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Overview of Howman Controls' TALLY4 Broadcast Tally System



The TALLY4 system is a software programmable matrix switch designed for broadcast applications. The heart of the system is the Mitsubishi A-Series programmable controller, an industrial robotics control system providing local and remote networked input and output connections to studio equipment. Mated with the A-series controller is TALLY4, a PC-compatible software package which allows users to configure multiple "virtual matrices" and establish connections between the inputs and outputs of these matrices. There are several different types of connection available (Normal, Reverse, Flashing, Enable, etc.) and multiple connections may be set (up to 50 input connections per output).

The system can be visualized as a matrix switch of up to 1000 inputs by 1000 outputs, with a software program defining the connections between inputs and outputs. To aid in the programming of this matrix, the TALLY4 software allows the user to define "virtual matrices" - groups of inputs and outputs which are displayed as if they were each an isolated sub-matrix. The inputs and outputs of these matrices can be assigned in any order, and can contain a mix of local I/O and "virtual I/O" - internal memory points which can be used as intermediate states in complex tally logic configurations. Up to twenty "virtual matrices" can be defined in a single configuration file, and multiple configuration files can be stored on disk. This allows the "virtual matrices" to be custom tailored to each show or event and recalled from disk as needed.

The TALLY4 hardware consists of a Mitsubishi AnS series controller rack with power supply, central processing unit, communications module for programming, and local input and/or output cards as desired. (For comparison purposes, a fully populated controller rack with eight I/O cards is roughly the size of a loaf of bread.) If needed, the rack can be connected to expansion racks for up to 32 local I/O slots. For ultimate flexibility and expansion possibilties, the Mitsubishi Mini-Net remote I/O system can provide a twisted pair or coaxial cable network of remotely mounted inputs and outputs. TALLY4 racks can contain up to eight remote I/O network cards, each of which supports the connection of up to 512 input or output points, physically packaged in "bricks" of 8, 16, or 32 points each. Use of our TALLYNET - Mini-Net compatible TALLY4 - software package with the Mini-Net remote I/O system provides complete access to all networked I/O in the virtual matrices. Remote I/O "bricks" can be mounted up to 300 feet apart using twisted pair wiring - for longer distances, we suggest using coaxial cabling.

Controller I/O is available in many different varieties, including input voltage levels from 5 VDC through 220 VAC, and transistor, relay, or triac outputs. Determining what devices the tally matrix will be connected to allows you to select the mixture of local input and output cards and remote "bricks" which will best suit your needs. Howman Controls then packages the controllers in standard 19" rackmount frames for the broadcast industry.

The TALLY4 software display is a visual representation of a matrix, with input signals entering on the left and output signals exiting at the bottom. To define a connection between an input (such as the tally signal generated by a switcher) and an output (such as a monitor wall tally lamp), the user moves a cursor to the desired crosspoint, and selects the desired crosspoint type (Normal, Reverse, etc.) In addition to crosspoint selection, the software allows for inputs and outputs to be disabled, forced ON, logically inverted, or slaved to other points. The combination of crosspoint functions, "virtual matrix" displays, input/output controls, and remote networked I/O capabilities make the Tallynet system one of the most flexible and powerful tally systems available today.