VAIL Cast Tips for Integrators
Planning & System Design
- Due to their experience with complex control systems and IT devices, many integrators overthink the network needs and setup of the VAIL Cast. It is a very simple IOT device and there are no special considerations needed outside of the ordinary ones of reliable connectivity.
- For the best reliability, we recommend the VAIL Cast is always connected to power. It will go into a virtual zero power consumption sleep mode when not in use. Frequent and complete cutting of the power at the power supply may lead to connectivity issues with certain Wi-Fi routers.
- If multiple VAIL Casts will share a common network, Wi-Fi or hard-wired, they can all be seen by any control device, smartphone, computer, or voice command, connected to that network. Please keep this in mind if you want VAIL Casts to remain unseen by some users. The primary concern for this is for multiple dwelling units (MDUs), apartments, or hotels. For example, if you place VAIL Casts in separate hotel rooms, but they share a common network, they will both be seen in both rooms. There are otherwise no special network considerations.
- There is no limit, other than your router, to the number of VAIL Casts that can share a common network.
- If mounting VAIL Cast into the wall you will need a 2-gang low-voltage ring. Please test fit the ring. Not all rings are the same so please be sure it will fit correctly, and the cover plate will be flush with the wall and not obstructed by a lip on the flange of the ring. For retrofit, we recommend the readily available Arlington LV2. For new construction, most low-voltage rings will work.
- When mounting into the wall. VAIL Cast is designed to operate coolly within a standard drywall stud bay. If you will be placing it into another setting, such as a brick or cement wall, it must have some form of ventilation or a large area behind it.
- In many installations, it is convenient to locate the VAIL Cast behind a TV. If you do this, you can remove the knockout at the bottom and route cables through it. These may include the optical, IR receiver, and power.
- If the user(s) will frequently use Bluetooth pairing, you may want to place it in an accessible location as it must be prompted into pairing mode via front-mounted controls. It only needs to be paired once with a device.
- Outdoor zones can be done by placing VAIL Cast indoors and running the speaker cable outside. Control can be done by using a smartphone outside.
- You can remotely locate the power supply up to 300 feet away using wire gauge 18 AWG or larger.
- If connecting to a TV and needing to control volume via the VAIL Cast, you will need to connect and find a location for the included IR receiver.
- If you will be locating VAIL Casts in a rack the following rack plate will work https://www.atlasied.com/bb-plt-pnl
- Each VAIL Cast can handle up to 2 pairs of speakers. There is a switch on the back of the VAIL Cast for selecting 4 or 8 ohms. If you wish to power more speakers, you can use the audio output and connect it to a separate amplifier.
- Local inputs on a VAIL Cast, such as the TV, are only available on that VAIL Cast and can’t be relayed to others in the system.
- If connecting the TV to the VAIL Cast via the Optical input the audio output of the TV must be set to PCM. On some TVs it may also be necessary to change the INPUT settings to PCM if an external device is connected, such as streaming player or satellite box. Even if the output is set to PCM, some TVs will pass through source inputs “as is”. Failure to have necessary setting set to PCM will result in a static or popping noise on some programming.
- Multiroom is done via Google, Apple, and Alexa multiroom configurations on their respective apps. Keep in mind some Google features have been recently limited by Google.
- If connecting TV audio to one of the inputs, you will need to connect and mount the IR receiver that comes in the packaging if you wish to control the TV volume via the VAIL Cast. The codes can be learned to the VAIL Cast. It is a 3 Volt IR receiver and while not unheard of, it is not very common. Most available IR receivers will not work so please use the one included.
- While VAIL Cast has no “drivers” to directly integrate with other control systems it can be used in conjunction with most of them if the system has a driver for Google Assistant, Apple Home, or Alexa. Commands issued by the System to those platforms can usually control the VAIL Cast as it can be seen as an amplified speaker.
Before Going to the Job Site
You may wish to save time by removing the power supply and connectors and the speaker wire connectors and connecting them at the site during prewire if you know they will remain safe. This will of course save time during installation.
The firmware may have been updated since VAIL Cast left the factory. While it will update once installed at the site this does take a few minutes so you may wish to do it before arriving. The easiest way to do this is to plug the VAIL Cast(s) into a network connected to the internet prior to arriving at the site using the hardwired ethernet connection. There is no need to do any other setup other than connect it for the update to occur.
The following will then occur IF there is a firmware update needed:
1. All source lights across the front will pulse as the VAIL Cast boots up.
2. After the bootup, you will see the CAST light slowly pulse blue. It is looking for and downloading updated firmware.
3. The CAST light will stop pulsing blue and will start to flash different colors. The firmware is being installed.
4. All source lights across the front will pulse as the VAIL Cast reboots after firmware installation.
5. All Lights will stop. The updated firmware is installed and ready.
Naming the VAIL Casts
To save time you may wish to name the VAIL Cast(s) before getting to the site. This can be especially useful for large installations and will save time and make identifying them via Wi-Fi easier during connections. To do this you will need to access each VAIL Cast via the web interface. You will find instructions on Vanguard Dynamics website under the VAIL Cast resource section. Look for “Web Interface Use”. Once you are logged in simply change the name from the factory default by entering the new name in the “Device Name” field and click “Apply”. There is no need to change any other fields or enter the Airplay information.
Learning TV IR codes if a TV will be used
If you will be connecting the VAIL Cast to a TV, you may wish to learn the volume and mute commands before getting to the job. This requires the TV remote or one that you know shares the codes of the one that will be used. Plug in the IR receiver that comes with the VAIL Cast and learn the IR codes using the instructions in the full manual found in the VAIL Cast resource section of the website. Note that the IR controls are not limited to the TV Audio and will work with any audio stream. In some cases, you may wish to learn the volume and mute commands into a remote for use even if a TV is not connected. This would for example allow the system to be quickly muted if a smartphone or voice command device was not available.
At the Job Site
Connecting to Wi-Fi
If you updated and named the VAIL Cast(s) using the steps above the quickest and most efficient way to connect them to the Wi-Fi network is to use an iPhone or iPad and follow the instructions on connecting them as an Airplay speaker as found in the online manual. Note as of IOS15 Apple removed the ability to add a device via Apple Home as outlined in the included QuickStart guide. Please refer to online manuals. There is also a video on how to do this now posted. It is done by going to Settings, Wi-Fi, then scrolling down and finding the VAIL Cast under “Setup Airplay Speaker.”
Even if Airplay will not be used by the customer this is still the quickest and most efficient way to connect to Wi-Fi as it has far fewer steps than using Google Home.
Once connected to Wi-Fi the VAIL Casts can be configured as needed within Apple Home, Google Home, and/or Alexa. This includes naming them, assigning rooms, assigning as default devices for Alexa, and grouping/multiroom settings.