Submission by Rob Mouser – Disclaimer – Before I start I must point out that my programming knowledge is pretty darn limited, well more like non-existent!
Welcome to PAC – The PAC is a DIN rail mount unit, it’s the same size as the standard serial PCI unit and the good news is that the PAC will act as a PCI too so no need for both units. Rather than a 9pin serial connecter the PAC is USB, in fact its merely a USB to Serial converter and when you install the software it simply creates a virtual COM port. It also has two RS232 ports for controlling external third party equipment.
Time to get PICED! OK, so you’ve installed your PAC and given it a network address. Now you’re going to get PICED or to give it its full name Programming Interface for C-bus Embedded Devices….
Somewhat confusingly to me this is the same software for designing and programming C-Touch units, the two don’t seem to sit naturally to me (Although the colour C-Touch units can make use of the logic engine in the PAC) and I cant help think the GUI for PICED would have been simpler to use if just for the PAC.
The other good news is that the install gives you a pretty chunky 207 page logic manual in PDF format. PICED allows you do some pretty complicated logic and the language is based on ANSI Pascal so if you’re a code monkey I guess this is all a breeze for you guys!
Luckily for us Non-technical types there’s a wizard that allows you to create some logic code without any real Pascal knowledge. Lets step through the wizard:
First add some condition states, simply select the radio buttons and drop downs and click ‘add’ this then adds a line of code.
Now add some actions that will occur if your conditions are met. Once you’re done just click ‘Finish’. You will now be returned to the main window where you will see you module created:
You can edit the code directly in the window if you need to make any changes or of course if you’re a code monkey then just type the code straight in! Once you’re done you can click the red tick on the tool bar which will check and compile your code. Another neat feature is that you can turn on the logic engine and check your code before you transfer your project to the PAC, great for error checking and testing.
Summary – At last true advanced logic based programming for C-bus and no need for a PC running 24/7! The wizard makes simple logic programming a breeze and for those with programming knowledge it appears the options are limitless. The addition of 2 RS232 ports for controlling third party kit makes this a must have for any install in my opinion.
The Bad News! – Like so much that’s great in C-bus you can’t get a PAC in the UK at the time of writing this.
UPDATE – Clipsal are now selling this unit in the UK