A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Discussion about Centracom (Button & LED / CRT / Gold / Elite), MC Series (MC5500/7100/7500), and legacy console equipment.

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desperado
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A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by desperado »

So, I have a grand plan... involving CentraCom consoles and an Ambassador Switch.
I the CC gear but no switch. So that's the first hurdle.
Thinking that with the fact the Internet is now a mostly stable and high speed data path, and the fact that TDM over IP is a reasonable thing, maybe we, the BatLabs techie types, should assemble a large, multistate console system that would span as far as we wanted.
Any thoughts on this..... or do you know where there is a switch sitting in a corner somewhere that didn't get destroyed?
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alex
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by alex »

Well.... a long time ago in a place far far away - between some friends of mine and I we made this work.

1) You need an Ambassador Switch and want to pay the power bill to run the thing. I don't believe they made the more "efficient" Centracom power supply for it.

2) You need someone from Motorola who knows what the thing is and how to do some minor troubleshooting. These people are very few and far between.

3) I recall having to work through with someone making some 50 pair cables possibly - I just recall a M1 tool being involved because we didn't have something or we had to make a special 7 pair cable.

4) Transport, Transport, Transport, and Transport. These things DO NOT like the internet unless you use a device that understands the delayed transport timing to move a T1 and bring it back together with the packets in order in the right way. In other words using RAD equipment *WILL NOT WORK* reliably (but for proof of concept it did and will). A friend found much better luck with Nokia SAR 7705's, however, much like technical note #2, you need to find someone who knows how to program them. You'll also need a VPN of some sort. You also don't want to use a cable modem since the upstream data is probably not consistent enough for a constant 3mbps circuit (to emulate 24 x 64kb channels x2 - because a T1 in IP is bi-direction consumes twice the bandwidth of one delivered by the phone company). Now, that being said - if you have 15 people who want to join in on your club you need an internet connection that can probably do 4MBPS to each site, at the same time, with reasonably low latency. That's 60mbps of constant throughput. Now you need to ensure your VPN device can handle that as well as the internet, and the circuit emulation device of choice.

Let's say you figure all of that out.

Now you need to look at firmware versions in your COIM, AIMI cards, etc. and *HOPE* that it'll play with everyone else's stuff. Because you know Motorola made so many different versions that they were made to be what they were used for and never to be mixed and matched.

You also need a way to share a CDM across those operator positions and a love for MUPLing things.

Lastly - when it comes up and works it is *REALLY* freaking cool and an IP console can't hold a candle to how beautiful the audio sounds.

I think that's a synopsis - but - it's doable and not "hard" if you have the right tools.

I've forgotten far more about this than I can remember today.

Good luck! But totally doable.
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desperado
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by desperado »

Yep, I actually have all the documentation for this.
I had the option on the Ambassator switch when it was pulled and passed on it because at the time I didn't have the storage space or the forethought to keep the damn thing believing I would need it at some point.
I did that with several sets of ROCI CORI boards and modems as well.

But then again, I also sold 8 grand worth of radio gear at Dayton over the course of 3 years and then my buddy decided to buy a damn AT&T microwave tower where I could have put it all into operation.
Funny how we do things that make sense at the time and then see that it was a BIG mistake.

Far as the data thing. I really don't know that we will hit 60Mbps and 15 sites. I am figuring that we MAY have 5, as this stuff it WAY long in the tooth. If it were a MCC5500, I could see more. But then it's DS-3 connections and that would be difficult with web connections to be sure. But it sure would be cool.

This is a pie in da sky idea, to be sure. Hell I am still fighting the fact I can't get audio to flow from the BIMS right now. I get neither the guard tone, pilot tone, or TX audio. I know it's something dumb,,, I just can't seen to track it down.

If you happen to know of a switch, please let me know if it's available.
I have another couple possible sources for one and I am gonna put out feelers,, but I don't have real high hopes right now.
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alex
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by alex »

Funny how things like that work isn't it? Part of the reason I hold on to certain things because too many times I've needed what I toss and it's something that will never appear again unless under specific circumstances.... If you can get the transport down it'll work like gang busters but the T1 stuff over the internet is tricky at best. I wanted to dig in to the channel layout of the T1 to see if it was possible to use multicast and layer 2 serial tunnels to ship the data around which would significantly reduce the overhead required to move T1's successfully since they don't use all the time slots all the time.

I will keep my ear to the ground when one comes out of service. Usually with these items you need to adhere to the "you can't sell it and if you want to get rid of it you have to return it" kind of favors.

RE: Audio flow - best thing to do is make sure that you have the card wire pair numbers correctly on the block. I found it was really odd how they set up the audio but it doesn't matter if you start by reading the manual (who does that?!).
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desperado
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by desperado »

Hey, I am good with that. And if this can get worked out maybe it happens that I tie into one that someone else has.

As far as the pinout,,, I really wish it was that simple. I am gonna double check the blocks and make sure they are wired from the centronix connector on the side to the actual block.
I will probably pull out the card extender and actually test for the audio on the edge connector and verify if it's getting to the backplane or not. But I am betting it's something else.

I am guessing that the TDM over IP will require a ton of buffering to make it work.
The RAD stuff isn't great, but I have made it work in the past.
Thinking old Cisco routers and lots of jitter buffer.
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alex
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by alex »

We had a ton of issues with RAD. The problem is the devices are not made for unstable circuits. They are devices made, tested in a lab, and certified to work under lab conditions. I'm not a huge fan of their lack of support for the most part. Not saying some of the other vendors are any better - but we played with some of the T1 to IP and unless everything is perfect and stable (read: the internet isn't) they will work for a bit and then come out of sync and then sync back up. It got annoying. I would assume older Cisco stuff would be fine, a friend had good luck with Nokia of all things. To each their own.
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desperado
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by desperado »

RAD has support??? I must have missed that when I spent hours on the phone with them and got no where.
And ONLY after I paid them a grand for a service contract.

I have no experience with Nokia gear, but that may need to change depending on how this all goes.
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ayaresr
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by ayaresr »

You've definitely got my interest. And I've got a rack full of old Cisco routers in my lab environment. They live right above my yet to be completed Centracom console gear. Just sayin'.

When I started back into this Centracom project I was thinking through how I could implement a VoIP system to at least pass audio to a friend's location for monitoring purposes. I've done a bit of work in the past with FreePBX which is based on Asterisk and I think I could probably get decent audio passed that way. Granted that doesn't do much for the data circuits, but since he wasn't interested in a full console system it seemed like a possible solution to get him receive audio.

Anyway, I'm curious to hear how this all comes together and any plans for it. For my own build I'm still working through setup and programming. When I hit a point where I was having programming issues and realized I should pull the XP box out of the back of the rack (behind the card cage I had only just mounted days before) I decided it was time for a break and haven't had the chance to get back to it yet.

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desperado
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Re: A grand plan. And Centracom console systems.

Post by desperado »

So I am thinking that it may not be a bad idea to have the discussion of getting your console up and programmed right here so there is a record going forward of how to take a bunch of BIM's a COIM or two and a system timer and get a working card cage up and running.

COIMS need to be in the middle two slots. The 7 pair cable connectors are only interfaced to those two slots so your CEB will not work if you put your cards anywhere besides slots 5 and 6.
For those that know there is an option, please refrain. This is going to be for folks that have NO idea how to do this and still getting it to happen.

There are addressing switches most all of the cards. System timers and ACIM do not have addressing but the rest do.
They are located on the front of most of the cards. Be aware that a 0 (zero) is on and a 1 (one) is off. There are 8 bits (switches) to address the cards.
All cards have to have a unique address. I personally never use address 0 (all switches on) and start with address 1.
Second thing to set on all cards is the M-bus (MUX BUS) and B-bus (busy bus). These are on the back of all cards near the edge connector.
Setting them is determined by the card address in the CEB. Addresses 00-1F are bus 1 addresses 20-3F are bus 2. If you have more cards than that, you really don't need this information as you have at least 12 cages in your CEB and I envy you.

You CAN use AIMI cards as system timers if you can't find stand alone system timers. But do NOT program the CEB for a trunked system connection even though you have AIMI cards. Again if you know how to deal with AIMI's, just stop reading this now. You know how this all works.
Stacking cages is done with short ribbon cables that go from cage to cage on the left side if you are facing the back of the CEB. Quick bit of terminology the individual cages are termed as a cage. The cages tied together as a system is called the CEB or Central Electronics Bank. This includes the power supplies, cages, cards, connection cables and punch blocks.

SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT. AND CAUSED ME LOTS OF GRIEF. There are 3 centronix 25 pair connectors on a card cage. The CENTER one is the audio in and out and logging for all cards in the cage. The two connectors on either side of the cage interface in to the TOP slots for PTT, LOBL and other relays on the top short cards. I fought for 3 days with this until I looked in the book harder and remembered that bit of information. YOu will cuss swear and pull out your hair trying to find audio on the wrong punch blocks. Remember it's the CENTER CONNECTOR on the cage.
Another bit of info. The bottom pair is not connected to anything. From there card ONE (left card) going up is 4 wire, 2 wire, log. This is the standard interface for tone remote 2 wire/4wire. You can interface to either. 2 wire is tx 4 wire is rx but 2 wire can be tx/rx if you are using a tone adapter to interface your radios. and 4-wire is required if you want to hear the connect tones from your radio, or if you are going to pull PTT off the other block and run the radio in local control.


The versions of CDM and Elite dispatch before version 10 don't work well (or at all) on windows 7. You need windows XP for using the earlier versions.

There are 3 types of console operator interface cards. OMI, TOMI and COIM.
the OMI is the original red cards that require the EPROM to be blown to program them. They are only for B&L consoles.
The TOMI can be programmed with the Series 2 DOS software but again B&L ops only. There was a Early DOS setup but I know nothing of this and the CIE it required is probably completely gone from existence
The COIM will support both B&L and CIE (gray box) interfaces and is your best bet by far.

This should get you started to the point you can rack up your cages and address your cards.
More to follow.
Keith
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