• Master and Slave Relationship - SyncBac PRO

    Timecode Systems products, including your SyncBac PRO unit, use a relationship to maintain highly accurate timecode settings. It is important that you understand how the master-slave relationship works, as you will need to set each SyncBac PRO in your RF network to run in either master mode (GP Master TX) or slave mode (RF Slave).

    Tip: If you use a Timecode Systems :pulse as the master, you can do much more than synchronise the timecode. With the free BLINK Hub app, you can remotely control and monitor your SyncBac PRO units and the GoPro HERO cameras they are attached to (see Remote Control and Monitoring with :pulse).

    To synchronise the timecode of multiple Timecode Systems devices, you need to set up an RF network. An RF network is a group of devices that are all set to the same country/area and the same RF Channel. In the network, one device has to be set to run as the master, and the other devices have to be set to run as slaves.

    The master is the dominant device, and it can either:

    • Generate the timecode and pass it to all other connected devices
    • Receive and retransmit the timecode.

    The master sends its timecode data to the slaves (via radio). When the slaves receive the timecode, they change their own timecode settings to match.

    masterandslaves-syncbac.svg

    In the image shown, the SyncBac PRO units are set to run as slaves and the master is a Timecode Systems:pulse. In an RF network, your SyncBac PRO can run as a slave or as a master.

    Each slave communicates with the master regularly, to make sure they remain synchronised.

    masterandslavecontinuouscomms.svg

    If a slave is out of range of the master, it will free-run (see What if a Slave Cannot Find a Master?).

    Note: There should be no more than one master per RF network. 

    See also:

  • How Can I Tell if a SyncBac PRO Slave is Communicating with a Master?

    You can tell when a slave SyncBac PRO is connected with a master by looking at its main screen display.

    An antenna icon flashes in the top-right corner when the slave and master are communicating. The number shown to the right of the antenna icon shows the signal strength (0-7 where 7 is the maximum signal strength).

    signal-strength_188x141.png

    Note: The LED flashes green in time with the master when a connection is established and maintained. The LED flashes blue if it has lost its connection to the master.

  • What if a SyncBac PRO Slave Cannot Find a Master?

    Sometimes, your SyncBac PRO may be out of range of its master. In this situation, your SyncBac PRO cannot receive timecode from the master and so uses its own internal timecode instead. This is called 'free running'.

    If your SyncBac PRO cannot connect to a master device, it will use its own timecode settings instead. The most likely reasons for a slave being unable to connect to a master are:

    • The master is out of range
    • The devices in the RF network are all set to run as slaves (so there is no master).

    When a SyncBac PRO slave is 'free running', it will continue to try and find a master device. As soon as it finds a master device within range and in the same RF network, it will try to connect and synchronise with the master.

    Example:

    Let's say you want to film two riders in a mountain bike event. Both of the riders are wearing GoPro HERO cameras that have SyncBac PROs attached.

    The first rider, Paul, sets his SyncBac PRO to run in GP Master TX mode and selects RF Channel 4. The second rider, Susan, sets her SyncBac PRO to run in RF Slave mode and also selects RF Channel 4.

    At the start, Paul and Susan's SyncBac PROs are within range of each other and so their timecode is synchronised.

    During the event, Paul has a puncture and has to stop to repair it. During this time, Susan continues ahead and goes out of range of Paul. At this point, Susan's SyncBac PRO loses communication with Paul's master SyncBac PRO, and so it carries on using the timecode that it has in place.

    Paul fixes his puncture and catches up with Susan. His master SyncBac PRO is back in range of Susan's slave SyncBac PRO and so they re-connect and re-synchronise.

  • Multiple Masters in the Same Network - SyncBac PRO

    You should set up your Timecode Systems devices so that there is one master device per network (RF channel). This ensures that all of the slave devices synchronise with the same timecode data (the timecode of the master device).

    If you have multiple masters in the same network, each slave will connect to the first master that detects it. There is no guarantee that all of the slaves will connect to the same master, and so you could have slaves using the wrong timecode. To avoid this mistake, set the devices in your network to use the same unique channel.

    Example: Bad Network Configuration

    Let's say you have a network where all of the devices are set to use RF Channel 4. There is one :pulse master, and three SyncBac PRO slaves.

    The devices in the network are all turned off and you add a new SyncBac PRO to the network. It is set to run in GP Master TX mode. When the devices are turned back on, there are two masters in the network - the :pulse and the new SyncBac PRO.

    The slaves attempt to connect to the first master they find. Two of the slaves connect to the :pulse master first, and so synchronise with the :pulse. The other slave connects with the new SyncBac PRO first and so synchronises with that. As a result, the devices in the network are not synchronised to the same timecode.

    two-masters-same-network.svg

  • BLINK Network - SyncBac PRO

    To synchronise two or more Timecode Systems products, you need to set them to operate in a network. There are two different types of network:

    • RF network
    • BLINK network.

    In this section, we are going to look at the BLINK Network. To learn about the RF network, see RF Network

    What is a BLINK Network?

    A BLINK network is an RF network with added remote control and remote monitoring functionality. The extra functionality is provided by the free BLINK Hub app.

    In a BLINK network, the master device has to be a :pulse or a :wave. In the following image, a :pulse is the master and it connects to BLINK Hub via wi-fi.

    blink-network-syncbac.svg

    Notice that the :pulse is the master and it communicates with the slaves via RF. The communications between the :pulse and the slaves is the same as a regular RF network, so the :pulse is acting as an RF master and a BLINK network master.

    The BLINK Hub app communicates with the :pulse via wi-fi (it can communicate with :pulse units via wi-fi or Ethernet, and :wave units are wi-fi-only).

    The BLINK network master is an intermediary between the slave devices and the BLINK Hub app.

    blink-network-wifiethernet-syncbac.svg

    You can install the BLINK hub app on a computer, tablet, or smartphone and use it for remote monitoring and control of many Timecode Systems products.

    To learn more about BLINK Hub, see Remote Control and Monitoring with :pulse.

  • GP Master TX - SyncBac PRO

    You can set your SyncBac PRO to run in GP Master TX mode, where it acts as a master in an RF Network. You should use the GP Master TX mode if:

    • You want to use your SyncBac PRO independently. Your SyncBac PRO will provide timecode to a connected device, but will not synchronise with other Timecode Systems products.
    • You want your SyncBac PRO to run as the master and provide the timecode that is used by slave devices in the network.

    As the master, your SyncBac PRO will send its timecode, frames-per-second, and user bits to all of the slave devices (that are in range and communicating on the same RF channel).

    syncbac-as-master.svg

    To set your SyncBac PRO to be a master in an RF network, see Set the Timecode Mode.

    If you are unfamiliar with the concept of master and slaves, see Master and Slave Relationship.

  • RF Network - SyncBac PRO

    To synchronise two or more Timecode Systems products, you need to set them to operate in a network. There are two different types of network:

    • RF network
    • BLINK network.

    In this section, we are going to look at the RF Network. To learn about the BLINK network, see BLINK Network.

     

    What is an RF Network?

    An RF network is a group of Timecode Systems devices that are all set to communicate on the same radio frequency (RF channel). The devices in an RF network can synchronise with each other over distances of 200m* (with internal antenna), and they communicate using our proprietary RF protocol. You Can also install an external antenna to the SyncBac for Hero 4 ( 500m clear line of sight ) although not for Hero 6.

    *200m clear line of sight.

    rf-network-syncbac.svg

    In the network, one of the devices has to be set as a GP Master TX, and the others have to be set as RF slaves.

    The master sends the following data to the slaves via RF:

    • Timecode
    • Frames-Per-Second
    • User bits (metadata).

    When a slave receives this data, it updates its own internal settings to match, so that it is synchronised with the master.

    To learn more about the relationships between devices in an RF network, see Master and Slave Relationship.

  • RF Slave - SyncBac PRO

    If you want your SyncBac PRO to receive its timecode from another Timecode Systems device, set it to run in RF Slave mode. It will then try to connect with the master device in the network. If it is in range of the master, and using the same RF channel, it will synchronise with the master's timecode (see RF Network).

    syncbac-as-slave.svg

    The master sends the following data to the slaves via RF:

    • Timecode
    • Frames-Per-Second
    • User bits (metadata).

    When a slave receives this data, it updates its own internal settings to match, so that it is synchronised with the master.

    Note: If your slave cannot connect to a master, it runs in free mode (see What if a Slave Cannot Find a Master?).

    To set your SyncBac PRO to be a master in an RF network, see Set the Timecode Mode.