Basic Use of Your EW Cart

Basic Use of Your EW Cart 2018-03-12T13:10:40+00:00

Guidelines for Your Mobile Carts

A: The beauty of all EarthWalk computer cart & lab systems are ease of use.

Your cart/lab requires just one standard electrical outlet and one Ethernet drop. Just plug it into both, and you’re ready to work.

An Ethernet connection is only necessary if/when you want a “hardwired” connection to your school’s network.

You may use your devices as independent computers, with just one electrical plug to the cart.

Many instructors like to assign a specific device to a student so that they can monitor its use (or abuse).

Hand out or have the students retrieve the devices, walk through the start-up sequence, and assign the day’s task.

BEFORE HANDING OUT THE DEVICES:

  • Remind your students that this is an expensive tool and should be HANDLED WITH CARE.
  • The students should have clean hands.
  • Neither food or any liquids should be permitted around the desk area where the devices will be used.
  • Students should be instructed to carry the devices carefully with two hands.

HANDING OUT THE DEVICES:

  • Call the students one at a time to collect each assigned device.
  • Monitor that the students are handling the units carefully as they return to their desks.
  • Review the correct method of opening and powering up the units.
  • Every precaution should be taken to avoid dropping the devices or banging them on hard surfaces.

ACCESSORIES:

  • A printer can be networked or connected locally.
  • You may have an external battery system for your devices; these units should be fully charged, connected and deployed with the devices. External batteries provide freshly-charged batteries for extended work time.

A:  While not complicated, it is very important to walk your students through the correct “shut down” procedures after every lesson, then collect the devices and return them to their respective slots.

For maximum battery life, DO NOT connect the AC power cord unless the laptop battery is fully discharged.

Lock the cart for security.

POWER DOWN THE DEVICES & RETURN TO THE CART:

      • Users should be instructed to close all files and applications, then power down the devices.
      • Call the students one at a time to return the laptops to the specific storage bay assigned to that device.
      • Do a quick check to verify that each device has indeed been shut down. You can do this quickly and easily by checking the power light. This light will turn off when the computer has shut down.
      • Make a visual assessment of the condition of the returned laptop.
      • For maximum battery life DO NOT plug in the charging cord unless the devices battery has been fully depleted.
      • Double check to see that every laptop has been returned to its assigned bay.
      • Close and lock the front doors.
      • The cart can remain plugged in to the electrical outlet & the network uplink so that the devices can be recharged or re-imaged.
      • We recommend you keep an incident log to note any problems with the devices. If a device was accidentally dropped or did not perform appropriately, the incident log is an excellent communication tool. Devices are often used by more than one student and/or are under the supervision of more than one instructor.

A: Yes. You can leave the cart plugged into an electrical outlet overnight. The EarthWalk HE charging system monitors the amount of power required by the devices. Leaving the devices recharging for longer periods will not harm the batteries’ performance. Batteries should be fully charged, removed and stored separately in a cool dry place for extended periods of inactivity, such as summer break. For maximum battery lifespan DO NOT plug in the charging cord unless the battery is fully depleted.
A: Make sure the primary power switch on the rear of the cart is in the “ON” position. Make sure the charging cables are firmly connected to each device.
A: For maximum battery life, completely discharge batteries before recharging. For example, if you only use your device for a one-hour session and return it to the cart, DO NOT plug in the charging cord unless the device indicates the battery charge is low. Many users try to extend the battery run time by “topping off” or partially charging the batteries during breaks or lunch. This will provide a short term charge for that day, however it greatly decreases the operational life span of the battery and will cause it to need replacement much more frequently.
A: To the devices, both charging systems are the same: They both deliver the amount of DC current & voltage that the devices request. Neither AC Adapters or the HE Charging System PUSH POWER. They only SUPPLY the power that is requested by the devices.

The primary design difference between AC Adapter charging and EarthWalk’s High-Efficiency (HE) charging is that instead of having a large number of small power supplies (one AC Adapter for each device), you have a central power supply system that is much more energy efficient. The HE system also includes a circuit control board which splits the available power source between the number of devices requesting power and protects each distribution cable from surges, shorts or foreign objects with an auto-resetting protection circuit.

When charging a large number of devices, being more energy efficient has numerous advantages:

      • Each standard AC adapter can draw more than 1 Amp of electricity from the wall circuit, so 32 units could easily draw over 40 Amps of power. This would overload a standard 20A electrical circuit if all devices were being charged simultaneously. Therefore, to prevent circuit overload, many AC Adapter charging systems require some sort of electrical timer or switch that rotates through groups of devices during the charging process.
      • The HE central charging system draws a maximum of 15 Amps for up to 32 devices. Normal operating electrical draw during the charging cycle could be aslow as 5 Amps total. This means that ALL devices can be charged simultaneously without overloading a standard wall outlet.
      • A comparative analogy would be cooling a 32-unit apartment building with 32 window units or using a more energy-efficient central air conditioning system. The central system can cool the entire building faster at a fraction of the electrical cost.

Other major advantages to using HE Charging:

      • Pre-wired, ready to use, no installation of adapters is needed
      • AC adapters are freed up to be used outside the cart when needed
      • Operational savings in reduced electrical cost of $100-$300 per year, per cart

A: The laptops have built-in function keys to control the contrast of the monitor’s image. Hold down the appropriate Function key and you can increase or decrease the contrast. It may also be advisable to lower the overhead lights in the classroom to reduce the glare on the screen. One key to remember is that a brighter screen setting requires and uses more battery power.
A:  It is highly recommended that two adults move the cart. Although the carts roll relatively easily, they are rather heavy when fully loaded with equipment. Make sure the Ethernet AND electrical connections are unplugged and the cords are properly stowed before moving a cart. Adults should move the carts and set them up for the next classroom teacher.
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Manassas, VA 20109
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