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PRODUCT PROFILE
EDMO Distributors - DACS Up Close And Personal
Cobham Avionics’ New Digital Audio Control System
By Ray Lewis
Q: How will this product benefit the computer/laptop and connects to the AMU
customer? through a USB port. Programming only
A: The customer will see instant bene- needs to be completed at initial installa-
fits in increased capability as compared to tion. Another feature that lends itself to
the older analog systems, along with custom configurations is the new ‘snap-in’
weight savings and reduced maintenance label technology we have developed for
costs due to the substantially reduced wire the front panels on the ACPs. This allows
count and fewer LRU’s. the installing agency to customize the ACP
Q: How does this system compare to front panel radio legends to match the ra-
Communications play an integral part the legacy NAT analog audio sys- dio package on each aircraft without hav-
in the success of any mission and Cobham tems? ing to order unique audio panels.
Avionics is developing superior products A: This system provides substantially Q: Can this system record audio
to meet the demands. One new product, more capability while at the same time be- (such as clearance information)?
the DACS Digital Audio Control System, ing easier and cheaper to install, with fewer A: No.
is drawing a lot of attention. An inte- boxes and a lot less wiring. Most of the
grated, highly configurable communica- accessory/interface boxes (AA31, AA34,
tions management system, DACS has the AA38, AA37, etc.) needed for a typical
ability to distribute and control all audio in analog installation on an aircraft, are inte-
the aircraft. The system can accommo- grated into the AMU of the digital system.
date eight transceivers, eight receivers, six For comparison, the installed cost of the
direct/unswitched inputs, six audio con- digital system comprised of one AMU and
trol panels (ACP’s), and up to seven head- three ACP’s is actually less than a typical
sets. Safety features include backup and analog system comprised of 3 audio panels
emergency operating modes, allowing the and the accessory/interface boxes.
two primary ACP’s to operate in case of
power or system failure. DACS also has Q: How easy is this system to pro-
an integrated Audio Warning Generator gram and configure?
(AWG), providing eight voice/tone warn- A: The system configuration is defined
ings with multiple levels of priority. and set by using the configuration man-
agement software (DevCS), a very intu-
Ray Lewis, Director of Business Devel- itive and user-friendly application that uses Q: How easy is it to expand a system
opment for Cobham Avionics, Kelowna, the Windows operating format. A series of that is already installed?
answers a few questions about DACS: drop-down menus, labeled to match the A: Compared to an analog system, it is
hardware and user configuration options, very simple. With the DACS system, all
Q: Why did NAT develop this prod- give the operator the choices available for radio audio wiring connects directly to the
uct? that specific function. The DevCS would AMU, which is usually mounted close to
A: Building and supplying unique, be resident on a the radios. All connections to the ACP’s
specialized audio systems for aircraft is are simple digital busses (two
costly as the volumes are low. Engineer- twisted wire
ing and installations costs can also be
high, especially for OEM’s as they have
to engineer new system drawings each
time the product part number and config-
uration change. We wanted to provide a
system that was capable, flexible and
highly configurable to meet specific cus-
tomer requirements, but would be com-
prised of one hardware package. Digital
was the obvious technology choice to
achieve this.
28 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • September 2009
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