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Dusky Control Holidays

Please note that the Dusky Control office is closed until Tuesday 22nd April 2014. Orders made over this period will be dispatched on our return. Emails received over this period should be replied to, but service made be slightly slower than normal. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes.

1st March - Multi-output I/O port controllers

Our multi output I/O port controllers are now available to order on the I/O port page.

Photos will be added shortly. These controllers are normally available from stock, we offer next day delivery at £10 for orders placed before 2PM.


22nd September 2013 - Integration with demopad iPad home automation / universal remote control app

Thanks to Michael Murphy, we're very happy to be able to confirm that our controllers fully work with the demopad iPad home automation / universal remove control application.

For instructions on setting this up and the DC1 command file, see Michael's post on the demopad forum (registration required to download the DC1 file).


15th August 2013 - New Sky+HD boxes - built in wifi, but no RF2 port

We're now starting to see Sky's new Sky+HD boxes rolling out in the wild.

Aerialsat has some specs on their website:

The lack of RF2 ports means these boxes are not compatible with our main range of controllers (unless you use an iO-link).

Our I/O port controllers are fully compatible with the new boxes, and provide all the usual control you're used to. The RS232 protocol is identical to the main range of controllers.

Picture showing back of the new boxes


28th July 2013 - Sky box 'passive standby' mode

A few people might be aware that the more recent Sky boxes have a 'passive standby' mode.

This is essentially a way to reboot a Sky box without powercycling it, although I believe Sky may also see it was a way to reduce power consumption. The Sky box is mostly powered down in this state, and it takes a while to come out of this state (around the same amount of time a Sky box takes to boot up after a power cycle).

The usual way to get the Sky box into this state is to hold power the power button (the physical one on the case, or on a remote control either locally or via a magic eye) for 5 seconds. The power LED goes Red in this state (rather than it's usual "orangey red"), and pressing 'Sky' will start the bootup sequence. I'm not 100% sure, but I think a scheduled recording may also cause it to boot up (please let me know if you can confirm this either way!).

As you might guess, the reason I'm mentioning it here is that you can also perform these actions via our controllers, essentially allowing a reboot of the Sky box. Currently this is easiest to do with a new version of the firmware (the upgrade can be done 'in the field'); please drop me an email if you're interested.

Note that on the new I/O port Sky boxes, the I/O port is disabled in passive standby meaning that they cannot be brought out of passive standby by our controllers (this only applies to the new passive standby mode, our controllers can bring Sky boxes out of normal standby).


26th May 2013 - stand alone controller for DRX595

Our standalone controllers for DRX595 are now available. We've had these deployed with customers for 5 months now and are very happy with how they're perorming.

Essentially these make sure that a DRX595 box comes out of standby and goes to a configured channel after a powercut or firmware upgrade, so are ideal for Sky HD boxes placed into server rooms or other central locations. They're programmed via the RS232 port, and we can pre-program them with the channel before dispatch.

They're priced at £60 including UK P&P, you can place an order via our order page.


12th January 2013 - standalone controller for DRX595

We're working on developing a 'standalone' controller for the I/O port on the Amstrad DRX595 - ie. something sort of equivalent to the Global Invacom SMC (SMATV Master Controller), based on our existing controller for the DRX595.


3rd October 2012 - RTI driver

We're delighted to have received word from Janus Technology that they've developed a driver to allow our controllers to be used with RTI's home automation range - please email licensing@janustechnology.co.uk for details.


2nd September 2012 - Dianemo Integration

We're very happy to say that Convergent Home Technologies have got in touch to let us know that our controllers have been fully integrated into their Dianemo home automation system.

They have a screenshot of the Sky support on their website.


7th February 2012 - DRX595 'magic eye'

One of our customers recently came to us in a bit of a panic. They'd just completed an install, and almost everything was working.

The problem was a DRX595 'multiroom' Sky HD box, which as you may know doesn't have an RF2 port so doesn't support the usual tvlink / 'magic eyes'. The box had been installed into a cupboard in the bedroom, and they'd installed a Marmitek IR Control 8 to allow it to be controlled - but they just couldn't get this to work reliably, mainly due to the curved front on the DRX595.

Of course, the house holder was holding back payment for the whole job until this was sorted. We always like to try and help when we can, so we cannibalised one of our DRX595 RS232 control units and built a 'magic eye' for the DRX595. Basically it has a 10 pin mini-din on one end (which plugs into the Sky box's I/O port) connected to a 3.5mm socket, optionally an extension cable, then a 3.5mm plug and an IR pickup. Here's a photo of the finished unit (click for a larger version):

This isn't a true 'magic eye' as there's no RF connection, so you'll still need to make a HDMI connection to any remote TV alongside a 2 core + screen cable for the IR. So it's good for a Sky box hidden away in a cupboard, but not so good for a Sky box in a different room.

We're not yet sure if this is something of general interest, but we've got a few ready to build up. If you're interested in getting one, you can place an order via our order page - they're priced at £40 inclusive of UK P&P with a lead time of a week or so.

15th January 2012

We've now got the production run of our controllers for the new DRX-595 Sky HD 'multiroom' boxes that have no RF2 connector.

The controller connects to the 10 pin mini-din 'I/O port' on the SkyHD box and provides full control with no infrared in sight.

If/when Sky enable the feedback data (used by the Sky Gnome and Sky Talker) on the DRX-595, we plan to present this data on the same RS232 port used for control, so that there is full feedback and control from a single RS232 connector

The price is £60 inclusive of P&P and you can order from our DRX595 controller page.

Here's a picture of the finished product (click on the picture for a larger version):

12th January 2012

It's now well over 6 years since Dusky Control sold our first controller. The sales have grown every year over that time and a couple of years ago reached the point where it was an occupation rather than the hobby it started out as.

I'd always operated Dusky Control on a 'sole trader' basis, but over Christmas I came to the conclusion that it was time (or even somewhat overdue) to turn Dusky into a formal company.

This turned out to be pretty simple to do thanks to some quick work by our excellent accountants at beyond the numbers, so we are now trading as Dusky Control Ltd, registered company number SC414142.

Nothing else has changed - our service and products are still the same, it's still me (Joseph) running the show, the website address / email address / phone number are all the same and no changes to pricing. If you've any queries drop me an email.

18th September 2011

A new version of our command line software for linux has been released.

This includes two small changes:

  • For serial controllers, it can now be built without USB support to avoid the need to install libusb-dev - see readme.txt for instructions.
  • The --debug option now displays the firmware version and number of outputs for serial controllers.

25th June 2011

Today we've launched the latest revision of our 2 output serial controllers. Our main goal for the new revision was to redesign the case based on feedback we've received from customers over the years.

The new design has a number of advantages:

  • a very robust extruded aliminum outer
  • physically smaller
  • RF output connectors are now mounted on the side rather than the front

The price remains the same, and all orders shipped from today onwards will be for the new revison.

Photos of the new units (click for a larger version):

5th June 2011

We've now got our first few 'beta' units for the new DRX-595 up and running. The controller connects to the 10 pin mini-din 'I/O port' on the SkyHD box and provides full control with no infrared in sight.

If/when Sky enable the feedback data (used by the Sky Gnome and Sky Talker) on the DRX-595, we plan to present this data on the same RS232 port used for control, so that there is full feedback and control from a single RS232 connector

We're currently trying to finalise details like the case and cable so we can figure out the price.

Here's a picture of the beta units (click on the picture for a larger version); we do have a small number available to sell:

28th May 2011

We're very pleased to announce that following a collaboration with Extra Vegetables they have released a comphrensive Control4 driver with full support our both our RS232 controllers and feedback from the 'Gnome' data on the Sky box RS232 port. The driver also supports a number of advanced features. To buy the driver, please visit Extra Vegetables website.

15th March 2011

Today, Sky released a new Sky HD (non-PVR) set top box, the Amstrad DRX-595, some details can be seen on these pages: Notably, this new STB does not have an RF2 output port. We are currently developing a new serial / RS232 controller to allow this STB to be controlled without the use of IR, please email Joseph if you'd like to know the current status or be informed when it's available.

13th March 2011

Today we officially launched a new revision of our 5, 10 and 15 output controllers.

The new revision features:

  • a redesigned case that is nicer looking
  • the captive RS232 cable has been replaced with a panel mount connector, a feature often requested by our customers to allow them to achieve neater installs.
  • an external power connector is now available to cater for situations where the customer does not want to rely on the RF2 power outputs from the Sky boxes (or where the controllers are connected behind a distribution amplifier that does not provide sufficient power).
Also, due to increasing demand for the 5, 10 and 15 output controllers we now hold all versions in stock meaning orders will normally be dispatched within 2 working days.

The units are immediately available from stock and all orders placed from today onwards will be for the new revision.

19th June 2010

A new version of our command line software for linux has been released. This fixes a (false) compiler warning that was occurring on CentOS 5.2.

25th May 2010

A new version of our command line software for linux has been released. This fixes a compiler warning that was occurring on Ubuntu 10.04.

14th November 2009

We've tested our controllers when connected to the 'tv output' of a Global SPC4 'Super Plus Combiner'. Our controllers work fine with the combiner, though the following caveats apply:
  • The Sky Navigator key codes (eg. the 'a' through 'z' keys) cannot be used, this is a limitation of the combiner.
  • Controlling multiple digiboxs may be slower than if each digibox has a dedicated controller port (as the commands must be sent down the single cable to the combiner one at a time).

The codes required are shown on the control codes page.

8th November 2009

A new version of the crestron module for our multi-output serial controllers is now available. Thanks to Dan Palmer for providing this!

Please go to the software page to download the latest version.

Changes since previous version:

  • Each sky box can now be expanded/minimised during setup
  • Commands are listed in the same order as on the sky remote control

29th August 2009

A new version of the windows gui application is now available.

Changes since previous version:

  • Support for 64 bit windows

7th July 2009

New versions of the linux, Windows and Mac OS X command line tools are available from the software download page.

Changes since previous version:

  • Added --sky+hd command to send the sky HD specific IR codes
  • Added new --output option (and deprecated existing --box option) that numbers the controller outputs from 1 (as labelled on the controllers), not 0 (as --box did), to reduce confusion.

5th July 2009

A new version of the windows gui application is now available.

Changes since previous version:

  • Contains an image for the normal sky remote control as well as the sky+ one
  • Packaged as a windows installer
  • Dropdown menu to allow different controller outputs to be selected
  • Configurable list of controllers/controller outputs/sky box types (xml)