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Topic Summary

Posted by: Jan
« on: January 27, 2022, 10:06:25 am »

I'm sorry you're disappointed. We would welcome any suggestion on how to improve the product's online documentation, as in my opinion all the characteristics you're mentioning are listed explicitly and are known before buy.

Both the P332 and the P164 were originally custom developed for specific big broadcasters. The difference between the units is ~10 years. In 2010 the requirement was RS-232 port and individual control of each box. In 2020, the requirement was single access point for entire network and low costs. This is in line with the general trend. After the ConnectOne company has closed in 2018, we haven't found any equivalent Ethernet controller for the P332 encoder. Since the FM broadcasting is entering end-of-life period and the market prefers all-in-one FM exciters, developing any new encoder similar to the P332 makes no sense.

I fully agree that the P332 was a great unit, as well as that two ports are more than single port. On the other hand, there's no solution based on individual hardware boxes which can cover typical needs of today's radio stations. The P332 users are running the Magic RDS software 24/7 as well because it provides single access point for the data, unlimited number of data ports tied to any group of encoders, RDS scheduling, text processing, data filtering... You may change any parameter on all encoders at once using a single-line script, you can enable data monitor on any port and see the data in real time. Once we finish the WEB API for the Magic RDS 4, the remote control will finally be complete, without need a table of IP addresses and locations, by the way.

Compared to the P332, the P164 supports UDP broadcast for basic Ethernet configuration so using the ConfigTool you can simply configure a temporary session for TCP connection even if the network configuration has previously changed (for example the subnet IP address). Compared to the P332, the P164 supports alternative data source, it automatically connects to another IP address and port if there is no data for specified time, for example due to network failure or data source failure. Is it still so bad?

In conclusion, I would like to point out that our RDS encoders never lock up. It is because they do not use any operating system, the functional core is low level coded, continuously monitored by advanced watch dog timer and absolutely stable. That's one of the reasons why our RDS chipsets are so popular and can be found in various 3rd party products. If you cannot reach the device via TCP connection after some time, it is because the device was not configured according to the manual. The phenomena is called "Dropped TCP connection" which occurs for example in large networks which change their topology or if some network component reboots. Once you enable the Inactivity timeout or Fail-Safe Monitor or both, the unit always releases the port resources and will accept new connection. Similar solution was present in the P332 as well. The difference is that in the P164 the timeout is not enabled from factory.

I fully understand that the P164 cannot replace the old P332 in all applications, for example if the user is not permitted to install any software on the radio server. Such situation however does not characterise the RDS encoder.
Posted by: chrisandrews
« on: January 27, 2022, 12:45:47 am »

That's unfortunate that you are requiring your software to be running to enable the functionality of the hardware.  Our automation system has worked perfectly with the 332 and earlier models.  Now the 164 does not work the same without the software.  We are not permitted to install software on our automation server, which is the only device on our automation network that has access to the outside world.  This effectively renders the units almost useless unless we install MagicRDS.  I've currently got one unit in the field that locks up constantly and does not respond to incoming data.  Because only one connection can be made at a time, we can't even get in with Magic RDS to see what's going on.  Even the older units had a functional web GUI that would allow simple changes.  I'm honestly quite disappointed that you've chosen to go this direction and "There are no plans to go back".  You had a fantastic unit with the 332. 
Posted by: Jan
« on: January 07, 2022, 11:09:20 pm »

The P332 production has ended some years ago due to discontinued components. The P164 is not a direct replacement for the P332 and has never been presented in that way. On the other hand, the Magic RDS 4 has been developed in the meantime, allowing much more features that the P332 ever had.

With a little effort, it is possible to create a RDS network based on the P164 which performs as good or better as with P332. At considerably lower costs and with central control instead of need of individual access to each unit. Our software allows a mix of P164 and P332 as well. For instance, you don't need any extra PC, just use your broadcast PC. You may create virtual ports in the Magic RDS 4 and use all the special features which no RDS encoder offers at hardware level. There are no plans to go back.
Posted by: chrisandrews
« on: January 07, 2022, 10:51:48 pm »

I have a fleet of P332 encoders that work well.  I just purchased a P164 because that's all that's available.  On the P332, there are several ports available via ethernet, allowing you one port for incoming RDS data from the automation while still having a port available for MagicRDS to connect to.  That appears to not be the case with the P164.  I can either send data to it from the automation, or I can connect to it to manage it via ethernet but not both at the same time.  I've read in the forum that you advise to keep the software running and create ports that way.  That is not a viable solution for me.  I have multiple stations in multiple locations and do not have a PC or network that can be left on to allow the software to run 24/7.  Why was this feature removed from the "new" encoder?