Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Low cost Intel PC that runs on 12V battery

As part of my project to convert the shack to off-grid power I thought it might be good to replace the shack laptop (with its mains charger) with a low cost PC that Lindsay, VK3GX, brought to my attention.

The Beelink PC was on special on Amazon so I purchased one for AU$224.25

Others report that the discount varies. I did not choose to pay $30 more to get 16G RAM and 512G SSD.

The machine comes with Windows 11 and it was interesting to go through the Windows setup. They are up to their old tricks. A screen popped up saying that I would get Office 365 free for a year, but would need to give them my credit card. I declined. (Presumably they'll quietly bill people a year later when they've forgotten).

The first thing I did was go to install the Chrome browser. As soon as I went to the download page they tried to talk me out of that.

I'm not sure that my level of trust in Microsoft is a positive factor in choosing a browser.

Windows 11 looks beautiful, it's getting similar to macOS in many ways. I was struck that the application dock is now centred like on the Mac. The login screen on Windows looks like this:

macOS Sonoma looks very similar:

I tried to install Linux Mint Cinnamon in a dual boot configuration but for some reason this didn't work - perhaps some sort of secure boot restriction. In the end I gave up on Windows and wiped the disk to install Linux.

The machine is now running on the shack 12V battery and the x11vnc server means that I can control it remotely. Currently it's connected to a QDX for WSPR and makes a very small dent on the workbench.

There is no noticeable noise from this computer running on 12V DC.

I control the machine using the built-in VNC from macOS.

Works very well over the wifi network.

1 comment:

  1. We use the beelink's at work for simple tasks, they work quite well.