The BATC ATV Repeater Controller uses a Raspberry Pi 4 as a fully-featured, but simple-to-implement, ATV repeater controller. Every repeater is different and the controller is designed as a core logic that can be used as the basis for an ATV repeater. The design is flexible with a large number of parameters in a text editable config file so that users can configure it to meet their own needs.
The controller is intended to be used with an HDMI Video switch, but can also be used with other switchers such as an ATEM Mini or older composite video designs.
The outline requirement specification is here media:BATC ATV repeater controller.pdf
The BATC repeater controller controls single or multiple video switchers either by InfraRed, I2C or GPIO pins. It also generates a carousel of scenes and has an on-board DTMF decoder.
The carousel can be configured to show up to 99 scenes. The content and duration displayed of each scene is set in the configuration file and the scene can be one of the following:
- Status screen generated by the controller
- jpg or png images played out by the controller
- Video files (in future release).
- Any input on the video switcher, so can display inputs such mast cams, weather stations or Quad video displays.
The still images are read each time before display so can be regularly updated by an external source such as weather maps, propagation maps or DXspots.
Valid signal input
On receipt of a valid GPIO line signal from, for example, a Ryde receiver, the controller will, key the transmitter, play an audio beep and display an image for .5 seconds indicating which input has been activated and then switch to that input. When the receiver closes, the logic will play a "K" image and optional "K" in Morse and go back to the carousel.
The receiver input switching line can be directly from a Ryde receiver or an external source such as a sync detector on an analogue source. Note do NOT exceed 3.3 volts on the GPIO input.
In order to comply with licensing regulations, a video and/or audio ident can be generated at an interval set in the config file.
An on-board DTMF decoder will allow input selection by remote control and also enable GPIO pins to be toggled to enable the control of external equipment.
To enable power saving by turning the repeater transmitter off during quiet periods, a number of options are available such as only key the transmitter when in repeat mode, do not key the transmit during the night time and only key the transmitter to display the carousel for the first 30 minutes of every hour.
Additionally, the controller can provide time-based control of the power to the receivers and encoder/exciter so that they can be shut down outside operating hours. Two operating periods can be defined in the config file, and the equipment can also be shut down and restarted using a fron-panel button. A preceding shutdown signal is provided to allow proper shutdown of the Raspberry Pis. This power control uses the same GPIO pins as Input 7, so is only compatible with the use of 6 or less repeater inputs.
Repeater system sample builds
A number of example configurations are shown on this page Repeater system configurations
The controller will interface to the following:
- Video switches via IR transmitters - up to 2 IR transmitters can be configured separately allowing multiple video switches to be cascaded.
- Video switchers via hardware lines driven from the RPi GPIO lines (note 3.3v logic output)
- Network control of an ATEM Mini Pro
The IR, i2c and ATEM commands for each input are set in the config file.
The controller will support i2c video switches and relay boards in the future. I2c Interface details are here: DATV Repeater i2c Interface.
i2c audio switching
Currently, the controller only supports the i2c controlled Audio switch designed for GB3SQ.
Details of the 8 channel input audio switch PCB can be found here DATV repeater audio switch and a PCB is available from the BATC shop.
Configuring IR Switching
The IR codes for the video switches used on a repeater will need to be entered in the configuration file - see Repeater Controller configuration.
Full details on how to read your IR commands and then configure the system are here: Configuring IR for HDMI Switching
IR Transmitter Control Circuits
Here are example IR transmitter control circuits for the single and dual switch cases:
Configuring ATEM Switching
The controller can switch an ATEM Mini Pro connected on the LAN. Full details here Configuring ATEM Control.
Customisation and configuration
While this software is designed to work "out of the box" it will need to be configured for each individual repeater.
Some configurations can be done using the SSH menu and some real-time control is possible using the ssh Console Menu.
For a detailed description of the configuration details see the Repeater Controller configuration page.
The BATC repeater controller uses an onboard DTMF detector which detects DTMF from the mic input on a USB audio dongle (using a standard Portsdown white USB dongle).
Full details of the functions that can be set by DTMF and their configuration are on this page DATV repeater DTMF commands
The repeater controller uses the RPi GPIO port for the following:
- Accepts up to 8 signal detect inputs
- IR / I2C drive output
- GPIO outputs to control video switchers.
- Auxilliary equipment status monitoring inputs
- Auxilliary equipment control outputs
The exact pins used for each function are set in the configuration file.
The Ryde signal detect line can be connected to the input pin but Care MUST be taken to buffer the 3.3 volt logic levels used on the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins.
A list of GPIO connections is here: Repeater GPIO Connections.
Mains Power Control
The controller includes a number of features to reduce mains power consumption and to allow safe shutdown of Raspberry Pi based receivers and the controller itself. Full details can be found here: Repeater Controller Power Control.
Composite video input
In order to enable analogue receivers and equipment, such as mast cameras, to be connected to an HDMI switcher, BATC has developed a composite to HDMI converter.
Based on the Ryde software running on a Pi3 or Pi4, it uses a Fushicai EasyCap and provides a high-quality converter even with noisy FM video signals.
Build an SD card with the Ryde software and after updating to release 03/03/22 select Option 8 on the Settings Menu in the SSH Console Menu.
Then manually edit the file /home/pi/ryde-build/cv_config.txt where you can set audio out, 16:9/4:3 and the ident caption.
After rebooting with a Fushicai EasyCap connected, the HDMI output will show the Composite video input and carry the audio from the dongle.
Note This is not a Ryde facility, the Ryde build was just a convenient starting point for the software build.
A detailed description of the operation of the switching logic can be found here: Repeater Switching Logic.
The software was put on full release at the end of March 2022.
Dec 2021 - Requirement spec agreed.
Jan 22 - Alpha release for testing
Feb 10th 2022 - A Beta release version of the software is available for download: https://github.com/BritishAmateurTelevisionClub/atv-rptr
Note this is NOT the final release and there will be bugs! Please provide feedback on the forum.
Feb 15th 2022 - Feature freeze until the first release in March
Marrch 2022 -First production release
February 2023 - Updated to include safe shutdown and receiver/exciter power switching.
The BATC controller is available for download at https://github.com/BritishAmateurTelevisionClub/atv-rptr
Please follow the instructions carefully and note the controller runs on the Buster Lite OS and not Bullseye.
Depending upon demand we may sell preprogrammed SD cards in the BATC shop.
The following features have been identified for inclusion in future releases:
- Implement battery-backed clock (for no internet/power cuts). Will serve NTP to Rydes on same network
- VLC Carousel Play of videos
- Full implementation of i2c accessory switch operation (Entries exist in config file, but not yet coded)
- Composite video output