I have a small family business. actually its my dad's but he passed away and dropped it in my lap. basically he put it all in my name (without telling me) so all his debt is actually my debt so it did not die with him sadly. its a huge sum of money (over $200k) I delivery pizza for $14k a year in my electric car. yeah. it sucks.
anyway I have no choice but to do my best to try and run this company until I can pay down these debts or ideally sell it. in the mean time I have to make it work and its not working well.
one of the primary source of income is failing. a video booth system. a bunch of VCR's plugged into a brain and that brain is plugged into 8 viewing booths.
I have since replaced the vcr's with dvd players and now with digital players using flash drives. lot less power much better reliability and cleaner picture.
anyway the "brain" is failing. its old (think 70's or 80's) and INSANELY expensive to replace. (think mortgage level expensive) alas the person who designed and built it has also passed. my capital is pretty much zero.
so as a stop gap I discovered video matrixes. I just nabbed a 12x8 matrix on ebay for $45! holy crap. its basically one of these brains. you plug 12 video sources INTO this unit and it can output those 12 sources on command to 8 "destinations" (screens or each booth) ie I can connect 8 televisions to this and the unit can send any of the 12 inputs to each of those 8 screens independantly.
one problem. I need to be able to control this unit "from inside" each of the 8 booths independently.
it appears there is RS232 control and I remember that arduino's can connect to that. ie serial port.
apparently its pretty simple (relatively speaking I am clueless here) using 3 pins (tx rx and ground) from a 9 pin port to send it "asci commands"
so apparently I can have something send ascii commands that for example tell it ok send input 9 to output 6.
change channel now send input 10 to out 6
so I would need I guess 8 little computers all with the same commands being sent over the same wire into the same 9 pin port but each one would use "output 1 or 2 or 3 to 8 ) for each screen.
so booth one would send switch input 1 to out 1 while booth 8 would send switch input 1 to output 8
I would love to have a little numeral indicator that indicates what channel the system is currently showing (if the arduino sends switch input 1 to output 8 it would display a 1 since its showing input 1) upto 12 since it has 12 "inputs" (I actually need more than 12 inputs but the jump to 12 inputs comes with a HUGE price increase. baby steps. I have no real money
I am having trouble understanding what I am looking at here.
page 43 and 44 appear to be what I need to deal with.
at the minimum what I need is a way to accept a relay input so when they drop a quarter into the slot (already their) and it triggers that relay (which I would have to somehow connect to this arduino)
the arduino would send the command to switch from channel 1 to channel 2 (or the last channel that was being viewed before time ran out)
I would need the unit to start a timer when this happens (1 or 2 minutes) and each time a quarter is dropped and that relay triggered it would need to in real time increase this timer.
drop one quarter. send command to switch to input 2 or last used input. start timer. 60 seconds.
if 15 seconds later (timer at 45s) they add another quarter add 60 seconds (make no input change) timer now 115 seconds and counting down and so on.
if time "runs out" send command to switch back to input 1 and remember the channel it was on (say channel 8 for example)
if another quarter is inserted start the process all over again but start with channel 8 (last channel viewed)
I would also need a way to connect 2 "buttons" to the unit. one for channel up & one for channel down.
it would cycle between channel 2 and 12 (skipping 1 since that is the default when no time is available channel to display)
or maybe an 11 key button pad and they just tap the one they want for channel 2-12 (whatever is easier/cheaper/durable)
Can anyone assist me in figuring out how to do this? free or VERY cheap (I am not kidding when I say I have little to no money. he left me with a crap ton of debt and NO capital. no life insurance nothing. I can't even reset to 0 as the debt (tax debt) is inescapable. even bankruptcy won't remove it. the only way to remove it is to pay or or I have to die. the latter kind of defeats the point ehh so I have to try and do my best to make this work.
I have a feeling its pretty simple. alas I work 80 hours a week between my delivery job and working this family business (with absolutely no pay at all except from the delivery job) and nearly 100% of my income from delivery goes to paying the bills on the debt I accrued for him. the only actual debt that I have that is actually mine is my car and that makes me money (the payment on the car is lower than the "gas" to drive a gas car for delivery)
I have to make this work and keep things going long enough to turn the business around and have it start making enough money for me to start really paying down his debts or I lose everything and still have the debt for the rest of my life and I am responsible for taking care of my sister (mentally handicapped) I will have to be her guardian for the rest of my life.
I am hoping, praying, this is something relatively easy/cheap I can implement. the M50 was cheap enough that I just went ahead and bought it fingers crossed that I can make something work.
any help would very seriously be appreciated.