thing starts up.
AN unexpected power cut there will only lose the current game score.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Yeah, but why can't there simply be a BIOS adjustment where you can say "Start up when AC power is applied!?! sigh

I also have a virtual pinball cabinet and two years ago, an electronics shop actually managed to accomplish the startup thing with the PC in the pinball cabinet! (Sadly the shop has closed its doors since then.)

I guess maybe I should just open the pinball PC and look what the guy did back then... but I'm not really an electronics type and don't want to break anything... Can I post photos here? I could take some and maybe you could have a look at it?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Yeah, but why can't there simply be a BIOS adjustment where you can say "Start up when AC power is applied!?! sigh

I also have a virtual pinball cabinet and two years ago, an electronics shop actually managed to accomplish the startup thing with the PC in the pinball cabinet! (Sadly the shop has closed its doors since then.)

I guess maybe I should just open the pinball PC and look what the guy did back then... but I'm not really an electronics type and don't want to break anything... Can I post photos here? I could take some and maybe you could have a look at it?
In the BIOS, there generally is. An unexpected power OFF, and it starts up when it sees power again.
The shutdown, however....That needs to happen from Windows, not the wall switch.

For your original question about switches....with a little inventiveness, some very cool looking switch options might make a nice addition.
A flip up cover, with a momentary push button underneath. Big red thing with scary labels...
Another regular switch for the cabinet lights, monitor, etc. Similarly big red with appropriate labeling.

A Windows PC is not an arcade console. 2 different things.

For one of my cars, I made (3D printer) a nice switch panel, based on a fighter jet cockpit. Master ARM, Laser Enable, etc...Controls the GPS and dashcams.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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If I may I'll post photos of my pinball PC tomorrow, which does exactly what I'm talking about here. Maybe you'll be able to see what the electronics guy did two years ago... Thank you so far!!
 

makkem

Distinguished
Hi
If you make the cabinet master switch a momentary switch that turns the PC on then fit a 12 Volt relay to the PC power supply 12 Volt line and use the relay to switch everything else ,in effect everything will turn on at once.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Thank you so much you for your valuable input. I appreciate it, really, and will definitely look into it.

But as I said, here are some photos I just took of my already modified pinball PC. What is this round black thing with the red and black wires, going into the "SPEAKER" socket? Can that be the solution?

I now faintly remember reading something about my "problem" on some website (can't remember of course) because that had brought me to the idea of taking it to the electronics guy in the first place! And he seemed to know what I was talking about, it was really not a big thing, apparently. (Ah, I should have archived that website!)

So, what is this magic part, please? A capacitor or something? Any help is appreciated!

(The site won't let me upload pictures.... sorry, but you can view the photos right here):

[URL="http://www.nefkom.info/miscellaneous/DSCI0370.JPG[/URL]"]www.nefkom.info/miscellaneous/DSCI0370.JPG[/URL]

[URL="http://www.nefkom.info/miscellaneous/DSCI0373.JPG[/URL]"]www.nefkom.info/miscellaneous/DSCI0373.JPG[/URL]
 
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Jan 30, 2021
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sigh....... Oh well... Good night for now and thank you again for your kind efforts and patience. But it is a fact - my pinball cab PC does start on AC power after having been modified. I'll try to remember more what I did two years ago...
 

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