Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by B.Y. » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 04:55:24



Dear People:

        I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

                                                        -- B.Y.

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Kelledi » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 07:09:41


If your PS/2 keyboard or mouse is connected straight to the system, then
disconnecting either one will probably cause a system freeze.  However, some
KVM switchboxes can be unplugged from the systems they manage without
causing a system freeze.  You will probably need a switchbox that connects
to an A/C outlet to get this capability (some run solely on the power coming
from the systems they manage).

Unfortunately, such a detail is not always mentioned in the specs.  You may
have to call the manufacturer's tech support to find out.

It's worth noting that serial mice, unlike PS/2 mice, are generally
hot-pluggable.

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Keith R. Willia » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 10:04:38



> Dear People:

>    I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

Yes, though the problems aren't exactly as you state.  Hot
plugging anythign is risky.  PS/2 devices and their
controllers get confused.

Anyway, if you wnat to see what the pro's use:
http://www.blackbox.com/  BlackBox makes good stuff, but
you're not going to like the price.  Cheaper stuff is, well
cheap.  The stuff sold in "computer stores" is just junk.  

----
  Keith

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Anthony Hil » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 10:55:50



Quote:>    I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
>mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
>than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
>switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
>video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
>connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
>concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
>have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
>mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

The better boxes will take this into account and won't cause any
problems at all.  The cheaper boxes might make sure that there is as
little disturbance as possible and they might work and might not.  The
really cheap ones... well, you better make sure that you're systems
are turned off when switching between them :>  Unfortunately I don't
think I could name off the top of my head who makes a really "good"
KMV-switch box (or who makes a bad one for that matter, though I'd
imagine that the likes of Belkin would probably be in the mid-range
for this kind of thing).

-----------------------
Tony Hill

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Brett I. Holcom » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 11:46:18


The best I've seen is BlackBox ServSwitch series at www.blackbox.com.  They
work and work well.  I am using many of them at work and some at home.  The
ServSwitches allow you to connect one keyboard and monitor to several
machines (how many is up to you based on what you buy).  The Servswitches
make the computers think they are connected even when they are not so you
don't get freezes, etc.  The switching can be done by pushing a button or
using a easy keystroke.

--
Brett I. Holcomb

AKA Grunt<><


Quote:> Dear People:

> I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

> -- B.Y.

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Chris Ranki » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 12:00:29


I bought such a device in Australia - it's called the ServerLink SL-401E
and I have absolutely no complaints. Basically, you can plug up to 4 PCs
into it (using separate server cables) and can flip between any of them
using either an on-screen menu (Left-CTL 3 times brings it up) or a
button on the box. The box itself runs off the power from "PC number 1"
through the keyboard connection, I think. PC number 1 must therefore
always be the last machine powered off. The remaining PCs can be powered
up and down and disconnected from the box as required.

It cost me about AU$400; I guess that's about US$200.

Chris

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by indeterminat » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 12:41:33



> Dear People:

>         I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

>                                                         -- B.Y.

well, no, you don't want a mechanical switch -- but electronic switches
are pretty cheap, I think the current model two-machine Linksys sells
for about $60.

I have an older Linksys, KVM100SK -- works great, no video degradation,
no problems -- tap the control key twice to switch machines, couldn't be
easier.

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Yousuf Kha » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 13:18:15



Quote:> Dear People:

> I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

I have a two-way mechanical switchbox. I wouldn't recommend using the
switchbox for anything other than video switching. Although I've never
experienced  a catastrophic lockups of any kind. However, that being said,
the PS/2 mouse connectors once switched out, don't switch back in properly.
They become unresponsive. The older serial-mice on the other hand can be
switched in and out without any problems as much as you like.

I've been thinking about trying out the electronic switchboxes, they might
have workarounds for the PS/2 devices. For example, they might continue
sending electricity to the PS/2 ports even while switched out, thus
simulating that there is still a device there.

    Yousuf Khan

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Richard Stein » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 16:27:54



Quote:>Dear People:

>    I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
>mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
>than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
>switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
>video forking switches?

Sure.  I use a 4-box Belkin OmniCube here to switch back and forth
between boxes, and it seems to work fine with all OSes I've tried.

The only problem I've run into is switching away from a box while that
box is going through its POST routine -- in that instance, the box may
lose touch with the keyboard and mouse.  Rebooting it again (either in
the foreground or the background) always seems to resynch things, tho.



Quote:>My concern is that while I understand video connectors to be relatively
>benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is concerned, I have heard that
>hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and have been known to cause
>catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a mechanical switch, not an
>electronic one ...

Ah.  I don't know.  The OmniCube is an electronic switch, and it was
only $120 or so.  That was money well-spent in my case, IMO.

--

      OS/2 + BeOS + Linux + Solaris + Win95 + WinNT4 + FreeBSD + DOS
      + PC/GEOS + Fusion + vMac + Executor = PC Hobbyist Heaven! :-)
              How do they get teflon to stick to the pans?

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Paul Dav » Tue, 27 Mar 2001 17:26:09



> Dear People:

>         I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  

As an alternative, would it be possible to network the machines?

-Paul

--

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Steve Wolf » Wed, 28 Mar 2001 03:43:37


Quote:> If your PS/2 keyboard or mouse is connected straight to the system, then
> disconnecting either one will probably cause a system freeze.

  Interesting.  I do it all the time, never had a problem.  (knock on wood)

steve

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Chad Evere » Wed, 28 Mar 2001 03:55:43



>> If your PS/2 keyboard or mouse is connected straight to the system, then
>> disconnecting either one will probably cause a system freeze.

>  Interesting.  I do it all the time, never had a problem.  (knock on wood)

Belkin make a "smart" switchbox with builtin circuitry for safely switching
video, keyboard, and mouse between two (or more depending on the model you
get) computers.   The one I have is called Omnibox and it works just fine.
You can switch via a keyboard sequence or with a front panel button.
 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Steve Wolf » Wed, 28 Mar 2001 05:02:43


Quote:> >> If your PS/2 keyboard or mouse is connected straight to the system,
then
> >> disconnecting either one will probably cause a system freeze.

> >  Interesting.  I do it all the time, never had a problem.  (knock on
wood)

> Belkin make a "smart" switchbox with builtin circuitry for safely
switching
> video, keyboard, and mouse between two (or more depending on the model you
> get) computers.   The one I have is called Omnibox and it works just fine.
> You can switch via a keyboard sequence or with a front panel button.

  I mean that I yank out ps/2 keyboard/mice all of the time, and switch them
around.  I used to think that it would cause a problem, but about 6 years
ago, I watched a friend do it, and asked him about it.  He said that he
never had a problem.  Now, I've been doing it for six years, and I've never
had a problem, either.   if I've just been lucky, I hope it keeps up. : )

steve

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Steve Smit » Wed, 28 Mar 2001 08:18:55


I'm using a switchbox from Linksys to use the same monitor, keyboard and
mouse with both my Sun Ultra 10 and my PC (running NT). I have a
keyboard/mouse converter box to allow using a PC keyboard and mouse with
the Sun. The Linksys box is parasitically powered, and works fine.

My only complaint is that the mouse loses it's middle button sometimes on
Sun reboot; I have to power up in a particular sequence to avoid this
problem. I start with both machines powered off, let the Sun come up,
then power the PC on.

Steve Smith


> Dear People:

>         I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.  Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

>                                                         -- B.Y.

 
 
 

Switchboxes for keyboard, mice, video?

Post by Lew Pitche » Wed, 28 Mar 2001 10:44:32



> Dear People:

>         I have several machines and a shortage of space for keyboard,
> mice and so on.  I would also like to use the same monitor for more
> than one machine.  Can I use the same set for both machines through a
> switch-box that I see sold in computer stores, one that has mice/KB/
> video forking switches?  My concern is that while I understand video
> connectors to be relatively benign as far as being unplugged "hot" is
> concerned, I have heard that hot-unplugging PS/2 peripherals can and
> have been known to cause catastrophic failures.

FWIW, I can attest to 'catastrophic failures' in hot-plugging PS/2 mice.
On the mobo of the IBM machines at my work, IBM shared some power and
signal lines between the PS/2 mouse port and the keyboard port. The
manuals insist that you power down before unplugging the mouse or
keyboard, but I neglected to do that one day, and fried the mobo circuit
that runs both. IBM replaced the mobo (under warrantee, thank goodness),
and I didn't do that again.

Quote:> Note that this is a
> mechanical switch, not an electronic one ...

>                                                         -- B.Y.

--
Lew Pitcher

Master Codewright and JOAT-in-training
Registered Linux User #112576

 
 
 

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