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are you looking for two way control of your AV8 and much more

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by brendank, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. brendank

    brendank
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    hi everyone,

    just spent some more time on the www.avsforum.com site, and came across this post which i thought would be of interest to you.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=368936

    Check out what this guy has done with his arcam av8 processor using the RS 232 serial device


    looks good to me and at cost of $200 it also offers the potential for other home automation projects such as lighting,heating,alarm etc


    lots more information available on charmedquarksoftware available on this discussion forum
    http://www.charmedquark.com//www2/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=UBB2


    if only i choose computer science at college....
     
  2. Lowrent

    Lowrent
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    Can someone from Arcam tell us if we're gonna have that much control/fun with the AVR300 ?
     
  3. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey
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    Ah, I didn't know this forum existed, and just saw it when I was searching around for references to my product. I'm the author of the product Brendan referred to. It's important to emphasize that it's a full control and automation product, and that the Arcam interface he references is just one device it happens to support, and the interface is just one that a user built using the interface designer that is part of the product.

    So it's not just a program to control your Arcam, though it can do that. It's a full fledged, software-based control and automation product.
     
  4. Lowrent

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    Being a programmer, I totally understand that. Nice work by the way !

    I just wanted to know if the RS-232 port of the AVR300 will provide the same extensive programming interface.
     
  5. sticker

    sticker
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    Dean,
    This looks really good, will have to research this in some depth
    Regards
    John
     
  6. ANDY_DUTTON

    ANDY_DUTTON
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    The AVR300 also has a RS232 interface that allows control of all normal operation features. Unlike the AV8 you cannot set it up via the RS232 link by direct commands. You can simulate navigation via the remote control which should allow these features to be accessed if you really need to. Whilst most aspects of the AV300 operate in a very similar manner to the AV8 it was not possible to make the RS232 interface work in the same way so a new control program will need to be written.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  7. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey
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    Andy,

    Thought it's probably too late for the next device, here is a link to a page on my web site in which I discuss what makes for a good and bad protocol. It might be of some use to your protocol guys. Things are moving forward and systems like CQC have higher requirements of a protocol than many traditional systems, because of it's heavily network distributed nature.

    http://www.charmedquark.com/Technical/ProtocolRules.htm


    The biggest problem with the AV8 protocol is that it's inconsistent about when it will send async notifications. So, for instance, it will send DEC events when you change the mode directly, but if you do something like 'force analog' (or force analogue as you guys say :), this implicitly changes the DEC mode, but you don't send a notification for that.

    Those types of inconsistencies make things a lot more complicated. Another big one was overloading the meaning of a value in the DEC mode, i.e. 2 means one thing if seeing a digital signal and another thing if seeing an analog(ue) signal. That would have best been avoided, and all of the possible values just enumerated out.

    Personally, I'd argue that a device with that much information available should probably send more async notifications. For instance, all of the Z2 stuff must be polled, but probably could have just as easily been sent as asyncs as well.

    Another big issue for a device with this much data is that a system like mine, in which the data could be accessed simultaneously by many clients, must keep the state of the machine in an in-memory cache, so that it can hand that data out instantly to those clients. It has a driver poll thread that gets data from the device and keeps the cache refreshed. When it connects to the device, or reconnects, it must get all state data into the cache. When the device has a lot of data, this can be a bit time consuming.

    The ultimate design for a device of this complexity is that all changes are sent asynchronously, but which provides a highly efficient way to bulk load the state upon connect.
     
  8. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey
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    A 1.4 version of the AV8 driver has been posted. It seems to be all happy now. Gary has been testing it and says it's all working fine. The primary difference between this one and the previous posted version, 1.1, is that it correctly tracks the decode mode in all cases, which it wouldn't always before. And it changes the "Dolby Digital 3/2" and "DTS 3/2" values of the signal type field to show "Dolby Digital 5.1" and "DTS 5.1" instead, since those are more common representations of those types and what the Arcam shows on it's front panel (though it returns the previous values via the control protocol, which was why I was showing them that way.)
     
  9. ANDY_DUTTON

    ANDY_DUTTON
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    Hi Dean,

    Thankyou for your feedback on the AV8 protocol. I am sorry it has been difficult for you to get it working. Gary did feed back some of your requests and we are trying to incorporate them into the next revision. However we cannot now change the way many parts of the system work as it has to remain backwards compatible with the old version for all the installations that are already out there.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  10. Dean Roddey

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    Actually, you could, according to how you structured the control code internally. You could just add a new command, something like:

    PTVX<CR>

    or some such thing. No one who doesn't know about it is going to send it, but those control systems that do know about it could send it to ask for version X of the protocol, and therefore enable a new version. The device should send back a failure for that message in old versions of the firmware, since it won't understand it.

    In general, you should always provide a message that returns the protocol version, so that control systems can adapt to such changes as well. If the message above returned a FAIL for versions not supported, the control system could start at the highest version of the protocol it supports and work downwards until it either finds a version it can understand that the device supports, or give up.

    Anyway, you should always provide some way of moving the protocol forward over time while allowing the control system to know what version is being used. As a general rule, this also means you cannot send async messages until asked to, since newer messages might confuse older software. But, in this case, it won't be a problem, since the missing async messages aren't going to confuse anyone because they are in the same format.
     
  11. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey
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    I just posted CQC version 1.1.3, which now formally incorporates the Arcam driver (it was available as a separately downloadable 'driver pack' up until now.) This version of the Arcam driver also has some small improvements and fixes over the previously available version.
     
  12. brendank

    brendank
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    hi guys

    just been checking links on the charmed quark site and found this

    http://www.globalcache.com/products/ir-index.html

    was wondering does this mean all infra red controlled products can be linked into the charmed quark software without the need for drivers


    cheers

    :)
     
  13. Dean Roddey

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    Sure, if the device doesn't have any 'hard wired' connection scheme, or if it does but you are willing to live without it, you can use any of the IR devices supported by CQC to control that device. Currenly CQC supports GC-100, USB-UIRT, IRMan, Ira-2, and RedRat2 devices. When you control a device via IR, there is no need for a specific CQC driver for that device.
     

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