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Technology Showcase: AV Room-control Systems

Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

Choosing the right hardware for your specific needs is a challenge.

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Aurora Multimedia WACI-PAD 6

Aurora Multimedia WACI-PAD 6

Among its wide range of AV controllers, Aurora Multimedia offers the WACI-PAD 6 for small-footprint AV control with hardware buttons. The unit mounts in a standard single-gang wall box, and it uses buttons that can morph into other functions when a control source is selected. One button serves as a return-to-main-menu point in an arrangement that maximizes functional flexibility in a very minimal space. An onboard web server allows remote configuration and operation of the built-in serial and IR ports. Included are a 250-MIPS processor; built-in diagnostics and setup; Power over Ethernet; internal bitmap setup; and a range of button backlight colors in red, orange, and green. Through remote programming and setup, the user can read the unit's serial number, MAC address, IP settings, host name, and WACI Master IP. Along with these settings are password programming, serial data configuration, baud-rate settings, and button-group assignments. The WACI-PAD 12 has 12 buttons and fits a standard double-gang wall box.

Bitlogix markets an economical solution for connecting networking and non-networking projectors in the same plant with its NetControl software application and the SDS5110N, a new product for use with non-network projectors and NetControl software. The SDS5110N is a low-cost external (single-port) serial device server to connect non-network projectors to the network. You can use the SDS5110N with NetControl software for a very low-cost control solution. Network and non-network projectors can be controlled together while NetControl software and hardware needs are kept to a minimum. The SDS5110N is a small hardware module that has an Ethernet port and one RS-232 port on a DB9 male connector. The serial data rate is 110bps to 230.4kbps, and the protocols include ICMP, IP, TCP, UDP, DHCP, ARP, BOOTP, Telnet, DNS, SNMP, HTTP, and SMTP. The unit comes with power adapter and a quick-installation guide, along with administration software and documentation on a CD-ROM.

The Ion series of controllers from Calypso Control Systems provide control over a limited number of AV devices, but the low cost and compact Ion controllers can be networked for substantial expandability. All feature Calypso's c_Link for hyperlink control from nearly any software interface including PowerPoint, MS Word, Windows desktop icons, and other hyperlink-friendly applications. The heart of the system is the event database that is accessed through an onboard web server. This database translates incoming events in the form of contact closures, IR triggers, and serial or Ethernet input into predetermined actions. This opens the system to being controllable by a wide range of interfaces and software applications. The Ion-8r has eight relays, one RS-232 port, and Ethernet. The unit's blue LED indicates power, the green LED shows communication activity, and the amber LED alerts the user to relay status. The RS-232 connects on a removable screw-down block terminal.

Crestron Pro2

Crestron Pro2

The Crestron Pro2 professional dual bus control system is the flagship of the company's 2-Series line of AV control units with its 32-bit Freescale ColdFire processor. Designed for medium- to large-scale commercial and residential control applications, the Pro2 features six bidirectional RS-232/422/485 ports on DB9 connectors; eight serial/IR outputs; eight I/O Versiports for digital or analog signals; eight normally open, isolated relays; and one Z-bus and three Y-bus expansion slots, along with front and rear serial computer ports. IP-connected control and monitoring are possible using Crestron's RoomView application, and the unit communicates with other Crestron devices on a 4-pin CresNet connection. Memory expansion is made through a card slot on the rear panel for any Type II CompactFlash card up to 4GB. The built-in web server has the capability of both static and dynamic IP addressing, and SNMP support allows network management using any third-party SNMP software. All Internet-enabled 2-Series processors support Secure Sockets Layer for protecting sensitive network communication.

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