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Old 07-29-2014, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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New Crestron 3 Lighting System - No Source Code etc.

Hello All,

I am hoping someone has some experience or knowledge to give me some guidance. I just purchased a home in which a couple months before purchasing the home the bank that owned the home installed a New Crestron 3 Lighting system which I am now the proud owner of.

Because the bank installed it I had no say on how the lighting system was designed and room names etc.

I called the company that installed the system and the bank paid $35k to install looking to at least get documentation, licensing info, wiring diagrams, and code set etc. and got a refusal to release anything or offer anything.

I then called the only other authorized crestron dealer in my area and they relayed to me that it would be difficult for them to assist in making changes without the source code, wiring diagrams etc. My reasoning for trying to go with the "other company" was the pure attitude and reluctance for the installing company to assist and making a statement that they would charge me to release the source code of the system.

So now it seems I am held hostage by the installing company to pay a large fee to have them release the source code or documentation.

I would have thought it would be standard practice for all crestron dealers and installers to release the documentation of the system once its fully installed but I could be wrong.

They also claim that myself as the owner of the system cannot make small tweaks to the lighting design like renaming rooms or adding a lower light dimming level etc. that I will always need to place a service call with them and pay for them to make those tweaks.

Does the above sound kosher and normal for a crestron install and I should just suck it up and pay for every little tweak I need from a consumer end?

Appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:28 PM
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Alternatively, you could yank all the equipment and sell it on the used market, and put in something you actually want.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
Alternatively, you could yank all the equipment and sell it on the used market, and put in something you actually want.
I really wish it were that simple as I would really consider it. Some of the challenges are that I currently have 9 touch panel screens installed around the house which I would need to sell also and there really doesnt seem to be a good alternative to replace those. I have over 130 recessed lights being managed by the system and the work to connect all those back up to another environment may be daunting.

I may be left with having to get the system wiped and re-programed from ground up if I cant get the code base from the original installer and then do what I can to automate other parts of the house. The challenge there is really around the fact that the 9 touch panels would only control lighting and I would rely on other systems to control the house.

Ultimately I would think its ethical and logical that a Crestron installer would provide a CD etc. with the code base after install as if that company disappears so does your codebase and there is no backup. Thats my ultimate question and was hoping to catch a Creston dealer on here that may shed light on the topic and if its normal to not release the code base.....or is it not even a requirement from Crestron to do so.

Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:46 PM
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Yes, it is quite common for the original company not to release the source code.

This is because of the nature of what is thought of as Intellectual Property. In many cases, it takes a company several years to develop the signature look and feel of how a typical project operates. Sometimes a company works long and hard to figure out how to best handle certain equipment being controlled by the system. So this is the way they keep "trade secrets" and also a competitive advantage.

In your case, if you cannot work something out with them, then yes your home will need to be reprogrammed. Up front, sometimes you could work something out to allow more access of the engineering and programming of your home electronics system. I have made arrangements with clients in the past where they could have access to the source code if they desired, or if something were to happen to me or the company. Neither have ever happened, so it all has worked out.

In the case of Crestron lighting, no you typically cannot simply add or relabel lights or scenes yourself. Lighting is a complicated subsystem, which must be customized differently per home owner (even per person living in the same house). I have found that Lighting requires the most thought, trial and error, and tweaking of any other controlled electronics. So, you are not being unusual with your desire to change things.

It is NOT worth yanking out the electronics, selling, then "putting in something you actually want". Many heartaches get found out when this is embarked upon. Systems are wired and populated according to design AND current equipment spec. Design and spec that is usually a lot different from one Automation company to the next.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by MOTILAC; 07-30-2014 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:36 PM
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If you need some direction in Crestron Lightning I would be glad to help. You may not be able to get the source code but you can at least possibly get some basic info of the equipment installed. Crestron lighting if programmed correctly can have learnable scenes that allow the end user to create and store their own custom scene. All of it in the end just comes down to the initial program creation and how much control they want to relinquish to the end user. Unfortunately the gentleman above is correct that many programmers won't release the source code.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:56 PM
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Most companies that sell software are not in the habit of giving away the software.
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:51 PM
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I understand your frustration. This is precisely why this is somewhat of a niche market. Not very many people want to buy a closed system that they have to pay someone else to do everything with. Sure that market is there, but this is why it isn't already in every home.

Sorry, but you guys aren't "programming" a Crestron system or writing "software" any more than someone "programs" a 1980's VCR to record television shows. I understand there is some limited IP in the timing, tuning and settings for the various elements the system controls - I'll give you that.

I think this industry is in for a major overhaul in the near future. Apple (Homekit), Google (Nest, etc), and a few other heavyweights are all working to change this to a more end-user friendly arrangement. It is absolutely ridiculous that the end user can't access their own hardware, add a light, or even configure anything. Hundreds of dollars an hour for this "programming" time is really not reasonable for glorified scripting either.

Good luck, must be quite a house if the bank actually shelled out for a Crestron system

Last edited by dhammans; 08-10-2014 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhammans View Post
I understand your frustration. This is precisely why this is somewhat of a niche market. Not very many people want to buy a closed system that they have to pay someone else to do everything with. Sure that market is there, but this is why it isn't already in every home.

Sorry, but you guys aren't "programming" a Crestron system or writing "software" any more than someone "programs" a 1980's VCR to record television shows. I understand there is some limited IP in the timing, tuning and settings for the various elements the system controls - I'll give you that.

I think this industry is in for a major overhaul in the near future. Apple (Homekit), Google (Nest, etc), and a few other heavyweights are all working to change this to a more end-user friendly arrangement. It is absolutely ridiculous that the end user can't access their own hardware, add a light, or even configure anything. Hundreds of dollars an hour for this "programming" time is really not reasonable for glorified scripting either.

Good luck, must be quite a house if the bank actually shelled out for a Crestron system
Actually, YES we are. We ARE programming systems. Have you watched an entire process of what it takes to bring a medium to large sized system up and running to 100%?? Have you seen the software, A-Z? If this process took 2 hours, there is no discussion here. The fact is, it takes much much longer than that (depending on the complexity of the system), and it is fairly difficult and/or detailed depending on size of system. Also, many aspects of each program are CUSTOM written in C++ or C#, code based programming. Period. Let's make this clear, I am not talking about "programming" a Harmony Remote. Or a Philips Pronto (which in of itself can be fairly detailed). I am referring to top level Automation/Integration systems.
So, YES this is IP belonging to the company and/or individual who programs the system.

Your comment about a "major overhaul" is partially true. The fact here is this is the natural progression of technology. Remember when the first VCR's were $1,000? Then by the end of it, they were $39. And by then we were on to something else.
Devices are each becoming more inclusive and designed to communicate with others. This naturally will allow more people/companies to readily interface devices to devices. Apple and Nest are a LONG way from providing the type of detail, power, and customization that a top tier automation system provides. It is happening, and quite frankly these are great times for our industry. There will always be a small elite market for this topic. The end fact is, the technology is trickling downstream for more people to take part in, but the elite levels will persist and advance even further.

Last edited by MOTILAC; 08-11-2014 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:37 PM
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Where are you located?
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:30 AM
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We have had similar issues...

I have spent $25k on one Crestron programming project alone (we designed, purchased and installed all the gear - we just needed the programming). After getting taken to the cleaners on some other projects I just write up in the purchase agreement that all the source materials are ours - we are paying for the IP. Never had any static, but I can tell they are hesitant at times. However, 100% of $25k is better than 0% - so we don't have trouble finding an outfit to do the work. There really isn't many environments where you have that relationship, where your product you are buying is held hostage like that. If you have a building designed and built, you get the blueprints, the materials cost, the as-builts, etc. you don't have to call the contractor 3 years later and pay him $2500 to tell you where this one conduit goes. It's on the engineer's drawings (that you own a copy of).

Also, we have moved on to similar projects with similar gear and setups and it's nice to have that source material as a base. Previously, the programmers acted like they were starting over each time and there was all these man-hours involved - when they were basically editing what was 95% done (and designed by us anyway). Now we can say, 'we just need these precise edits - how many hours is that?'.

Regarding the OP, I have found that the Crestron/dealer/programmer relationship is opposite of many in the high-tech sector. In most cases, your vendor has your back and you tend to run into the big, monolithic manf. as the problem. We have had nothing but great luck with Crestron itself. Overnighting parts, speaking with engineers directly and getting real answers, etc. Our rep is always hooking us up and 'mediating' between us, crestron and the programmers and vendors we use.

If I was the OP, I would go directly to Crestron and get the local rep on your side. Perhaps there is something they can do. If you are buying a house where the BANK installed a programmed lighting system I imagine it's not a cheap place and the people roll with perhaps have the desire to have a similar system. If instead, all the system does is infuriate you and you associate that with Crestron it doesnt help Crestron at all. The rep should understand that.
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Old Today, 10:47 AM
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