30th April 2009, 01:18 PM
Idratek FAQ 4 - Cortex
4.1 What OS do I run Cortex on?
Basically Windows. Windows XP (Pro or Home). Windows Server 2003.
4.2 Can I run it on Linux?
4.3 Not even as a virtual machine?
Nope. Due to current hardware requirements emulated hardware on a virtual machine is not supported.
4.4. Can I run it on Mac OS X?
No. You are going to have to go over to the dark-side. However, since you can access it using RDP or VNC, you don't actually have to *touch* the Windows machine, so hopefully you won't catch anything
4.5 Isn't Windows unreliable?
In our experience, if Cortex is installed on a dedicated machine with the minimum of additional programs it can be very stable. There are also several layers of protection indluded in the system: Defibrillator runs on the PC and monitors Cortex and can attempt to restart it if it detects a failure. Reflex functions can be programmed to provide control if this is not sufficient and a panel or IPS can be used to create a "watchdog" function to switch to Reflex function if the PC is not responding.
4.6 What are the platform requirements?
a) Can run Windows.
b) "Real" RS-232 port (motherboard or ISA/PCI card)
c) Sound device (typically integrated onto motherboard)
4.7 Do I really have to have a sound card?
Yes. Use of sound is highly integrated into Cortex, so a sound device is mandatory.
4.8 What kind of computer do I need for Cortex ?
Cortex can run a large installation on a low power machine. The VIA miniITX boards have proven a popular choice due to their low power consumption and small size. These can be mounted in shallow depth 1U racks and fitted into small racks or cupboards. The exception to this is if the CCTV monitoring and motion detection features (optional) are used - these require more computing power and a miniITX board may limit the number of cameras that can be monitored.
Examples used from the forum:-
VIA EN-15000 Mini-ITX
VIA EN 12000G Fanless C7
4.9 Can I use my main desktop computer ?
Yes, but you should consider whether you would be better to have computer dedicated to Cortex. To use Cortex the computer must run 24 hours a day and restricting the programs running reduces the possibilities that the machine will crash, affecting your automation set up.
4.10 So where do I put this other computer then ?
You can put it anywhere safe for a computer and then access the desktop using Windows Remote Desktop from another computer. Clients for RDP are available for Windows, Macs and Linux. You can also control it using VNC, but it is a little bit slower.
4.11 What sort of power consumption do these PCs take?
Some examples from the forum:
VIA EN-15000 Mini-ITX Mobo and Matrox 70GB HDD = 28W
Dell Latitude D600 (centrino 1.7G) laptop consumes 19W with screen off, 26W including screen. Limited expansion options.
AMD Sempron 2500+ full size motherboard = 80W
Intel E7300 Core 2 Duo (CCTV card) = 75W
4.12 What Video capture cards can I use?
The following video capture cards are known to work:
b) IVCE-8784 PCI-Express card
c) Spectra iTuner-8 definitely in non-multiplexed mode (8input), multiplexed mode not yet tested.
4.13 I get "No wave devices found" errors when trying to run Cortex?
Does your platform have sound devices (required)? Have you installed the sound device drivers?
4.14 How do I get remote access to Cortex?
You can use remote desktop computing (RDP), a Windows feature on certain versions of Windows (notably not XP Home and various versions of Vista). You can also use VNC. You could probably also use web-based schemes such as LogMeOn, but these are not as efficient when you are on the same network.
4.14 You mentioned no RDP in XP Home?
Yes, your Cortex PC must support RDP sessions, this excludes XP home for use as the Cortex platform OS if you want to use RDP access. You can still use XP home on the accessing PC, and in fact any other OS which has RDP clients (includes Macs and Linux boxes).
This restriction also applies to Vista, but since Microsoft went mad with the number of versions I can't be bothered to look up which have the RDP support. Most likely the Professional and Ultimate (expensive) versions.
4.15 I get access violations from Cortex when accessing remotely?
When using RDP it is important to configure the RDP client to "leave sound at remote computer" or similar.
4.16 How do I update Cortex?
Minor revisions can be picked up though the automatic updater found under the help menu. These come out quite frequently. Major revisions often require a complete re-installation and usually have explicit instructions that should be followed carefully.
4.17 Skype is not working after a Cortex update?
When the Cortex executable is updated, Skype will prompt the user to allow access from Cortex. If a remote PC is used this may be missed (one reason to apply updates manually when running a remote Cortex platform). The status can be checked by going into Skype and then Tools> Options... > Advanced Settings > Manage other programs' access to Skype. Check that Cortex.exe is listed and is set "Allowed to use Skype".
4.18 Cortex didn't restart properly due to the Windows error reporting dialog box, what can I do?
Windows error reporting should be turned off in the control panel to avoid it interfering with a restart.
4.19 My plan has completely disappeared and I can't seem to get it back!
Try setting World plan icon size to >16. Also check that in Plan View > Edit Size and Position that your house size has not been set to 0.
4.20 I can't get an icon for an object to show up. It flashes when I do "Find in Plan" but then disappears.
Check that the object is allocated to at least one layer and then check that the corresponding layers have been made visible.
4.21 Speech synthesis doesn't work after disconnecting an RDP session
If it does work if you go and log into the Cortex computer directly then instead of disconnecting the RDP session try executing this command on the Cortex computer over the remote connection:
tscon.exe 0 /dest:console
For Vista and Windows 7 you might need either:
tscon.exe 1 /dest:console or
tscon.exe %sessionname% /dest:console
For convenience you can put the command in a batch file and create a shortcut on your Cortex platform desktop.
because the way the sessions are numbered has been changed.
Last edited by Gumby; 14th May 2010 at 05:18 PM.
Reason: add answer