What is the RackBox?

The RackBox is an IP based intercom station for any-to-all communication over the local or wide area network. Its setup consists of an unlimited number of 19’’ rack mountable RackBoxes, a message routing device (AudioSpread) and a web based management server (RBMS). The source can be limited to act as receiver or sender. Multi source set ups are possible.

The system is designed to be maintenance free, low power (15W) and long lasting. If additional features are requested, the device is ready to receive updates through the management server or an USB stick. The interface provides a graphical overview of the system on a map, as well as showing a status list to monitor station changes onsite.

Main Features
  • Runs on standard IP networks or the internet
  • Low bandwidth requirements
  • Easy to install
  • Simple One-Push button to make an announcement
  • Management server for easy system monitoring and configuration
  • Supports XLR microphone
  • Updatable over the network and by USB Stick
  • Relay output

RackBox Installation Guide

Start by making sure that the RBMS and AudioSpread are up and running to be able to complete the RackBox setup.

RackBox Power-up

Connect the power and ethernet cables to the unit. Then, turn it ON by with the the switch on the back side and wait for the device to boot up.

The power switch is working if the Green light is ON. 

While the device is booting, you will hear the device IP address being announced, which will be 192.168.123.123 in a brand new device or the IP address already assigned to it by means of the RBMS.

(info) A male voice is announcing the flexa side (low-level) and a female voice the application side (high-level).

Providing the first configuration

When the device has booted and the application has started, you will hear a lady’s voice asking to insert an USB stick with the first configuration. This USB stick should only contain a file named settings.json (a JSON file) with the following content:

  • ServerIP: The IP address of the RBMS. This IP will be stored in non-volatile storage and overwritten if the RBMS IP address changes.

  • TestIP: The IP address which will be assigned to the device for the first contact to the RBMS. It will not be stored.

  • TestNM: The subnet Mask which will be assigned to the device for the first contact to the RBMS. It will not be stored.

  • TestRT: The router IP address (Default Gateway) which will allow the device to connect to the RBMS. It will not be stored.


Example JSON file

{
  "ServerIP": "192.168.1.45",
  "TestIP": "192.168.1.202",
  "TestNM": "255.255.255.0",
  "TestRT": "192.168.1.254"
}
CODE


(info) You can download an example file here, and just edit it with your custom parameters and save the changes.

With this information provided in the JSON file, the device will contact the RBMS for the first time. IT will ask for the AudioSpread test stream IP Address, which must be provided as explained on the RBMS Functionality instructions. Once the device has contacted the portal and a valid IP address has been provided, it will enter test mode and it will appear in the “New Devices“ tab of the RBMS. By this time, the USB stick can be removed from the device to another, as it is no longer needed.

Test Mode

The test mode is intended to fully test the device capabilities. The following test can be done one the device:

  1. No action: The device will play the provided test stream and blink the main LED at 1Hz frequency.

  2. Pushing the front button will trigger the push to talk signal (also possible by the external trigger). The device will start recording the selected audio input which is dependent of the selector position in the back which toggles between the line in and the built-in XLR microphone input.

  3. Releasing the button OR if the recorded time reaches 30 seconds, the device will start reproducing the recorded content.

  4. Content plays, and after finishing it, the device will jump to play the test stream (1. again). Note: If the push to talk signal is triggered before the recorded audio file is over, it will start recording again, overwriting the previous file.

Put the device into operational mode

After the test is completed successfully, please go to the RBMS in order to make the device operational as explained in the RBMS manual.

Once this action has been done and the device has reached the server, it will exit the test mode by announcing so. It will perform a reboot with the settings assigned in the portal. Wait approximately 30 seconds for the reboot to happen or manually do it by using the main power switch OFF/ON.

(warning) Remove the USB stick - if you leave it there after the device reboots, it will enter test mode again, erasing the previous settings. This can be purposefully done in order to be able to do the above steps again if any mistake was done throughout the process.

Operational mode

By now the device should have already a valid configuration and know how to reach all the elements involved in the system.

On boot, it will announce again its IP address and the push to talk LED will turn ON. This means the device is ready to listen incoming streams and if it is  a source, to stream.

(info) At each reboot, the device tries to contact the RBMS five times, looking for any configuration that might have changed. If the server is unreachable, the device will announce it and will enter normally into operational state with the settings provided last time the RBMS was reachable.

Factory Reset

At any time, you can reset the station to its initial (delivery) state. To do so, with the help of a pen or a thin object, just press the small button (SW3) on the back right side (near the USB plugs) of the device until the green LED starts to blink. This action will take approximately 10 seconds. After the LED starts blinking, the device will reboot and boot as a new one. If you release the button before this time interval, nothing will happen.

(warning) This action triggers a reset event in the flexa (low-level) side and cannot be modified.

Updates

At anytime you can update the RackBox with an USB stick containing a .zip file provided by Barix. Plug the USB stick into the USB ports available on the back right side of the device and the update will happen automatically.

There is a send command feature available in the RBMS (described in the RBMS manual) that could be used to launch an update to specific or all the units that communicate with the server.

(warning) After any update the device reboots to make sure that it runs flawless.