FORTHRIGHT Systems and Consulting

PC Watchdog System

Peace of Mind, we leave home and office assured that our PCs are tended and will be running while we are away.

The PC Watchdog System is a high-reliability tool for any PC with an available ISA slot. The system provides two highly flexible counters, one for interrupt/interval timing and another for reset timing (with an easy-to-install interface), software to facilitate program control, and sample applications that ensure the operating system (DOS, Windows, UNIX) is still operating. The interrupt and watchdog timers (WDT) can be set anywhere from 4 micro-seconds to 2 mintes (or just over an hour with the extended time option). Both the interrupt and reset signals can be monitored and/or generated externally through a DB9 connector at RS232 levels.

Operational Philosophy

The underlying premise is that your PC does productive work. So long as it is working, you don't want to increase its work load--just let it work. However, as soon as it quits working you want to give it a kick start, and if necessary a reset/reload.

To accomplish this, the PC Watchdog System provides hardware (and a device driver) to which you write data periodically. You choose the time element -- anywhere from four microseconds to two minutes (or an hour with the extended time option) -- that you want the Watchdog to assume you are healthy. If your application ever fails to send a new "I'm healthy" command, the watchdog hardware can automatically reboot your computer.

The system encourages you to be PROACTIVE in your analysis. The PC Watchdog System provides this capability by generating interrupts to the PC. Once set, the interrupts keep coming at your specified frequency until you disable them. Assuming the PC and software are still working, the device driver (or your interrupt handler) calls your application to let you analyze the situation. You can send the "I'm Healthy" command, request an immediate reset, or anything else that you desire (limited by DOS interrupt constraints).

System Components

PC Watchdog System Board

The PC Watchdog System consists of a 2/3-size PC expansion card, a Y-cable to insert between your power supply and system board with a connection to the watchdog card, a DOS device driver and enough technical information for you to build your own custom interface and/or device driver. If you request, we will provide Linux or SCO OpenServer drivers which are also available.

The PC Watchdog board provides all the timing support for the process. With onboard clock generation and frequency control, you are independent of the vagueries of the PC Clock interrupt. Hardware interrupts can be software selected. On a 16-bit AT bus slot, interrupts 3-5,7 and 9-12 are available. On an 8-bit PC bus slot, available interrupts are restricted to 2-5 and 7.

The Y-cable to the power supply allows your PC to be reset. If the cable is not installed, or not connected to the PC Watchdog board, you will be able to operate your PC normally and generate status interrupts, but will not be able to reset the PC.

The system includes a DOS device driver that facilitates the setting of status interrupt number, frequency and "I'm Healthy" commands. Also included is a test program to detect which interrupts the board can generate in your system configuration. Typically, PC interrupts can be used safely by only one board/device at a time.


The PC WATCHDOG SYSTEM comes in three different configurations, depending upon your requirements. Please specify your operating system -- DOS/Win3.xx/Win95, Linux 1.2.xx, Linux 2.0.xx, SCO OpenServer 5.x or WinNT. For WinNT there is an extra charge for the driver and Watchapp. If not specified, the DOS/Win3.xx/Win95 driver set will be shipped.
     Quantity      Price            Price
               Relay or Classic      ATX
      1 - 14     $199.95 each     $224.95 each
     15 - 49     $174.95 each     $199.95 each
     50 or more  $149.95 each     $174.95 each

Options available in addition to above (remember, either a Y-cable or the CC is included already):

Extended Time and ContactClosure options must be installed on the logic card at time of original order. Y-cables may be ordered at any time.

In all cases, shipping and handling charges will be added to order. Standard shipping is FedEx Next Morning or FedEx Second Day, insured, from Kansas City, Kansas.

For more information and options

Current release software available for download:

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