Burk Simplifies Remote Control
— For many of us in the broadcast world, a remote control system is a way of
keeps us from constantly having to be at a place where we have to monitor our
stations manually. It helps us with switching at sunrise and sunset. It may
even help us with monitoring our tower lights. Without it, we become lost.
was asked recently to try out Burk Technology’s ARC Plus with their Plus-X IP-8
Adapter. Our setup here in Denver has been the ARC-16. This unit requires a ribbon
cable to go from the interface panel to the ARC-16 unit. The thought of
upgrading our system seemed out of reach due to the complexity of our setup.
discussing what I needed with Burk Technology over a year ago, they decided to
create an adapter for their new ARC Plus system.
looking to upgrade our remote system, the biggest requirement for me was that
it be compatible with our interface panel. Our setup is complex and having to
redo all the wiring completely could cause more harm than good.
Plus-X IP-8 Adapter was designed to interface between older ARC-16 panels and
the new ARC Plus system. No changes in the old wiring would be needed.
I also needed something that would make it easier for me to get things done at
the sites. Burk’s older AutoPilot 3 management program uses scripts to
customize how the system will behave. Unfortunately I have no clue on the
language used to write these scripts.
scripts has always been a copy-and-paste ordeal for me. I find other scripts
that were written before my time as chief engineer, piece together something
and keep adjusting it until it works. So, needless to say, I wanted something
newer AutoPilot 2010, which came with the ARC Plus, provided that ease with its
Jet flowchart scheme. Jet allowed me to design what I needed and the complicated
scripting was taken care of automatically.
ARC Plus with the Plus-X IP-8 adapter was an easy install. The ARC Plus is a 2 RU
system and the Plus-X Dual IP-8 Adapter is a 1 RU unit. To install, just put it
in the rack, hook both units up to your network and assign IP addresses. The ARC
Plus allows IP changes on the front, while the Plus-X Dual IP-8 adapter does it
over Ethernet. Configuration of the ARC Plus is, in my opinion, is better than
with the ARC-16.
Burk Technology has configuration software on
their website called AutoLoad Plus. I can input the IP address of the ARC Plus
and it finds it. From there I can label various channels, assign statuses,
create meters etc. For security reasons I think placing this program on a
remote server is better than embedding it locally within AutoPilot 2010 because
if you happen to sign in as “admin” and just click on a meter to edit that
channel and then forget to sign out, anyone else with access can then have some
first glance AutoLoad Plus seems overwhelming but once you just pick one thing
to work on, such as statuses, it is actually quite easy. Any changes made and
saved in the program are seen almost instantaneously in AutoPilot 2010. I had
the system up and running for one of my sites in just about half an hour.
with the other versions of AutoPilot, AutoPilot 2010 allows for custom views.
This makes it so you aren’t seeing all the unused meters or statuses when you
select a station. Instead, you can create a custom view for anything you want.
I use mine for each station and for tower lights for my various sites. The Jet
flowcharts make it easy to create something in a few minutes. Need to have it
give you readings every hour for one site?No problem.
ARC Plus, Plus-X IP-8 Adapter hardware along with the AutoPilot 2010 and
AutoLoad Plus programs were easy to use, program and required little time to
set up. The combined system provided better station control and had an improved
all-around look. It would be the perfect fit for any station that needs an
upgrade from an older ARC-16 setup.
For information, contact Steve Dinkel at
Burk Systems in Massachusetts at (978) 486-0086 or visit www.burk.com.