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Remote control shake-up 2015 – new interface options to make life easier…

Remote control of our units has been built-in and considered since we first developed the DP100, with its options of MIDI, RS232 and RS485 interfaces.
As we always want you to be able to use you equipment no matter what interfaces they support for remote control or connecting peripherals, we try to find solutions that will enable this as simply as possible.

We have overhauled two of our solutions to simplify not only the parts required, but of course to also make things work better!

Firstly, long distance comms for RS485 connections to a PC or laptop.
We have tested many USB to Serial adapters over the years and our recommendation for a simple USB to RS232 adapter still stands – the Aten UC232A.

Aten US-232a

Aten US-232a

This uses an industry standard chip (made by FTDI if you are feeling particularly techhie!) to handle the protocol conversion and this chip (and so its associated drivers) are also used in the DC1048, and the MC2 Ti1048 to provide a direct USB connection.

Our original solution to extending this to RS485 (as RS232 is limited to about 25 feet, although it will run reliably further at lower baud rates) so extending this range to 1000m and allowing a network of units to connect was to add an RS232 to RS485 adapter onto this. The KK Systems K2-ADE adapter worked well for this and so we had a kit consisting of the Aten adapter, the KK Systems adapter, and an D-type to XLR cable converter so you had a USB – RS485 on XLR solution ready to plug straight in.

This KK Systems K2-ADE adapter is added to the Aten adapter to make it a USB-RS485 converter.

This KK Systems K2-ADE adapter is added to the Aten adapter to make it a USB-RS485 converter.

Recently, some users have been experiencing difficulties with this solution, especially under Windows 8 – issues with AudioCore not picking up all connected units, or not getting all data back from them successfully. This has turned out to be a Windows serial comms timing issue and beyond our control.
So we looked for a hardware answer to sort this out.

We came up with a new converter that offers a direct USB-RS485 solution in a much more elegant (and cost effective!) manner, and still uses the same reliable chipset as we have been used to.

This adapter will replace the combination above for a more streamlined  elegant solution direct to RS485.

This adapter will replace the combination above for a more streamlined elegant solution direct to RS485 for AudioCore.

Note that this solution is for AudioCore only – we still have a different adapter to work with iCore for control of MC2 Ti Series amplifiers, processors and Dante breakout boxes. iCore does also support 4 Series (and DP548) as well as DC1048s and Ti1048s and so offers an alternative remote platform if you use these together.

This USB-485 adapter is only for use with iCore systems.

This USB-485 adapter is only for use with iCcore systems.

The iCore solution is this KK Systems adapter which again does direct USB-RS485, but due to the fact that the Ti Series products were forced to run at 57600 fixed baud rate (due to having to support Cobranet breakout boxes and their maximum data tunnelling speed), we have to do it slightly differently yet again!

All of this might feel a little confusing but it’s all summarised in the Remote Interface Guide (get it here) along with order codes and what’s supplied with each adapter, and a handy decision tree to help you choose the correct one for you application.

Going Wireless – new Walkabout Kit.

We’ve also been working hard on getting a new “Walkabout Kit” solution together, allowing both wired and wireless Ethernet connection to all units. Some of you have been experiencing problems with the latest DiGi Wisp WiFi to Serial converter – primarily seeing it on your list of available networks. A change in the firmware supplied with the units has unfortunately made them less than ideal to work with due to the fact that once we set them up here, if there are problems “in the field”, resetting them now renders them invisible on WiFi SSID searches, and they need to be manually reconfigured with a serial cable. We realsie this is just not practical in most circumstances. We will no longer supply them.

Instead we have changed to a Moxa NPort wired Ethernet to serial converter. This has several advantages. Firstly, and probably most importantly, upon a hard reset, the device can always be discovered and reconfigured as it has a wired Ethernet connection! Secondly, this solution can “go wireless” simply by plugging into a standard router, making it part of existing networks, instead of being an “ad-hoc” peer-to-peer connection. Lastly, it’s just much better! Set-up in greatly simplified and it’s more robust and reliable. Everything you would want!

Moxa NPort 5150 - a simpler, more reliable solution to Ethernet and Wifi remote connections.

Moxa NPort 5150 – a simpler, more reliable solution to Ethernet and Wifi remote connections.

The Walkabout Kit will no longer include an external USB-WiFi adapter as every device now comes with it built in and the quality has improved to the point that we don’t think it’s necessary to add this extra level of complexity. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Moxa Nport and how we configure it, there’s a guide on-line here which explains all.

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