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rs-232 port (1 Viewer)

Daryl_hawk

Agent
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
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36
Just wondering what exactly an rs-232 port does? I noticed a couple receivers have this and after reading a lot I still can't find out much detail about it other than it can be used for upgrades.

COuld someone clarify the functions and/or flexibility of this port ????

thanks,
Daryl.
 

Leo Kerr

Screenwriter
Joined
May 10, 1999
Messages
1,698
Theoretically, one could apply software patches via the serial port.

In a lot of stuff, the RS-232 port is a better way of doing integration into control systems, such as AMX, Crestron, et cetera, for whole-house fancy systems.

All of our DVD players at work, for example, have RS-232 control ports.

Leo Kerr
 

Daryl_hawk

Agent
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
36

I understand the software upgrade but what about the stuff you mentioned above? WHat is AMX, Crestron etc.?
 

Leo Kerr

Screenwriter
Joined
May 10, 1999
Messages
1,698
I'm trying to think of the best way to explain this... apart from the bastardized evolving system I work around.

AMX makes a wide range of control system products, for a variety of industrial, commercial, board-room, museum, and even (in rare cases) home theater controls.

I suppose one way to describe it is, suppose you have a fancy programmable remote. You push the button for the projector, and it starts spitting out IR signals to...

1. lower the projector lift
2. turn the projector on
3. deploy the screen
4. turn on the receiver and set it to the DVD player
5. turn on the DVD player

all at once. Not hard; pretty easy, actually, but you're relying on IR signaling, which might not always work.

An AMX controller might receive one very simple IR/RF control ('projector!') and then begin toggling relays, and sending RS-232 commands to the other devices to do the same thing as that 30 second IR transmission.

You get improved reliability - you're not relying on IR - at least not anywhere near as much.

Another option might be in a multi-room scenario. You go into the living room and punch up the CD player. The CD player's data base tells you what disc is up, reading it on the small wall panel. You change the disc, and start it playing. The CD player in the basement goes to the right disc, the system routes the audio through the amp and the proper routing to the speakers in the living room, and gives you a volume control.

Or, you set up a bunch of those IR repeaters through the house.

Lets go a little further; I'll describe one of the elaborate systems we have at work... I'm only going to talk about one of the four inter-connected control systems.

Exhibit Controller receives a 'go' command from the building controller. (I work in a museum, by the by...) This is done as a NetLinx to NetLinx connection (NetLinx is a 'line' of control hardware by AMX.) This NetLinx connection is backed up by a parallel contact-closure system. Either will trigger the system as a 'go' command.

Exhibit controller now begins waking stuff up. Twelve racks of equipment split over twenty electrical circuits begin powering up. This is done by relays in the NetLinx frame closing, triggering remote-turn-on power strips. Six computers start booting up, a bunch of hard-disk based audio players, MPEG-II players, and other things start coming on... including a whole bunch of multichannel amplifiers.

After a suitable delay for the equipment to have been powered, it begins spitting out RS-232 commands to all of the MPEG-II players: go to file 1 and begin 'loop play.'

The audio players are controlled via MIDI. A bunch of MIDI commands are sent out. When the acknowledgements come back, "playing," three more MPEG-II players are started, playing captioning for the hearing impaired. (This is being done because the audio players are spitting out something like 32 channels of sound into three areas.)

Meanwhile, it has also sent start commands to two more subsystem show controllers, each performing its own thing.

It's also checking the projectors and displays. "What are you doing?"
Projector 1: "Idle."
Controller: "Power on, go to input 1. By the way, how many hours on the lamp?"
Projector 1: "Powering on. Input 1 selected. Um, looks like 790 hours."
Controller: "Projector 2, what are you doing?"
Projector 2: "Cooling down."
Controller: "Projector 2, what are you doing?"
Projector 2: "Idle."
Controller: "Power on, go to input 1. By the way, how many hours on the lamp?"
Projector 2: "Powering on. Input 1 selected. New lamp, zero hours."

And so on. In the course of five minutes, 26 independant kiosk systems, 4 independant PCs, and 2 linked PCs, a dozen assorted players, and two sub-controllers driving complicated subsystems are brought up, along with the dozens of plasma and LCD screens, three serious projectors, lighting control systems, bass shakers, and more, are up.

And if they had had the nerve to put it in, it'd also have pulled the solinoid to blow the compressed air through the train whistle... except it'd probably pop every eardrum in the 25000 ft^2 gallery!

That is what a good show control system can do...

Leo Kerr
 

Daryl_hawk

Agent
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
36
WOW!!! Thanks for the info Leo. Now I have a better understanding. It sounds expensive though I'm sure....
 

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