SYSTEM OPERATION

 RETURN TO MAIN SCREEN

1- GETTING STARTED- WHAT TO DO FIRST

All music files, play items or events must be in the form of pre-recorded data. As listed in the FILE FORMATS section, files must be in the proper format for Automatronix to access them. For now, only the files with .wav and .mp3 formats will be discussed. It is recommended you utilize a hard-drive for mass storage of music files. Try to remember the general rule of 1 megabyte per 1 minute of 128KBps (minimum recommended data rate for MP3 files) of MP3 file data. Generally, a CD contains a maximum of 74-80 minutes of music storage. This means a 75 mB hard-drive will store 1 full CD. 750MB will store 10 CD's and 7.5 gB will store 100 CD's. Since most CD manufacturers typically only have 30-45 mins of music per disk, you can probably get many considerably more songs stored on a hard-drive then stated.
 

AUDIO FILE METHODS

In order to store your audio files digitally, it must be either saved as a non compressed (.wav) format, or a compressed (.mp3) format. There exists some debate to the quality and aural artifacts that exist with compressed files, but following simple rules will eliminate most of those debates:

1) Do not compress data with less than a 128 kips data rate.
2) Fast encoders (like XING, Audio Catalyst, etc.) do not encode well at 128 kips. It is best to use
    192 kips when encoding with fast mode encoders. We recommend the SIMPLE MP3 encoder
    supplied with the installation disk.
3) Do not compress data  higher than  250kBps, as they will not play properly.
4) Although MIDI files will play, the sound quality is dependent upon the MIDI wave generator on your
    sound card.
5) Be aware of the time from the start of recording to the start of the first indication of audio in the file. A
    long gap between this time will cause 'dead air' and create pauses on the air. It may be necessary to
    edit the file content with an audio editor program to reduce this effect.

CD RIPPING

The Automatronix installation disk contains a third party program that enables files from the CD player to be digitally extracted into MP3 compressed data. This process is called CD ripping. (Please see the SIMPLE CD RIPPER documentation (with the ripper software) for more info on this ripper program).

FILE STORAGE RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that saved files be categorized into separate directories.  Depending upon station format, you can break down into songs, breaks, jingles, commercials, etc. Whatever you choose, keep it simple! Keep in mind that Automatronix reserves 4 'speed buttons' for rapid shortcuts to selected directories.

Storage of files can also be maintained on a separate partition, or separate hard-drive. In this way, all data can be reproduced and backed up in the event of system failure. It is recommended that the data storage medium be occasionally cloned to another drive for archival purposes.

In some cases, storage may be on a separate drive; be sure network connections remain secure so that program interruption does not occur!   If utilizing a shared network drive, map the network drive using a high letter (X,Y, or Z). This will allow sharing of playlists in the future.

FILE TRIMMING AND TAGGING
Once you have created files and saved the files to designated  locations on your storage medium, you should start the 'customization' process of each file. In order to smoothly transition (or segue) between files, a time period must be determined for each song so that the next song can be started at the proper transition time. File Trimming is the technique which places specific information into the files' name, so that Automatronix can process this information into smooth transitions (or segues) from file to file. The file trimmer (TRIMMER.EXE) program allows the tagging of INTRO and OVERLAP times. For detailed information, please read the Tagger documentation.

INTRO TIME-
A song with a vocal passage that contains a musical interlude prior to the singer is called the INTRO (or POST) time. Radio disk jockeys strive to make their program sound as 'tight' as possible. Typically, the disk jockey will time his speech so that the talking of the disk jockey's words are spoken so that the start of the vocal portion of the song corresponds to the completion of his words. Automatronix contains a feature that simulates this effect (called SEGUE FILE VOICE OVER). By tagging the INTRO TIME of a song of this type, Automatronix will create the same effect as a live DJ 'talking-up' to the intro of the song. Note that not all songs will have an intro time. You can experiment with the trimmer program to get the best results.

OVERLAP TIME-
Each song has a different ending characteristic. Some fade, and some end 'cold'. The OVERLAP TIME is best thought of as the point where the next song should start. Automatronix uses this time to calculate the start of songs, so that smooth transitions between songs can occur. Songs that end cold will have a short overlap time, and songs that have a long, drawn out fade will have a longer overlap time. NOTE- If no overlap time is set, then the system overlap time determines when the next file occurs. This is important, because if you have recorded a file with a lot of space between the last note of the song, and the actual end of file, a lot of 'dead air' will occur before the next song starts.
 

VALID FILENAMES FOR SOUND FILES-

The following are acceptable files with  a-z A-Z 0-9 =_-()  are acceptable:
Examples are:

mp3 or wav extensions.
my file name.mp3.
MiXeD cApiTals aNd sMaLl lEtTeRs.wav
A song with a comma, etc.mp3
Songs with (brackets).mp3
A song with a limit of 128 characters is acceptable.wav
This_song.mp3
Asongwithalltheletterstogether.mp3
Song with overlap and introtimes`10.2~22.1.mp3
this is an example of a voice-over file^.mp3
A file that opens a sound card input.+lin or *.-lin, or *.+mic, or *.+aux

The following are unacceptable file names:
- Anything exceeding 127 characters in length, including file extension.
- Non-standard and reserved windows file naming symbols( /,\,|,@, etc).
- File suffixes not recognized by Automatronix (see Data file formats )

The following characters are reserved and are not to be used except where indicated in this manual:
~ (tilde)- used to identify the overlap time.
` (Grave accent ) - used to identify intro time.
^ Circumflex accent)- used to identify file as a segue file.
+ (Plus symbol used in the file extension only)- This symbol is reserved for remote input control files.
-  (Minus symbol used in the file extension only)- This symbol is reserved for remote input control
   files (unmute only)

PROGRAM PLANNING

OPTIONS
Knowing your program format ahead of time will make things much easier when setting up Automatronix for the first time. Setting the options (see OPTIONS section for specifics) would be a good starting point.  Set all parameters in this screen first before continuing.

MODES OF OPERATION
Automatronix will operate in a MANUAL, LIVE-ASSIST, or AUTOMATIC operation. (see MAIN SCREEN for specifics). You can also change between modes while operating, but some limitations apply. Typically, the mode is set prior to the start of programming. This mode can also be remembered upon startup, as defined in OPTIONS screen.

2. STARTING AND RUNNING-
Once you have prepared files and formats, operating Automatronix is the next step. First, set up your options as explained in the Options screen.

PLAY LIST

ADDING/APPENDING FILES TO PLAYLIST

1) Opening an existing playlist (which directly fills the playlist)- From the menu bar, select FILE then  OPEN PLAYLIST. A screen browse box will open. You can select the desired file list from the associated file format (winamp(*.m3u), Raduga(*.alb), or Automatronix(*.lst). Once selected, it will load into the PLAYLIST window. Once selected, this clears existing files in the MAIN PLAYLIST WINDOW, then adds the selected playlist to the MAIN PLAYLIST WINDOW. If the MODE is set to LIVE assist and above (auto), it will either:
1) automatically load the first 3 files if the system is not playing anything, or,
2) load the next 2 players with the first 2 songs (in the newly opened playlist) if the system IS playing.

2) Adding by individual/multiple file selection process- For this method, either use the 1-4 key file shortcuts to display the desired directory, or click on the DRIVE box. Only the files with the approved formats (*.WAV, *.MP3) will  be displayed (if any). Once files have been displayed, simply highlighting and double-clicking on a file will add it to the PLAYLIST window. NOTE- double-clicking on the same file  will add that file by the number of times it is double-clicked. Each file added is appended to the end of the main playlist.

You can individually double-click on files in the file list window, and they will be added to the playlist. Each time you double-click on a file, it adds itself. If you double-click more than once, then it will add itself more than once.

You can also drag and drop files into the playlist from the file list window, or alternately drag files from the file list window directly into each player.

Another option is clicking once on a file, then right clicking the mouse. Highlight COPY FILE then click the mouse to a  location in the playlist window. You can insert the file by right clicking, and highlighting PASTE FILE item. It will add itself directly above the highlighted cursor bar.

You can also select multiple files by left click holding the mouse button down (in the file list window), and dragging the mouse down the list, or holding the control key (CTRL) on the keyboard, and left click highlighting the desired files. Selected files will invert in color. You can also remove files from the selected by this same method.

Once you have selected the desired files, right click on the FILE LIST WINDOW, and choose ENTER SELECTED FILES TO PLAYLIST. Once completed, all selected files will add to the end  of the playlist.

3) Appending to existing files already on the playlist- From the Menu bar, select FILE then APPEND TO PLAYLIST WITH ANOTHER PLAYLIST. This repeats what occurs in step 1 above, but it appends to the end of whatever is currently in the PLAYLIST WINDOW to the END of the playlist

4) Any combination of the above- Any/all combinations can be performed.

BAD FILE MODE DETECTION

Automatronix has a built-in bad file detector, and operates in 2 ways.  When in manual mode, a bad file will change the player filename window to RED, indicating a bad file has been loaded. If in AUTO or LIVE ASSIST mode, it will automatically remove the bad file, and load the next good file.

MANIPULATION OF FILES IN PLAYLIST
Once files have been added to the playlist, the file order can be modified, utilizing a "cut & paste" operation, as well as drag-n-drop operation.

If you left click once a file (which highlights it) and hold the button down, you can drag the file up or down on the playlist. Once you release the mouse button, it will drop the file to the location where the button was released.

If you do not drag the file, but right click on the highlighted file, a mini menu appears. From the choices, you can cut & paste, copy files to specific locations. Remember, when pasting files to a location, it pastes the file above the current highlight.

If you highlight a file, and press the DELETE key on the keyboard, the highlighted file will be deleted, permanently removing it from the playlist.

SAVING PLAYLIST FILES
From the MENU BAR, select FILE then SAVE CURRENT PLAYLIST. Once the directory screen opens, select the desired location for the saved playlist.
 

GETTING FILES TO PLAY
Once at least 3 files are in the playlist, Automatronix will allow the files to play, The MODE selection determines how the files will react.

Automatronix operates in various modes (as previously explained in the PLAYERS section ). Each mode has particular features:

MANUAL PLAY MODE
During MANUAL mode of operation, files in the playlist are loaded by selection process. Upon startup, the players remain empty until a file is loaded into each corresponding player. Once done, any/all of the players can be started, stopped, paused, advanced, etc. During file play, double-clicking on a file in the playlist will load the next player not in play. Double-clicking on a different file will remove the last selected file, and load the newly selected file into that player. Selecting a different non playing player can be obtained by clicking on the player song title window (which highlights a white bar above the window), then double-clicking on the desired file from the playlist. Once again, double-clicking on a different file loads the corresponding file to the player. As files play, the background color of the PLAYER FILENAME WINDOW of the corresponding player changes to blue. Within 15 seconds of the end of the file, the background color alternately flashes blue/orange (green/orange in events). When the player stops, the background color changes to gray.
NOTE- Unless  the silence time is activated, or auto-start is enabled, you have to click on the player PLAY button to start the files in all modes

LIVE ASSIST MODE
In Live assist mode, it is  similar to MANUAL mode, with an added step. Upon completion of a played file, Automatronix automatically loads the next file in the playlist. The operator has the features of MANUAL operation, with the semi-automatic ability to load the playlist in sequential order. Background colors of corresponding players are the same as MANUAL mode, and the next file to play background color turns bright yellow, indicating that this is the next file to be played. Click on the PLAY button of the desired file to start the process. Once started, it turns blue, and the process continues. If options are set to load playlist on start, Automatronix will load the last known playlist into the main playlist window, and automatically load the players in consecutive order.

AUTO-ONCE MODE
In Auto mode, players 'cycle' in consecutive order, and sequentially load items from the playlist. When the end of the playlist is reached, the players stop cycling, and the music stops. To select a different file while playing, click the desired PLAYER FILENAME box, then double click on the file you want to load. Automatronix will load that file, and continue loading from that point in the playlist. If options are set to load playlist on start, Automatronix will load the last known playlist into the main playlist window, and automatically load the players in consecutive order. The operator simply clicks on the play button on the first (top) player to start the process. Note that this condition operates the same for all auto modes.

AUTO-REPEAT MODE
This mode contains the same features as AUTO-ONCE, however the entire process repeats itself (starts over from the beginning of the playlist), and starts again indefinitely.

AUTO-RANDOM MODE
This mode contains the same features as AUTO-REPEAT, but when it reaches the end of the playlist, it randomizes the playlist just prior to starting back at the beginning of the playlist. Further, Randomization of the playlist occurs under the following additional conditions:

1) Every time MODE is changed from a particular mode to RANDOM mode (or in and out of RANDOM) (UNLESS the option is disabled in OPTIONS),
2) When APPENDING to a playlist from the menu editor (but NOT from appending from the Menu Editor),
3) When a playlist is loaded from an event.

TALK SHOW MODE
This mode is when operating as a talk show host on a network. The following occurs:
1- No songs in playlist
2- All events load and start when scheduled as immediate only.
3- You cannot add files to playlist, only to event list.
4- Silence detector is disabled.
 
 
SELECTING/PLAYING FILES OUT OF SEQUENCE

It may be desired to over-ride the play sequence on the playlist. This would be useful when the operator wants to select alternate files on the playlist. There are various methods of selecting files out of sequence. Note that this process is the same for LIVE ASSIST and all AUTO modes.

While a file is playing, a different file can be selected by simply double-clicking on the desired file. It will load into the next non-playing player. This will also set a new play index at this location on the playlist, and continues from the new index.  NOTE- You cannot load a file that is currently playing.

The second method to loading files out of sequence is by clicking on the play button on the first (top) player to start the process. To select a different file while playing, click the desired PLAYER FILENAME box, then double click on the file you want to load. Automatronix will load that file, and continue loading from that point in the playlist.

The third method is to click on a desired file, then right-click it with the mouse. Select LOAD STARTTING HERE and click. It will load the next two files on the playlist, and continue from that point.
 

IMPORTANT NOTES ON PLAYLISTS:

1) If an invalid playlist is loaded with files, Automatronix will continue to cycle through the playlist until it encounters a valid file. If NO files are valid, then Automatronix will produce a message "NO VALID LIST" and repeat whatever is left in the players indefinitely if in Auto-Repeat or Auto-Random.
 

SPECIAL FILE TYPES

SUB PLAYLIST CREATION- A sub-playlist is a collection of files saved in a list that can play in the exact order the sub-playlist was saved to. This is useful when creating a collection of files to play in a specific order, regardless of the randomization of files in the playlist. Although it will play randomly it will always play in the order the files are saved in the sub playlist. You can also use this type of list in conjunction with segue voice-over files to vocally introduce specific songs. An example would be a specific voice intro for a specific song. To create a sub-playlist, the playlist editor should be used. FILES CAN ALSO BE ADDED IN THE BACKGROUND WITH THE BUILT-IN PLAYLIST EDITOR FEATURE. SEE  USING PLAYLIST EDITOR FOR FURTHER OPERATION ON THIS FEATURE.
Please note- The sub-playlist operates uniquely  in one of the AUTO modes. You must use the *.mpl file extension to save a sub-playlist.
 

RANDOM PLAYLIST A collection of files can be saved so that when accessed, Automatronix will randomly select a file from this list and insert it into the appropriate player. The more quantity of files that are  stored in this type of playlist will decrease the chances of a file being selected more than once per request. This playlist  is useful if a particular artist has several songs to choose from, but you want this artist's songs randomly played. To create a random playlist, the playlist editor should be used. Events can be scheduled with a random playlist to run random files also. FILES CAN ALSO BE ADDED IN THE BACKGROUND WITH THE BUILT-IN PLAYLIST EDITOR FEATURE. SEE USING PLAYLIST EDITOR FOR FURTHER OPERATION ON THIS FEATURE. Use the *.RPL extension for these lists. NOTE- if you want to assure 'no duplicates, use the ROTATE and RANDOMIZE file type.

ROTATION FILES- A collection of files that play (one at a time) in the specific order in the list. An internal index is created when the file is first accessed. Once accessed, the index increments each time a file is played, then resets back to the beginning once the end of file is reached. This feature can be used when wanting to insert specific files in a specific order, at a specified time either in the playlist, or as an event. Use the *.ROT extension for these lists.

ROTATE and RANDOMIZE files- This type of file is similar to ROTATION FILES , with the additional ability to automatically randomize the list when it reaches the end of the list. This can be particularly useful when playing files in random, with the assurance that they will not be duplicated, and totally random in nature in the selection process. Use the *.RNR extension for these lists. It is similar to an RPL list, with the additional ability to eliminate duplicate plays.

SEGUE BRIDGE FILES
Automatronix contains a feature which allows a pre-recorded voice file to blend with the music files. The voice file segues between songs in such a way as to blend in between the overlap time of one song, and the intro time of the next. The effect is that of someone 'talking-up' to the intro (or post) time of the next song, giving Automatronix a live DJ effect. Segue bridge files can be inserted as close as every 3 songs.
Segue-bridge files can be particularly useful in a sub-playlist. When introducing a specific song, a segue-bridge file can precede it in the sub-playlist. Even if the main playlist is randomized, the subplaylist files maintain their order.

CREATING SEGUE BRIDGE FILES

1) Create a voice file using a standard sound editor. Try to end the file as close to the trail of the voice as possible. This will insure tight voice-overs .

2) Save the file as  "filename^.ext". Note the placement of the circumflex accent (^) symbol. This character must be placed directly before the file extension (.ext) so that Automatronix can properly identify this file as a SEGUE BRIDGE file.

3) Insert the file into the playlist in the desired location. The segue will occur between the segue file and the file directly after the segue file.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) The segue file will adjust the start of the file that occurs directly after the file. When playing segue files from the main playlist (or a sub-playlist), an if the segue file is shorter than the next file's programmed intro time, then both the segue file and next file will start at the same time. If there is no programmed intro time, then the file that plays after the segue file will start at the end of the segue file. If this same condition is repeated in a sub-playlist (and there is no programmed intro time), both the segue file and the file that plays after the segue file will start at the same time! This is specifically set up this way with the intent of introducing a song with a voice over feature.

2) If the segue file is longer than the next file's intro time, the next song will be delayed by the difference between the length of the segue file and the intro time of the next file. This feature produces a 'live" DJ talk-up into a song.

REMOTE INPUT 'FILES'

The system sound card can be triggered to mute/unmute at specified times and duration's. This feature is useful for network and remote feeds, as well as turning on the sound card external input(s) at specified times. Further, you can specify which input to open (mic, line, aux). This feature can be used in the playlist and/or eventlist. It requires some operator intervention to fully utilize this feature:

1) Determine the length of time the desired input is to be opened.
2) Create a blank (all record settings in sound panel OFF) file; sample rate is not critical  (1 kBps for MP3, 8kHz sample rate for WAV files is acceptable).
3) Save the file with the following format:

Filename.+EXT, where (note the special '+' symbol- it must be used at this location for this feature to work properly!  Please note the file format is x by 4 NOT the x by 3 format. Win 9x and above supports this extention type.

+LIN to specify the LINE input,
+AUX to specify the Auxiliary input (some sound cards use this instead of LINE input),
+MIC to specify the Microphone input.

It is recommended that you reference a time in the file format such as:
30sec.+MIC         or              60sec.+LIN       or      2min file.+MIC

You can also specify an overlap and intro time for this file. You can become creative and add a post/end sounder to the file for creativity, but timing becomes critical once placed into service.

4) Insert new file into playlist/eventlist.  When the file 'plays', it simultaneously opens the specified input (unmutes), then closes (mutes) the input when the file stops. NOTE- If you stop the file, it also mutes the input again. If you pause the file, the input will remain open indefinitely (until you press STOP or NEXT in AUTO mode).

CREATING AN EXTENDED INPUT CONDITION

This can be particularly useful when a network feed is much longer than a few minutes; creating an extremely long file as describer above would be prohibitive. Follow the above format, however, replace the plus (+) symbol with a minus(-) symbol. The "blank" file plays, it will open the appropriate input and remain open  (as well as pause the automation playlist) until a file with the (+) symbol with the same parameters as above is encountered.  It is best to use this file type in the event scheduler, programming the first (open) event as  FILE1.-LIN, and the stop (mute) event as FILE1.+LIN. The first file will play, unmute the line input, and remain open. When scheduled to do so, it will then encounter the second file, play the file, and mute the line input when the file stops. IMPORTANT!! - You must program this type of file as an event! It will cause playlist to pause. Once a file with the extended file type (FILE1.-LIN) is encountered, Automatronix will PAUSE and remain paused until a file with the extension .+LIIN is loaded. Once Automatronix encounters the + file type, it will restart any current loaded playlist. When using this procedure for multiple extended input conditioins (such as in and out of news breaks, etc), you must have at least two(2) regular files separating each extended input (+ or - file type) file. They can be as short as 2 second dead air files, or other material longer in nature.

USING SATELLITE MODE

The Satellite mode allows user to operate Automatronix as a 'event only' system. In this mode, the playlist would remain blank, and events would be enabled. When event time approaches, and the event loads into the players, it waits for a contact closure from the satellite network to trigger the FIRST player (the event always loads into the FIRST player during this mode). If the network misses the trigger, the event remains until the next event loads (and clears the previous event). To enable satellite mode, go to OPTIONS the SET DEFAULTS. Enable the SAT MODE check box, and save the settings. 2 vertical, orange colored bars will appear on either side of the playlist, with the words 'SATELLITE MODE'  on each bar.

Setting up files for use in satellite mode

Liners, legal ID's, and other regular satellite-fired items can be pre-programmed into the hotkeys. The remote control interface will activate the hotkeys when requested by the contact closures from the satellite receiver. Both individual and random-play (rnr) file types can be programmed into hotkeys, and hotkey groups can be saved, and loaded from an event, or manually.

Events should be scheduled within the time constraints of the satellite 'clock'. Again, be sure computer time is synchronized with satellite time. This can be automatically done with programs like Clockwise, Colck-sync, and many others. Schedule events to load a few minutes early, in case network takes early breaks.

EVENT PROGRAMMED SATELLITE TOGGLE

The Satellite mode can be toggled on and off from an event. To do this, create files (small text file with 0 bytes) with *.sat and *.clr extensions. The *.sat extension will enable satellite mode, and the *.clr extension will disable satellite mode. The following action occurs for each event:

Enable sat mode- 1- enables satellite mode, 2- clears playlist- this stops songs from playing once sat mode is established. Once this file loads in an event, automation will stop and wait for satellite control.

Disable sat mode- 1- disables satellite mode NOTE- It is advisable to load a playlist immediately after disabling satellite mode- This insures songs will play once satellite mode is disabled. We recommend the following:

1- Create an event to pre-load a selected playlist 5-7 mins before start time.
2- Create another event to reset sat mode (using a *.clr file) 2-4 mins before start time.
3- Create an approximate event to trigger an audio file at the exact time you want the automation to start.

REMOTE SATELLITE OPERATION:

Satellite control is possible via RS-232 and the TCP/IP port. From Main menu, select OPTIONS-SET DEFAULTS. Change the Com Port Sel. drop down box to the port that you will connect external RS-232 commands. *NOTE- You must re-start program for any change to this port, or initial setting of this port. The default RS-232 rate is 9600, 8 bits, No parity, and one stop bit (8N1). You must contact factory if you desire an optional baud rate. This default rate has been selected to be compatible with products such as Broadcast Tools, Cramer, RDL, and others. JT Communications offers an optional interface unit which will allow external contact closures to RS-232 commands. Note that this interface only requires momentary closures from the satellite receiver, with a minimum of 50 milliseconds of switch time, and a maximum  of 2 seconds.

The following chart designates what ASCII commands control the Automatronix functions:

ASCII CODE                                           AUTOMATRONIX FUNCTION                             RESULT
1                                                       same as pressing 1 on keyboard                    controls hotkey 1
2                                                           "      "     "        2  "    "                               controls hotkey 2
3                                                           "      "     "        3 "     "                               controls hotkey 3
4                                                           "      "     "        4 "     "                               controls hotkey 4
5                                                          "      "      "        5 "     "                               controls hotkey 5
6                                                           "    "      "         6"      "                               controls hotkey 6
7                                                       same as pressing F2 (start player 1)        controls player 1 when loaded
+                                                       same as pressing + key on keyboard      NEXT function (segue)
B                                                      same as pressing B key on keyboard       BREAK toggle
M                                                    same as pressing M on screen (Mic mute)  Mic MuteToggle                       

Note that the command only needs to be the individual ASCII command. No Carriage Return or LineFeed is necessary, but will not cause a problem if sent. Also note that these commands will operate along with the standard controls. It is recommended that an external switch disable a permanent serial or TCP/IP connection if a network continuously sends commands.  
 
  
3. RUNNING THE AUTOMATION

Once a playlist has been created, it is time to start the automation. Once you are familiar with the modes of operation (see players) , Automatronix is ready to work for you!

FIRST TIME STARTUP

MANUAL MODE START:

Double-clicking on any file in the playlist will load that file into the first player. Each time you double-click on a file, it will load into the second and third players consecutively. After this first time of loading, you can select any load order, provided the player selected is not playing a file. Click on the PLAYER TITLE SCREEN (defined here ), and a white bar will appear just above the box. This means that whatever file you double-click on in the playlist window will load into that particular player. Clicking on a different PLAYER TITLE SCREEN will change which player can be loaded. Pressing the START icon on each player (or pressing the corresponding keyboard shortcut (description here ) will start the corresponding player. You can utilize any of the icons on the player to stop, pause, advance, or control the volume/mute of each player. If you click on a player, the space bar can be used to play/pause the corresponding player.

Remember: in the MANUAL mode, nothing happens unless the operator interacts .

NOTE THAT FOR AUTOMATION TO PROPERLY FUNCTION IN ANY OF THE MODES OTHER THAN MANUAL, THE FIRST PLAYER (File) MUST START THE NEXT PLAYER.

LIVE ASSIST MODE START:

You can either follow the procedure above (MANUAL MODE START), or just change the MODE to LIVE ASSIST. If you choose the former, no visible changes will occur. With the latter, the first three files from the current cursor position  will load consecutively into the players.  As in the MANUAL mode, button control is the same.

In the LIVE ASSIST mode, files are loaded after they play, but Automatronix does NOT allow the
next file to play automatically.

AUTOMATIC MODE START:

As in LIVE ASSIST MODE, selecting the AUTO-ONCE or AUTO-REPEAT will yield the same file loading process. Switching to the AUTO-RANDOM mode will randomize the playlist before loading the players. To start automation, you have to manually start the first file.

IMPORTANT NOTE if you attempt to stop any player, and the inactivity time has been set, it will automatically START the FIRST PLAYER once the inactivity time is reached, and load the previous player with another song. The only way to stop the files from playing in the players is to either press the STOP command button, or change mode to other than AUTO. STOP button should only be used when stopping everything. It is better to change the MODE to stop the players.

NOTE- If you are operating events only (no players in the playlist and the events are enabled), then the events will automatically load and play at the times specified for each event.

CYCLING NEXT PLAYER (rotate)

In all modes except MANUAL, a player can be instantly cycled (segued) to the next corresponding player by pressing the NEXT button. Automatronix will start the next song and fade the previous song set by the fade time in the OPTIONS screen. This is useful when the announcer wishes to segue between selections prior to the fade time. This function is also enabled from the keyboard shortcut "+" key.

PROGRAM BREAK (pause)

In any of the AUTO modes, enabling the BREAK button will cause the current song to end, and pause the automation. The next file title window will turn YELLOW, indicating that this is the next song or event to be started. Automatronix will remain in the PAUSE mode until the corresponding player is manually started. Starting the corresponding player resets the BREAK function. Alternately pressing the BREAK button on and off  will alternately set and reset the BREAK event. Note that pressing the NEXT button during a BREAK mode will reset the BREAK function. This function is also enabled from the keyboard shortcut "B" key. Once in BREAK mode, you can either press the yellow-highlighted player, or press the CONT button (or the C key on keyboard) to start the next player in sequence..

STOPPING AUTOMATION

In the case where the operator wants to stop automation, select HELP-PANIC STOP. When this happens, the following occurs:
1) All players fadeout, rewind, stop and hotkeys stop,
2) Sub-playlists are unloaded and removed,
3) Events are stopped, and events are un-selected
4) Remote inputs are muted,
5) Any program breaks are reset, and
7) If logging is enabled, a log entry is created indicating system was stopped.
 

USE OF HOTKEYS

Hotkeys can be utilized  anytime, regardless of mode, players, or events. See  HOTKEYS for a complete description of hotkeys. Keyboard shortcut keys 1-6 activate the hotkeys.
 

CHANGING MODES WHILE PLAYING

1) If mode is changed from AUTO-ONCE to AUTO-REPEAT, Automatronix will repeat when the
end of the playlist is reached.

2) If mode is changed from AUTO-REPEAT to AUTO-RANDOM, Automatronix will
immediately randomize playlist, and continue in the AUTO-RANDOM mode (if option is set in OPTIONS screen).

3) If mode is changed from MANUAL to LIVE ASSIST or above, AUTOMATRONIX will auto-load the first 3 songs on the playlist. The exception is when restarting program and LOAD P/L ON START is set. The playlist will load from last known position on playlist.

4) If mode is changed to MANUAL and files are playing, the current song will STOP after its complete, and nothing will happen after that (unless switched manually or MODE is set to anything other than MANUAL).

5) Upon program start, if MODE is NOT set to MANUAL, and NO default playlist is loaded; no files will auto load into players unless one of these conditions are met first:

a) set mode back to manual before loading songs into main playlist.
b) after loading songs into playlist, toggle MODE selector (change it), then set to desired MODE.

After that, songs will load properly.

6) If the BREAK button is pressed, and you switch to any mode except MANUAL, Automatronix will retain the BREAK selection.  However, if you switch to MANUAL, the BREAK function is reset to off.

7) Pressing the NEXT button during a BREAK function resets the BREAK function.
 

OTHER OPERATIONAL HINTS:

1) Create a playlist BEFORE clearing a current playlist. This way, you have files to play at the last moment.

2) It is NOT recommended that you run other programs along with Automatronix (word processing, large resource programs, etc) on the same computer as Automatronix.

3) Remember programming changes during system time changes (i.e. daylight savings time).

4) If starting Automatronix from a cold start, REMEMBER to manually START the first desired player in
ALL MODES, otherwise nothing will happen.

5) Renaming songs after placing them into a playlist will cause them NOT to play (because the filename is different).

6) You can create a rotation 'clock' by creating a series of genre-specific songs in each playlist, and saving each one as a random (*.rpl) file. Then place the random playlists into the genre-order, and set the system to repeat. This will create a song clock. You can even place breaks, promos, etc into categories and place those into the main playlist.
 

RESTARTING PROGRAM

When re-starting Automatronix, several conditions are dependent upon the OPTIONS (see OPTIONS ) settings. For example, if the REMEMBER MODE is checked, Automatronix will return to the last MODE setting. Otherwise, if not checked, Automatronix will default to the MANUAL mode. If LOAD P/L ON START is checked, then Automatronix will load the last known playlist, and return to the last known position in the playlist. The exception is when the MODE is set to AUTO-RANDOM. If set to Random, Automatronix randomizes the list, then returns to the last known position in the playlist. If AUTORUN ON START is checked (and LOAD P/L ON START is checked and system mode is AUTO), then Automatronix will automatically start the first loaded player.

FILE ARCHIVING

If it becomes necessary to back up your data, the following files should be backed-up:

1) All data files (songs, ID's etc),
2) All files specified in the  options file definitions.

SYSTEM MAINTENANCE

It is recommended to keep a routine system maintenance schedule. As more files are added, the need to run defragment and disk maintenance routines increases. A suggested maintenance frequency should be 1 session per 168 hours ( a week of hours) of system operation.

FILES ASSOCIATED WITH AUTOMATRONIX MAINTENANCE:

Database Maintenance.exe- This program allows the event database file to be maintained (cleaned up, backed up, and/or repaired). It is suggested this program be ran once every 300 hours of operation (approx once per week for 24/7 operation). This can also be done from the OPTIONS-DATABASE drop-down menu item.

last modified 11/05/08