Thin client terminals

I have a pile of thin clients from a nearby business. Maybe I might even have a steady supply of them if they realise that there is no resale value and they can be discarded before they've been held in storage for a decade. There's also a ton of obsolete network and office kit and some calculators thrown out occasionally.

What could they be used for? Well, terminals would be a natural fit, but there's rarely room or need for any. Small servers or other CPU boxes, USB attachment, maybe even a game console with some emulator or simple stuff. Try some of the cluster systems. Maybe emulate some more obscure system. Reimplement an X (+ssh) or vnc terminal? Develop a terminal for senior citizens? Android? A chinese display panel and a touch screen would make a fairly small info screen type thing.

I don't know yet. Maybe it could run a software synth. It would be a compact instrument combined with a small MIDI controller.


Current Tally:

The Igel (funny name with associated funny mascot) is fairly fresh with a nice small SATA SSD and USB3 ports. The HP ones would also be fairly fresh with PATA and SO-DIMM storage in slots. They seem to have VESA mounting holes and loads of USB ports (8). Boken ones yield some upgrade parts. I don't know what makes them totally stone dead, but I'm guessing their regulators are friend. The Wyse ones, well.. at least they're fairly small. The S10 at least also can drive VGA type analog displays if there's any left around to be put to use.

Some have real serial ports, I think one model has a real parallel port. IIRC, the HP boots to a crippled Windows that might actually be useful by itself for running some pesky binary.

I wonder how much these use the 12 V line and does it matter if it's not regulated to exactly 12 V. Could some be run off a random SLA battery, car, or solar panel system? The power requirements for some are even low enough that fairly modest regulators could be used from other voltages.


TinyOS, Windows, Debian, some mini Linux, BSD, plan9? Coherent would be funny to have running once more. Some of these machines have PAE, but all might not. I think they're all i686, but haven't verified yet.

Broadly, I expect the Wyses to be slow, the HP about double that and the Igel to be about double the HP and all of them far behind any old laptop.


I've looked around for resources and hardware info and taken some machines apart for a start. I'll probably pull some of the storage devices from them and have a look inside. I'll probably pull some images from each as backups and replace they with a working OS and/or software.

I will be probably be doing more sooner or later.