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tonsofpcs
08-28-2003, 09:14 AM
Why is it possible to have a 'switcher surface' [physical box] connected to COM1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8, am I to assume that I could build my own switcher and connect it via the standard RS-232c ports on my computer? If so, are there pinouts/data lists available so that i might?

mbloor
09-16-2003, 05:33 PM
I am sure someone from Newtek will correct me if I am wrong but the original (prototype ) switcher surface was a serial control device, but it makes sense to make it USB as it becomes self powered so I am guessing it may be a legacy from that plus there are serial to USB driver interfaces within the RS 8 drivers
Mark

Jim Capillo
09-16-2003, 07:52 PM
Now working THAT out would be tres cool...... I've got an old 24 input GVG switcher that would look nice driving the VT switcher.

:D

JReble
09-17-2003, 06:52 AM
Ditto on that. I would give somebody else's left nut for some diagrams for such a do it yourself connection via the serial ports or even better an interface box that allowed after market devices to control many aspects of the switcher interface.

mbloor
09-17-2003, 10:40 AM
Its quite possible to emulate the cut functions from a homemade panel butcher a usb keyboard or emulate the ASCI codes for the functions, the problem is maintaining the focus on the panel for the T bar function again possible but not elegant.
Remember you can have multiple instances of USB Keyboards and mice.
I did look very hard at this because I had a GVG panel to play with and here in the UK the RS 8 has just been price hiked to 825 almost double the price in the US (especially when you add a further 17.5% tax)
Mark
Actually what would be nice would be the ability to buy the electronics and interface your own panel and Bar. If you look at the price of the buttons etc used they aren`t cheap! so I do appreciate the cost involved in making the panel
Just as an example if a Penny and Giles T bar had been used these are 150 to 170 alone!!!

tonsofpcs
09-17-2003, 10:05 PM
Originally posted by mbloor
Its quite possible to emulate the cut functions from a homemade panel butcher a usb keyboard or emulate the ASCI codes for the functions, the problem is maintaining the focus on the panel for the T bar function again possible but not elegant.
Remember you can have multiple instances of USB Keyboards and mice.
I have actually been working on doing this for the past 3 or 4 months for my Amiga VT (2000) with a keyboard loop through port (i took apart an amiga keyboard i had with 4 broken keys, gave the membrane to someone whose membrane died, and am working with the board itself), i'm waiting to find buttons the right size and sensitivity that can put up with what a 'REAL' switcher could [smashing keys, rapid presses, etc]

JReble
09-18-2003, 06:58 AM
Well obviously emulating keyboard equivalents and closed-contact take functions is a no brainer. Anybody can hack a keyboard or use an x-keys unit to do that. What would be totally cool though would be a little black box that interfaced with the toaster software which allowed you to interconnect pots and relays thus permitting the use of outboard control surfaces or the ability to design your own to your own needs. It would need to work outside the standard keyboard functions so it could work in the background as the RS-8 does. I'm guessing it could simply be a series of screw terminals and would only have to allocate connectivity for 4 potentiometers, those being the fader bar, and three adjustable dials. I guess the electronic guts of an RS-8 without the actual control surface would be the thing. I wonder what that would have to cost?

PIZAZZ
09-18-2003, 09:50 AM
What do you have in mind for your little box there??
exactly what functions are you trying to access?


I have another project that I am working on that may interest you.
I am waiting on one more little thing to be finished in VT3 and then as Al Bundy would say "Let's Rock"

mbloor
09-18-2003, 01:26 PM
Actually just having a T bar would be great (one that actually has 256 levels i.e 8 bit word) not like the mediapost with about 6 levels
Mark

JReble
09-18-2003, 02:34 PM
I think I pretty well spelled it out.

"The electronic guts of an RS-8 without the actual control surface would be the thing." A box with screw terminals so I can connect whatever hacked or self-built hardware switcher I want. A usb interface would be fine.

PIZAZZ
09-18-2003, 03:57 PM
So why not just buy a RS8 and gut it???? :eek:

I am not exactly sure about how the RS8 controls the software. I do not believe it is like a programmable keyboard. I think there is some hard coding going on in the background in order to keep the RS8 in control at all times.

I personally would love to see a midi control option. Then you really could explore TONS of different controller possibilities.

JReble
09-19-2003, 07:33 AM
Originally posted by PIZAZZ
So why not just buy a RS8 and gut it???? :eek:

Cuz if I'm gonna spend $1,000 on something, I ain't apt to gut it. I would expect the interface alone is a small fraction of the cost of the total unit. As mentioned previously, several of those switch and t-bar parts ain't cheap. I'd like to have an external switcher control interface option as well.

Thraddax
10-03-2003, 12:43 PM
As far as interfacing an old switcher surface, there's a particular keyboard encoder which may be of interest. It's made by a company called UltiMarc, which caters primarily to people restoring or emulating older video arcade machines. The I-Pac is their keyboard controller, which accepts 56 switch closures:
http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

What's unique about this product, and different from simply hacking up a PC keyboard, is that the I-Pac can be made to emit complete strings, including shifted and control characters, based on a single button press. So any switcher functions which are directly addressable via "ctrl-shift-A" type commands could be accessed directly.

What the device lacks, of course, is the ability to read a T-Bar. I'm not familiar with the way the PC version works (I've only used the Amiga version of the Toaster) but is there a way of permanently assigning a mouse or trackball to T-Bar control? If so, there are encoders out there which could be adapted to read the optical encoder on most professional T-bars.

I must say however that in 3 years of working as a TD on a daily newscast (using a Grass Valley 200), I don't think I ever once used the T-Bar to drive a transition onto the live bus. I may have toggled it back and forth on M/E1 a few times to preview an effect, or to simulate a PIP box by stopping it halfway and using the positioner, but I always much preferred to use the Auto-Trans button for doing live transtions. That way I was free to start thinking about what happens next as soon as the transition rolled.

One thing I've not heard anybody mention is how to drive the button lamps on the switcher surface. Sorta defeats the purpose of having a control surface if you have to look over at the monitor constantly to see what channels are selected.


Hopefully someone will be successful in this. I'd love to see a Grass 110 surface driving a VT.

mbloor
10-03-2003, 03:02 PM
latching a command to drive a lamp is easy simple logic if one felt so inclined the cues out could be asily encoded as BCD and returned to provide a red cue for the selected on air cue with green for selected the optopulses to simulate the mouse as you say are easy with some form of shaft ecoder the "problem" is maintaining focus on the switcher module, but thanks for the info on the keyboard
Mark