Q: Where is the documentation?
A: The documentation is in the on-line help. You can find it in the Start Menu or from the help menu in CDJ. You can also read it on our web page here. The local help is a lot faster and it works best if you have Internet Explorer 4.0 or later installed on your machine. Using Internet Explorer will make the table of contents work more quickly and enables search capability.
Q: My stereo is not near my computer so I need a longer cable.
A: We recommend putting the Slink-e near your stereo equipment and running a long RS-232 cable to your computer. RS-232 can be driven up to 100'. We recommend CAT-5 cabling which can be bought pre-made in an assortment of lengths, but any RS-232 cable will work. CAT-5 cables have modular RJ-45 connectors on each end. You can get RJ-45 to DB-9(serial) converters fairly cheap. They can be purchased from gadgetpros.com (part numbers MA11 and MA12). These converters don't come with the pins installed but this is simple. There will be 8 wires in each connector. Place one wire in each of the pin holes 1-8 in the DB-9 connector and leave pin hole 9 empty. Do the same for the other end. Make sure to use the same color wires for the same numbered pins on each end!! Voila, you have a really long and easy to run RS-232 cable.
Alternatively if you wan't to go wireless you can purchase devices which transmit RS-232 over RF. The cheapest one we've heard of is around $200. Check out this BBS post about it.
Q: Does the Slink-e work with my <such and such> model CD changer?
A: Check out our compatibility chart to find out.
Q: Which changer is the best one to buy?
A: This is a subjective question, but here are some of my opinions:
Q: Why won't CDJ upload the track titles to my Sony CDP-CX350?
A: Because the 350 doesn't support it. Despite Sony's advertising to the contrary the CX350 only supports track titling with CDTEXT CD's (which noone has). The only models that ever supported track titling are the CX270 and it's high end sister the 90ES. You can still buy these if you're dying to see your track titles on a 13 character display.
Q: I want to run CDJ on my <name of very small computer>. When are you porting CDJ to Windows CE?
A: We're not. CDJ is a very complex and resource dependent program not well suited the limited capapilites of palm devices, cable TV boxes or toasters ovens. We would have to strip it's functionality severely to support these platforms, and after all you bought it because of it's functionality.
Q: How can I manipulate the CDJ database in any custom way I want to?
A: The CDJ database uses the same format as Microsoft Access. You can open it in Access and do whatever you like, including adding your own fields.
Q: Are you planning to develop a USB Slink-e?
A: We do not currently have plans for a USB device. If you have a computer that only has USB many of our users have been successful with USB to RS-232 converters including:
Q: Do you make a wireless IR transmitter or receiver?
A: No we don't. There are mass market products that do this over RF. The POWERMID is one product we know of but have no experience with. Ask on the BBS or the mailing list and see what other Slink-e users are doing.
Q: What is a Slink-e?
The Slink-e is a small (5" x 5") microcontroller based unit which allows your computer to communicate with infrared (IR), S-Link, Control-A, and Control-S devices such as audio and video equipment. The Slink-e interfaces to your computer using a standard RS-232 serial port, so it can work with most computers and operating systems.
Q: What can the Slink-e do?
A: The Slink-e allows your computer to control or be controlled by Sony S-Link and IR devices from most manufacturers. This means the you can use your PC to control receivers, TVs, VCRs, CD players or anything else that works via remote control. It also means that you can use remote controls to command programs you write on your computer. The Slink-e is expandable to use up to 8 independent infrared receivers and transmitters. This allows you to use the Slink-e in every room of your house! The Slink-e is able to automatically route IR signals from room to room allowing you to control your devices from any room in the house.
Q: What software is available for the Slink-e?
A: The most popular application written for the Slink-e is CDJ, a Windows jukebox program which can control an unlimited number of players and catalogs your CD's using the CDDB internet database. Jukebox software which uses the Slink-e is currently being developed by third parties for Macintosh and Unix platforms. Many other applications such as home automation / integration are possible with the Slink-e for those who wish to write their own software.
Q: How can I write my own software for the Slink-e?
Q: Will you supply schematics and the PIC assembly code so that I can build my own Slink-e from scratch?
A: No. The schematics are on the web page to aid those who want to do modifcations, but we do not release the PIC code.
Q: How many S-Link devices can I control with a Slink-e?
A: Each device on a S-Link bus must have a unique ID code. Sony only allowed most common types of devices to have only 3 or fewer user selectable codes. This means that currently you can only connect 3 CD changers to one S-Link bus. However, the Slink-e has 4 S-Link busses which allows it to control 12 changers at once. Furthermore, the programming model provided for the Slink-e allow you to control multiple Slink-es at once. This allows for a virtually unlimited number of CD changers, assuming you have an unlimited number of serial ports, CD changers, Slink-es, CD's, money, etc...
Q: What kinds of IR devices can I control with a Slink-e ?
A: Virtually all. The Slink-e can synthesize arbitrary IR waveforms with carrier frequencies from DC up to the MHz range. It can also use no carrier at all. Timing resolution on the waveform envelope can go down to 50 microseconds. Detection of IR signals is limited to carrier frequencies of 38kHz +/- 5kHz due to the use of an IR detector module. A program called E-Z Learn is provided to allow for simple learning of remotes.
Q: What kinds of Control-A1 devices can I control with a Slink-e ?
A: Since Control-A1 is a single format, all types of Control-A1 devices should be controllable with the Slink-e. The catch is that you must know the correct Control-A1 codes for the device you want to control. We currently have Control-A1 device files for CD, MD, tape, and receivers. Since the Slink-e allows you to listen in on Control-A1commands and responses, it is a very useful tool in determining the codes used by Control-A1 devices.
Q: How long can the RS-232, IR and S-Link cables be?
A: We have not tested the ultimate limits of RS-232, IR or S-Link, but right now we are successfully using the following
Q: How can I make CDDB submissions using CDJ?
A: The bottom line is that CDJ doesn't allow you to make CDDB submissions. The reason is that CDDB does not want the submissions because the Sony CD changers do not report the CD's table of contents (TOC) data down to the frame-level accuracy required to generate a valid CDDB ID. The TOC data good enough to identify exisiting discs in the CDDB, but not to create new submissions. If CDJ supports CD-ROM drives or other devices capable of reading TOC data accurately in the future, this feature will be turned on. For now you might consider putting these discs in a CD-ROM drive and using a CDDB-enabled player to upload the information.
Q: Why can't I at least re-submit corrections to CDDB data I downloaded?
A: In order to protect their database from sabotage, CDDB may report incorrect CDDB IDs in the downloaded data. This means that you can't upload using this same CDDB ID.
Q: There is a hum when I connect my Slink-e to my stereo system. Why?
A: There is a "ground-loop" between your computer and your stereo system. This happens when both your computer and your stereo system are connected to the electrical ground of your home wiring. Due to some variations in the electrical potential of this ground, stray line currents flow through the wiring interconnecting these devices (in this case, the RS-232 line) and can create an audible hum at the output of the audio system. Computers have a 3-prong power connector which connects them to earth ground. Most stereo systems do not use a 3-prong plug specifically so that they do not create ground loops. However, many stereo systems today are connected directly or indirectly to cable TV, DSS or a rooftop FM antenna. Due to a potential for lightening strikes on these antennae, they are earth grounded, which creates a second ground in the system and the potential for ground loops.
The best solution is to use a RS-232 optical isolator to isolate the electrical connection between the PC and the stereo. We recommend the 232SPOP4 from B & B Electronics (www.bb-elec.com) which currently costs $74.95. This isolator uses DB-25 connectors, so you will also want to get some DB-25 to DB-9 adapters which cost a few dollars each. We have found that this isolator only works well at 19.2k baud, not the 38.4k baud default settings the Slink-e has. You should set your Slink-e to 19.2k baud using SlinkeServ before using it.
Another good solution is to use the optical digital outputs to connect your CD player to the receiver instead of the analog RCA cables. This has the potential for better sound quality and electrically isolates your CD player from your receiver. In this case, you should not have any S-Link connections from the CD player or Slink-e to the receiver or the isolation will be defeated.
Q: I have set up my Slink-e to echo IR from one zone to another using SlinkeServ. Some of my remotes work, but other brands do not - why?
A: For one reason or another the output at the Slink-es transmitter is not a sufficiently accurate reproduction of the incoming signal from your remote. For new systems using the Slink-e 3.0, we recommend the use of hard-wired IR repeater systems from Xantech and other companies as a more reliable solution for echoing. For those who wish to use the built-in echoing on the Slink-e, here are the issues: