Contacta’s unique heat testing sees hearing loop driver ‘baked’ for 400 days – and counting

Contacta’s unique heat testing hearing loop

Assistive listening specialists, Contacta Systems, are conducting unprecedented testing of their V-series hearing loop driver to demonstrate the product’s quality. The V12a large area loop driver, launched in 2017, has been subject to temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius over 10 hours for more than 400 days, to test its heat dissipation and the longevity of its components. The newly designed V12a, along with the other drivers in Contacta’s V series range, features digital signal processers.  As Contacta was first to the market with these, they wanted to be more than confident that prolonged stress of the driver wouldn’t affect its performance and reliability. “We sell many of these units into the United States where the distances an installer may have to travel could be hundreds or thousands of miles,” said Product Electronics Engineer, Andrew Page.  “Producing a quality product is paramount for us but reliability is especially important when a maintenance visit could involve hours of driving.” The V12a starts the day at an ambient temperature of 15 degrees and switches on once the ‘oven’ it is in has reached its desired temperature.  The driver runs for 10 hours continuously into 140 metres of cable loop and is only switched off at weekends as a fire safety measure.  So far, the test has been running for 430 days and the driver’s performance is unchanged. “We’ve also been running the V12a with a sign wave which involves a greater power demand than an audio wave,” added Andrew, “so we are pleased to see the driver behaving just as it did on day one of the test.  We’re not aware of any other driver that goes through such extensive heat testing.” The V12a is a constant current, dual output hearing loop driver with an integral phase shifter for phased array configuration.  It has Class-D amplifier output stages and an audio sub-system built around an advanced DSP core.  Combined with a powerful CPU to ensure peak performance, the V12a uses cutting edge technology to achieve life-like speech and first-class music reproduction. It also features a unique feedback mechanism which self-reports faults to installers via email.  Like all V Series models, the V12a comes with an easy to use display-led set up process which makes installation far easier.  All set up adjustments are done through the clear backlit display including power, HFC, RMS readings and more. Contacta aim to continue the heat test indefinitely to see just how long the driver will function perfectly for. “We want to gauge how many hours the V12a can perform in these conditions before component parts start to deteriorate,” said Andrew.  “The results will then inform product development going forward to make sure we’re offering the very best standards we can.”