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post #1 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I m using a D-Box system in my HT room. D-Box uses PC software. With this software you can control some things like sliders to adjust the intensity of the D-Box seating. At my request D-Box just released a new software version with keyboard shortcuts. With these shortcuts I can adjust sliders etc. I created events in Eventghost and I assigned buttons of my Logitech Harmony Remote with these. The problem is that it ONLY works when the D-Box software is ACTIVE and MAXIMIZED on the foreground of the windows desktop. But I want to control it when playing movies (I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema). Is there a way to do this with eventghost (or maybe another W7 tweak)?

Hope you guys understand what I need/looking for.

thxz!
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post #2 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 05:19 AM
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issue: key presses only work when program/window has focus...

solution: not sure there is one, I vaguely recall something about if you know the program/window name/id you could send key presses to that program, not sure whether if did that by just giving it focus in the background or if it brought it to the front (which would probably be bad)... I don't remember any details, been a really long time since I did that sort of stuff... I realize this isn't much help, but keep looking, there may in fact be hope for you...

much better all around solution: next time you ask for a "Command & Control" feature to be added to anything, have it added as a TCP/telnet type interface... really is much better all around, no need for 'focus', no mysteriously lost key presses, and you get 2 way communications... ie you could ask the DBox what its current settings are, ask it what it is currently doing, and most important from a rock solid stability point of view, you can have it verify that it received your command and is working on it...
the old TheaterTek DVD player had an excellent TCP interface if you want to see this sort of thing in action...
the crestron/home automationy type really seem to prefer this method...

much worse solution (possibly borderline bad): set up dbox on it's own little dedicated PC where it can always be on top/have focus...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #3 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 06:18 AM
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Are you using FindWindow in your events? It will locate an application and/or sub-window of an application, and within a macro, send keyboard events to that window. If you don't use FindWindow, the foreground app receives the messages.

This will work most of the time, but there are some programs (MCE in particular) that use strange keypress mechanisms where this doesn't work. Note that there is one oddity. Some programs, such as Notepad.exe, need you to select a specific sub-pane window for this to work. For Notepad, you need to select the edit sub-window, not the top bar of the window. So I recommend trying a few options with FindWindow's drag arrow before deciding you have a strange implementation.

I agree with SomeWhatTheLost, if you can get them to implement a TCP/IP process, that is the ideal long-term solution.

Hope this works for you!
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post #4 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 11:31 AM
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just another thought, DBox is fairly high end, and it is also fairly high tech... they may already have a tcp type interface built in...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #5 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies both of you guys. The solution somwhatlost refers to maybe the solution stottle is mentioning. So I did some effort to make it work with this 'Find a window' feature that Evenghost has but no luck untill now. For further details about this you guys could take a look at a specific post I made and got a reply in at the Eventghost community. I m in the middle of testing right now but like I said, so far the D-Box software seems not 'compatible' with the findwindow option. Even if I DO manage to make this work, I don t think I will have any profit from it because MPC-HC with madVR as output renderer runs in a fullscreen exclusive mode which I think will not make it possible for other applications to have focus on.

http://www.eventghost.net/forum/view...php?f=2&t=3614

I just send an email to D-Box to look into TCP/Telnet type interface even if I don t have a clue what this actually is but I trust you guys this will work
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post #6 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

just another thought, DBox is fairly high end, and it is also fairly high tech... they may already have a tcp type interface built in...

could you also tell me more specificly how this TCP type interface thing actually works?
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post #7 of 109 Old 12-18-2011, 12:39 PM
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it is simple really...
instead of (or in addition too) sitting there waiting for a key press, the program will also be listing on a TCP port, that port will have a number assigned to it...

easy way to look at it is a pipe for sending & receiving data with an address.

the program(s) don't really care who has focus, who has the full screen, etc.. they have their pipe and as long as both programs (ie in your case eventghost & Dbox) are both loaded and running they can talk over that pipe...
also a useful side effect of this is that while they can be, they don't actually have to be running on the same PC... the pipe is just as happy running over Ethernet as it is running locally... I don't think this directly effects your current needs, but if you ever planned on a master control type server of some sort I bet you can see how this could be useful...

I don't actually use eventghost, as I have CQC as my all powerful control everything/take over the world HA solution, but the setup at least at a basic level should be similar...
on dbox, if they have or add support for TCP, there will be somewhere to setup the port number... pretty much can be any number that is not currently in use by anything on that particular PC... 80 is used for http so you may not want to use that... 666 is used by the original Doom game... I like to use numbers in the 8000's range... I don't know why... just like them...

in eventghost there will be somewhere to setup an ip address for the target (in this case DBox, and the ip address would be 'localhost' if you are running locally, or the ip address of the box/PC if it is remote) and a port number... match the port number with what you set up in dbox and the pipe will be created... you are all set to start communicating...

as for what data and how it is formatted it, that is up to Dbox... some things are nice and easy like theatertek, ie send a 'P' and theatertek plays and responds with "mode=Play" (or something like that... been a while since I used theatertek, and of course some devices/programs prefer some cryptic hex or binary codes... for reasons known only to their own developers...

also of some use for the devices/programs that use sane controls, you can test things out manually by opening a telnet window to them ie in your case "telnet localhost:667" (I just picked port 667 randomly) and manually typing "p" (or whatever the command is that you want to try out...)

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #8 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 09:50 AM
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Somewhatlost, D-Box has RS-232, but not IP control. Can he use Eventghost for this or would he have to, again, move D-Box to another PC to recieve these commands? Thanks.
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post #9 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

Somewhatlost, D-Box has RS-232, but not IP control. Can he use Eventghost for this or would he have to, again, move D-Box to another PC to recieve these commands? Thanks.

thxz for helping thxman. I m not understanding where you are going here because I don t understand what RS-232 is, let alone if it s compatible with a Logitech Hamony Remote/Eventghost.
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post #10 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 12:34 PM
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RS-232 is a serial port.

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post #11 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 12:54 PM
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Kind of, RS-232 is the name for a standard type of data that is sent traditionally sent via a serial port. Most newer computers don’t have a serial port anymore, but there are PCI(e) cards and USB adapters to keep up the possibilities.
There are still a lot of higher end electronics that use this interface and use RS-232 data to allow very quick and reliable control. The trend is going to IP/TCP based control which I would guess would replace RS-232 over time.

In your setup, you would need a PC running Eventghost with the serial plugin to send the RS-232 commands to your PC with the D-Box software running on it. The PC with the D-Box Software will need to have a serial port while the PC with Eventghost can should be able to get away with just the USB to serial adapter.
What I don’t know is if you can do away with the extra PC and have Eventghost just send RS-232 commands to Com-1, defeating the need for a 2nd PC.
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post #12 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 12:56 PM
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sanderdvd, just so you can get an idea of what RS-232 command are available, here is a link to thier RS-232 protcol.

http://d-box.com/software/downloads/home/914-0042-C.pdf

A few key things to keep in mind, since you only have 1 seat currently, you will always be working with ‘Row A’, but commands can also be sent to Rows B, C and D. This effectively creates 4 zones. There are some commands only for the controller that you won’t need.

Anything with the “Read” command is only useful for a 2-way remote, but here are some of the cool things the D-Box Software will tell you if you ask.
  • What movie is playing
    • Language
    • Format
    • Country
    • Release
  • How much weigh is on each actuator (answer is in Newton)
  • What is current volume for
    • Master
    • Each Row

Write commands are the ones you will have the ability to send. Here are some of the cool things you cans tell D-Box to do.
  • Set Motion/Vibration level between -20 and 20, where -20 is maximum motion, and 20 is the maximum
    vibration.
  • Set MFX level between 0 and 10, where 0 is no effect, and 10 is the maximum effect level.
  • Check if you have a synch lock or not
  • Turn system on and off.
  • Turn on and off different rows, if you had more than one, this helps if no one is sitting there and you don’t want it on.
  • Change modes
    • Demo
    • MFX
    • Audio - Under audio, you can change modes from Music, Movie, Game and Sport
  • Mute ALL
  • Run live update
  • Change Audio input to and from optical to Coax

I am sure I missed some, but this should give you a good idea.
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post #13 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

Somewhatlost, D-Box has RS-232, but not IP control. Can he use Eventghost for this or would he have to, again, move D-Box to another PC to recieve these commands? Thanks.

I think he could...
the reason I think you could, is you just set up 2 virtual serial ports and link them together...
I use eterlogic's VSPE tool as a 'serial port redirector' and I think I saw it could do this also... but I am not 100% sure as I haven't actually done this serial local loop back or whatever you would call it...

but it should (could?) work... 64bit os version if free to try for some amount of days($25 after that)... and 32bit os version is free... so it shouldn't hurt to try...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #14 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

I think he could...
the reason I think you could, is you just set up 2 virtual serial ports and link them together...
I use eterlogic's VSPE tool as a 'serial port redirector' and I think I saw it could do this also... but I am not 100% sure as I haven't actually done this serial local loop back or whatever you would call it...

but it should (could?) work... 64bit os version if free to try for some amount of days($25 after that)... and 32bit os version is free... so it shouldn't hurt to try...

I guess I can give this a try, thanks for the info. This is all new for me, but I tend to get it done in the end. This saves me a lot of time.
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post #15 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 10:46 PM
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Wow, it 100% worked. Great job Somewhatlost!! That program was so easy that I did not even have to read anything, it just made sense. Now for the next step, testing with Eventghost. So far I just tested with Hyper-terminal and D-Box's software on a PC without any real com ports, created a virtual com 1 and com 2 and a virtual bridge. The hyper-terminal was com 2 and D-Box was com 1 and all commands were picked up without any focus on the D-Box software.
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post #16 of 109 Old 12-20-2011, 10:57 PM
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Well, that took 2 seconds and worked too. Now I just need to get some instructions together. I am going to bed now, I hope to have some time tomorrow to get this done.
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post #17 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi thxman,

How nice of you you are doing all this testing! You will have benefit for this yourself too or are you just doing all this testing to help me out?

Problem is still that it s way out of my league what you are doing here and that I simply don t understand it. But hey, if you can make it work for my situation with a step-by-step tutorial I would be thankful eternally!
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post #18 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

sanderdvd, just so you can get an idea of what RS-232 command are available, here is a link to thier RS-232 protcol.

http://d-box.com/software/downloads/home/914-0042-C.pdf

A few key things to keep in mind, since you only have 1 seat currently, you will always be working with Row A', but commands can also be sent to Rows B, C and D. This effectively creates 4 zones. There are some commands only for the controller that you won't need.

Anything with the Read command is only useful for a 2-way remote, but here are some of the cool things the D-Box Software will tell you if you ask.
  • What movie is playing
    • Language
    • Format
    • Country
    • Release
  • How much weigh is on each actuator (answer is in Newton)
  • What is current volume for
    • Master
    • Each Row

Write commands are the ones you will have the ability to send. Here are some of the cool things you cans tell D-Box to do.
  • Set Motion/Vibration level between -20 and 20, where -20 is maximum motion, and 20 is the maximum
    vibration.
  • Set MFX level between 0 and 10, where 0 is no effect, and 10 is the maximum effect level.
  • Check if you have a synch lock or not
  • Turn system on and off.
  • Turn on and off different rows, if you had more than one, this helps if no one is sitting there and you don't want it on.
  • Change modes
    • Demo
    • MFX
    • Audio - Under audio, you can change modes from Music, Movie, Game and Sport
  • Mute ALL
  • Run live update
  • Change Audio input to and from optical to Coax

I am sure I missed some, but this should give you a good idea.

the ''read'' information seems pretty cool to get on a remote. This is not possible with the Logitech Harmony correct? What remote could do this? Maybe I ll look into a separate remote just for my D-Box seating to get this read feature.

The send commands I was already aware of and found them in the PDF of the new beta software release (see you got it too, nice).
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post #19 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderdvd View Post

You will have benefit for this yourself too or are you just doing all this testing to help me out?

This is just for you and anyone else that can benefit from it. It is fun for me to test, but like most others, my free time is limited. I am glad that has not been too difficult so far. I do see a few challenges with how you are going to implement/design these commands on your remote. Once again, I have never used Logitech remotes, so I don’t know what options you may have. Being you could moved the sliders with keyboard shortcuts, we should be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderdvd View Post

Problem is still that it s way out of my league what you are doing here and that I simply don t understand it. But hey, if you can make it work for my situation with a step-by-step tutorial I would be thankful eternally!

I am confident I can help. I will list all (or most of) the codes for you in copy and paste format so you should not have any issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderdvd View Post

the ''read'' information seems pretty cool to get on a remote. This is not possible with the Logitech Harmony correct? What remote could do this? Maybe I ll look into a separate remote just for my D-Box seating to get this read feature.

If you got another remote that could do this, you may want it to be your full time remote. The read commands also work with other components such as:
  • AVRs
    • Tell you the volume
    • Tell you what sound mode you are in
    • Tell you what input you are using
    • Many other options
  • Projectors/TVs
    • Tell you what mode you are in
    • Tell you what input you are using
    • Many other options
  • BD/DVD Players
  • Many other devices
2-Way is really cool, unfortunately, it is more complex than just sending information. Often, many remote options require someone to write code, pugins or drivers for 2-way to function with unique devices. This is because the information you get back is not always easy to understand, nor is it standard and must be translated. Also, the device needs a way of taking the information it gets back and displaying it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderdvd View Post


The send commands I was already aware of and found them in the PDF of the new beta software release (see you got it too, nice).

No, I downloaded it from thier site. I don’t have the newest release.
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post #20 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


This is just for you and anyone else that can benefit from it. It is fun for me to test, but like most others, my free time is limited. I am glad that has not been too difficult so far. I do see a few challenges with how you are going to implement/design these commands on your remote. Once again, I have never used Logitech remotes, so I don't know what options you may have. Being you could moved the sliders with keyboard shortcuts, we should be fine.

Moving the sliders is the most important function but once this works it will be no problem to make the other shortcuts work too with the Logitech HR.

Do you need an extensive explanation how Eventghost+Logitech HR work? I can provide you with this if this helps.

Quote:


I am confident I can help. I will list all (or most of) the codes for you in copy and paste format so you should not have any issues.

But what do I do with this format? (I ll wait for a beta step-by-step guide, that s better )

Quote:


If you got another remote that could do this, you may want it to be your full time remote. The read commands also work with other components such as:
2-Way is really cool, unfortunately, it is more complex than just sending information. Often, many remote options require someone to write code, pugins or drivers for 2-way to function with unique devices. This is because the information you get back is not always easy to understand, nor is it standard and must be translated. Also, the device needs a way of taking the information it gets back and displaying it.

No need for this atm, I ll be happy as hell when I get the send option work for D/Box/Logitech HR/Eventghost.


No, I downloaded it from thier site. I don't have the newest release.
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post #21 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 06:38 AM
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What are you using to capture IR from your remote on your PC?
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post #22 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What are you using to capture IR from your remote on your PC?

http://www.usbuirt.com/

And (of course) Evenghost is compatible with this device.
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post #23 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

Wow, it 100% worked. Great job Somewhatlost!! That program was so easy, that I did not even have to ready anything, it just made sense. Now for the next step, testing with Eventghost. So far I just tested with Hyper-terminal and D-Box's software on a PC without any real com ports, created a virtual com 1 and com 2 and a virtual bridge. The hyper-terminal was com 2 and D-Box was com 1 and all commands were picked up without any focus on the D-Box software.

glad that worked out for you... that VSPE is a pretty nifty tool...

fwiw I have had some issues running it as a service though... ended up needing to stop and restart the service after the PC is booted for it to start happily...
of course I could just be doing something wrong, and it is a non-issue if you don't try and run it as a service...

but other than that one annoyance it has been rock solid from an automation point of view...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #24 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderdvd View Post

the ''read'' information seems pretty cool to get on a remote. This is not possible with the Logitech Harmony correct? What remote could do this? Maybe I ll look into a separate remote just for my D-Box seating to get this read feature.

one thing you may want to consider is instead of using a 'remote' use a small cheap touch screen...
I use a Samsung Q1 for my remote... nothing particularly special about the Q1 other than it was on woot, and it was cheap...


note: I designed the UI...also worth noting, I am not very good at designing UI's...

nothing fancy but it works for me...
not sure how you do that with eventghost, but CQC has the logic backend (aka all the command and control stuff) and a build your own graphicy ui frontend (basically as easy to use as like MSVisio/paint, except you connect logic/actions to buttons/text)

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #25 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:28 AM
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Interesting, does that require a stylus?
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post #26 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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First things first for me and try to make it work (with the help of thxman) with my Logitech Harmony Remote/Eventghost/USB-UIRT/MPC-HC with fullscreen exclusive mode.

After this works it might be interesting too see if it s somehow possible to have the control panel on my Android 3.0 Asus Transformer device but maybe this can t be done.
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post #27 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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btw thxman, I send you a PM.

I m going home in 30 min now and I ll be back within a few hours on the forum. Maybe you have the time to post the first things I need to do?
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post #28 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:42 AM
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Ok, I don't have my setup in front of me, but I won't have time later today to update. Here are draft instructions based on memory. This does not get you from point A to Z. But I hope it fills in some of your current blanks.
  1. Disable any physical Com ports in your PC’s BIOS on the PC that the MCI software is running on.
  2. Download all required software and install it on the PC that the MCI software is running on.
  3. Run VSPE
  4. Click “Device” then "Create"
  5. Select "Connector" then click "Next"
  6. Select Com1 and check the option to "Emulate baud Rate" and click "Finish"
  7. Click “Device” then "Create"
  8. Select "Connector" then click "Next"
  9. Select Com2 and check the option to "Emulate baud Rate" and click "Finish"
  10. Click “Device” then "Create"
  11. Select Bridge and then click "Next"
  12. Click "Settings" next to Stream 1
  13. Select "Serial Port"
  14. Set the following Data stream properties
    • Port = COM1
    • Speed = 19200
    • Stop bits = 1
    • Parity = no
    • Byte size = 8
    • DTR/RTS = no
  15. Click "OK"
  16. Click "Settings" next to Stream 2
  17. Select "Serial Port"
  18. Set the following Data stream properties
    • Port = COM2
    • Speed = 19200
    • Stop bits = 1
    • Parity = no
    • Byte size = 8
    • DTR/RTS = no
  19. Click "OK"
  20. Click "Finish"
  21. Check that all 3 Devices show “OK” under status on the main page.
  22. Save this configuration. It will need to always be running in the background.
  23. Launch MCI D-Box control panel. Be sure to it is powered on by clicking the “Power” Button (If already running, exit and launch it again or it won't see the new com port)
  24. Click on the advance button (hidden if power is not on) on the top right. It is hard to see this button.
  25. In the advance options, go to the Setup tab and under "Serial Remote", make sure there is a 1 next to "Com Port No" (You can make it a 2, but then you will need to run Eventghost as 1)
  26. Launch Eventghost
  27. Click on the Configuration menu
  28. Click on Add Plugin
  29. Scroll down until you see "Serial Port" under the Other folder (Be sure Other is expanced).
  30. Highlight "Serial Port" and click "OK"
  31. Complete the following Port settings
    • Port = COM2 (If this is blank, you are not still running Virtual Serial Ports Emulator and you will need to exit Eventghost and launch your saved Virtual Serial Ports Emulator save file)
    • Speed = 19200
    • Number of bits = 8
    • Parity = No parity
    • Stopbits = 1
    • Flow control= None
    • Keep "Generate events on incoming data" unchecked for now
  32. You should now see "Plugin: Serial Port" in the main window under “Configuration” and can creat actions for it.
  33. Test this setup by clicking on the Configuration menu again and selecting "Add Action"
  34. Click on the "+" to expand the options next to Serial Port.
  35. Select "Write Data" and click "OK"
  36. In the settings tab, enter the following line to test muting D-Box:
    \\x02WMUTE\\x1E1\\x03
  37. Click the "Test" button
  38. Enter the following line to test un-muting D-Box(I need to check the command when I get home):
    \\x02WMUTE\\x1E0\\x03
  39. Click the test button

Running these 2 command should mute and unmute the MCI software. You can see it change on the control panel. If they don't work, exit all 3 apps and launch the virtual serial app 1st followed by MCI and Eventghost. It is very important that Virutal Serial app is always running before the other 2 launch.
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post #29 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post

Interesting, does that require a stylus?

nope... that would be highly annoying if it did

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #30 of 109 Old 12-21-2011, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Also a quick response before I even tried it

Quote:


[*]Disable any physical Com ports in your PC’s BIOS on the PC that the MCI software is running on.

check and understood

Quote:


[*]Download all required software and install it on the PC that the MCI software is running on.

what exactly is 'all' the required software?

Quote:


[*]Run VSPE[*]Click “Create a Device”[*]Select Com Port (may be called serial port) and make it Com 1 with the following settings:
  1. Baud Rate - 19200
  2. Data Bits – 8
  3. Parity – No parity
  4. Stop Bits – 1
  5. Flow Control – None
[*]Click “Create a Device”[*]Select Com Port (may be called serial port) and make it Com 2 with the following settings:
  1. Baud Rate - 19200
  2. Data Bits – 8
  3. Parity – No parity
  4. Stop Bits – 1
  5. Flow Control – None
[*]Click “Create a Device”[*]Select Bridge[*]Pick Com 1 for the top connection[*]Pick Com 2 for the bottom connection[*]Check that all 3 Devices show “OK”[*]Save this configuration. It will need to always be running in the background.

I ll run some tests tonight with this instruction

Quote:


[*]Launch MCI D-Box control panel. Be sure to it is powered on by clicking the “Power” Button

I ve configured the D-Box software as 'automatic on startup' (an option from D-Box self as you probably are familiar with)

Quote:


[*]Click on the advance button (hidden if power is not on) on the top right. It is hard to see this button.

so I can t use the automatic startup feature of D-Box anymore?
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