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erothchild

TCP Production Computer Control from other Computer

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I'm having trouble figuring out how to remotely control a Production Computer (PC) from another computer (OC) using TCP/IP.

I've read appendix D, and understand the syntax, what I don't get is how to send the command from the OC to the PC.

I have the OC on the same subnet as the PC and can ping it, I just don't know how to deliver the command.

 

Thanks in advance.

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If I'm not wrong, I think the difficulty in understanding and establishing a link is that WO Production PC will only listen for serial commands via the TCP/IP port 3040.

So you really need a serial-to-TCP/IP converter. If memory serves me correctly, you must -

 

1. Enable WO Production PC to accept external commands (File > Preferences > Control > Enable TCP/IP option)

2. Then you need to establish on your WO Production PC a serial to TCP/IP converter (I use the freeware HW VSP3 from www.hw-group.com - free for one port only).

3. Your OC PC can send the commands via a serial port. Just make sure that the OC's serial port is communicating with the WO PC's serial port. If you want to link the two PCs with CAT-5, then I'm quite sure you need a serial-to-TCP/IP converter on the sending PC (OC), and a TCP/IP-to-serial converter on the WO PC. I have not tried, but you could try installing and using HW VSP3 on both the OC and WO pcs. Maybe HW VSP3 allows communication both ways (i.e. serial-to-TCP and TCP-to-serial).

4. Lastly, ensure you end all serial commands with a Carriage Return code or Line Feed else WO PC does not know it is the end of a command - in hex, it is 0x0D (read: zero x zero D) or 0Dh or $0D or whatever your software uses to signify hex code.

 

I do my tests with the freeware Serial Buttons from audiovisualdevices.com.au and the built into Windows "Microsoft Loopback Adapter" so that I can use 2 software (WO and Serial Buttons) on my one laptop and make them "think" they are communicating with each other via serial and TCP/IP. You do not need  the WO dongle to communicate with WO Production PC.

Serial Buttons do not understand ASCII, so you have to use hex code, eg. 'run' with the carriage return is 0x72 0x75 0x6E 0x0D where the spaces shown are important for Serial Buttons. Just google for a ASCII to hex converter, or get a table printed and file that.

 

An alternative is to use MIDI instead of serial commands.

 

Thomas Leong

Malaysia

 

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Hi Thomas,

 

Thanks for the detailed answer.

Just for clarification, wasn't the question about a straight TCP/IP connection from another PC to WATCHOUT, not a serial one?

Or am I missing something here?

 

best regards

/jonas

 

 

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Hi Jonas,

 

Perhaps it was. But erothchild said, despite a successful ping, he could not get the commands to work. My guess is that a serial-tcp converter is needed 'cos that is what has worked for me. Additionally, I used a software that could output serial, which made it easier. However, if you know otherwise, pray tell.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, speaking in layman's term here... so, I need to have some sort of software installed into another computer with tcp/ip features, and then connect it to a Production Computer (tcp/ip option enabled) via ethernet cable, and using the software in another computer, i'm able to start, stop, position and run the timeline on the Production Computer remotely.

 

If so, what kind of software do I use? is it also possible to run 2 Production Computers simultaneously with TCP/IP?

 

Sorry if i made it sound a lot easier than it is, I am still very unfamiliar with TCP UDP / IP.

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Please describe in more detail what kind of system configuration you try to build. Describe it from a usage point of view - not your idea of how to accomplish it. Getting a better understanding for what youre actually trying to do would make it easier to suggest a good solution.

 

Mike

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I do my tests with the freeware Serial Buttons from audiovisualdevices.com.au and the built into Windows "Microsoft Loopback Adapter" so that I can use 2 software (WO and Serial Buttons) on my one laptop and make them "think" they are communicating with each other via serial and TCP/IP. You do not need  the WO dongle to communicate with WO Production PC.

Serial Buttons do not understand ASCII, so you have to use hex code, eg. 'run' with the carriage return is 0x72 0x75 0x6E 0x0D where the spaces shown are important for Serial Buttons. Just google for a ASCII to hex converter, or get a table printed and file that.

 

 

Hi Thomas. I know this an old thread, but what you mentioned sounds like what I'm looking for. I've downloaded the software, but I don't see a way of configuring a TCP/IP connection? If for example I want to make a localhost connection to WO, I would define the IP to : 127.0.0.1:3040, since the port defined to WO is 3040. Where can you do that?

 

Best regards Christian

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For testing purposes, you can use a TELNET client form a terminal window. Built into MacOS X as standard, and inWindows it can be enabled in Programs and Features. You can also use the "putty" freware program for Windows. If you run it on same computer as production software, you can connect to "localhost" or "127.0.0.1", using port 3040. Don't forget to enable the TCP port in Preferences for the loaded show.

 

Mike

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Hi Thomas. I know this an old thread, but what you mentioned sounds like what I'm looking for. I've downloaded the software, but I don't see a way of configuring a TCP/IP connection? If for example I want to make a localhost connection to WO, I would define the IP to : 127.0.0.1:3040, since the port defined to WO is 3040. Where can you do that?

 

Best regards Christian

 

Hi Christian,

 

If you are referring to the software Serial Buttons, it needs a virtual serial port. I use the freeware single port HW VSP3 to create the virtual serial port on my laptop -

 

http://www.hw-group.com/products/hw_vsp/index_en.html

 

(after install, log-in to the software to make changes under 'Virtual Serial Port' tab. Example: Com Port 3 IP: 127.0.0.1 Port: 3040. If you want the serial port to be created every time you boot up, you will want to enable 'Create VSP port when HW VSP start-up' under Settings tab, and save the Settings to .ini file. Otherwiase, no other changes to the default values/settings in the software. Thereafter it will autorun as a Service everytime).

 

Next start Watchout Production PC on the same computer.

Also start Serial Buttons and right-click on any button > Configuration > Output 1 ensure the serial port is correctly chosen. Other parameters are at default (9600,8,1,none,none).

Contrary to my earlier posts re Serial Buttons not accepting strings, I found out that it does, with [ ] square brackets to denote a string.

So next enter your serial cues either in hex 0x or in string. A space is required between bytes or strings.

Examples -

[run] 0x0D

[halt] 0x0D

[gotoTime] 0x20 [0] 0x0D

You can also use .13 instead of 0x0D

 

[standBy] 0x20 [true] 0x0D

[standBy] 0x20 [false] 0x0D

Alternative is assign 3 Serial Buttons - one for [standBy], one for ON, one for OFF with the following commands -

standBy button: [standBy]

ON button: 0x20 [true] 0x0D

OFF button: 0x20 [false] 0x0D

 

Likewise with online and offline.

 

With Aux Timelines, I have not been able to solve the 'space' after the word 'Timeline' as auto-assigned by Watchout, eg. Timeline 1, Timeline 2, etc. Mike has mentioned enclosing with quote marks, but that does not work with Serial Buttons. So far, it seem to work only with Timeline1, Timeline2, or a specific named Aux Timeline without a space in between the name -

 

[run] 0x20 [Timeline1] 0x0D

[halt] 0x20 [Timeline1] 0x0D

 

If you have a lot of Aux Timelines, configure as many rows and columns of Buttons as you need.

An alternative, to keep things tight and small, break up the serial command into 3 or more Buttons, as follows -

 

Play Aux button: [run] 0x20 [Timeline]

Stop Aux button [kill] 0x20 [Timeline]

Then 10 buttons a'la a calculator from 0 - 9 with the following values:

0: [0]

1: [1]

2: [2]

etc...

and finally a TAKE button with the value: 0x20 0x0D

NOTE: All Aux Timelines must be renamed to have no space between 'Timeline' and the number, eg Timeline 1 renamed to Timeline1, etc.

This way, you can have 9999 Aux Timelines or more!

Works on a touch-screen monitor too!

 

Thomas

 

Note: Edited re IP address and Settings.ini

Edited by Thomas Leong

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Just a quick note on the original subject of this posting. In WATCHOUT 6, the control protocols of the production and display computers have been largely unified, removing as many of the differences as possible. This should make it easier to choose either method, as well as starting with one method (e.g., the production computer, since it makes it easier to see what's happening), and then switching to the other method for final deployment.

 

The WATCHOUT 6 User's Guide should be out soon with full details.

 

Mike – http://fahl.se/

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