AV Control Systems
Mar 17, 2010 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
For a very small AV control solution with an integrated control processor and user interface, Kramer Electronics offers the RC-62L six-button room AV controller either as a standalone unit or as part of a SummitView AV control system. For the back-lit and color-programmable buttons, depending on whether the model ordered is the RC-62 or the RC-62P, there are either printed or plastic-insert group labels available. The unit has the capability for macro commands for setting up a series of events with one-button push. Each button can exhibit multiple functions including toggle, and there is an internal realtime clock for issuing scheduled functions. The unit includes one bidirectional RS-232 port, one IR port with an IR learning function, along with two relay ports. The controller can connect with other Kramer control panels or a central processor through the dual K-Net connectors, and there is a USB port.
Designed for museums, stores, showrooms, restaurants, and attractions, the Medialon Showmaster ST embedded show controller can run and sync projectors, screens, lighting, video servers, dimmers, and sound through Ethernet, serial, digital, relay closure, and DMX interfaces. It is also programmed with the Showmaster Editor software application with a drag-and-drop user interface. The system includes 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM and an 80GB SATA hard drive.
For simpler AV control applications using extremely little space, the ButtonMate XLP (MT-XLP-BM) from Mediatech is an integrated controller and button panel that includes two serial ports and one IR control port along with an RJ-45 connector. The real ace with the ButtonMate XLP is simple and quick installation. The unit fits a one-gang wall panel, and with the addition of the add-on LAN module, it can be part of an overall network-based AV control system. Available in a white or black powder-coat finish with interchangeable button labels, the panel can be programmed with seven LED colors and audible tones. The Windows-based configuration software application enables command scripting with auto power-up and shutdown. The software is included with the panel in addition to a power supply, cables, breakout adapter, IR emitter, and button label set. Options include custom cables, a mounting wedge, custom color, and factory configuration.
Using IP-based audio, video, and control, the DigiLinX system from NetStreams incorporates a variety of graphical user interfaces to allow source control, sensor, and relay control for as many as 300 sources into 300 displays. The system can deliver uncompressed, lossless audio and video over a managed network with less than 1 millisecond latency, all over a Cat-5 cable rather than proprietary network cabling. NetStreams offers a wide variety of control interfaces and accessories, but the system can be interfaced with third-party control units such as Crestron and AMX as well. Audio, video, source control, HVAC, lighting, and integrated intercom can all be run on the system with a minimum of programming and very simple hardware connection. The whole network can be set up in a star topology using layer 2 or layer 3 managed switches with IGMP implementation.
The top-of-the-line AV control processor from RTI is the XP8 with two-way RS-232, routable IR, relay control, and Ethernet. The XP8 includes an internal clock for scheduled events and features eight multipurpose I/O ports with variable output for IR emitters and optional video/voltage sensing modules. Other ports include eight programmable relay input/outputs, eight sense inputs, eight two-way RS-232 ports, and an RS-485 jack for expansion. The unit can interface with all RTI remotes and touchpanels including the new ST-7 universal controller with its 7in. LCD and capacitive touchscreen, integrated trackball, and 13 programmable hard buttons. Programmed with the Integration Designer software, the XP8 can be updated with its field-upgradable firmware.
The Networked Room Controller from SP Controls offers a simple yet adaptable solution to controlling a display device and the various source devices that switch into it. The central control unit can be connected with a variety of color-coded control pucks to configure the system to any combination of source devices. Each control puck offers a different set of device interface ports. The controller has an Ethernet port and can be configured through an AJAX-powered web interface using the SP Controls driver library along with IR-driver learning capability using the PixiePro modular panel. The control pucks can be connected along the SP bus on RJ-45 ports and offer either four relay connections, four IR ports, or a combination of serial and IR ports. The Networked Room Controller itself offers one serial port, four relay connections, and two inputs.
The Vity Technology Multicustom Modular Controller consists of a main frame box that can accommodate a range of 10 slide-in cards to customize the control options for the particular application. With these, a system can be configured to include serial, IR, X-10, relays, VCA, digital feedback, and EIB. The system can also be programmed to sense outside triggers and run a predetermined series of events with its sources and contact closures. Up to 16 of the central frames can be linked on an MBC bus cable or the Multicustom/IP Ethernet linking can be used and these can all be controlled by any web browser. The Multicustom front-panel IR sensor allows learning of up to 255 infrared codes for device control. The MCM IRTX module has six infrared ports while the MCM RS offers two serial ports. The other modules have a combined range of interfaces that can be used to set up a very sophisticated range of triggers and device controls.
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