Controlling routers is an everyday need in broadcasting, so Helm has some built-in visual control to help you add router control facilities really fast. Check out this example panel to see these features in action.

A typical X-Y panel

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Our example panel is a typical X-Y panel where you can select outputs and choose which input is connected. To save panel space on large routing systems you can split sources and destinations into groups and use group selectors to map these to the router controls. Finally we have a level selector to let you choose which router levels are active on a given take, and also a graphic display of what connected where. So let’s see how this panel is implemented.

Router setup

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First of all we need a router device. In this case it’s a dummy router just for demonstration purposes. We’ve set up some of the properties specially for this panel. So let’s take a look at those:

  1. Router dimensions: 48 in, 48 out, 3 levels.
  2. Router names: we’ve set up names for the Inputs, Outputs and Levels. On an actual router these would probably be already pulled from the router itself
  3. Group Map File: this property lets us set up the groups of sources and destinations that will be used by the Input and Output Group Selectors.

Let’s take a quick look at the GroupMap to see how that works:

Group Map

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The GroupMapFile parameter let’s you name groups of Inputs and Outputs. For example the line ‘SATRX=0-7’ means that inputs 0 to 7 will be in the group named SATRX. Groups can be freely defined from individual inputs and outputs or ranges. We could have a group MYGROUP=3,6,7,12-18,25 or we can have previously defined groups inside groups MYBIGGROUP= 1,MYGROUP,42 so you can see that there’s lot’s of possibilities. Group maps are discussed in detail in this article.

Router Bus

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The RouterBus control needs basically one important setup – you have to select which Router it controls !!! You do this by choosing the router from the Router dropdown property (1). It’s also handy to have some levels activated for control so you need to open the Levels property ( click the + sign ) and check which Levels you want active.

Output Selector

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The Output Selector sets the target output controlled by a RouterBus. So it too has one important setup. You need to choose which RouterBus it controls and you do that using the RouterBus property. Just select the RouterBus from the dropdown list.

Level selector

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Level Selector controls the active levels of a RouterBus control so you need to set the RouterBus property of the Level Selector to tell it which bus you want to control.

Input Group Selector

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The Input Group Selector controls the current signal group of a RouterBus, so again you have choose which RouterBus is controlled by the Input Group Selector.

Output Group Selector

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Output Group Selectors control the signal group property of an OutputSelector so you need to choose which OutputSelector is to be controlled.

Router Graph

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The RouterGraph control gives you visual feedback of what’s connected where. To use this control just simply drop it onto your panel, move and resize it so it overlaps a RouterBus and an Output Selector. Best to send it to the back so it isn’t on top of the router buttons. Run the panel and it just works.

Source Labels on Output Selectors

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From Helm 4.3.0.5 onwards, Output Selectors have a new property called “SourceLabels”. This property controls the appearance of current source names on output selector buttons. To make labels be shown, set the SourceLabel Opacity to 1, and typically use the SourceLabel TextTop property to position the Source Labels within the buttons.

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The source labels will update whenever the routes are changed, and will also follow changes to the current group of the Output Selector.