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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old October 28th, 2014, 01:45 AM   #1
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Si2k handy hints

The SI2K system I have and use has been relatively trouble-free and that's not bad since 2009. Given the effluction of time, one would and should expect that glitches and issues will turn up.

Here's a few issues I have run into and found fixes for. Some will not be in the officially sanctioned list.


PROBLEM.

PL-Mount clamp ring will not rotate past lens mount lugs. -


INSPECTIONS.

Check corner of lug for impact damage such as a raised crush or burr on a corner. - ( ARRI B or ARRI standard to PL-Mount adaptor rings can show this due to greater likelyhood of being dropped without apparent damage.)

Check free-travel of clamp ring through its full arc of movement - One lug should be able to cover the locator pin before the travel limit is reached.


CURE.

Burr damage. - Dress off the burr to surface levels with a small fine cut metal file or fingernail file. Do not use any form of abrasive paper, fingernail sandpaper boards or diamond dust knife sharpeners. The chances of a hard particle ending up on your lens glass to gouge it next cleaning time is not worth the risk.

Baulky or jammed PL-Mount clamp ring. - On the outer knurled rim of the clamp ring, there should be visible a small slotted grub screw which functions as a limit stop by travelling in a machined slot. If it is missing or has been backed off by anybody to enable a non-compliant mounted lens to be fitted, the clamp ring may have become free to turn past its tightening limit to the next "open" position in which a lens can be offered into the mount.

If the screw remains in the clamp ring, back it off to allow the clamp ring to rotate anti-clockwise one full turn. An unobserved operator may have tightened to lock ring one full turn before re-tightening the limit screw. The machining is very precise and the limit screw should not go fully home in the slot without binding but sometimes Tarzan comes to town and forces the issue.


PROBLEM.

Some lenses cannot achieve infinity focus or the lens witness marks are not correct.


INSPECTIONS.

The following comments assume the camera has not been interfered with since leaving factory and has a known history.

If the camera has been out on a rental, check the screw heads in the IMS-Mount for signs of having been unfastened. The screw heads are concealed beneath the clamp ring which must be unscrewed and removed to reveal them.

A wide-angle lens collimated to a different camera type may have been used. As a desperate measure in field to achieve inifinity focus, the mount may have been removed, a shim taken out and not subsequently reinstalled. If you are lucky it may be in the camera box somewhere. It will be a paper-thin coloured plastic ring.

For best performance, each individual lens should be collimated by a technician to the camera head after the mount collimation to the camera is first established as correct. This was a routine practice with film cameras and required very special precision tools and skill sets.

An alternative suggestion by P+S Technik was that for each lens, a separate IMS-Adaptor piece be obtained, to be used only with a particular lens and shimmed to suit that lens.

The live-image from digital cinema cameras makes this task much easier but it is still best tackled by a technician with the skills and equipment.

Wide lenses and zoom lenses especially are sensitive to the flange face to focal distance being incorrect.

A known issue with the SI2K and other digital cinema cameras for that matter, is that due to there being filters in the optical path between lens and sensor, the correct flange to focal plane distance may vary from that the lenses themselves were adjusted to on the original cameras they were used with and collimated to.

Many lenses used with digital cinema cameras are hand-me-downs from film cameras, often sourced via eBay and of uncertain histories. There is a chance of the collimation being off. Older ARRI-Standard/ARRI-B mount lenses with third-party PL-Mount adaptors added should be checked.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 06:16 AM   #2
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Re: Si2k handy hints

PROBLEM.

When shooting in DVR1, camera files go AWOL, eventually can be found but are no longer in sequential order as shot. The order changes after more footage is shot. Unless a separate list is kept of the filenames, finding them for replay becomes a major-league PITA.


INVESTIGATION.

Exit DVR and open Windows Explorer. There you should find all your files listed in an apparently correct time order but likely all shot on the same date. On closer inspection you may discover the date is way back in time, like 2009 or nearby.

If this is the case then the likely cause is an expired system clock battery as a file naming process in DVR1 is clock dependent. Once the battery fails, each boot-up of the system reverts to the birthdate of the CMOS and counts on from zero. Files written to disk are interposed in the clip list between other older files in accordance to the system time not real time. Unless the recorder has been left on continuously for more than 24 hours, the date remains unchanged.


CURE.

Replace the computer clock battery. In laptop or notebook style computers this may be require an authorised serviceman to do the job for you. The P+S Technik Windows PC-based recorders and "Black Betty" Mac-based recorders are unique adapted computer systems. I can't speak for the Black Betty system as I have never had one apart but can for the older P+S recorder unit.

The average computer guru could probably change the battery for you but will be on a voyage of exploration. Depending on skill, there may be damage done. P+S Technik have used some uncommonly sized countersunk fasteners as well as more common Allen screws which require a tool variously known as "Allen Key", "Bristol Wrench" or "Hex Key" to unfasten.

There are some 3mm fasteners which are straightforward. Some smaller fasteners which appear to be 2.5mm are a potential problem. Unless you find the exact tool to fit them, the shallow hex hole is likely to strip out and then you are stuck with an irremovable rivet. All is not lost but you may need to use a Dremel tool and mini-fibre cut-off wheel, pre-worn to about 15mm diameter to cut a screwdriver slot in the screw head and a good new sharp flat-bladed screwdriver to shift it.

The recorder unit is easiest worked on by being firmly supported upside-down. Resting on its side is fine but the alignment of some screwholes during re-assebly may be a little more awkward.

Access to the computer battery is via a flat removable panel fastened to the underside of the recorder body. Also attached to this panel is the "CRU Dataport25" removable drive dock. Four small 2.5mm screws must be removed, then the larger 3mm screws in each corner of the panel. Two raised head Allen screws need not be removed unless they are holding a custom baseplate onto the recorder body. Do NOT remove the main computer unit from the recorder body. The Dataport dock may drop free within the enclosure and damage power management components in the top of the enclosure. A custom two pin power cable and a SATA cable with elbow plugs may also be damaged. The Dataport dock is best supported by clean fingers inserted into the slot as the screws are unfastened to prevent a sudden drop onto the components inside.

The panel will be sealed by a small sticker. break that and your warranty, such as it may be becomes voided. Typial of P+S Technik's fine precision work, the panel will be a snug fit. You may need to use a piece of gaffer tape to ease it out or gentle pressure on the CRU Dataport from within. Alternatively one or both of the reaised head Allen screws may be loosened enough to be gripped by fingers as temporary handles. These locate in the panel itself, not through it to the casework.

The battery is located about 20mm up on the rer face of a vetically oriented PCB known as the backpane. It is a standard computer coin battery. Because it is awkward to get at, you may need to unplug the SATA cable and power cable which link the backpane to the CRU Dataport dock. Take care for the SATA cable plugs are easily broken. For more workroom, the Dataport dock can then be gently slipped rearwards out of the enclosure. Because the coin battery is in a deep dark place, it is best marked with a permanent ink marker or sharpie becfore removal. Its replacement should be identically marked so that if it flips in the enclosure whilst you are trying to install it, you can easily see which way up it is. Make sure not to ink over the contact point where the blade of the battery holder bears against the battery surface.

Whilst you have it empty, check the battery holder with a torch to see if there is any corrosion and clean it away if found.

Re-assembly is the reverse of pulling it apart. There is one gotcha. The internal pillars on rear of the cover plate where the large raised-dhead Allen screws are located may trap the fan power supply wires and short them to the casework. This will be inevitably fatal to the power supply circuit. The wires can be secured away from the trap point by tape or short hollow lengths of insulation stripped from a piece of waste cable or cut pieces of foam wedged into a tight gap which you will find along the run of the fan power wires. The fan power wires run down each side of the enclosure.

When you buy your replacement coin battery, buy it from a vendor who moves lots of stock. From a smaller vendor such as a pharmacy, chances are the battery will be stale stock and go flat in a few months.


PROBLEM.

The recorder cannot see a known functional drive as the D: Drive in DVR, either intermittently or at all. ( P+S Technik recorder unit ). Sometimes, removal of the digital magazine and re-insertion seems to fix it.


INVESTIGATION. ( EDIT. The order priority of checking should be to start with the HHD or SSD within the digital magazine itself the to wrk back to the camera internals rather than the order in which I have published below..)

Close out of DVR and open Windows Explorer. If the D: Drive does not appear, the likely causes will be :-

1. Failure of the SATA cable within the recorder unit. The plugs are not the most inspired piece of engineering and oten split open along a corner. Pressure contact on the conductor strips is then lost or becomes ureliable.

2. The USB version of a Dataport25 enclosure has failed. It has an internal circuit board.

3. The non-USB version of the Dataport25 enclosure has capacity for two drives to be installed. If not previously used by you, the drive may have been fitted to the wrong position in the enclosure. The P+S recorder was intended to be enventually dual drive capable but this feature was never enabled by a later motherboard revision as intended.

4. A new drive has been fitted to a Dataport25 enclosure without having been initialised and preformatted.

5. Failed HDD.


CURE.

1. The cable is best replaced with a later version which has a small spring clamp to maintain positive contact. Warning. This is an absolute mongrel to fit correctly. For access, read the method for changing the memory battery. Pre-fold the cable so that very little mechanical side-loading is applied to the plug and socket.

2. There is not much to be done. It could be internally rewired to bypass the USB circuit board but that is for people who know what they are doing. Check the slot connector in the removable magazine and inside the dock for bent or damaged connectors. These are usually reliable.

3. Remove the drive and refit to the other bay within the enclosure.

4. Initialise and format the disk to NTFS as a simple volume in Control Panel "Disk Management". Whilst this can be done by the recorder unit, it is more convenient for this to be done on a desktop PC via a USB or SATA outboard dock or the drive directly installed in the computer. - Some drives simply will not play nicely with the XPe operating system and either won't mount at all or will do so unreliably. - If SSD drives have been retrofitted into digital magazine cases, be aware that some SSD drives will not been seen by the XPe operating system. Known examples are larger than 60Gb OCZ Vertex3 drives. Intel drives have been found thus far to be consistently reliable.

5. Hard disk drives are sensitive to mechanical shock. The P+S Recorder Unit is not intended to be hot-swap capable and instructions say so. This is for good reason. If a spinning HDD is removed from the dock and twisted before the platter has spooled down, the plain spindle bearing may overload due to gyroscopic forces, seize solid or run out due to excessive wear.



PROBLEM.

The camera worked but the file was not created. No buffer full warning message apeared.


INVESTIGATION.

Did you try to direct recording to the C: drive when you set your project. A write protection process will not allow recording to the C: drive. This is to protect the operating system drive from being filled to point of failure or being corrupted.


CURE.
Check your project preferences and make sure the destination drive is not the C: drive.



PROBLEM.

P+S Recorder Unit. - When the camera is powered-on, the fans run at a quieter speed and the camera does not boot. The VGA touch-screen display reverts to "No VGA" message. The OLED side-finder does not proceed to system display.


INVESTIGATION.

1. Check the condition of the on-board battery or wired power source if directed via the 4Pin XLR side input. If batteries are not delivering full voltage under load or 12vDC is not sustained by the wired power source under operating loads, the camera may not work or may spontaneously shut down. If the voltage drop is sudden enough the low battery warning may not appear.

2. Change the battery for another known good battery. If the same problem exists then the power regulator electronics on a sub-board or the main motherboard may have failed.


CURE.

Replace the on-board battery with no less than a 140watt AB or V-Mount capable battery which in good condition should sustain the system for two hours of operating time. When supplying the camera via the 4pin XLR plug from a 12vDC source like a car battery, make sure the connectors are not resistive and capable of passing the required power.

Do not use home-made supply cables constructed with automotive cigarette lighter plugs. These plugs are notoriously unreliable. Furthurmore, automotive accessory power can be spikey when the engine is running and may cause the voltage regulator components in the camera to fail.

Keep 12vDC cable lengths short, no more than about 10ft or 3 metres.

There is not much to be done about the power regulators in the camera body as these are not intended as user-serviceable parts. A desperation measure in the field which may work is to disconnect power, remove the four retention screws which hold the main computer module into the body at the rear, slide the computer module partially out to expose two power regulator chips which are situated on the upper left rear of the upper motherboard near the audio input socket. The rearmost of the two large regulator chips may be hot to the touch.

This may indicate failure or a runaway state which will only get worse over time. Cooling this component with ice or chilled liquid propellant from an upside-down can of dust-off may get you a few more hours of operating time. Because this part experiences thermal cycles and is surface-mounted, the soldered joints may have parted and become resistive. Re-tinning the joints with leaded solder may work, maybe not. It is a repair best left to the supplier-vendor of the system.


PROBLEM.

P+S Technik Recorder Unit. Has begun to chronically overheat and switch in the fans to high during recording.


INVESTIGATION.

Check the side vents for dirty appearance, obstruction or damage which may have flattened the air filters or contaminants like coffee or sugar drink spills. The nice flat deck on top of the SI2K recorder has been known to be a temporary perch for paper coffee cups.

Check that no other heat generating appliances especially which are fan cooled are not near the right side of the camer and directing hot air to the camera fans. When operating two P+S Technik record untis side-by-side as a tethered 3D pair, they should be separated by at least 4 inches or 100mm and positioned one facing forward, one facing rearward, so the cooling systems do not interact force hot air from one into the other.


CURE.

The air filters can be removed for cleaning by unfastening the four screws which retain the screened vent covers. You may be amazed by just how much scunge you may find in them. The fan blades should be clean but there may be leading-edge fine build-up which will when cleaned off, improve airflow.

Separate the camera from other heat generating fan-forced equipment.

Operate in a less heat-soaked environment. If the camera is distressed, the operator will not be far behind in distressed condition.

Whilst not recommended because of risk of moisture condensation and internal short-circuits, the camera has tolerated liquefied chilled air from an upturned can of dust-off being directed into the right-side fan ports as a desperation measure to delay onset of high speed fan switching in sound-critical situations. The side-mounted cooling fans sound is less intrusive and of lower frequency than the RED Epic/Scarlet family of digital cinema cameras. The SI2K P+S Recorder can still make disruptive noise on high fan speed in a confined sound-critical environment.

Last edited by Bob Hart; October 28th, 2014 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Added text.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 07:00 AM   #3
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Re: Si2k handy hints

PROBLEM.

P+S Recorder Unit. A Lemo plug will not go into its socket hole.


INVESTIGATION.

When you insert a Lemo plug, it is best to try not to push it in by the sliding collar on the front of th plug as this affect the ease of the latching system. It is also best not to try to twist a difficult lead into the correct pin position by twisting on the plug body, but to twist the cable directly as well with a free hand. Check that the red dot for accessory power plugs on the right side is facing directly upwards when you try to insert it. Check that the pins inside have not been bent. Check that the infeed power plug for the CTF-840 monitor is arranged so that its red dot is closest to the LCD side of the monitor when you ty to insert it. Check that the pins inside have not been bent. Check that the red dot on the camera tether cable into the remote port inside the camera dock is facing upwards when you insert it. Make sure the pins in the camera body socket are not bent. This is the most likely part to be injured. On the tether cable, several smaller cables terminate in this plug which is more suited to a single cable. Due to twisting to try and line the red dot up, the collar on the plug can loosen and the forces turn the socket inside from its correct orientation. The pins then ride high on the face between the holes. With more twisting and straining by the operator, one eventually picks up in a hole and is bent, then pressed flat when the other pins finally line up.


CURE.

Gentle handling of the Lemo plugs. Orienting by twisting the cable as welll as the plug to get it to line up. NEVER twist a Lemo plug in its matching socket to "find" the fit by feel. You WILL bend a pin sooner rather than later. In their usual thoroughness, P+S have had the smaller Lemo cables furthur immobilised from twisting and loosening their collars by applying a stout shrink sleeve to both at the junction. With the tether cable this is not possble due to the use of multiple cables inside a woven sleeve. The operator therefore should be vigilent that the rear compression collar remains tight in the plug body and does not loosen to allow the insert to turn inside the barrel of the plug off its key and cause the pins to mismatch.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: Si2k handy hints

CAUTIONARY NOTE - P+S TECHNIK RECORDER UNIT.


The audio breakout cable supplied as original equipment by P+S Technik is comprised of two pairs of 3pin XLR plugs and sockets and a 15-pin D-Sub plug. Whilst the rear of the computer module which inserts into the recorder unit body is robust, I have found that it remains possible for a very slight flex of the D-Sub panel socket itself to transfer to the internal PCB. This over time may introduce a failure which may be reported by the system as new audio hardware having been detected and a prompt to provide the device driver.


BEST PRACTICE.

Unless the audio out cables are needed, it is better to make a lighter audio-in only cable with longer tails to the XLR plugs to relieve the mechanical strain at the D-Sub socket and to clear space for other inputs.

If the original breakout cable as supplied by P+S is used, then strain relief should be provided by a tether to the upper rear structure of the camera. It is probably most conveniently done by a loop around the battery holder to support most of the weight of the cable and XLR plugs or a custom anchor on one of the upper rear attachment rosettes.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 07:38 AM   #5
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Re: Si2k handy hints

CAUTIONARY NOTE - P+S TECHNIK RECORDER UNIT.


INCLEMENT WEATHER.

During a night shoot a few years ago in intermittant rain, inevitably, moisture fell on the lens from a ponding spill from a rain cover. Condensing moisture made its way through the mount to the sensor and caused an edge fog in the image. No harm was done that could not be mopped out but it was hardly operator best practice and we dodged the bullet that time. The lens had to be stripped and dried, again no lasting harm.

The side plugs on the SI2K body are inclined to that there is no run-under into the sockets from water dripping down the cables. Weather bungs should be obtained for the 4Pin power XLR socket and the Hirose lens controller socket on the front of the camera body. The battery overhang and recessed rear panel provides a passive protection against drips from covers.

The casework joints in the P+S Technik body are a precise CNC machined fit. They can be regarded as moisture-resistant but should not be relied upon as water tight.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 09:04 AM   #6
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Re: Si2k handy hints

CAUTIONARY NOTE - CTF840-SH LCD TOUCH SCREEN MONITOR

This monitor with an added breakout box and a more robust mount was supplied by P+S Technik as original equipment for the SI2K Recorder Unit. The P+S Technik work was good but the internal work within the third-party monitor is less so.

The monitor is normally carried on the camera body by a Noga arm attached into the top handle. Some operators in a hurry have a tendency to do a Tarzan and wrestle the monitor screen to a comfortable viewing position without first de-tensioning the arm's "friction wheel" or "kip lever", whichever is fitted. Over time this practice damages both the Noga arm and the monitor.

Conductors arranged around the edges and rear of the internal LCD panel eventually become open due to flexing of the case and the display fails.

Sometimes the display may be restored by lightly sharply tapping the side of the case adjacent the screen with finger. However whilst the cure may work for a while, the damage has been done and the final ending is near.

The CTF840-SH monitor appears to have been discontinued and has been replaced by a similar screen which is lit by LEDs not miniature discharge tubes. This monitor, the CTF846 is of similar general appearance to the CTF-840-SH and is vended by CarTFT in Germany.

It has a crisper display and the casework appears to be capable of accepting the P+S breakout box on the rear via the same mounting points. I have not checked to see if the input cable conductors connect via the same plugs etc..

It requires an updated driver to be installed before the touch function will work.

Some parts for the CTF840-SH monitor can be obtained via internet vendors and are easily found by their part numbers. CarTFT holds some stock of overlay touch panels and their controller sub-board of a more recent series. The updated driver has to be installed for these to work.

As for Noga arms, if the pivots are cleaned, a trace of lubricant added and care taken not to overtighten them, they should last a good long time. My personal preference is to use the shorter armed versions of their light "cine-arm."

My personal preference is also to use 16:9 Inc's small V-mount style quick connect joiners. The quick dissembly reduces the tendency for leaving monitors attached to camera when commuting in vehicles and as a result, less likelyhood of damage.
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Old March 15th, 2015, 12:56 PM   #7
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Re: Si2k handy hints

COUNTERSUNK HEAD BASE COVER SCREWS

A small heads up on the silver hex head countersunk screws. The depth of the hex hole is nowhere near as deep as the traditional raised head hex screw.

These hex holes are a specific size and require the exact, not a "nearly" hex wrench to move them. P+S Techink have been thorough and used a crackable thread lock material to secure the screws from loosening. The threadlocker may resist an ill-fitting hex key and the hex hole in the screw head will strip

If you by chance tear the hex centre out of one of these screws, all is not lost, just delayed a little. The likely only solution to a hex screw with a totally rounded hex hole in the head is to get a Dremel Moto tool or similar. Install a thin cut-off wheel and with careful precision, cut a flatblade screwdriver slot across the screw head.

To achieve sufficient depth of the screwdriver slot, you will have to extend the slot about a millimetre each side of the screw head into the casework.

If you do not want to spoil the aesthetic of the base under the camera, the cut-off wheel can be narrowed in diameter by wearing it down on an old wheel from an angle grinder until the cutoff wheel diameter is small enough that a deep slot is cut in the screw head without slotting into the casework. You may need to slightly broaden the slot to accommodate the thickness of the screwdriver blade.

Best practice with stiff threadlocker is not to attempt to screw the fastener out at once, but once the threadlocker is "cracked", to work the screw back and forth about 1/8th of a turn increasingly turning the screw outwards to wear the threalocker material into a powdered and looser state.

Be patient. Working aluminium threads too urgently can generate enough pressure-friction heat for the metal to "gall" - an almost melted stated which then effectively welds the thread to the screw. Then it is game over for that fastener. A new oversize thread has to be cut and a helicoil inserted..
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Old March 15th, 2015, 12:59 PM   #8
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Re: Si2k handy hints

BAULK OR SNAG WHEN REMOVING COMPUTER MODULE

If the computer module, once the four retaining screws have been removed, will only slide out about 30mm then baulks or snags, do not use force. A sleeved cable which is fastened to the upper power supply board and the backpane board may have hung down and looped around a plug on the computer module. Forcing the removal will damage the backpane, upper power supply, the motherboard or in the worst case, all three.

To deal with this issue, the baseplate has to come off, the drive caddy has to be removed, then access is available to the loop of cable, which can be eased over the object on the computer module. To prevent recurrence, the cable route should be "above" other plugs and other cables that will be observed, not through or "below" them.

By "above" and "below", I mean the camera body as if in a normal position sitting on its base. As viewed from overhead with the camera body benched upside-down, baseplate removed and the opening facing upward towards you, the cable which snags should be re-routed "below" other wiring which passes nearby.

If it persistently pushes the other wiring into snagging the computer module as it slides in and out, you may need to use a small cable tie or a piece of older style plastic wiring loom lace to tie it out of the way.
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Old March 15th, 2015, 01:04 PM   #9
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AUDIO CIRCUITRY

The audio system is based on a Realtek chipset. The camera motherboard was modified from the familiar three single pin mini-phono style socket arrangement to a single and more robust D-Sub 15-pin computer socket. This chipset has been known to fail. As it is a computer chipset, the circuit may not be sufficiently protected against stray voltages on audio cables from mains-powered mix desks as a professional ENG audio mixer may be with its isolation transformers.

It is recommended that audio mixers in the Sound Devices SD302 class are used between any desk or line-level audio source and the camera body. Direct line-level feeds may be a bit strong, but is adjustable within the Windows XPe environment. This involves disabling the system protection, making the adjustment then re-enabling the system protection which has risks.

Using this method routinely on individual gigs is an invitation to disaster likely to be accepted. An intermediate small mixer with ability to trim line levels like the SD302 and not messing with the Windows XPe operating system is the safest bet.

The audio system on the SI2K appears like and behaves mostly as if it is a balanced system but according to the handbook it is not. The handbook recommends that the camera audio is suited only as a sync track. In real-world terms it performs quite well and adequately for voice work.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 12:21 AM   #10
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Re: Si2k handy hints

Drive Caddy. Digital Mag. Whatever you call it.

The CRU Dataport25 "digital magazine" system as installed to the SI2K P+S Technik recorder body and the 1 Beyond 3D recorder is an established and robust product, the very reason why it was chosen.

However, the more recent camera arrivals like the Blackmagic have elected to use cards or notebook drives which insert directly into a receiver built into the camera body as does the Sony SxS card system.

It is a convenience which spoils you against the slightly more inconvenient CRU system which requires a separate lock and eject action. The computer docks for editing PCs also have a keyed lock. Keys as you would know, have a habit of going MIA at the worst possible times. If a drive goes bad, then you have an extra layer of fault finding to do, the drive itself and the Dataport box it has been fastened inside of.

I have elected to change out the CRU SDataport dock for a system similar to that used on the other 3D recorder system developed for the SI2K camera, the Cinedeck recorder.

Whilst the internal gizzards of the SI2K P+S Technik recorder unit body are not enabled for two SATA drives, I have chosen and fitted the dual dock for reason I can use one non-connected dock as a convenient storage for a spare drive in the camera body.

Connectors in the standard SATA pattern are used in the Vantec docks I have used. There is not the connector pin redundency of the CRU system which is guaranteed for very many insertions. However, if such a system like Vantec is used in the Cinedeck and by Blackmagic design, then it is at least adequate. The Vantec docks, whilst keyed do not require the dock to be locked before it is enabled. As with the CRU Dataport, the SI2K P+S Technik recorder body operating system requires the camera to be powered down before drives are swapped.

So far I have experienced only one issue.

OCZ Vertex Solid State Drives are enclosed in a casework which is very slightly larger than other types. They are a snug fit in the Vantec receiver and the connectors sometimes baulk. They sometimes need to be agitated a little by hand to align the SATA connector rows before they will slide fully home. The small swing doors on the Vantec dock require more pressure to make them lock home with an OCZ drive in the dock.

There are known issues with some OCZ SSDs on the SI2K P+S Recorder. Not all models will mount and some will die, a product quality issue which hopefully has been resolved since the company was sold to a bigger player.

The small swing doors on the Vantec dock feel vulnerable and if they catch on a jacket sleeve whilst open, then it could be game over.

There is a bit of cutting and joining of power-supply connectors to be done as the power wiring to the CRU dock is unique to the SI2K P+S Technik recorder body.

This is the product I have used.

Vantec ? Product


The image quality for continuous recording remains limited on the SI2K P+S recorder at FS2 in the DVR2 software version. The buffers will ram out after about 15 seconds if FS1 is chosen. Some SSDs will initially consume the RAM buffer for a few seconds, then the RAM bar will settle to a very low usage indication. There seems to be some sort of balancing act going on between the SSD's own buffer management and the DVR2 buffering.

FS1 may be continuously usable if the SI2K buffer settings are altered to accommodate that initial surge. However being one of those "if it ain't broke don't fix it" people, I have left best be rather than ask for trouble.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 11th, 2015 at 12:58 AM. Reason: error
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Old September 28th, 2015, 02:09 PM   #11
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Re: Si2k handy hints

USING FOCUS WINDOW AS A SUPPLEMENTAL VIEWFINDER FOR SMOOTHER PAN-TILT FOLLOWS.


For smoother followings of a subject like an aircraft or bird in flight and which is not tightly framed, a smoother follow may be achieved by selecting the larger of the two focus assist frames and depending on which direction your subject may predominently travel, tap the window closer to one side of the image frame to leave "nose room" in front of the subject.

Because your subject will be fairly tightly enclosed within the focus assist frame and digitally magnified, movement of the subject within this frame will be magnified. Your moves to keep the subject within this frame will therefore be finer and smoother than if you attempt the follows using the wider view of the image frame.

This is a variation on a method using two cameras, one for sighting, the other for wider view.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 12:31 PM   #12
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Re: Si2k handy hints

Here is a specimen of a wide view pan-tilt using the larger of the two focus assist windows as a sighting aid.

The vision is a bit floaty in tilt axis as I had the bright sun directly on the monitor screen and no eyepiece, so found it difficult to actually see what I was doing. I tapped the focus assist window to the left more or less centered on an imaginary vertical line which would present a third of a frame width from the left, to provide nose-room to the right.

In the conditions with direct sunlight on the touch screen, the follow would have been close to impossible without using the focus-assist window.

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Old September 6th, 2016, 10:06 AM   #13
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Re: Si2k handy hints

SUPPLEMENTAL ON FAILURE OF D: DRIVE TO MOUNT AFTER BOOT-UP.


Sadly the image does not reproduce so nicely on the web. - Too dark.

The correct placement of the SATA cable onto the backpane is to the one of two SATA strips on the backpane. This example is the original cable installed by P+S Technik at time of build. The cable is fitted with elbow plugs. The black plastic elbowed plug is hard to see.

The correct strip is more centrally located on the backpane and closest to the slide-in computer module circuit board and closest to a small bright metal machine screw.

If a drive in a Dataport25 magazine is known to be good and it is firmly locked into its dock in the camera body, a failure of the D: drive to mount on boot-up is likely due to a SATA plug shell cracking.

This is a relatively common fault of this style of plug. The problem may initially present intermittently and resolve itself after a magazine swap which disturbs the SATA connections and temporarily restores the circuit.

In this camera, the Dataport25 digital magazine dock has been replaced with an EVO dock for unenclosed drives. This dock is of the same style as used on the Cinedeck recorder. Spare drives do not have to be repacked into Dataport boxes before use but out of the camera, are potentially more vulnerable to handling and static electricity damage.

I do not recommend attempting to hot-swap drives in the EVO dock.



Last edited by Bob Hart; September 6th, 2016 at 10:25 AM. Reason: error
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Old September 6th, 2016, 12:32 PM   #14
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Re: Si2k handy hints

SUPPLEMENTAL TO PRECEDING POST.

Here are some images which more clearly illustrate correct placement of the SATA cable to the original Dataport25, drive caddy or magazine dock, depending on what you want to call it. Note that the power supply wiring to the Dataport25 dock has been removed for a clearer view of the backpane where the SATA cable attaches. Whe installing new SATA cables, it is desirable to "form" the cable's path by 45 degree folds for right-angle bends so that permanent loadings on the weak plugs do not occur due to the stiff cable.

In the first illustration, the plug which would normally be in the Dataport25 dock is hanging free in the foreground to enable a shade-free view of the plug atrtached to the backpane. The plugs are right-angle elbowed plugs.
Attached Thumbnails
Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_29_51_pro.jpg   Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_36_21_pro.jpg  

Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_36_30_pro.jpg   Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_40_19_pro.jpg  


Last edited by Bob Hart; September 6th, 2016 at 12:43 PM. Reason: error
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Old September 6th, 2016, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Si2k handy hints

SUPPLEMENTAL TO POSTS ABOVE.


There exists a hazard to the camera's power regulation circuit. The thin wires to the fan pairs on each side of the camera body pass near potential crush points which could cause a breakdown of insulation and a short to the metal casework.

I have retained the wires away from the crush points with cubes of foam. The crush points occur between two metal inwards-facing protrusions in the bottom cover plate, shown in the first image. These come into near contact with the casework where there are clearance cutouts, where stray wires can become trapped against a rib below. The foam cubes serve to hold the wires away from entrapment.
Attached Thumbnails
Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_46_29_pro.jpg   Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_44_13_pro.jpg  

Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_41_00_pro.jpg   Si2k handy hints-win_20160907_00_40_19_pro.jpg  


Last edited by Bob Hart; September 6th, 2016 at 12:53 PM. Reason: errors
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