Monday, July 6, 2015

Cost Estimation For Running Vault-OS With 5 Terminals

I got my VOS prototype to run with daemons turned off on my Evo Thin Client T20! I didn't even have to install over the operating system, it was already running off Windows NT Embedded! I just copied it over with a USB!!

Since the T20 is really just a rebranded WYSE 3235, I imagine you could install the VOS Server here as well with just a USB device.

Here's a sample cost estimation for a networked, redundant, fully distributed VOS system with 5 terminals and the most minimal equipment to do some monitoring and inventory management.

VOS Server (Typical Thin Client Compaq/WYSE) : $5.00 (That's what mine cost on EBay)
5x Terminals (Thin Clients of any brand running IE6) : $10.00 - $60.00 (Bulk buys offered on EBay)
Ethernet Hub : $10.00 (I fished most of mine out of the garbage, actually.)
3x Cuecat Barcoder (Serial or USB types, unmodified or declawed) : $24.00 (Ebay offer)
Barcode Label Printer : $40.00 (EBay, I also find them on sale sometimes)
Ethernet cabling : $20.00 (often free with a little scavenging)
Keyboards & Mice : $20.00 (Just bought 4 USB flexible waterproof keyboards @ $2 each)
RS-485/Modbus Cabling : $10.00 (Bought ten of these for $8 recently on sale)
Ethernet, RS-485 and RS-232 Optical Isolators : $30.00 (Typical price on EBay)

You could put a terminal in your shelter, shed, kitchen, pantry, garage, attic, basement or any place you needed one as long as you could power it and connect to the intranet. (I have been using Ethernet over power plug for my home and backyard)

Roughly around $100 or thereabouts for most setups.

Adding monitoring devices is another matter. Depends on your setup.

I have purchased BACNET/CANBUS interface devices for $12 - $18 on Futurlec. They accept the RS-485 cabling. You might be able to connect directly to your diesel or wind generator if they currently have an RS-485 or Modbus port. Most generators and power systems often do. The X-10 and I2C interfaces commonly used for household controllers will usually set you back $10-$50.

Security cameras consisting of cheap webcams around $9.00 each could connect to a UPNP port that is currently $20 on EBay. How you house, camouflage or shield these webcams from EMP depends on your setup.

We could say that it is rare it will cost more than $200.00 to turn your pencil and paper / excel spreadsheet outfit at present into the Batcave when Vault-OS is released. Compare to the countless millions spent by Batman/Bruce Wayne on his setup, with nearly the same result. What the most elite high level government shelters pay millions for you will be able to do for around two century bills.


MycroftJones said...

Tex, any recommendations for getting a webcam signal 200 feet to the storage server? Application: livestock monitoring.

Ave said...

These figures are very useful, you should include them in your product presentation / guide(even if it's just a copy/paste from this post).

You are right to remind people that a lot will be dependent from their own situation.

These are complex projects that require hardware, knowledge and skills. The way I prep for these kind of projects is to aquire the critical items and a basic set-up (cables, consumables etc.). Therefore, a list such as this one is very helpful.

The required knowledge and skills to actually set up and operate the project are to be learnt if the general situation moves towards it. I generally have books and user manuals printed in order to be able to reach that goal.

This approach is completely naive, but if I follow the "critical path" approach ,the purchase and printing is something I can do now, whereas the acquisition of knowledge and skills may still be possible in the Sucky Future, while the purchase might not.

I have several projects running in parallel, evolving at the pace of my own financial capabilities and at the occurence of opportunities (garage sales, clearance sales, swaps etc.)

To provide examples, some of my current projects are :
- CB radios for communication
- PC-based radio reception (FunCUBE dongle etc.)
- small-scale vertical-axe turbines (diameter about 2 meters)

It's not even about me, later on I might find younger people that will be able to start a hobby or learn a trade from this (I have about thirty years left to live, give or take).

So, in a nutshell, all this information is saving me a lot of time. I eagerly await the release of Vault-OS 1.0 to start this project as well.

vultureofcritique said...

Okay, so if I give you a Western Union money order for $100 plus shipping, will you send me a bunch of working computer-stuff?

I'm not very technical, but it seems that you've done some interesting value-add stuff, and I guess it would be good for making a secure bunker with security cameras or something like that.

Are you going to sell it? Do your loyal readers get a discount for buying directly from you?

vultureofcritique said...

Oh, wait, I misunderstood.

I was thinking of stealth-based video games and bunkers and fortresses. Now that I re-read the post, I see that you are talking about barcode scanners.

I don't have anything to inventory or stick barcodes on.

It might be good for people who run warehouses or something like that.

Texas Arcane said...

@Mycroft Jones

You should be able to pick up a wireless signal at 200 feet from a USB Hub. There are units on EBay with support for several USB devices with wireless connection to the network. You would have to protect them from the weather with some sort of case. You can buy wireless cameras for around $30 nowadays.

Texas Arcane said...


The three biggest demands for services in Vault-OS initially are going to be inventory, security and hydroponics/permaculture applications. A person can configure Vault-OS for any of these functions and turn the others off if they want to.

Texas Arcane said...


I know how to do a lot of these things by buying stuff.

The real goal is to figure out how to do the most important things with parts that could be scavenged anywhere …

CANBUS components from automobiles.
Optical links between devices with minimal components.
Interface boards (I2C, SPI, others) built with minimum commonly found electronic components.
Pumps, motors and switches from generic electrical salvage.

For example, you can buy an I2C interface plug'n'play for $40. I have built them from 4 electronics parts (diode, transistor, resister) for free and hooked them up to serial-To-TTL outputs on any computer.

Ave said...

>I know how to do a lot of these things by buying stuff.
>The real goal is to figure out how to do the most important things with parts that >could be scavenged anywhere …

This is why your enginnereing is not only a time-saver but actually critical. I still remember the moment when you discovered the CANBUS possiblities ; only you could have made that connection.

(About hese kind of connections, see "BBC Connections" from James Burke, I'm still using those from 1979 in my classroom)

There is a lot of information on scavenging parts on DIY sites, the real added value is made by engineers who can tell a non-specialist how to actually configure and use those parts.

I may disgress now, but this is an important aspect : we have all this knowledge literally for free, at home, a couple of mouse clicks away, and yet we see so many idle people who spend gobs of ressources on useless things (tattos, booze, "facebook smartphones" etc.). When browsing "Popular Mechanics" magazines from the 30's and 40's online I am flabbergasted at the wealth of practical knowledge already at hand almost a century ago. One could have bought old issues for a song back then and learn a trade from it.

The most important thing is education. In the small german village my family comes from there is a technically savvy friend of mine who has become Meister (master in his trade) although much richer people of our generation went nowhere.