bit-tech.net

The PropIRC low-power chat box

The PropIRC low-power chat box

The PropIRC device - measuring just 2"x2" - is an extremely low power unit with both keyboard and web interaces.

Any IRC user will be familiar with the conundrum: you want to idle in a channel so as not to miss a second of conversation, but it seems a waste to keep a full-power PC switched on for something so simple. That's where you need PropIRC.

Developed by Harrison Pham – via Hack a Day – the PropIRC project is an extremely low-power device designed specifically for connecting to IRC servers over a wired 10Mb/s Ethernet connection.

Using a PS/2 keyboard as the input – no USB support in this release, sadly – and a VGA connection to a monitor running at 1024x768, the tiny 2”x2” device packs a surprising amount of poke for its size. Configuration is stored on an in-built EEPROM so settings aren't lost if the power is cut, and chat logs are saved to a SD card stored in the device, which can be accessed either via the web interface or removed from the unit and hooked into your main computer. Based around the popular Parallax Propeller microcontroller, the power draw is significantly lower than any equivalent device for connecting to IRC.

If the thought of sitting there with a PS/2 keyboard doesn't appeal, then the PropIRC has one more trick up its sleeve: a remote control interface operating via an in-built HTTP server, which allows you to drop in and out of a running chat session from anywhere in the world. The web client can even be used at the same time as the direct monitor/keyboard interface, should you want to move to using a laptop without losing any active connections.

The schematic [PDF file] and full source code are available on the project home page, should you decide that your IRC addiction is worth custom-building a chat engine.

Tempted to make your own PropIRC system, or has the build given you a bright idea for a project of your own? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

13 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
p3n 27th February 2009, 15:57 Quote
Heh, havent used IRc in a while 'cos im too lazy to setup a bouncer; getting a co-lo server soon tho!
Nexxo 27th February 2009, 16:14 Quote
How seriously cool is that?

Now if only the quality of IRC discourse wasn't so crap.
[USRF]Obiwan 27th February 2009, 18:02 Quote
/me says hi :-)

aahh the good old days, wrestling with eggbots and the like and channel hijacking and fun with mirc programming and afcourse the useless conversations about nothing and everything
proxess 27th February 2009, 18:34 Quote
If only this was made 5 years ago it would have been so cool...
steveo_mcg 27th February 2009, 18:42 Quote
There must be something useful this device could be made to do....

Is it possible to set up a monitoring program to report its output via irc? If so then this would be a funky way of monitoring a few servers from one device.
Zephyr 27th February 2009, 18:47 Quote
If you haven't used IRC in a while because you're "too lazy" or only used it for "channel hijacking", you're not the person this device is aimed at. This device does absolutely everything a good BNC should while being minimalistic. It's something I'd look into building tbh.

The only thing it can't do is provide intelligent conversation, so alas, IRC will still be IRC.
p3n 27th February 2009, 20:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyr
If you haven't used IRC in a while because you're "too lazy" or only used it for "channel hijacking", you're not the person this device is aimed at. This device does absolutely everything a good BNC should while being minimalistic. It's something I'd look into building tbh.

The only thing it can't do is provide intelligent conversation, so alas, IRC will still be IRC.

In the spirit of IRC, your an idiot.
legoman666 28th February 2009, 04:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
How seriously cool is that?

Now if only the quality of IRC discourse wasn't so crap.

Without IRC there would be no bash.org
notatoad 28th February 2009, 05:13 Quote
this would be useful if i ever turned my computer off.
Timmy_the_tortoise 28th February 2009, 14:23 Quote
Not a fan of IRC.

I found it boring.
perplekks45 1st March 2009, 13:59 Quote
IRC was great back when we all were young. [Maybe not John or the likes... :p] It's just not the same anymore especially after all the channels I used to idle/talk in are dead by now.
pendragon 1st March 2009, 20:29 Quote
wow this is very neat.. I will have to check it out, however I fear it will be beyond my current abilities as a geek
Xtrafresh 2nd March 2009, 09:27 Quote
From bash.org:
"IRC is just multiplayer notepad"

I like the initiative, and it'd be great if you could build one in a little housing with a PSone screen and a little bluetooth wireless keyboard... Oh, the possibilities!
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums