ECCS – Aquila SMPTE controller

The Aquila Time Code Controller is a multifunction control unit designed to aid in synchronizing one or more elements of a presentation to a master timing signal, often called time code. The Aquila can act as an intermediate unit and translate time code information to a form that computers can easily use. It can also be programmed to independently execute a sequence of events triggered by time code. It can even read the user bits of SMPTE time code and use them to operate devices directly!

The Aquila is compatible with several industry standard time code formats. The unit not only reads time code information from a tape or other source; it can also generate time code, making it an important production tool as well. The Aquila can also regenerate time code and convert time code from one format to another. Time code information can be presented on an integral LCD display as well as reported to a larger computer control system such as the ECCS Hercules Central Processor for further processing and control opportunities.

The Aquila employs time code error detection and correction to prevent false triggering of events in the presence of time code errors. The unit also provides a variable freewheeling capability, which allows it to span short time code dropouts without losing synchronization.
Every Aquila includes eight dry contact switch closure outputs that can be used for triggering or controlling other devices. These relays can be commanded from a host computer, or they can be internally programmed with a Keepfile to operate automatically in synchronization with incoming time code.

Control capabilities of the Aquila can be expanded with the addition of the PEB, or Parallel Expansion Board. The PEB includes 32 digital input/output bits as well as 32 digital output only bits. These bits can be commanded from a host computer, or they can be internally programmed with a Keepfile to operate automatically in synchronization with incoming time code. The addition of the PEB now allows the Aquila to utilize the user bits in SMPTE time code to directly control these digital bits.

The controls bits on each of the eight ports on the optional PEB can be converted to dry contact switch closures through the addition of Octal Relay Boards, or ORBs.
Future viability of the product is ensured due to the ability of the Aquila to accept firmware upgrades from a host computer by means of the serial port.

Aquila Time Code Controller Specifications


Desktop enclosure: 7.29" wide x 2.52" high x 10.00" deep.
Rack mount enclosure: 19.00" wide x 3.5" high x 11.50"deep.


Selectable 100-120 VAC / 220-240 VAC, 50/60 Hertz, 10 Watts max

16 characters x 2-line LCD display with backlight.

RUN/STOP/RESET for time code generation ,SET/NEXT/PREV to set Aquila configuration.

Serial port:
One RS-485 full duplex multi-drop, two connectors allow multiple device daisy chain. RS-232 compatible with special cable for distances up to 6.56m. Baud rate 300 through 19200 baud. Data format: 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity. Communications format: ASCII

Switch closures:

Eight SPDT light duty switch closures. Rated load (resistive): 0.5A at 125VAC, 1A at 30VDC. Lower rating for inductive loads.

PEB option:

64 TTL compatible digital bits, arranged as eight 8-bit ports. Ports 1-4 can be configured as input or output. Ports 5-8 are output only.

Time Code IN:

Electrical: 100mV - 10V p-p; 10K input impedance, isolated, balanced.Format: SMPTE longitudinal (10,24,25,DF, 30 frames per second), AVL (10 fps), BCD (10 fps).

Time Code OUT:
Electrical: 2V p-p max; 2K output impedance, isolated, balanced.Format: SMPTE longitudinal (10,24,25,DF, 30 frames per second), BCD (10 fps).
T. C. functions:
Read, Write, Report, Offset, Regenerate, Convert.

Up to 1200 timed events may be stored in non-volatile memory for automatic time-cued playback.Program may be written with any word processor and uploaded, or use ECCS Hercules for an integrated programming environment.

Control Functions:
1. Direct computer command of relays and PEB bits.2. Automatic Playback: from Keepfile to control relays and PEB bits; from SMPTE user bits to control PEB bits on ports 5-8; from Keepfile and SMPTE user bits.3. Automatic Record: from PEB bits (ports 1-4) to Keepfile; from PEB bits (ports 1-4) to SMPTE user bits.

DB15 female for time code and auxiliary functions.DB-9 male and DB-9 female for serial port. DB-25 male for switch closures. DB-37 female, (2) for optional PEB.
ECCS – Aquila SMPTE controller