What do you get when you mix an old 10/100 NIC, a handful of components, and a home server that goes off into the weeds once in a while? A network-connected reset button, and the ability to recover from the majority of mishaps! The concept is simple: Use a standalone NIC’s Wake-on-LAN capability to poke a different signal, specifically, the PC’s reset line. Best yet, the whole thing costs less than $3, and goes together in under an hour. Not too shabby, when you consider that comparable network-aware remote-reboot devices go for about $200!
The important realization behind the project is that a WoL-capable NIC can run standalone, given nothing but power. It seems so obvious in retrospect! This same concept could be easily used to drive an SSR for true cold-boot capability, interface with a UPS for output-disable, or other functions.
(UPDATE: There’s prior art! Their version is called “whack-on-lan” and uses a NIC without the retriggering problem, so their circuit is much simpler.)
Lots and lots of detail after the break…