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fiber optic for remote


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#1 Charles Papert

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 03:10 PM

I'm trying to adapt a hard drive recorder to my sled that uses an RF remote for all functions. Thinking I can use a length of fiber optic cable between the remote and the recorder to ensure that it will work without the two having to be adjacent. Anyone done this? where do I get the cable?

I looked into the remote eye setup that I have with my home theater but it is active--requires a powered receiver unit and too many bits and pieces to work. So I need a passive setup.
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#2 charlesneufeld

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 04:44 PM

Hi Charles,


You mention a RF remote - yet state that a fiber optic cable is needed. These are two completely different technologies. Are you sure the remote is not IR? RF would not require a optic cable to route the signal as you want.

If it is IR, and you want a passive fiber-optic cable, try the TOSLINK digital audio cables used in Home Theater setups. You could carefully cut the bulky ends off the cable and position one tail to the IR receiver, and the other end towards your IR transmitter. It may work, but will heavily depend on the strength of the IR LED in the TX. Those little half-credit-card sized units do not have much power output. Consequently, the manufacturers will use a IR LED with a narrow angle, which gives greater distance, to compensate for the low output. However, it is worth a shot, and as a bonus you get to go look at toys in the home theater department!

hmm.. you could also open the TX up and replace the IR LED with one that has a wider viewing angle. But the trade off would be distance, given the same drive circuit powering the LED.

It WILL work, but will need to be finessed into doing so.

Have fun and let me know if you need any info/help.

~C
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#3 Tom Wills

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 04:46 PM

Well, if you're really going to go all-out on this one, you could tear apart the recorder, solder on wires to the 2 sides of the switch contacts, and add on this little gadget I've found, it's basically a generic car wireless remote, with a reciever with relays in it to trip switches via the RF connection. (I could try and find the link if you're interested) But, if that's a little too extreme for you, I have heard very good things about just using a standard Optical Audio cable to act as a path for the IR light.

EDIT: Apparently Charles N. posted while I was typing, and his post is much more in-depth than mine is. I also had thought you were talking about converting your remote to RF, instead of just improving the current IR system.
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#4 Mikko Wilson

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 05:13 PM

If it is an IR system, you should be able to prety simply convert one of Peter's Zalex Tally Lights by switching out the red LED for an IR-LED.

The light sensor should allready be sensitive to IR (Easy to check, just put the sensor over a IR remote and hit a button and see if the tally light blinks.)


Maybe Peter could make a batch of "Zap-its" remote extenders for all these new DVRs... :)

- Mikko
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#5 thomas-english

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 05:41 PM

personally I would give the remote to my focus puller...

I find onboard recorder s a bit of a pain to think about just before a shot. I fail miserably ...

I am sure that it could work well though. but could you not also take the remote apart and cut the IR led and pop it on a long cable and gaffer that to the IR led of the DVR.
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 10:24 PM

I did indeed mean IR, not RF, I think I just posted too quickly.

Thanks for the suggestions guys. The Toslink is a smart one to try.
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#7 Kareem La Vaullee

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 03:37 AM

Hi Charles,

I think Mikko's suggestion is good.

In fact it looks like that it's what Larry McConkey does, have a look to that picture of Larry's sled :

Posted Image

As you can see the remote is velcroed to the top of his TB-6 and a Zalex-like system runs to the on-board DV recorder that sits on the battery support rods.

K.
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#8 charlesneufeld

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 09:21 AM

Hey All,

Ya, the Tally idea is a good one, and should be tried. However, the photocells MUST be rated for the Infra-red spectrum (I think it's in the 1000-1600nm range for digital comms) Most standard photocells peak in the 500 - 600nm range and tapper off accordingly to either extreme. So they would likely not respond to IR commands, unless the TX LED was extremely powerful to overcome the reduced sensitivity of the photocell in that nm region. (Larry's Remote looks like it would qualify for the high output type) Newer, smaller remotes, ones that use coin cells and the like, are unlikely candidates. Furthermore, the tally transmission must be able to pass 36-44khz data carriers without issues, or the receiver will not function, and this is a whole other monster which I won't get into here... :(

Fun stuff..ain't it!

~C
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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 01:47 PM

Kareem:

That is a wired remote, uses the LANC protocol. I have a couple of those, they are really great with DV recorders (they even show the timecode!) I only wish the DVR's used this protocol. Wired remotes seem to be a thing of the past though.

Charles:

The remote is of course a little button cell membrane-type. I'll definitely try the Toslink. As far as checking out the home theater toys, for the first time I can remember I'm actually satisfied in that area, which means I have to keep myself AWAY from seeing the latest as my setup is nearly (wow) a year old, thus heading for obsolescence...!
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#10 Bill Powers

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:47 PM

Charles,

You might want to check out a company called Xantech. They're all about IR controlled home theater. I've used them for years. They may have something you can live with.

Bill
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:13 PM

Thanks Bill--I looked at some of their products at Smarthome last week. Seems like they all are active and thus require the blocks and power supplies etc.
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#12 Bill Powers

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:43 AM

Charles,

Yes, I think you'd have to peel off a couple of volts from the sled. I usually have to give them a call in order to find out which part numbers I need for a particular application. They are tiny little buggers though.

Later,

B.
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