Remote Control Recommendcations

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fmrfman
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Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by fmrfman » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:44 pm

Gents:

Please respond with your positive experiences with transmitter remote controls outside of Burk. Have you installed enough of the Circuit Werkes or Broadcast Tools alternatives to give a fair call on their reliability?

Mark

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NECRAT
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by NECRAT » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:18 pm

I put in two different Broadcast Tools units with good success. One of them in an environment where the power is somewhat dirty and it's held up nicely. It's not super slick like a Burk or Statmon, but it handled the job very nicely.
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davek
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by davek » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:49 am

I would rate Statmon among one of the worst pieces of rubbish ever written.

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Dale H. Cook
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Dale H. Cook » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:10 am

I still like Sine, but it is a DTMF system, not a Candy Crush system.
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by RodeoJack » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:45 am

I have a bunch of Broadcast Tools controls out there... WVRC 4 & 8, and Site Sentinel variants.

BT doesn't seem to have the metering resolution that the ARC-16 has, but has otherwise been reliable, especially considering the price.

Their gear can be sensitive to AM RF, though it's random... like AM RF problems like to be. In those cases, a little sleuthing and grounding usually fixes the issue permanently.

BT firmware can generally be flashed to new versions in the field, though one upgrade (the WVRC to WVRC-Plus) required a chip change.

BT has a good scheduler to control things like power changes and alarm settings. The available macros are pretty simple though.

If you have a Burk, converting to BT feels a bit like you just hopped into a car that's a bit too small... but the stuff does work, so long as you don't need exotic macros or multiple sites.

I've always received good support from Broadcast Tools.

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Deep Thought
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Deep Thought » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:52 am

If you have reliable IP connectivity at the transmitter site BT is the way to go. If not and you're still on POTS, you really can't beat a Sine Systems even though it is very long in the tooth.

Stay away from the Circuitwerks stuff unless you like to spend a day setting up and troubleshooting what should have taken five minutes to get working. And even then you'll end up hanging a bunch of extra capacitors and resistors on the metering inputs to keep it stable enough to get the same reading twice in a row.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by RodeoJack » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:17 pm

Deep Thought wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:52 am
If you have reliable IP connectivity at the transmitter site BT is the way to go. If not and you're still on POTS, you really can't beat a Sine Systems even though it is very long in the tooth.
Forgot about that... but you're absolutely right. I have one of those left and nobody has plans to pull it out.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by kkiddkkidd » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:08 pm

I have installed a couple BT WVRC-8's and although they are very plain in the graphics dept, they seem to work fine and provide accurate readings. They don't necessarily scale the readings correctly (ie, calibrate at 100% power and they may or may not read 50% at 50% power) but they seem to give repeatable readings at the calibration point. I have both of them set up to send various alarms and daily reports to my "device" email acct and I can review the past day's readings and alarms at my leisure. WVRC8s will not work with gmail or any other "advanced" smtp server. I use a free SMTP2go acct and they work fine with it.

(Edit): The only semi chronic problem that I have had with any of the WVRC8's is that under some conditions they will become unresponsive for a few minutes. I have never figured out what happens because a few minutes later, they reappear and operate normally. I can only assume that they have a watchdog that does a reset and the unit returns to life.

And I concur on the Sicon8. It has (and requires) a very cool, highly configurable computer application that is a horrible PITA to set up and keep working. I installed one a few years ago and found it very "aggravating" to initially connect and setup but it has worked fine since. Now, in the past few months, I acquired a new client with 2 of them. I find it very, very frustrating to spend several hours getting the app looking just right with understandable web labels and then have something happen that corrupts something else that trashes the whole setup and then have to rename this file that and that file this and then start over. The new client is probably going to replace both Sicon8s with WVRC8s just for the simplicity. All they want is to be able to check the TPO over the web and get alarms if it goes off or loses audio.

And if you don't need web control, the Sine RFC1b is very good. I installed dozens of them over the years and yes they are a bit of PITA to initially set up (especially if you are scheduling an AM) but once done, they just work.

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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Ray » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:23 am

I was evaluating the same thing about 6 months ago. I was trying to decide between the Circuit Werks and WVRC-8. Found a used WVRC-8 on ebay that I sent back to Broadcast Tools to convert to the plus model. The on-site upgrade kit is $100 and they will upgrade it at the factory for $150. I've been very happy with it so far. The A/D converter is only a 10 bit so the resolution is not great. It does have POTS DTMF control in addition to the internet control which is handy in case the internet is down. The folks at Broadcast tools are great to work with.

Ray

fmrfman
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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by fmrfman » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:21 am

I have installed one of the BTs and one of the circuit werkes. Both have been relatively trouble free over the last 3 years. It seems to me that spending $4k for a complete Burk setup to get what you need (you know silence sense and temp probe not included... among others) just doesn't make sense anymore when you can do it for 1/3 the price. And honestly their tech support is all about the same I.M.H.O.

Thanks,
Mark

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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Nathaniel Steele » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:49 pm

I used a Circuitwerkes sicon8 once. It was a pain to setup and I didn't really like it. That station was sold a few months later and I never had to deal with one again. I later worked with a Dozen BT WVRC4's, and upgraded them (Myself) to WVRC4+'s. The non-plus was a pain because it used an outdated JAVA version for the WEB UI, the upgraded + version used HTML5 and worked very well. I Wasn't the original installer of these but I did find one out of 12 units to be non responsive it was long out of warranty and we just replaced it, so actually I only upgraded 11 of them. I was also contracting for a group that used the site sentinel web (very similar IP only box) they had only a unit or two ever go belly up out of dozens. those are so affordable they are darn near disposable.

I have known a lot of engineers who didn't like them, mostly Clear channel guys who always had money to burn and got Burks. They complained about them blowing up all the time. My experience was if you ground your facility properly they work well (I never had one in an AM, those two companies were exclusively FM's).

I currently have all Sine systems RFC-1b's. I have always hated programming the things, but I will have to say they are pretty reliable. You have to keep an eye on the clock and date if you use timed events, and I've had to do modifications (well documented in the literature) to get them to recognize DTMF tones at some sites, but they work. I would however prefer a solution that had IP access and could save and email me logs.

So to sum up between the sicon8 or BT boxes I'd pick the cheapest BT box that meet's your need. buy a spare if it makes you feel better. still cheaper than burk (and possibly the sicon8 depending on which BT you buy).

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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Nathaniel Steele » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:50 pm

Also, proper grounding and a UPS will benefit ANY RC system greatly.

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Re: Remote Control Recommendcations

Post by Qs23 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:24 pm

I have two sicon8s installed in my markets. This was off the recommendation of the previous engineer.

I will second the motion that they are a PITA to setup. And the difference between the web interface and the sicontroller interface make them even worse.

Oh, and right now, I can't even access the web interface on one of them because somehow the firmware upgrade to 1.10 on the web server, which once again is completely separate from the rest of the firmware on the unit, completely crashed the hardware and I'm waiting for a replacement board from them.

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