Physical Relays Menu Explained (Cortex series)

Physical Relays

The Cortex relays provide a way to physically control low-power equipment. The relays are Form C (SPDT) and can handle AC current up to 400mA at 70 volts, or DC current up to 2 Amps at 30 volts.

The control of equipment running at higher voltages or powers requires external relays.

Please see this article for details about the generic Main screen, Description screen and Vocal Description screen.

1 – ID: ID of the selected input. Select from the drop-down menu.

2 – I/O DESCRIPTION RETRIEVAL: Click to retrieve and display the current normal or active description. Normally hidden to minimize data transfers on low speed or high fee data connections.

3 – OPERATING MODE: Select the desired relay operating mode. See the Relay Operation Modes below for details.

4 – PULSE WIDTH: Select the active (energized) duration of a relay when it is pulsed. Duration is settable from 0.1 sec to 9999 seconds, in 0.1 second steps.

5 – CONTROLLED BY: Display of the 6 first inputs currently set to control the relay. If more than 6 inputs actually control the relay, all will be taken into account, but only the first 6 inputs to have been configured will be displayed. This field is not user-settable, it is system-generated from unit’s configuration file.

6 – ENABLE: Enable / disable the relay. Useful to deactivate the relay, without losing all its settings.

7 – AUTOMATIC ONLY: Set relay to operate under control of the Cortex only. Manual control of the relay is not allowed. Prevents user-error for critical relays such as those used for antenna switches.

8 – SYSTEM LOG: Log the relay activity in the System Log.

9 – REFRESH / READ: Refresh / read the screen content.

10 – SAVE / WRITE: Save the screen content.

11 – EXIT: Exit menu.

Relay Quick-Access Menu

A quick-access menu is available by right-clicking on any relay line in the main relay menu screen. This quick-access menu offers manual commands that are only available here, like Force On, Force Off, Release, and Pulse.

1 – CONFIG: Access the configuration menu of the selected relay. Bulk configuration is possible.

2 – FORCE ON: Manually force-on (energize) the selected relay. IMPORTANT: When a relay is forced- on, it will stay on for as long as it is not manually released – and no automatic action can clear it. If the relay had previously been set for Automatic Only, this command would not be available.

3 – FORCE OFF: Manually force-off (de-energize) the selected relay. IMPORTANT: When a relay is forced-off, it will stay off for as long as it is not manually released – and no automatic action can energize it. If the relay had previously been set for Automatic Only, this command would not be available.

4 – RELEASE: Release any forced-on or forced-off relay. A manual release of any forced relay is required in order for the Cortex to recover automatic control on the relay.

5 – PULSE: Pulse the selected relay (will pulse for the amount of time set in the relay’s configuration menu).

6 – ENABLE: Enable the selected relay.

7 – DISABLE: Disable the selected relay.

Important notes about relays

Any relay can individually be set with its own operating mode.

When a relay is set with a mode (other than ANY), the relay will only work for the mode for which it has been set. For example, if a relay is set to Pulse Only, it would not be possible to latch it or force it on. One example of this setting could be the Power-Up and Power-Down inputs on a high-power transmitter. If the transmitter can be damaged by applying a constant voltage to these inputs, it would be wise to set the relays driving these inputs as Pulse-Only.

If you wish to use this safety feature, and not leave the relays as ANY, certain constraints must be considered. When a relay is controlled by one or more inputs, the relay’s operating mode may not be changed other than by deleting the relay from every input that controls it, then changing the relay mode, and finally reassigning the relay to the controlling inputs. Therefore, when controlling relays from inputs, always begin by setting the relay’s operating mode according to system requirements, and then using the relay as required from the inputs.

It is not possible to change the operating mode of an energized relay. To do so, turn off the relay.

When latching a relay, remember to later have a release command sent, otherwise stay latched forever (as long as the Cortex is powered-up).

Before sending a command to a relay, make sure its operating mode has been set accordingly, otherwise an error message will appear.

The screen refresh rate of the Cortex GUI on your computer is about two (2) seconds, therefore when looking at relay states (and their associated colors) on your screen, it may not be apparent that the relay has pulsed or changed states. Keep in mind that the Cortex’s operating cycle is very quick at about 100mS.

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