Driver station computer suggestions for Deep Space

Hi all,

As we’ve gotten into the build season, we’ve come to realize that our current driver station laptop is flaking out, and also apparently randomly blocks some ports (like port 1250 that is required to configure Talon SRXs) due to school-installed management software that they refuse to remove.

We also would like some more screen real estate. I’m aware of the very nice driver station white paper and older threads on this, but has anyone purchased a specific model of computer in the last few weeks that was (a) inexpensive and (b) you are happy with based on the white paper recommendations?

Secondly, we’ve talked about getting an external monitor so we can have a larger screen for the drivers to view the onboard camera with. [strike] I’ve seen teams do that before, and I’m wondering if something like a mini-PC would be sufficient. Like this one:

Z83-W Mini PC Fanless Silent Desktop DDR3 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, HD Intel Quad Core CPU up to 1.92GHz, 2W SDP, 1000M LAN, Dual Band WiFi, BT4.0, HDMI&VGA and 3 USB ports

In that case, we’d be out about $119 for the PC and another $100-$150 for the monitor, which doesn’t seem bad if it works. [/strike] Any thoughts?

I would be hesitant to use something that isn’t a laptop as a driver station. You’ll have to deal with the startup sequence each time you go out onto the field. You could hack in your own battery to avoid this, but at that point why not just buy a laptop with a bigger screen?

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I agree that using a desktop as a driver station computer is probably not a good idea. You won’t be able to use it in queue, you can’t keep programs open between matches, and you will have to wait for it to turn on before starting each match (and ideally wait for it to turn off after the match). There’s really no reason to use a desktop here.

If you do want a big screen without having to pay for a large laptop, you can get a smaller laptop and a separate large monitor or small TV. Practically every laptop nowadays has some kind of HDMI output, and most every monitor or TV you’ll find has an HDMI input. It won’t be hard to connect the two to get the “advantage” of a desktop without all of the drawbacks.

I wrote this, and then as I was falling asleep remembered the fact that there isn’t no battery on a desktop/monitor combo. So I agree with your assessments. I must’ve been delirious from mentoring too late.

I guess I’ll roll back to the original question of if anyone has a specific model they’ve purchased recently that they are happy with. Thanks!

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