Thin Client?

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shadetree1999

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Hello All,

A very popular public safety feed in my area has been taken down by the feed provider, and I am considering providing the same feed to RR. I am currently fooling around with doing the feed "privately" via ScannerCast, and have a few issues to sort out for reliablity. The biggest problem is the physical location of the computer providing the feed, I cannot run an ethernet cable to it. So, I am using a piece of crap USB wireless adapter, which loses it's conection a couple of times a day. I do have some space where the router is located, to put the scanner, and a thin client. This would allow me to wire the thin client directly to the router. This would be used for nothing other than providing an internet feed for the scanner.

Problem is, my knowledge of "thin clients" is non-existant. When surfing Ebay, etc., I see ones that run on windows CE, Linux, Windows XP......and various amounts of memory. So, what should I be looking for in a thin client that would meet my needs? How much memory? Processor speed? Operating system?
Wyse? HP? I'm looking for the *minimum* platform requirements.

Any suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
 

KD0LDK

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A cheaper alternative would be to get a USB Wifi Card or PCI that has an external antenna, I've had the same issue before and that solved mine.

If all you're doing is running ScannerCast, you'd do fine on XP with 256mb of ram and a minimal processor, I'd say something in the 1Ghz range would do just fine. As long as you can find a thin client that says 'Designed for Microsoft Windows XP', you'll be fine to run a single program on.
 

shadetree1999

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Thanks for the reply. It is an external wifi card with antenna, but it keeps crashing and won't restart unless I unplug it from the USB port, and plug it back in...then it works great for 3-10 hours and crashes again.

A thin client with windows XP, 1Ghz processor and 256 megs should do it then.

Thanks again for the advice.
 

Gator596

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Thin Client hardware examples

Hi Folks,
Any chance of you pointing me towards some of the hardware you are describing?
Wikipedia explained to me what Thin Clients are, but I'm looking for some brand name and model examples that would apply to providing feeds, etc within the scanning hobby context. I'm thinking you are talking about a "netbook" type device as the Thin Client?
Specifically - I am looking to be able to send ADS-B (planes) and AIS (ship) info to one of the plotting and tracking websites by connecting a short run of cable from the antenna to the receiving device (probably one of the USB "micro" receivers) , and then sending it wirelessly to a router.
Thanks,
 

KD0LDK

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Thanks for the reply. It is an external wifi card with antenna, but it keeps crashing and won't restart unless I unplug it from the USB port, and plug it back in...then it works great for 3-10 hours and crashes again.

A thin client with windows XP, 1Ghz processor and 256 megs should do it then.

Thanks again for the advice.
Not a problem. Well certainly up to you but Newegg has PCI Wifi cards that come with antennas you can set about 4 feet away from your computer, they cost about $20. Just something to keep in mind if you don't want to spend a couple hundred on all new hardware.

Yea for a couple basic programs those specs will do just fine, probably only need about 10gb of harddrive space as well.

Hi Folks,
Any chance of you pointing me towards some of the hardware you are describing?
Wikipedia explained to me what Thin Clients are, but I'm looking for some brand name and model examples that would apply to providing feeds, etc within the scanning hobby context. I'm thinking you are talking about a "netbook" type device as the Thin Client?
Specifically - I am looking to be able to send ADS-B (planes) and AIS (ship) info to one of the plotting and tracking websites by connecting a short run of cable from the antenna to the receiving device (probably one of the USB "micro" receivers) , and then sending it wirelessly to a router.
Thanks,
Thin Clients are essentially basic computers. They get their name due to their size, very thin. Generally they operate on a network operating system, don't contain harddrives, cd-rom drives and have basic connectivity options. They're very popular in environments where simple data input is required, ie a hospital. Just like every other computer out there though you can get them in about any flavor possible from super basic Linux boxes to a laptop in a computer case and everything in-between.

The data you're talking about there I'm not sure of so I won't be able to help you there, but anything computer hardware related I can help with.
 
K

kb0nly

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Get a better wifi adapter...

I have used the linksys usb wifi adapters, run forever no problems.
 

PeterGV

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Thin Clients are GREAT, but you have to be ready to make spend the time necessary to learn about the systems, how to configure them, and how to configure Windows Embedded on them. Its like its own little hobby. If you expect something to "plug and play" you will be disappointed, I promise you.

You have to be REALLY careful when you buy a thin client: It needs to be relatively recent, and you must be SURE that the VENDOR offers a Windows XP Embedded (or Windows Embedded Standard... it must say "Standard" if it doesn't say "XP Embedded") image that can be installed on the machine. This is NOT something you can download from, say, Microsoft or some other location. It's not a generic thing, the way an ordinary installation of Windows is. It's tailored for the specific machine.

I have several Thin Clients running (all HP t5720s) and they're terrific. But, like I said, if you do go the Thin Client route, prepared to spend time making "how to use and configure a Thin Client" an added part of your hobby.

Peter
K1PGV
 

E-Man

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I think there may be a market for someone to sell thin clients that were plug and play for streaming. I would buy one.
 

KD0LDK

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I think there may be a market for someone to sell thin clients that were plug and play for streaming. I would buy one.
I agree with that.. I'm too busy but for somebody who has the time bundling scanners, software and all the hardware required to stream could be a good idea. Not to mention offering programming, basically order, setup and stream.
 

KJ6HCB

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I may have just what you guys are interested in then - I recently bought 6 HPs and plan to use 2 or 3 for my feeds - but can get them setup so they are ready to stream. That would be a fresh install of Windows XP, reformat the hard drive, systems check, ScannerCast install, instruction sheet, etc .

Interested?
 

E-Man

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Yes, I would be interested in a HP t5720 that is plug and play for streaming.
 

Bellingham_Scanner

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Here is a couple things to also consider.

Get a netbook the like an Asus Eeepc or Acer Aspire. They are small, run full Windows (XP or 7), and can be found used in the $100-$200 range. I ran my streams and website off an Eeepc-900A, 900mhz celeron netbook for over a year.

Build a mini-ITX based system. I recently built a new system for streaming around an Intel mini-ITX motherboard. These things are small and you can find ones that are fan-less too. Here is an example of a Micro-ITX PC for <$200

I built the same thing but instead of a standard hard drive I bought a SATA to compact flash adapter and a 16 GB compact flash card from Amazon for $40 and made a 16GB SSD so I would have less heat, noise, and no moving parts.
 

wrenchmonkey

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I find netbooks too loud, and they aren't made for 24/7 use. A used thinclient can be bought on eBay for under $100, and is not hard to figure out.
 

KD0LDK

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Here is a couple things to also consider.

Get a netbook the like an Asus Eeepc or Acer Aspire. They are small, run full Windows (XP or 7), and can be found used in the $100-$200 range. I ran my streams and website off an Eeepc-900A, 900mhz celeron netbook for over a year.

Build a mini-ITX based system. I recently built a new system for streaming around an Intel mini-ITX motherboard. These things are small and you can find ones that are fan-less too. Here is an example of a Micro-ITX PC for <$200

I built the same thing but instead of a standard hard drive I bought a SATA to compact flash adapter and a 16 GB compact flash card from Amazon for $40 and made a 16GB SSD so I would have less heat, noise, and no moving parts.
Mini ITX is a great idea, not to mention the solid state for a computer that'll be on 24/7. Kudos on that.
 

Bellingham_Scanner

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shadetree1999

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Thanks for all the suggestions folks.

I bought a Wyse 1Ghz 512 DDR, 512 flash, windows XP embedded installed, for $60.00 off Ebay.

I am looking forward to playing with/learning how to configure it, don't mind that it's going to be part of getting a feed up and running......I enjoy playing around with new (to me) stuff. A thin client may be just the ticket for project I'd like to start next summer (remote observatory) as well, so it gives me a chance to play around with it over the winter and figure out what I can and can't do with it.

Thanks again,

Kev
 

Bellingham_Scanner

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A thin client may be just the ticket for project I'd like to start next summer (remote observatory)
As an amateur astronomer myself, I would love to hear more about your remote observatory project! :eek:

Feel free to send me a private message to exchange email addresses as we should probably not diverge that far off topic.
 

supraman762

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I may have just what you guys are interested in then - I recently bought 6 HPs and plan to use 2 or 3 for my feeds - but can get them setup so they are ready to stream. That would be a fresh install of Windows XP, reformat the hard drive, systems check, ScannerCast install, instruction sheet, etc .

Interested?
Yes

PM sent
 

ryanbytes

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Chicago, Il.
This is one of the most amazing ideas I have seen in quite a while. I just started streaming and was thinking of building a small machine to handle the stream, my EMWIN server, and maybe an NTP server. 16 gigs is more than enough and the lower power consumption and smaller risk of drive failure are great. An SSD for the poor man!
 
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