RedRat Device Manager

Introduction

Replacing the irNetBox Manager application, the RedRat Device Manager is a simple software application intended to help with the installation and set-up of RedRat devices, providing basic testing of their functionality.

It is not intended as an end-user application; once devices have been installed and configured, other software applications can then use them.

Download

RedRat Device Manager V4.15.zip

Change History

Application changes and bug fixes can be viewed here.

Initial Network Configuration

The first task when installing an irNetBox is to configure its IP address. When delivered, it expects to use a dynamically allocated IP address using DHCP, however it can be assigned a static IP address. For up to and including the irNetBox-III, this is done using the Lantronix Device Installer, which is delivered on the CD with your unit, or downloaded from www.lantronix.com. For the irNetBox-IV, this is done on the device itself using the navigation keys and display panel.

The basic configuration of using a dynamic IP address or providing a static IP address is adequate for most environments, but on networks with more restrictions it may be necessary for certain ports to be enabled in firewalls or filters. Setting an irNetBox’s IP Address via its MAC Address provides more information on this.

Finding Devices

During program start-up an automatic search for devices on your network will commence. This uses a UDP broadcast and waits for a response from devices which are then listed in the main panel. Once the program has finished starting-up, a search can be initiated manually via the Devices → Find menu item. If UDP broadcasts are not permitted on your network, then you can add an irNetBox using its IP address from the Devices → Add (IP Address) menu item.

The RedRat Device Manager Main Screen

The RedRat Device Manager Main Screen

Device Property Fields

If one of the listed devices is selected, some general information about the device is displayed in the right hand panel of the application.

ID

These are informal device identification fields that can be changed to help identify individual devices. The values are stored on the PC on which the RedRat Device Manager is running, and so are not network wide, but are used by all RedRat software so will appear in other applications run on the same PC.

  • Name: A text name given to the device to help identification. This information is stored in the PCs registry, keyed on the MAC address.
  • Description: More detailed information about the use or location of the device. This information is stored in the PCs registry, keyed on the MAC address.

For the irNetBox-IV, the name is also stored within the device itself and is visible across the network. It can therefore be treated as a global property. A connection to the device is needed to change the name of an irNetBox-IV – see Hardware/Firmware Configuration.

Device Information

These fields show top-level information about the type of device. For the various irNetBox versions, this information is displayed in the following table.

DM_Table1

Lookup

The method that software uses to find and so connect to an irNetBox, which can take two values:

  1. BROADCAST: This is the default, using a UDP broadcast to initiate a response by the irNetBox which returns its IP address.
  2. IP_ADDRESS: Setting the lookup method to this value gets the software to store the irNetBox’s current IP address and always uses this for connecting to the irNetBox. This value only really makes sense if the irNetBox has been set to use a static IP address.

Note: If the RedRat Device Manager and other RedRat software cannot discover irNetBoxes via the broadcast mechanism, for example if UDP is blocked on the network, then the devices must be assigned a static IP address to use.

Testing IR Output

For devices that have IR capabilities, double clicking on them will show an IR Input + Output window. For a selected device the window can also be shown via the Devices → IR Input + Output menu item or by right clicking on the device.

The IR Input + Output window for the irNetBox-IV

The IR Input + Output window for the irNetBox-IV

The right hand side of the window allows control of various aspects of the device. The purpose of this dialog is to validate that we have network communication with the device, to help install the stick-on emitters and to ensure that the A/V equipment under control responds correctly.

Communications Test

  • Blink: Causes all IR output indication ports on the front panel to flash, and is a good method of validating communication with RedRat devices.
  • Continuous test: For irNetBoxes, an extended test can be conducted by outputting a repeating display pattern using the LEDs or by setting the text on the display panel, depending on whether it is an irNetBox I-III or IV. This establishes operation validation and reliable communication with the device.

IR Signal

To test signal output, use this area to learn/capture an IR signal from a remote control. The application stores a single signal only – for full signal database management please use the RedRat signal DB utility.

  • Learn Signal: Starts a signal input/learning operation. The remote should be placed about 10cm from the detector during learning.
  • Drag Signal: Drag an already learnt signal from the RedRat signal DB utility.

IR Ports & Output Control

For irNetBoxes, these areas allow the testing and validation of the IR outputs, for example to check that output number 4 is actually wired up to a particular device. A graphical representation of the ports reflects the state of the device’s front panel and selecting an output will enable/disable it. There is a default power level setting but the power levels of individual outputs can be changed by right-clicking on them.

  • All On: Enables all IR outputs.
  • Reset: Puts the IR outputs into the reset state, i.e. all off.

Additionally, for the irNetBox-IV there are two display modes; Blink and Power. Blink replicates the display behaviour of the LEDs on previous versions i.e. on/off, while Power allows various power levels to be displayed. The display mode can be changed in the top-left hand panel of the window.

Output Test

  • Output Signal: This will output a learnt/captured signal through all IR outputs that have been enabled.
  • Start/Stop Repeat: This starts or stops a sequence of repeatedly outputting the IR signal through each output. Such a test can be useful for irNetBox installations. For example, when placing a stick-on IR emitter, it can be moved around while the IR signal is being output until the optimum position is found.

Signal Capture Parameters

These parameters are used to adjust the exact behaviour of signal input. In cases of difficulty when capturing a signal, these values can be adjusted to improve signal learning, however this is not generally needed. The parameters are all returned to their default value if the device is restarted. They can be changed in the top-left hand panel of the window.

  • End of Signal Timeout: The value for the IR dead period at the end of a signal used by the device to determine the end of a signal. Units are in ms.
  • Length Delta: RedRat devices use a set of lengths as the alphabet to represent most IR signals. Due to the approximate nature of IR signal data, two supposedly identical values will be slightly different, so this attribute controls the maximum variation allowed between values for them to be considered the same.
  • Max. Lengths: The maximum number of length values (the signal alphabet) that can be used in a single signal.
  • Min. Pause Size: This value is not used during signal learning.
  • No. Periods for Mod. Freq: The carrier or modulation frequency is measured during the first pulse of the IR signal. The larger the number of periods used to measure, the more accurate the result is likely to be, however some signals have short initial pulses, so in some case it may be necessary for applications to adjust this value.
  • Signal Memory Size: The number of bytes allocated to hold the IR signal data.

Hardware/Firmware Configuration

A Hardware/Firmware Information window can be shown for some devices via the Devices → Hardware/Firmware Info menu item or by middle or right clicking on the selected device.

The Hardware/Firmware Info window for the irNetBox-III.

The Hardware/Firmware Info window for the irNetBox-III

The purpose of this dialog is to reconfigure the device if necessary and to update its firmware.

Network Information

Network information is given in the left hand panel of the window for devices that can connect to a network.

  • MAC Address: The globally unique number of this Ethernet interface, and so it is also used as the key for storing additional information on the host PC.
  • IP Address: This is the address that has either been automatically assigned by DHCP (dynamically) or explicitly (statically) given to the irNetBox.
  • Subnet Mask: Indicates the network segment or subnet/network class on which the irNetBox resides.
  • Gateway: The IP address of the router for this network, however this is not generally used as the irNetBox does not attempt to make outgoing connections.
  • IP Address Assignment: This can either be dynamic or static. For the irNetBox-IV, this can be changed if needed to.
  • Configuration Status: For irNetBox I-IIIs, this indicates whether the XPort network interface has been set-up for correct operation within the irNetBox. This should always be OK, but there may be the occasional situation in which the configuration is lost, for example if the XPort’s firmware is updated. If this occurs then the entry for the irNetBox will be highlighted in red in the main window and the XPort needs to be reconfigured.
  • XPort Type: For irNetBox I-IIIs, this gives the version of the XPort that is used.

XPort operations

For irNetBox I-IIIs, the network interface uses the XPort from Lantronix, and is specifically configured for operation in the irNetBox. There are some minor configuration differences between the different irNetBox versions.

  • Configure: Configures the XPort to operate correctly as an irNetBox. Care should be taken when doing this to ensure that the correct irNetBox version is set.
  • Restart: This will restart the XPort, however this is generally not needed as configuration changes to the XPort cause it to restart anyway.
  • Assign IP: Set the IP, Netmask or Gateway address of the device.

Set Network Information

This allows the user to set some of the network information for the irNetBox-IV.

Device operations

  • Restart: For the irNetBox-III & IV, this restarts the device. Previous irNetBox versions did not support this feature. This should not normally need to be used.
  • Continuous communication test: Establishes reliable network communication with the device. Identical to the comm. test for the IR Input + Output window.

Firmware

For some RedRat devices, upgrading or downgrading the firmware is supported. The current firmware version is given in the left hand panel of the window.

RF4CE Modules

For RedRat devices that can host RF4CE modules, module information is listed in the left hand panel. Here, the firmware for their XMOS and TI chips can be upgraded/downgraded.

Board Power Supply Levels

For the irNetBox-IV, the power levels of the various board supplies can be read and are given in the left hand panel of the window.

Advanced properties

For the irNetBox-III, the firmware configuration is also listed in the left hand panel. Configuration properties are read-only by default but can be edited by checking the “Allow altering advanced properties” box.

Configuring the irNetBox’s Network Interface

When configuring an irNetBox’s XPort, by default, the configuration steps will not allow changing the irNetBox type. This, however, can be overridden in the options dialog (from the File → Options menu item).

Another issue that can happen if the XPort loses configuration information is that RedRat applications and software will not think it is an irNetBox, so will not list it. In this situation, the option can be selected to “Accept responses from hardware not explicitly labelled as a RedRat device…”.

Note: Care must be taken with this as there may be other devices on the network using XPorts and so these should not be configured as irNetBoxes! So only use this option if you recognise the IP/MAC address as an irNetBox.

Setting an irNetBox’s IP Address via its MAC Address

If you find that you can’t communicate with an irNetBox because the IP address is not correct for your network, for example it has been moved from one network to another, and then this gives a mechanism for resetting its IP address. This can be found on the Devices → Set IP via MAC Address menu item. A change IP address instruction is sent to the XPort via UDP broadcast, but only the XPort with the correct MAC address will respond to it. The information you need to use this is:

  1. The last two bytes of the device’s MAC address. This can be found on the back of the irNetBox, or on older units, by removing the lid and looking at the number on the XPort network module.
  2. The IP address that you would like to give the irNetBox so that it will work on your network. You can also give it the address 0.0.0.0 which will instruct the unit to use a dynamic IP address from a DHCP server.

Once you have performed this operation, then you need to wait for about 10 seconds while the XPort restarts. Following this, use the Devices → Find menu item to look for the units again.

Advanced Network Configuration Requirements

On restricted networks, or if attempting to use an irNetBox from behind a firewall, the following ports need to be opened:

  • TCP 10001 (0x2711).
  • UDP 30718 (0x77FE). Newer versions of RedRat software can use TCP 30718 instead.
  • TCP 30704 (0x77F0).
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