I Got A Box Of Parts – Now What?

How to read these pages:

Try to read beginning to end for best understanding and quickest learning.  The concept of this document is to make the reader proficient enough with the operation of the system to be able to make intelligent installation decisions.

Identifying Hardware:

Input Card

64 Bit Input Card

The 64 bit input card is capable of reading either Active High (aka common negative) or Active Low (aka common positive).  Each byte (group of 8) has a selectable jumper that allows the pins to be “pulled up” or “pulled down”.  If active high is being used (common negative) then the jumpers should be in the PD (pull down) position.  If active low is being used, they should be in the PU (pull up) position.  As a matter of information, the input card merely reads each input as high or low (1 or 0).  The decision about which polarity is in use (and thus which pins are on) is made in software in the controller.

There are 4 connections to the power connector:

VP – Positive Voltage In
VPF – Positive Voltage (Past Fuse)
VN – Negative Voltage
VN – Negative Voltage

Note that connecting a source of 12 volts to VPF bypasses the built in fuse to power the card.  There is probably never a reason to do this for an input card.  Also note that the two VN terminals are electrically connected (the same) and can be used for looping negative connections.

Driver Card

64 bit output card

The 64 bit driver card is either built for 12 volt (high) output (aka common negative) or 0 volt (low) output (aka common positive).  The cards can be field-converted back and forth from output high to output low and visa versa.  The 64 bit output card and 64 bit input card use the same mounting footprints.  The power connector is also exactly the same as described above, including the self-resetting fuse.

Controller Card

C-I Controller Card

Controllers are identified as consoles or chambers based upon what they use the high speed data connection for:

  • Every controller where inputs are read and data has to be sent to another place is considered a console, even if some (or many) outputs are located there.
  • Every location where data needs to be imported from another controller is considered a chamber, even if it has some local inputs.



That being said, be aware that the following tasks will be performed without user intervention in an essentially empty config file:

  • If the program is for a console: Any mapped keyboards, stops, transposer, and expressions will be formatted and sent on the data lines automatically.  If the program is for a chamber, the data lines will automatically be read and the appropriate keyboard buffers will be populated, automatically playing configured pipes.
  • Combination Action behavior (timings, what moves when, etc.) is all handled automatically.

Making A Chain

There are three types of cards commonly used in card chains, the controller, the input card and the output card.  Typically, the controller is connected to the input cards first, and then the output card(s).  Cards can actually be chained in any order at all, and simply involves a few minor config tweaks.  Every card chain must have a controller.  If a chain is in a pipe chamber, it would normally only have output cards.  Chains are generally 20-40 cards, but can be as small as is required.
All cards do not have to be directly physically plugged together.  Rows of cards can be jumpered together using Extender Cable Kits.

The chain length is limited (card length plus connecting cable).  The connection between the controller card and the first IO card should always be directly plugged in.  Chains should not exceed 15 feet between cards without specific application engineering review.  A whole chain could theoretically be quite a deal longer.  Contact us with questions.

Each board may be individually mounted and wire jumpers installed between cards if it makes reusing existing wiring convenient (this is often done for direct replacement of Duo-Set Combination Actions without rewiring the console).

Laying Out The Cards

Typically, cards are “located” prior to final installation.  This typically involves making sure that cards fit where they are intended.