Jul 152013
 

Backstory

We were contracted by an A/V Integrator who was taking over a large installation, originally designed and programmed by a different company.  The installed system was quite complicated, consisting of multiple Crestron touch pads, video projectors, light fixtures, etc.  The group who owned the facility wanted to upgrade the (now old) video projectors, but appreciated that everything had been programmed to work as part of a larger automated system.

Unfortunately, the company who did the original installation was either (a) long since out of business, (b) uninterested in changing the control system, or (c) interested, but requesting an extortionate amount of money to make the changes.

Since most installers closely guard the source code / interface configuration / custom modules they’ve created for these projects, it’s difficult for third parties to make any changes.

“Could you perhaps,” the new integrator asked, “design a box which receives RS232 commands (generated by the existing automation controller) and then retransmits our new commands?  This way we can install a bigger/faster/stronger/brighter/different brand of video projector and have it work seamlessly within the larger system.”

“Of course!”‘

Because realistically, we’re only worried about watching for a handful – at most a few dozen – of serial commands for each device.  Receive ‘power on’ in Sanyo syntax and retransmit à la Barco.  Or perhaps switch projector inputs.  And so forth.

Enter the Serial Port Interceptor

It’s an RS232 learning remote.  The networking crowd would describe it as a beneficial man-in-the-middle attack.

Showing Upstream and Downstream RS232 Ports

Showing Upstream and Downstream RS232 Ports

Rear Panel Includes VGA and PS/2 Keyboard Connections

Rear Panel Includes VGA and PS/2 Keyboard Connections

These two photos show a rev1 prototype.  The panels are simple laser cut plastic, rather than our traditional anodized and brushed aluminum.

This nifty yet nondescript black chassis contains:

  • 1 x female DB-9 connector, for listening to upstream requests
  • 1 x male DB-9 connector, for driving downstream equipment
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard connector, used for initial setup and programming
  • 1 x VGA monitor jack, for programming and testing.

Here’s a very rough-cut demo video of the system in operation:

Interest piqued?  Contact us for more details.

 

 Posted by at 5:30 pm

  to “The Serial Port Interceptor”

  1. Brilliant piece of kit! I don’t have a use for this now but this show cases how your exceptional skills can solve the unsolvable. Congratulations.

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