Technology Showcase: IP-based AV Control Systems
Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Hardware options for centralized control.
New to the Ethernet-enabled controller family of products from Cue USA, the Motorola ColdFire processor-based ipCue-epsilon sports a very versatile array of control interfaces. On its captive screw ports, the unit supplies two bidirectional RS-232 ports; one bidirectional RS-485; eight infrared serial outputs; and eight general-purpose I/Os that can be configured as analog inputs, digital outputs, 0V to 10V analog outputs, and 24V relay outputs. The ipCue-epsilon also contains a realtime clock and an internal web server that allows graphical monitoring and control of all ports from a standard web browser. Front-panel LEDs indicate power state and activity on Cuenet, CPU, and all control ports. Internal IR sensors can take commands from handheld remotes, and a 5V output has been added for powering external low-voltage equipment. WXL web-compliant programming makes touchpanel control and custom design of touchpanel surfaces possible. The ipCue-epsilon is aimed at single- and multiple-room control scenarios. Support for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) ensures a secure environment. Memory expansion is possible using any Type II CompactFlash card up to 4GB.
As the hardware component of the Dukane ConVA media control system, the ConVA protocol converter takes one of three forms depending on the size of the job. Each unit has an Ethernet RJ-45 port that connects to a network for centralized control and monitoring. The converter passes the commands through RS-232, IR, or relay closures to the various devices to be controlled. These include sensor inputs that can interrupt or be polled by another network device. The base model provides a power input, network connection, a serial port, and three independent IR outputs or sensor inputs. Coupled with this hardware, the ConVA software allows realtime monitoring, asset management, and logging along with a welcome screen, schedule wizard, and preferences setup.
The Extron Electronics MLC 226 IP is deployed in a wide array of applications, including university classrooms and corporate boardrooms. The unit can be flushmount into a wall or podium or go into a surface box for control of up to six AV sources, motorized screens, and lighting. Six relays can be programmed to activate in conjunction with any button on the unit, and display control is set up through Extron's huge library of display drivers using IR and RS-232 control. The MLC 226 IP has an internal web server for remote control/monitoring, which can be programmed to send email alerts in the case of display disconnect, lamp burn-out, or high lamp hours, among other events. Digital inputs can sense switch closure from external devices and activate any function automatically. Events can also be set on a time schedule and activated in a sequence by manual button control or external switch closure. There is also an inactivity timer for display cut-off and a front-panel security lockout. Button illumination can also be programmed for flashing pattern and color.
The RN-8200 Room Navigator from FSR offers a versatile array of switching control capabilities including 4×1 RGBHV video, 8×1 composite video, and 8×1 S-Video at a standard 75Ω impedance and 8×1 audio switching. It also offers device control through four serial ports, four IR ports, four contact closure ports with IP remote control via an internal web server, and RS-232. RN-ARP wall plates enable remote control from various local user locations, and COM ports allow computer control from adjacent locations. Relay outputs allow lighting control, and stereo sound outputs can connect directly to the unit on four 10-position pluggable screw terminals to provide balanced or unbalanced stereo or mono audio outputs at a nominal 0dBu level. On the Ethernet connection, compatible network protocols include TCP/IP, SMTP, ARP, DHCP, HTTP, ICMP, and Telnet. The FSR RN-8200 is intended for classrooms, training rooms, meeting facilities, lecture halls, and boardrooms.
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