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An AV System to Train Firemen, Part 2

Jun 22, 2012 11:21 AM, With Bennett Liles


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I believe I saw four front panel USB ports and I think they have a Samsung document camera?

Yes, that’s correct it’s a nice camera well priced, easy to turn it on and it’s very hard to mess up. You can use it in a fancy way but we needed something that firemen can run. [Timestamp: 5:42]

And you have an R-E-D one wall controller in there for the radio station selection?

Yeah, those are part of the bi-amp system so the main sound system DSP is a bi-amp Nexia C S so10 mic in, six line outs. We use the R-E-D 1’s there is one in the room that is called the watch room. That’s the room in the fire station where monitors are and that’s kind of the working part of the fire station from a office perspective and there’s also one back in the kitchen so the one in the back of the building controls audio for the patio and the kitchen speaker systems as well as the one in the watch room controls the engine bay and some of the main functions. That’s one of the places. One of the things that we did that was pretty tricky from a control integration perspective is there’s an FM radio receiver in the closet in the training room and we needed to be able to provide a way for the firemen to not have to go in that closet as it were, the wire room, to change the radio station so we have—that’s an infrared bud on that and it’s connected to a infrared block on the touch panel so commands are put in so from the touch panel you can pick the radio stations. We also replicated that command in the WIC, the Xantech web intelligent controller, and we have a bi-directional Ethernet serial over Ethernet connection from the WIC into the bi-amp Nexia so then the Nexia R-E-D 1has the serial commands in it to be able to change the radio stations so you walk in the watch room or into the kitchen and on the bi-amp R-E-D 1 you send the command to the bi-amp which sends the command to the WIC which send the command to the touch panel which changes the station on the Tascam tuner. [Timestamp: 7:26]

And the RED 1s are neat looking little units. It looks like a thermostat on the wall. Tiny things.

It’s a 2 gang. It’s basically a two gang old school iPod device. You can put 32 parameters on it whether its volumes or mutes or preset recalls. You have a way in there to shut the whole system down as well as a big switch on the wall so last man out can hit a button and everything goes off when the building is empty. [Timestamp: 7:52]

In part one we were talking about the ducking sensor that automatically reduces any audio levels when there’s an emergency call. What’s the trigger on that? How do you physically interface that?

The alarm system is a closed box system. That vendor also put in, in conjunction with the electrical contractor a simple 70 volt mixer amplifier so when the alarm sounds or when there’s a page from the telephone system or when the front doorbell rings, this is a secure building so you have to know the code button to get in, so any of those three things makes a sound into the 70 volt system so we took an RCA out of that amplifier and went into a RDL transformer to turn that into a healthy balanced line, ran 150 ft. of mic cable to the AV closet off the training room and took that line, audio line, into the Nexia so inside the Nexia we’re able to see that as a volume change and I did an inverse gate on it so it’s solid volume the whole time. That handles the ducking of the loud speaker systems. Additionally we had to send mute commands to the televisions, to the home theater systems and we had to pause any movies that were being played so we took an audio out of the Nexia ran it through a little Xantech device. It’s a little sensor unit they have that has some generic front ends you can catch it from a contact closure, an audio signal, I believe there’s even a light sensor so you can use a lot of things to trigger something and that something then is a latch and we hit a relay input on that and it then gave us a command with the capture in the WIC so we could trigger any of the Xantech site control things which are sending mutes out over Ethernet to the televisions or over IR to the home receivers as well as RS-232 to the Tascam DVD player to tell it to pause and then restart when the command is over. One of the things to realize is not all the alarms are for everybody in the station it’s a big facility, they have EMS as well as fire so the EMS might get called but the other firemen staff can still watch their movie or watch the news or eat breakfast or whatever they were doing so not everybody has to leave so we did even that courtesy of pausing the DVD was a fun thing to do for them. [Timestamp: 10:27]

And I’m sure that it was amazing to them when they saw that you could do all those things. And you’ve got the WIC in a central closet?

Yeah, basically all the equipment is in a …8x8 dedicated AV closet with a, we put a tall Middle Atlantic rack in there and most of our gear is housed in there. [Timestamp: 10:43]

Now how do you program the WIC to control the system?

The WIC has its own interface that you basically log in a little web server and you enter commands. They do have an offline editor as well. [Timestamp: 10:55]

Well, I know it was fun watching it all work. It really brings out a lot of the creativity when you get it all hooked up and you’re thinking about how it can be used for that specific application. So what else is coming up for Circle City Audio? Have you got some other projects that you’re moving on to now?

Well we have three church sanctuaries under construction right now. We’re doing some work in Indiana Supreme Court coming up, they had a justice change so we have to reprogram our DSP system because they talk differently than each other so little tweaky things like that some other school projects, a lot of ongoing a couple of sound system replacements. The construction projects have us pretty busy though because of all the scheduling and all the stuff it takes to interweave with the other trades and that kind of stuff. The AV sort of gets the tail end of it a lot of times so you got to react to everybody else. [Timestamp: 11:47]

Especially when you don’t have the chance to get in on the original construction but it sounds like you guys had a good time doing this. Circle City Audio with Andrew Van Veld. Outfitting AV for a fire station and training operation. Thanks for telling us about it.

Thank you.



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