Archive for March, 2016

Extron VTG-400 Programmable Video and Audio Test Generator

31/03/2016 Leave a comment

A couple of days back, my colleagues and I had to go and test a video-wall at a client’s place. As we needed some test patterns, we normally use a notebook but in this case, we needed a DVI-D input. Enter the VTG 400 test generator. Now this is a nice bit of kit. What it is essentially an advanced, programmable, and upgradeable Video and Audio Test Generator that delivers  full bandwidth video signal reproduction and audio test signals. We needed this because this test generator is a reference tool for set-up, performance evaluation, calibration, and troubleshooting audio and video systems, and that video wall was no exception.

After that test was over, I was wondering how I might get a unit for myself. A unit like this will be very useful to have in my kit bag when I want to do measurement and calibration. I went to Extron’s website and was able to get the features of this awesome piece of equipment:

  • Video outputs: RGBHV on BNC and 15-pin HD connectors, component video on BNC connectors, S-video on a 4-pin mini DIN connector, and composite video on a BNC connector.
  • SDI/HD-SDI, RGBHV, component video, S-video, and composite video output
  • 34 video test patterns — Includes multiple crosshatch patterns, color bars, PLUGE, crop patterns, geometry, grayscale, and alternating pixel patterns, as well as flat field, window, checkerboard, hum bar, and Patented CTF Contrast Transfer Function patterns with adjustable levels. The CTF pattern is covered by US patent 7,369,159.
  • Seven audio test signals — Includes sine waves, square waves, pink noise, white noise, polarity, frequency sweeps, and sine wave bursts with selectable frequencies and output levels.
  • 113 selectable output rates, including high resolution computer video, HDTV, and NTSC/PAL video — Provides 113 factory scan rates for RGB or HD component video, as well as standard definition component video, S-video, and composite video. Also accommodates up to 180 additional user-defined scan rates.
  • 183 user-defined, custom output rates — Custom output rates can be programmed into the VTG 400 Series to accommodate new or unique display resolutions.
  • Patented Scope-Trigger™ expedites signal/system troubleshooting when using an oscilloscope — An innovative feature that enables analysis of a specific area within the test pattern image using an oscilloscope. This feature is especially helpful in identifying signal and display imperfections. US patent 7,394,474.
  • Four Quick Select memory presets — User settings, including output scan rates and test signal selections, can be saved to and recalled from four memory presets via direct access buttons.
  • Broadcast quality video encoder — Ensures compliance with SMPTE and NTSC/PAL standards for accurate video performance.
  • Auto Sequence mode — Specific test patterns can be selected for a repeating sequence with selectable time intervals.
  • Selectable RGB color output — The red, green, or blue color channel can be enabled or disabled via the set-up menu.
  • Auto-memory recall — Settings are saved when the VTG 400D is turned off and automatically recalled when subsequently powered.
  • RS-232 control port for custom scan rate programming, firmware upgrades, and control with Extron SIS™ Simple Instruction Set
  • Screen Saver mode — An adjustable timer can be set to engage the VTG 400D in Screen Saver mode, with either the video output muted or as a repeating sequence of test patterns.
  • Main panel security lockout — All main panel controls except the power button can be locked out to prevent unauthorized use or tampering.
  • Rugged metal enclosure — Appropriate for field use, but can also be placed on a desktop. For added protection and portability, a soft nylon carrying case is included.
  • Highly reliable, energy-efficient internal universal power supply — The 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz, international power supply provides worldwide power compatibility with high demonstrated reliability.

Pretty good. Covers everything that I need. No need to bring a laptop to any place to check on audio and video as this covers everything. Let us see if we can find one for sale online


Rotary isolator / safety switch

30/03/2016 Leave a comment

I saw this installed in a client’s premises that I was at recently. I have been thinking of getting an isolator switch like this for my house so that I can disconnect the electricity supply from some parts of my house. This will help to save some money from the high price of electricity that I have to pay. Things like air-conditioners and the like would be great for this. I have also contemplated on getting more electrical timers to switch stuff on and off so that they can be off when I do not need them, which is at night and then come on in the day.

Now back to this rotary isolator switch. It sure is a lot better than this other type of isolator which I suspect is not able to take the constant “switch on and switch off” routine daily. Looks like I gotta go shopping for one soon.

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Looks like the Indonesia haze is back again

29/03/2016 Leave a comment

When I got off the air-conditioned bus this afternoon, I thought the air smelt a bit smoky. So I fired up my air quality index app on my trusty Android phone and this is what greeted me…the air in the unhealthy range. Looks like those land-clearing Indonesian bastards are at it again. here comes the asthma attacks, the poor visibility and out will come the N95 masks. Yep. The Indonesia haze is back again!

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Carpark space indicators

29/03/2016 Leave a comment

have you ever gone to a sheltered carpark, looking around for a place to park? It can be very frustrating I know, especially if you are in a hurry. That is why I found that these empty carpark lot indicators are a boon. All you have to do is look for the green LED lamp above a lot that shows that it is empty. When you park your car in this lot, the LED changes from green to red, so that people from afar can see that it is occupied. This is a very good invention and I must say that it has saved me lots of time cruising around looking for a parking lot. Whoever invented this simple but effective solution is a genius.

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Different types of DVI connectors

28/03/2016 Leave a comment

I bet many of you guys are just as confused as I was about the different types of DVI connectors. After all, when a client asks you for a DVI-D cable and specifically not a DVI-I cable.


Yep. It happens. One can easily get confused, until you see the chart above. I had this issue and now, after studying it, I am less confused and more informed. Check it and next time when you buy such cable, you will know the differences between the various types of DVI connections

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Easter Sunday

27/03/2016 Leave a comment

Today, we celebrate Easter Sunday. To us Catholics, it is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary. many people will be celebrating with Easter eggs, which have nothing to do with Easter actually, but is merely traditional. That, and hot, crossed buns. I suppose some people think that these buns, which have the cross “imprinted” on them, should be consumed during Easter. From a religious perspective, it is not relevant. But no matter what, Jesus has risen. Alleluia!

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Holy Saturday

26/03/2016 Leave a comment

Today is Holy Saturday. We Catholics believe that it is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which we prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb and the Harrowing of Hell. Have a meaningful Holy Saturday all.

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