Global Cache & iRule question- general WiFi to closed contact / relay - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all, I've tried searching for a couple days now, but no luck finding an answer to my very simple question, so I figured I'd throw it out here and see if anyone has any first hand experience with what I am trying to do.

The first part of the question- can an itach (wifi to cc) close 2 of the connections at the same time? And if so, can iRule be configured to send this command to the itach for simultaneous contact closures?

My setup is such that I will need 5 possible outputs from the itach to drive a linear actuator controller: 1, 2, 3, 1 + 2, 2 + 3

Any advise would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 06:55 AM
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I just finished setting this up in my theater (making a pj lift). I used two of the contact closures on the wf2cc to trigger the coils on a couple of dpdt relays. I believe that by doing that it should accomplish what you are looking for. I'll send you a pm with my email and if you send me a drawing/diagram with what you are trying to do I'll see if I can come up with something.
I don't think iRule can trigger two cc's at the exact same time but it can trigger them one at a time with a very short delay in between (0.1-0.2 seconds).
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, my setup is not as simple as that. I am using a linear actuator for adjusting my screen masking system. I am using a controller from creative werks that has 3 preset stop points. I plan to have the 3 points at aspect ratios 1.78, 1.85, and 2.35. If thats all i wanted, its a very simple straight forward install. However, I want to have the ability to also drive the actuator manually up and down to make slight adjustments ( for example going from 2.35 to 2.40). The controller tht comes with the linear actuator allows for this by having 3 buttons. By pressing any of the 3 buttons, it will go to the respective setting. To manually drive the actuator up, you have to hold down buttons 1 and 2. And to drive the actuator down manually, you have to hold down buttons 2 and 3.

Here is the actuator controller I am using:

http://creativewerksinc.com/Tech_Doc...Controller.pdf

Perhaps the solution would be as you mentioned, by just sending the signals within .1 seconds of each other..

Also, can i configure it to when I hold down the button on the ipad it opens/ closes, then when i release the button it stops moving? Or are the irule commands more like switches and just going to turn each contact on/ off?
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 09:35 AM
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iRule can be configured to send repeating commands on button hold but it's not like a solid button hold. It will turn the contacts on/off. Only way to find out for sure if it will work is to test it out though.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 09:42 AM
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The iTach contact closures respond to either a "1" or a "0" - holding down a button will just send the relevant command repeatedly, and when you release that button the unit stays in that state (i.e. it won't toggle back when the button is released).

You'll have to explicitly send a "0" to stop the action after initiating it with a "1".

Although I don't have first-hand knowledge of your actuator, I believe that sending two 'on' commands (such as opening contact 1 & then contact 2) in quick succession will achieve the "press both buttons simultaneously" condition you are looking for.[And you'll have to send the relevant pair of "0"s to halt the operation.]

FWIW, I use the Roomie iTouch/iPad control app (as I believe does MOReilly [Edit: just saw the previous post - maybe he's using iRule now!]) and you can assemble the strings of commands to be fired using a single virtual button. I control my motor-driven masking system and my Makita drapes using a Global Cache GC-100 and a set of open/close/off buttons in Roomie - works great!


As an aside, I'd be really interested to hear about your linear actuator masking system - I considered going this route, but ultimately decided on a DC motor pulley mechanism.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmmmm.... Not the replies I wanted to hear, but greatly appreciated guys, thanks. I just received the actuator and controller yesterday. I have the itach WF2CC on order, and it should be delivered tomorrow. I have not purchased iRule yet, or even downloaded it yet at this point. Hence my current research. Looks like i will have to play with it and see if I can figure something out.

Worst case, if I cant get short timed successive commands to work for both buttons, I could buy 1 more itach and just set that up for the manual up/ down commands and leave the other itach for the 3 presets only. Not sure that would be worth the price tho. I guess some experimentation is required on my part. Ill check back in upon any further findings.

If anyone else has any hints or tips, please let me know.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGF View Post

The iTach contact closures respond to either a "1" or a "0" - holding down a button will just send the relevant command repeatedly, and when you release that button the unit stays in that state (i.e. it won't toggle back when the button is released).

You'll have to explicitly send a "0" to stop the action after initiating it with a "1".

Although I don't have first-hand knowledge of your actuator, I believe that sending two 'on' commands (such as opening contact 1 & then contact 2) in quick succession will achieve the "press both buttons simultaneously" condition you are looking for.[And you'll have to send the relevant pair of "0"s to halt the operation.]

FWIW, I use the Roomie iTouch/iPad control app (as I believe does MOReilly [Edit: just saw the previous post - maybe he's using iRule now!]) and you can assemble the strings of commands to be fired using a single virtual button. I control my motor-driven masking system and my Makita drapes using a Global Cache GC-100 and a set of open/close/off buttons in Roomie - works great!


As an aside, I'd be really interested to hear about your linear actuator masking system - I considered going this route, but ultimately decided on a DC motor pulley mechanism.

DGF is absolutely correct! I had a bit of a brainfart when I said the contacts will go on and off.
You can simulate (that I believe should work with your setup) a press and hold with iRule by setting it up with one command sent with a button press and a different command sent on button release.
So you would set it up to send a command to close the contact when you press the button and send the command to open the contact when you release the button. I think this could work for you and might have to incorporate it into my projector lift setup.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 11:42 AM
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Okay, now that this thread has officially killed off any aspirations I had about getting any productive work done this morning.....! I was giving your situation some more thought:

As you mentioned, moving the actuator to any of the three preset positions looks simple enough - the challenge is with the up/down dual-button "press and release" combos. It's not quite what you were originally looking for, but you could set up Roomie or iRule to send a string of multiple (10, 20??) "on" commands to the appropriate pair of contacts, followed by a single pair of "off" commands - it would obviously only turn the contact on once, but would induce a delay prior to opening the contacts and stopping movement of the actuator. This would be the equivalent of blipping/nudging the actuator, and maybe would allow you to move between close aspect ratios (like the 2.35 to 2.40 transition) if you dialed in the correct timings.

I then started thinking about a different approach..... the three iTach contacts can produce a total of 8 different open/close combinations (2^3).....maybe you could add some form of solid-state (or physical) logic gate/array/matrix downstream of the iTach to create the desired actuator respsonses.....
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 11:57 AM
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Or.....

You could scrap the iTach CC approach and go with an IR option - here's a thread that talks about using a Velleman relay board kit to control a TV lift:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1300232

As I posted in that thread, I use a Velleman board kit to control my masking system. You can configure the relays to be either momentary or locking - if you use the original handheld IR controller you can get a relay to stay on while the button is being held down and then turn off when released. If you're okay having an extra remote (or use Roomie/iRule/DemoPAd, etc.), this would do exactly what you're looking for .....I think.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-25-2012, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, i appreciate your research. I actually was originally going to go with that exact setup and use an IR relay control, but that situation calls for more equipment. So rather than going thru irule to an IR itach then to a relay control, then to the actuator, i decided going straight from the irule to the itach CC to the actuator would be a more direct route. My downfall was that I assumed that opening simultaneous ports wouldnt be a problem.. At this point, now that i bought one itach CC anyways, my cheapest worst case scenario involves buying one more CC itach to handle up and down movement...

Man, I wish the itach was here now so i could get to experimenting with it! Ill definitely keep the thread updated as i make progress.

Again, thanks for the input.
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-27-2012, 02:45 AM
 
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I have not tested this but...

iRule can set a button property for press/release. When this is done, pressing the button sends one code, releasing sends another. The codes for iTach and GC100 relays are discreet on and off codes. So, to make a button and relay combination act like a momentary pushbutton, you set the button for press/release, then drop the on code and off code on it (in that order), and off you go.

You need to trigger two relays with one button press though. Still possible, but you'll have to write your own codes to do it, which is simple. Once you download and install iTach codes, you can look at one, say the Relay 1 On code. You'll see the actual command is a text string: 1,1\\x0D the 1,1 means Relay 1, State 1 (on), and the \\x0D is a return. So, relay 2 on would be 2,1\\x0D (that's a zeroD, by the way). Create a new code under that device and name it R1+R2 On, or the like. Enter both relay on commands with a space between like this:

1,1\\x0D 2,1\\x0D

Now you have a code that turns on two relays. Do the same to create the off command code:

1,0\\x0D 2,0\\x0D

Note the commands are similar, but the relay is now set to state 0 (off).

Set a button for press/release, and drop the two new codes on it, on first. Now you have a momentary button that turns on R1 and R2 when pressed, and turns them off when released.

The commands could be anything. Heck, you could turn all your relays on and off simultaneously that way! Or create combination codes and with only 3 relays end up with 7 possible outputs, binary encoded. You could, with a single IC decoder chip, control 6 different devices even though your iTach has only 3 relays. Ok, that might just be too much excitement.

Again, I haven't tested this, but I've written enough codes to think it will work fine.

How's that?
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-27-2012, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey, now there is a reply that sounds just like what im looking for!! I did not know you could write your own code for irule. Thats perfect! I have no problem writing code at all, i have experience with that in many forms. Its been a while, but its like riding a bike. Glad to know this is perhaps a possibility. Is there a particular version of irule that i need to be able to do this? Or can i try this with the free trial version first to make sure it will, in fact, work before i buy the software?

Thanks very much for the reply!
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-27-2012, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to update this thread.. My itach never got delivered. Fedex shows it was delivered saturday at 2, but when i got home at 6 it was not on the porch. Called fedex and they are going to start an investigation. Guy said i probably wont hear anything til tuesday now at this point. Ugh, this sux.
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-08-2012, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, after a big fiasco with Fedex screwing up and not delivering my itach, they had to send another overnight, which I got a week ago. Unfortunately, the replacement was defective, so I had to send that one back, and they had to send me yet another one. The next one took a week to get here since it didnt qualify for overnight shipping for some strange reason. Go figure that one out. Thanks smarthome...

Anyway! I got the second replacement today, and it is working fine. Well, the itach works. I can get it to open and close all 3 relays individually, but I am having trouble getting it to open and close 2 relays together. I tried the code logic mentioned above:

1,1\x0D 2,1\x0D

And it does not work. I guess the space does not qualify as "and".. I also tried 1,1\x0D + 2,1\x0D, but that does not work either..

Any guesses or hints out there that could help me out? I only have 7 days left on my trial irule software now because of the shipping shenanigans frown.gif
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-10-2012, 05:26 PM
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I've done some experimentation with controlling the iTachs from embedded microcontrollers. I found they are cranky if you send a new command before it's had a chance to reply to the previous command. ( I haven't tried a CC iTach, just the IR version ). I'm speculating that iRule has internal logic to wait for a response for the iTach before sending the next command. When you string commands together, the 2nd command may be sent before the iTach can respond to the first.

Try sending them individually in a macro and see if it works. Since your LA controller is monitoring buttons, I'm pretty sure it has some debounce time built in, and some further delay to wait after the first button press to see if another button is pressed. iRule sending individual sequential commands and processing responses may well be fast enough to satisfy this requirement.

hope this helps,

Jonathan
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post #16 of 16 Old 06-11-2012, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Not sure how to send the commands individually in a macro within iRule.. Care to elaborate on how that can be done? Im all ears.

I do know that I can set a button to do 2 or 3 commands with no delays between and it works great with the itach CC. My up and down and stop buttons are all set up that way. Only thing is, I can’t get a press- release type button to recognize a code for 2 together. If there were any way I could set up a press- release type button to process 2 separate commands for push, and then 2 separate commands for release, that would work great. No way to do that though that I can tell. frown.gif
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