Preventing Toaster Crashes

The Short Story:

The Character Generator (CG) supplied with the Council Robotics systems often locks up the system, necessitating a re-start of the computer and sometimes the loss of the switcher configuration (see “Restoring BOB.rtf”). In a few rare cases, a shutdown of the computer is not enough, and the power cord actually needs to be un-plugged for 15 seconds or so (The PCI buss keeps its power during shutdown).

At first glance, the Character Generator looks similar to an Inscriber, and you are tempted to use it on-air in a similar fashion. This leads to unhappiness (see above).

Conclusion: The CG is best left closed while on the air. We have suggestions from NewTek on happier operation if you MUST have the CG open.

This will solve another annoying problem, because the camera control software can also be closed while working with the CG. By its nature, the camera control software grabs “focus” from the other modules when it’s active. Sometimes, it grabs focus while you are typing a graphic.

We have also confirmed that there is a difference between a shut-down and re-start of the system, and actually pulling the power plug. When the system is shut down, there is still “keep-alive” power to the motherboard and the PCI slots! This is why a fault can sometimes survive a power-down and restart. In the case of really serious trouble, pulling the power for 10 seconds or so can usually solve the problem.

So, work with the CG with the camera control software closed.

After preparing graphics for the session, Save the project, close the CG, and re-boot the system.

Here are some projects saved in “D:\VT Files\Rushworks\CG Projects” path.

Note that every “.cg” project has an associated file folder full of still graphics.

The Toaster “Explorer” windows are a little different, but easy to use once you get the hang of them. For instance, any part of the path (red arrow) can be clicked for instant access.

The “SuperStart” menu pops up when you hover the mouse over the VT[4] in the lower left corner of the screen. The SuperStart menu may be set to pop up along the side, instead of the bottom. If you don’t already have a “DDR” (Digital Disk Recorder) available, you can get one here. You can have more than one DDR if you like. The second one will be labeled “DDR2”, etc, and each one will be selectable above the DSK (Downstream Key) on the switcher.

You may also like to select another “VT Vision” monitor from the SuperStart menu, and drag it next to the DDR list. You can have multiple monitors open. Open up the panel on the monitor (green arrow) and select “DSK” (red arrow).

If your DDR list is empty, click the ADD MEDIA (blue arrow) button.

Note: Just like in the Windows operating system, <CTRL-A> will select all files in a window, <CTRL-C> will copy them to the clipboard, and <CTRL-V> will paste them, or you can do it the long way, by highlighting them and choosing copy, then paste as usual.

Navigate to your CG projects, then click on the folder with your bunch of graphics.

Press <CTRL-A> to select them all, and click “ADD” at the bottom right.

This is the suggested working environment (the camera controls are not running in this picture).

Graphics can be selected by clicking on the DDR window, and scrolling through. As long as the DDR is chosen on the drop-down menu above the DSK. The right-hand DSK monitor will display the highlighted graphic.

Note that the second DSK monitor isn’t really required, it just lets you see the graphic right next to the list. The original DSK monitor at the left displays exactly the same content.