Part A: Connecting to Q-SYS

Site: QSC
Course: Q-SYS QuickStarts
Book: Part A: Connecting to Q-SYS
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Monday, 15 July 2024, 1:23 AM

Description

Lesson Description

Learn the different methods of connecting devices to Q-SYS, and connect your Core to using Windows Telnet to simulate a third party device.

Video Transcript

0:08
Welcome to another Q-Sys Training session. In the next few videos,
0:12
we’re going to introduce you to external control of Q-Sys.
0:15
You can assign almost any control in your Schematic to the Named Controls bin,
0:19
which allows it to be accessed by the Administrator for Control Change Commands,
0:24
or by Control Scripts, or … by third party control systems such as AMX or Crestron.
0:31
If you’re using one of these products,
0:32
you should already be familiar with how to connect your device to the Q-Sys network,
0:36
but this tutorial will show you how to issue commands and retrieve information from the Q-Sys Core.
0:41
First of all, let’s pick some controls that we’d like our third party device to access.
0:46
Let’s go to the Schematic Library and drag a Gain component into our schematic, and open its control panel.
0:55
Let’s give our third party device control over the Gain knob and Mute button.
0:59
We need to add them to our Named Controls bin in the Left-Hand Pane.
1:02
Simply drag each control into this area and release.
1:07
You’ll notice that each control is automatically named according to a simple naming scheme:
1:12
the type of Component followed by the type of control.
1:15
Since this is the Gain knob of a Gain component, it’s named “GainGain.”
1:20
If you had named your component something besides its default name,
1:23
that would show up as well. For instance, I’ll label another Gain component “Master,”
1:28
and you’ll see that in the Named Controls Bin it shows this name first before the component and control type.
1:35
The controls are organized by their parent component’s name,
1:39
but you can use the filter button to toggle between this method or an alphabetical list of all Named Controls.
1:45
If you would like to rename any of these controls, simply click it and provide your own name.
1:50
I’ll name this guy Mr. Control – be sure that every control has a unique name,
1:56
and be aware that if you use a space in the name like I have here,
1:59
you will have to do a little extra work later on. More on that in the next video.
2:04
If you look at these controls back in your Schematic, you’ll notice a gray circle in its lower-right corner.
2:09
These circles are a reminder that the control has been added to the Named Controls Bin.
2:14
They will only appear in Design Mode, and will disappear in Emulation Mode or when you deploy your design.
2:20
If you have many different controls in your Named Control Bin and haven’t labeled them as you go,
2:25
you might lose track of which is which. Don’t worry,
2:28
you can simply select any control and press Control-F to access the Find Tool.
2:33
Just click on ‘Jump to source of control’ to highlight the component in your Schematic
2:38
where this control originated. This function also works in the other direction:
2:42
if you forgot what you named one of your controls in the Named Controls Bin,
2:46
click on the original control, press Control-F, and select “Jump to External Control.”
2:52
Its associated name will highlight in the Named Control Bin.
2:55
You can also remove controls from the Named Control Bin just by pressing the Delete button.
2:59
I’ll delete this second Gain, and we’ll focus on our two simple controls, the GainGain and the GainMute.
3:07
Let’s save our design, I’ll call mine “EC Tutorial”, and then we’ll enter Emulation Mode,
3:14
which you can always do by pressing F6.
3:16
Now that we’ve labeled our controls for an external device,
3:19
let’s talk about how these devices will interface with the Core.
3:22
For this course we’ll be using a protocol called ECP, or External Control Protocol.
3:28
This is a simple ASCII TCP Socket method for remotely controlling Q-Sys via an Ethernet connection.
3:34
A few things you should know about this protocol:
3:36
ECP is accessible at TCP Port 1702 on any Q-Sys Core NIC’s IP address.
3:43
ECP is fully functional in Emulation Mode. This means you can test and troubleshoot your interface
3:49
without needing to have access to a Q-Sys Core. Just don’t forget to change the IP Address
3:54
in your control system software to that of the Core, once you do get access to the hardware.
3:59
Also, ECP will close the TCP socket after 60 seconds of inactivity.
4:04
And each socket connection supports a maximum of four Change Groups,
4:09
which we’ll talk about in the third video.
4:11
In order to send commands to Q-Sys with ECP, you’ll use your third-party system controller.
4:16
If you don’t have one handy and still want to follow along,
4:19
you can do what I’m going to do and connect to the protocol TCP socket using Windows Telnet Client.
4:25
In fact, this is a huge advantage that’s unique to Q-Sys. Using Telnet,
4:30
you can validate your control scripts without having any external hardware connected.
4:34
We’re using the Telnet to test the string commands so that when we write these
4:38
command strings into either the AMX or Crestron software,
4:42
we’ve already proven that the string commands work like they should.
4:45
We’ll use the PC that’s running the Designer software already to make this connection. Here’s how.
4:51
First, you need to make sure that Telnet is actually installed on your computer.
4:55
Go to your Windows Control Panel, select “Programs and Features”,
4:59
and then select “Turn Windows features on or off”. You need to make sure that the “Telnet Client” is checked.
5:07
If it isn’t, check it to install Telnet. This process is the same if you have Windows 8, it just involves more hatred.
5:14
Where’s the Start button? All I want is the Start button!
5:18
Then, Open a command prompt by clicking on the Windows button and typing CMD
5:23
Then type ‘Telnet 127.0.0.11702’. So what on earth are you typing?
5:35
Well, 127.0.0.1 is a generic loopback address that all computers can use,
5:41
so it’s telling your Telnet to connect to your own device.
5:45
1702, as we mentioned earlier, is the TCP port number that the Q-Sys protocol server listens to.
5:51
When you press enter, the command line screen will clear and you’ll have a flashing cursor.
5:56
You’re now connected and ready to send commands using External Control Protocol to Q-Sys.
6:01
Before we go on, we should probably mention that ECP is actually only one of four ways you can control external devices.
6:09
The second way is a new protocol in Q-Sys Designer version 4.0 and higher
6:13
called “Q-Sys Remote Control” or QRC.
6:17
QRC has all the functionality of ECP with lots of new functions as well.
6:22
The big difference is that QRC is formatted with a JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON.
6:28
If you’re familiar with this language, you should definitely go with the new QRC.
6:33
But if you don’t know JSON, it’s safer to stay with ECP. You can also control Q-Sys using LUA scripting,
6:42
and there are Control Script components in the designer software that let you write LUA code.
6:47
Again, if you aren’t familiar with this coding language, that’s not the best option for you.
6:51
The last method is to use the Serial Port. In fact,
6:55
we recently created a Lua script which acts as a protocol adapter between any Q-Sys serial port
7:01
and the TCP-based External Control Protocol.
7:05
This script opens up the full functionality of the protocol we’re covering
7:08
in this video to RS-232-based clients and supports standard baud rates up to 230,400.
7:15
You can download this script in this tutorial’s download section.
7:19
But for now, we’re going to stick with our ECP connection we’ve created using Telnet.
7:23
Let’s take a quick break, and in the next section we’ll start issuing some commands.
7:27
Thanks, and move on to the next video whenever you’re ready.

Tips and Definitions

ECP: External Control Protocol

Windows Telnet Client: using Telnet, you can run and validate script without any external hardware

Other External device control methods: Q-SYS Remote Control, LUA Script, Serial Port