For you to get the full function of all that HCA does, it must run 24/7 on a Windows computer. While you are free to use any computer running post-XP Windows (including Windows 10), many users find it simpler to have a dedicated machine for HCA. A machine that runs the HCA Server application and executes your design. From any other computer you can run HCA as a client when needed, connect to the server, and update your design or check status.
[If the last paragraph is not 100% clear, that is what the Getting Started Guides are all about. The Getting Started with Client Server gives you all the details of this multi-machine approach step-by-step.]
Here at HCA Central we looked at a lot of these kinds of computers and found one we like a lot. Several HCA users also use them, and they really like them too.
We are making them available to the HCA user community.
The computer has these key specifications. A lot for a small size:
- Factory new. Not an ebay used or refurbished unit
- Small size: 5.6" x 4" x 1.5”
- Fully licensed Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC - see below for differences
- 4GB Ram
- 64gb SS Drive
- Intel Apollo Lake 34 series processor
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Ethernet – wired and wireless
- VGA and HDMI monitor ports
- 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 Port
- Audio output 3.5mm jack
- 1 year warranted from the manufacturer
- Since no "spinning disk" or fan, it’s 100% quiet
- In operation uses about 7 watts of power
The best part of this computer is that it was designed for kiosk type applications (on 24/7) and can be hardware configured to reboot directly into Windows on power on. No need to do anything if you have a power outage. The machine starts, Windows starts, the HCA server starts, and your automation solution is alive again.
We are offering these machines for sale at a special price. If you do not yet have HCA Plus, or have an older version HCA, a fully licensed HCA Plus is included at a discounted price.
You can purchase this computer with either "Windows 10 Pro" or "Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC". What's the difference? Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC is a version of Windows 10 that keeps up to date with security updates but not feature updates. It is the same high-quality OS used in many unattended "kiosk" style installations or in devices where Windows is the operating system but you don't know it is there. If you have not heard of LTSC do a search on "Windows LTSC" to find out more.
If you use "LTSC" what do you lose and what do you gain? We don’t think you lose anything in this application. We have tested with HCA, all the common automation hardware connected via serial and USB, as well as TeamViewer and browsers. What you gain is a more static and stable environment for applications.
The only potential problem could be that some piece of hardware or application you want to use in the future could require the latest and greatest changes in Windows. That isn't going to be HCA, but you may want to run other applications as well as HCA. HCA has always been a good Windows program in that it really doesn't use any Windows version specific features that are at the "cutting edge". That is why it works on all post-XP versions of Windows.
Our recommendation: If you plan to use this machine only for the HCA Server - treat it as the HCA hub - then go with Windows LTSC. That eliminates those hours long "feature update" installs. If you have other applications you want to install - since the machine will be on 24/7 - then get standard Windows 10.
When the machine arrives at your home all this has been done for you:
- Windows installed with no Microsoft account and no password.
- All Windows updates made to latest Windows Feature Release and all released updates. If you have not setup a new computer in a while, it is a bunch o’ work that we did for you.
- The machine configured to automatically start Windows on power on.
- The latest HCA Plus installed.
- Windows configured to start HCA on boot.
- A program installed that watches for an abnormal termination of HCA and restarts it if that happens.
- The device drivers for the 2413 Insteon PowerLinc and the PulseWorx UPB PIM-U installed.
- TeamViewer installed - personal mode so no license needed - and configured to start with Windows. This way you can access the machine to interact with Windows if you ever need to without needing a monitor, mouse, and keyboard connected. The Team Viewer ID and a permanent password is of course supplied to you. We don't keep a record of them.
- "Burned-in" for several days to ensure correct operation.
Note: If you are purchasing only the computer, email us after you place your order with your HCA registration code or the email address you registered with. We must verify that you already have a fully licensed copy of HCA.
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 ($390 + 17.85 postage)|
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 ($390 + 17.85 postage) + new HCA 16 Plus license ($80)|
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 ($390 + 17.85 postage) + upgrade to HCA Plus ($25)|
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 LTSC ($400 + 17.85 postage)|
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 LTSC ($400 + 17.85 postage) + new HCA 16 Plus license ($80)|
|HCA Server Computer with Windows 10 LTSC ($400 + 17.85 postage) + upgrade to HCA Plus ($25)|
All "Buy Now" purchases are made using PayPal, so a few helpful tips about purchasing with PayPal that will make things go much smoother...
Once you complete the purchase with PayPal we get notified you have made a purchase. We will email you to confirm the order of the server computer. It can take up to a week to configure, test, and ship. At the slowest, you should receive the order confirmation email from us within 2 business days after you make the purchase with PayPal. If you have not received email from us within that time, please contact Support and be sure to include a phone number as occasionally our emails get killed by junk mail filters. When that happens, we need a different way of contacting you.
We ship only USPS and tracking info comes from them when it ships.
Before purchasing with PayPal please check that the email address your PayPal account is linked to is correct and is your current email address. Also check your address listed in PayPal as that is the address we will ship to. If you want us to ship to a different address, just send email to our sales email as soon as you can.
After you receive your new Windows Server machine...
We put together a notebook of things we have learned about these machines and the best way to manage them and run the HCA Server. We make this available to all purchasers and it contains many ideas that ease the transition from where you currently run the HCA Server to this new platform.
Remember it is just a Windows computer and all that you know about that fully applies.