HAL Controls Other Gadgets

Since the introduction of the Rane DR6 touchscreen, our most common question has been: From my HAL, how do I control my projector and video switcher, or tell my projector screen to go up and down?
Here’s how.

Contact Closures – Some HALs have output relay ports. These can directly drive the contact closure inputs on devices to turn on or off the projector, or to bring the screen up and down. If you need more than two closures, the Rane DR4 Logic I/O Expander (1U) connects to any HAL, adding eight more logic (TTL) I/O, and eight 5-volt pot-on-a-wall voltage inputs. Plus it has six IR remote ports for the Rane IR2 wall sensor for room combine systems or sensing that a car has pulled up to the drive-thru window. [Logic I/O HAL comparison]

Ethernet TCP/IP control on the HAL
Some video matrix switchers and projectors can be controlled using TCP/IP Ethernet messages. There are two TCP/IP approaches:
(a) If the device you want to control via Ethernet can accept ANY TCP/IP message – perhaps even the exact ASCII text over TCP/IP messages any HAL sends, then place the HAL’s Ethernet port & the device’s Ethernet port on the same network, and program the (often fancier) projector or video switcher’s incoming Ethernet handler to deal with HAL’s exact message. HAL’s correct message protocol is found in here – this link is to just the HAL’s ASCITT text over TCP/IP protocol. AMX and Crestron example files include a zip with full details and example code if you have such control devices.
(b) Many projectors and video switchers do not allow such fancy acceptance of any custom incoming TCP message as described above. More often one needs an Ethernet device such as those made by or Aurora Multimedia on the network. Aurora makes two products that can be programmed to accept the exact HAL ASCII text over TCP/IP message, and translate it into the exact TCP or RS-232 message that the projector or video switcher needs. [QXP-2 & QXC-4] It’s an extra step, but not uncommon in today’s IT-centric world. Very late in the year (2016), Rane will have a solution too.

The New RAD16z
The RAD16z is plenum-rated and in addition to 2×2 audio I/O – it includes 2×2 logic I/O also. This lets you physically place it in the ceiling above the projector or near the screen, and use the two logic outputs to turn on/off the projector or bring the screen up/down. And via the same shielded CAT 5e or better cable from the HAL, you can get audio TO &/or FROM the projector when needed. This is a great solution in classrooms and boardrooms.
The Even Newer RAD26
A third even newer device with 3 logic inputs and outputs is the RAD26. This contains considerably more stuff though, such as headphone amp, and customizable user interface – so is overkill if you’re only looking for logic I/O to control something. (Here’s a link to the blog article with RAD26 video).

How do end users toggle the projector or video switchers?
One simple way is to place a toggle checkbox or two on a DR6 touch screen, Web Control page or DR2. One toggle button turns the projector on. Another can bring the screen up or down.
If you have a video switcher with three possible video sources, place a 3-position selector on a DR6 or web page. Then link it to a 3-position selector with labels for: Computer, Blu-ray and Camera. Once you link the selector to an External Control selector, when Computer is selected, the HAL automatically sends the Ethernet ASCII message, and it tells the video switcher to select PC. When selecting Blu-ray, the HAL sends the “select Blu-ray” message.
Or to truly ease the end user interface and make selection automatic, use the Rane RAD27 USB Audio device as the computer’s sound card. Once the USB-connected computer gives the RAD27 permission to be the soundcard, the HAL can be programmed to automatically send the messages to
(1) turn on the projector,
(2) lower the screen,
(3) select the computer video on the video switcher,
(4) lower the lights & curtains and
(5) start your TCP/IP-controlled popcorn maker.
And if you’ve got an Ethernet-enabled refrigerator, it can send a message to Amazon.com to restock the beverages that are running low.

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