HOW TO: Configure and use SKAARHOJ's XC8 hardware controller

Starting with M|Replay 2.0, we have added the support for the SKAARHOJ XC8 hardware controller. This allows for higher efficiency when using it as a replay system as a lot of functions are readily available at your fingertip.



Compatibility issue with some network ports

There are compatibility issues with some network ports. The 10Gb port of the iMac Pro and Mac mini are currently not compatible with the XC8. So you will need to use a USB to Ethernet adapter to use an XC8 on these computers.


Requirements for the setup

To setup your XC8:

  • First you will need to connect your XC8 in USB to your Mac (you'll only have to do this once).
  • Then download the firmware updater application from SKAARHOJ:
  • Install the application and start it. 
  • Make sure that you do see something like this in the "Port" popup menu:SkaarhojSetup_PortNumber.png
  • If the menu is empty, check your USB connection to the XC8. 

If you see something like usbmodem143220 in the popup menu, you are ready to set it up.

Note that:

  • the USB connection is only needed for the setup part, not to control the XC8 after it has been setup. Control later on is done through ethernet.
  • the USB connection is mandatory for the setup part, you can not do the setup through ethernet



Setting up the XC8 as a "Raw Panel" 

Note that your XC8 may come already configured as a "Raw Panel", and in this case you can skip this step, you won't need an internet connection, and you just can setup the IP address if needed (see below). But if your XC8 is not configured as a Raw Panel (for example it was used with another software or hardware), you will need an internet connection the first time you want to setup your XC8 following these steps.

  • (first follow the steps above for the App. Once setup, click on the "Online Configuration" Button:SkaarhojSetup_ClickOnOnlineConfig.png
  • This should open a web page on SKAARHOJ's website where you can make sure that it's the "XC8-Raw Panel" configuration that is Active, if not, click on the radio button, so it shows as Active: SkaarhojSetup_Website_RawPanel.png


  • Note that the screenshots here are with the "simple" configuration. Note that there is an "Advanced" button on the page that can show you more settings. You can work with the Advanced view too, just make sure to configure the panel as a "Raw-Panel"...
  • Then at the bottom of the window set the Network configuration. The first part is the IP configuration of your XC8:SkaarhojSetup_Website_XC8Network.png



  • And the last part, in the "Devices" area, setup the IP address of the computer that will control the XC8 (note that these IP configurations can be modified directly from SKARHOOJ's application on your Mac, you won't always need an internet connection just to change the IP address):SkaarhojSetup_Website_ControllerIP.png


  • Now save on the "SaveNetwork Configuration" button at the bottom of the page:Screenshot_2018-10-22_at_16.08.33.png
  • Now that you have saved that configuration, you can go back to SKAARHOK App, and click on the "Check for updates" button, and you should see that a new firmware is created (based on the settings that you have just done):SkaarhojSetup_App_FirmwareBeingGenerated.png
  • Then you should see different phases, (updating, verifying, etc...) and when it says that the Firmware was updated, your XC8 has rebooted, and you should be good to go.
  • Now you can start M|Replay, create a new session and the button will light up (note that the buttons will only light up once a session is created or opened).


Modifying the IP configuration with the App (no internet access)

Again the steps above are only if you have to configure the XC8 as a "Raw Panel", if you just need to change either its IP address, or the IP address of the computer that controls it, you can do that simply with the SKAARHOJ App:

  • First click on the "IP Configuration" button:
  • SkaarhojSetup_ClickOnIPConfiguration.png
  • In the window that opens, you will be able to set first the IP settings of the XC8 itself. Enter an IP address that is within your IP range, or enable the DHCP setting.SkaarhojSetup_IPConfigurationWindow_XC8IP.png
  • Then in the second part of the window, even more important, set the IP address of the computer that will control the XC8, and make sure that the "Enabled" checkbox is indeed enabled: SkaarhojSetup_IPConfigurationWindow.png
  • Then click on "Save IP Settings"


Understanding the configuration and IP recommendations

As you can understand from the last part of the setup, it is the XC8 controller that will in fact connect to your computer, and not the other way around. You don't need to set any IP address of the XC8 on your computer itself or the M|Replay preferences. It's the XC8 who know who it will talk to.

The downside of this is that it means you will need to connect to your XC8 with USB every time you want to use a different computer with M|Replay or every time your IP address changes. This is why if you can enable DHCP for the XC8 itself, it is recommended to use a fixed IP address for your computer and not DHCP. Otherwise, you may loose connection to your XC8 when restarting your computer (as your DHCP server may attribute you with a different IP address).


Cores vs Raw Panel

If you are familiar with SKAARHOJ, you may know that they are using the concept of "Cores", which are basically the ability to control other devices. SKAARHOJ's controllers can be used in many ways, and one device can sometimes control multiple pieces of equipment. All this needs to be configured. The idea that they had is that you configure your device on their website, add "Cores" (such as a Core to control an ATEM, one to control a Camera), then setup what each button will do on your SKAARHOJ's device. Then once you have configured it, you save a firmware that is then loaded on your device.

This is very nice in terms of flexibility, but at Softron we try to do things that are "plug and play". So this is why we have not implemented Cores, and have done all the work for you. ;-) Once the panel is configured as a Raw panel, we will just control it, there is nothing that you need to setup. But don't search for Softron's core then...




If after you have followed the steps above, you still can not control it, check the following:

  • double-check that it is configured as a "Raw Panel"
  • make sure of your network connections. Check the IP of your computer, then check what you have set in the "Unisketch Raw Panel" preference in SKAARHOJ App > IP Configuration. The 2 must match. If they match, make sure that you can "ping" the XC8 from your computer, there might be a network issue. Don't forget that M|Replay connects to the XC8 with Ethernet, not with USB.
  • a reminder that currently the 10Gb ethernet port of the iMac Pro and Mac mini is not compatible with the XC8. So you will need to us an adapter.
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