Help choose home system, HAI, Elan, Crestron - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 94 Old 01-22-2006, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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We are building a new home and want to install an automated home control system for lights, audio, phones, alarm, etc. We are considering HAI and Russound or Elan.

We know Crestron is the Ferrari, but is it really worth double the money?

As for HAI, can anyone please give us your recommendation and tell us whether you think this system is good quality?

As for Russound or Elan for the audio, can anyone give us a recommendation and tell us which is better quality?

THANKS!
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post #2 of 94 Old 01-23-2006, 12:15 PM
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Is Crestron "really worth double the money?"

A great decision making tool that I adopted from Benjamin Franklin is: to sit down, blank out all the prenotions you have about any of the systems and list out the features you want in a system. Then rate them.

Keep in mind that reliability, flexibility, support, ease of use for the end user should be included in your list.

Then match up the system that best fits your criteria in real life, not the sales brochures, that is where what you learn from these forums can help.

If you can find the options you deem most important in a system and can build a good working relationship with the integrator, then that is the system you will be most happy with.

See posts by myself and bigpapa in forum re: relations with integrators:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=634015
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post #3 of 94 Old 01-24-2006, 09:16 AM
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To clarify a bit, Crestron would be more like a very reliable luxury car (say a BMW/Mercedes) compared to the other aforementioned brands rather than a high performance to be lightly used vehicle like a Ferrari.

Also, whether it is "double the money", I would say you are off by a factor of 2. Compared to Russound/HAI/Elan, you're probably talking at least 4x the money. THe other ones also give you the ability to DIY, whereas Crestron you almost have to use a Crestron certified installer of some kind. . .

Now, in terms of worth, thood said it pretty well. Whats it worth to you? Some people build houses at $100/sq ft, some at $200/sq ft, and some at $300/sq ft. . .
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post #4 of 94 Old 01-24-2006, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thood
Is Crestron "really worth double the money?"

A great decision making tool that I adopted from Benjamin Franklin is: to sit down, blank out all the prenotions you have about any of the systems and list out the features you want in a system. Then rate them.

Keep in mind that reliability, flexibility, support, ease of use for the end user should be included in your list.

Then match up the system that best fits your criteria in real life, not the sales brochures, that is where what you learn from these forums can help.

If you can find the options you deem most important in a system and can build a good working relationship with the integrator, then that is the system you will be most happy with.

See posts by myself and bigpapa in forum re: relations with integrators:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=634015
Just had to say, this is sound advise!
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post #5 of 94 Old 01-26-2006, 05:21 AM
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The biggest issue on this board with respect to Crestron is that folks want 17 inch touch panels and these are very expensive from Crestron. If one keeps his touch panel preferences more in line with his values I doubt the Crestron is even double the price of the Russound/Elan/Niles. If you insist on comparing apples to oranges and compare a Crestron system based upon touch panels vs a Russound system based upon LCD keypads you will have a big difference in price. But Crestron now offers a LCD keypad, the APAD, it has keypads that retail at 250 and if you scale down to the Adagio you can construct a 4x6 audio system system, including AM/FM/XM tuner that will retails for $2500. Add 500/APAD or 250/keypad and I don't think you will have a system that is twice the price of Russound.

The Adagio is meant to compete against lower priced distributed audio systems. But a full fledged Crestron 257 mips processor costs only $1200, a PAD8 $1800 and a 16 channel Sherbourn Amp $2200. These prices will not break anyone's bank account. Sure there is programming but if you keep the system reasonable your programming fees, at least mine, would be reasonable. Often they would be subsumed into the installation line item.

Real world system we recently installed. 3 42 inch Panasonic plasmas, Sony VCR, Integra DVD, Integra surround receiver ( no surround), 3 pair of stereo speakers, KDS 8x3, 2 cable boxes, 1 cable DVR, IPOD and 3 Crestron RF remotes was installed and programmed for 23k. This was only a 3 zone system with independent volume but almost half of this system's budget was on the displays I think one can see the point that a reliable and flexible system based on Crestron control can be installed and programmed for a reasonable price.

Alan
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post #6 of 94 Old 01-26-2006, 07:51 AM
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Alan, agree with what you said for the most part but when comparing Crestron unless its against AMX, you're almost never comparing applies to apples. It's almost always going to be apples to oranges as a) crestron units generally have some of those other touchpanel perks (not 17", but certainly 5" or 12" units) that other systems generally don't have (or rarely do and certainly not the same price category). Also, even if the Adagio is spec'ed, you certainly couldn't do what he was asking above " lights, audio, phones, alarm" for a 'home control system'. I think the Adagio is more geared toward localized (smaller sub 6 keypad environs) areas of control and not whole house. Now certainly it might be possible to look at multiple units and simplified Crestron installs, but at that point you aren't really gaining much by having a crestron installation. . . (one could argue that Crestron is more reliable, more robust, more stable, but at the simple operational level - most other options are pretty close as well).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are going to utilize crestron, you should at least look at using crestron not only because its more robust/stable/etc but also its capabilities and features that it gives you above and beyond what others can and at the same time still retain its robustness/stability.
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post #7 of 94 Old 01-26-2006, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elizaesq

We know Crestron is the Ferrari, but is it really worth double the money?

THANKS!
I wouldn't call Crestron a Ferrari. Maybe a Hummer or souped up Land Rover. Compare automation systems to SUV's, not ultraexotic sports cars.

As for the most important point; you, as a consumer, have to make that choice. You can educate yourself and come to the game with more ammo, or you can just trust a salesman. The "Crestron is X times more than (other automation system)" blanket statements are not productive or healthy for our industry.

If you're shopping for Ford Escape and the salesman tells you "But it's half as much as a Range Rover," what are you going to think? Alternately, if you don't think you can afford a Range Rover, check again. They have models available to compete in the Explorer and Escape markets, but they're not as robust as the real Range Rovers that explorers use to navigate the Outback or deep Africa...

The analogy could be continued.

elizaesq, realize that there are many brand loyalists and salesman on this forum, as there is everywhere else in life. Many of us pros don't know that much about ALL available platforms, but we sure think the ones we do install/sell are the best.

Caveat emptor.
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post #8 of 94 Old 01-27-2006, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthem
Also, even if the Adagio is spec'ed, you certainly couldn't do what he was asking above " lights, audio, phones, alarm" for a 'home control system'. I think the Adagio is more geared toward localized (smaller sub 6 keypad environs) areas of control and not whole house. Now certainly it might be possible to look at multiple units and simplified Crestron installs, but at that point you aren't really gaining much by having a crestron installation. . . (one could argue that Crestron is more reliable, more robust, more stable, but at the simple operational level - most other options are pretty close as well).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are going to utilize crestron, you should at least look at using crestron not only because its more robust/stable/etc but also its capabilities and features that it gives you above and beyond what others can and at the same time still retain its robustness/stability.
The Adagio is not designed for bombs away full speed ahead system. It is designed to work with lighting and HVAC--albeit from Crestron. Sure you can interface into other products but it has a smaller 66MIPS cold fire processor which limits program size and far fewer serial ports. However, I could easily add a QM-RMC to this sysetm, off load some of the programming to it and communicate between the two via their Ethernet connections ( and I am trying not to be overly technical as this is not the Yahoo forum. ) My point is that the Adagio is more than a 4x6 localized distributed audio system. Perhaps it's the wrong product in this application. I would not use if I were going to interface into a security system where I was constantly polling for informtion or expecting to utilize feedback from the security system programatically ( PIR contact closure is read and lights turn on ).

Most lighting systems come with their own processor and Crestron's can also. If all I need to do is turn a light on and off and display led status it is not an especially large program. If I had to control 4-6 zones of HVAC that too would not be a really large amount of code. Then there is the code to deal with the Audio System. The Adagio is limited to 10 sources x 24 zones if one uses the AES and not the AADS. The AADS is 4x24. But many homes have need of only 9-14 zones of audio. Some of those will be surround sound and systems at this price point will have surround receivers. I could easily offer this system to a client and without issue control 4--60 lighting zones, 3-5 plasmas and a 16 zone audio system. I would need to add serial ports or at least add one way serial drivers from the Adagio's IR ports. The biggest limitation of the Adagio will be a shortage of serial and IR ports. But Crestron is marketing its wireless HVAC and lighting products along side the Adagio. I would therefore classify it in the Elan group of control systems with the very important distinction that I can write any kind of code I require to control any device on the market. I can build dynamic string values in run time, I can send HTML, I can use IR ports for one way serial. One ought not ( but I promise you some number of idiot dealers will ) use it for very large jobs where integration into pools, security, lighting and such is required. The Adagio is meant to utilize Crestron equipment. Crestron's IPOD interface, its audio server, its lighting and HVAC products. But this covers lots of systems, indeed most that I install--but not all. And the dealer is supposed to know the difference. But one of the reasons I have been off list for a while is I have been asked to fix problems from incompetant dealers. It is often easy to convince a client to write a check but constructing a system that is easy and reliable are too different things. Find a flexible dealer who knows what he is doing. I know of too many firms who do not.

To be clear. I am in agreement that the Adagio ought to be used in smaller integration jobs. But it can perfrom a lot of integration, as much if not more than would be found it a typical Elan/Niles/Russound installation. It is primarily a distributed audio system. But it can and has been designed to control lighting and HVAC. Phones are rarely an integration item. I would also suggest that comparing a Via to a CT-1000 or TPS-4L is more in line with apples to apples than comparing it to a TPS17. Budgets rear their ugly heads. But the APAD is very interesting product. It sill utilizes indirect text as opposed to composite video, has a click wheel and is "reasonably" priced for a Crestron product. At heart one ought to be looking at price, value, flexibilty and ease of use. I would not disagree that serial protocols ought to have static values for volume up and down but in too many cases they currently do not. A control system ought to be able to send any one way string a device requires. A failure to permit construction of a driver to accomplish this is a serious flaw in my opinion. As someone once pointed out on this board, Crestron processors offer serious value. Their interfaces do not.

While a CT-1000 or TPS-4L are expensive they are not SO expenisve. The point is that Crestron is not 2 to 4 times the price of its competitors unless we are including large touch panels and touch panels with lots of features such as audio and video. A 66 MIPs processor has limitiations but it still permits a lot of code to be written and the Adagio can be used to control many sub systems, including lighting, HVAC and security. What is done and how much control are legitemate questions. But if arming and disarming the system are all that is required, or some lifestyle buttons ( goodnight activates the night lighting scene and parameter security preset and turns off all audio ) is something the Adagio can easily do--assuming a competant installer and programmer who know how to code and the limitations of the product.

Alan
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post #9 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 10:24 AM
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I am going to throw in my opinion from an end users point of view, and I know it is not going to be popular.

I have a Crestron system, and I have not found it to be reliable. Not only have I had equipment failures, but I have had endless issues with programming. I know that the programming is the programmers fault, but you have to keep in mind the complexity that is possible with Crestron, can lead to many headaches. You also have to consider the cost to make changes to your system, that require complex (and expensive) Crestron programming.

I am currently building a second home, in which we are not using Crestron. It will be more of an Elan based system, and I am going to see how that compares. I know it will be more simple, and reasonable in cost.

P.S. Don't even get me started on the TPMC-10 touch panel. :mad:

Phil
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post #10 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 11:46 AM
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FREE phil, could you PM to me your equipment and list the items that are causing you problems. Just doing some comparisons.

I need a girl whos name does not end in .jpg
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post #11 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 12:39 PM
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I will list them here, so that everyone can do some comparisons. :)

I have had two touchpanels go bad. A 15" and a 12". Repair turnaround has been very slow.

The Crestnet has been unstable, causing frequent crashes of the main controler. Part of this could be a programming issue, but recently, it was the 15" TP that caused the Crestnet error.

I have also had a Crestron Amplifier channel go bad. Crestron said that I would have to replace the entire amplifier, and I would have to pay for it. I decided to combine zones instead.

The TPCMC-10 is unstable and buggy. The range is poor, and once out of range, it crashes, and may not come back for hours. Sometimes it just crashes, and I have to pull the battery to get it to re-boot. I am using the recomended wireless routers, on Crestron's web site, have upgraded the panel to a "G" wireless card, and installed the latest firmware. It is now being used basically as a stationary panel, because walking around with it is not a good idea. My $400 Sonos Music System controller, can go about 5 times farther, and never crashes.

Phil
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post #12 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 01:19 PM
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elizaesq, you say you "want to install an automated home control system for lights, audio, phones, alarm, etc". The bottom line is there isn't yet a complete DIY package that you can buy and plug in to do all these functions. Your best bet is to consult with an installation professional who can provide you solutions to meet your specific needs. Interview a couple of them, discuss your budget and your desires, and see what they come up with. If it is just opinions you want, then I would say yes, Crestron is worth the money in many situations. And I think HAI occasionally has it's place. I like Russound better than Elan, except for their media server, which I dislike. I haven't seen an Adagio system yet, just read about it, but it looks like a winner. But these opinions are only worth about $0.02.
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post #13 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions
The Adagio is not designed for bombs away full speed ahead system. It is designed to work with lighting and HVAC--albeit from Crestron. Sure you can interface into other products but it has a smaller 66MIPS cold fire processor which limits program size and far fewer serial ports. However, I could easily add a QM-RMC to this sysetm, off load some of the programming to it and communicate between the two via their Ethernet connections ( and I am trying not to be overly technical as this is not the Yahoo forum. ) My point is that the Adagio is more than a 4x6 localized distributed audio system. Perhaps it's the wrong product in this application. I would not use if I were going to interface into a security system where I was constantly polling for informtion or expecting to utilize feedback from the security system programatically ( PIR contact closure is read and lights turn on ).

Most lighting systems come with their own processor and Crestron's can also. If all I need to do is turn a light on and off and display led status it is not an especially large program. If I had to control 4-6 zones of HVAC that too would not be a really large amount of code. Then there is the code to deal with the Audio System. The Adagio is limited to 10 sources x 24 zones if one uses the AES and not the AADS. The AADS is 4x24. But many homes have need of only 9-14 zones of audio. Some of those will be surround sound and systems at this price point will have surround receivers. I could easily offer this system to a client and without issue control 4--60 lighting zones, 3-5 plasmas and a 16 zone audio system. I would need to add serial ports or at least add one way serial drivers from the Adagio's IR ports. The biggest limitation of the Adagio will be a shortage of serial and IR ports. But Crestron is marketing its wireless HVAC and lighting products along side the Adagio. I would therefore classify it in the Elan group of control systems with the very important distinction that I can write any kind of code I require to control any device on the market. I can build dynamic string values in run time, I can send HTML, I can use IR ports for one way serial. One ought not ( but I promise you some number of idiot dealers will ) use it for very large jobs where integration into pools, security, lighting and such is required. The Adagio is meant to utilize Crestron equipment. Crestron's IPOD interface, its audio server, its lighting and HVAC products. But this covers lots of systems, indeed most that I install--but not all. And the dealer is supposed to know the difference. But one of the reasons I have been off list for a while is I have been asked to fix problems from incompetant dealers. It is often easy to convince a client to write a check but constructing a system that is easy and reliable are too different things. Find a flexible dealer who knows what he is doing. I know of too many firms who do not.

To be clear. I am in agreement that the Adagio ought to be used in smaller integration jobs. But it can perfrom a lot of integration, as much if not more than would be found it a typical Elan/Niles/Russound installation. It is primarily a distributed audio system. But it can and has been designed to control lighting and HVAC. Phones are rarely an integration item. I would also suggest that comparing a Via to a CT-1000 or TPS-4L is more in line with apples to apples than comparing it to a TPS17. Budgets rear their ugly heads. But the APAD is very interesting product. It sill utilizes indirect text as opposed to composite video, has a click wheel and is "reasonably" priced for a Crestron product. At heart one ought to be looking at price, value, flexibilty and ease of use. I would not disagree that serial protocols ought to have static values for volume up and down but in too many cases they currently do not. A control system ought to be able to send any one way string a device requires. A failure to permit construction of a driver to accomplish this is a serious flaw in my opinion. As someone once pointed out on this board, Crestron processors offer serious value. Their interfaces do not.

While a CT-1000 or TPS-4L are expensive they are not SO expenisve. The point is that Crestron is not 2 to 4 times the price of its competitors unless we are including large touch panels and touch panels with lots of features such as audio and video. A 66 MIPs processor has limitiations but it still permits a lot of code to be written and the Adagio can be used to control many sub systems, including lighting, HVAC and security. What is done and how much control are legitemate questions. But if arming and disarming the system are all that is required, or some lifestyle buttons ( goodnight activates the night lighting scene and parameter security preset and turns off all audio ) is something the Adagio can easily do--assuming a competant installer and programmer who know how to code and the limitations of the product.

Alan

Were you thinking of me when you wrote this?

I've been contemplating an HAI security system interfaced with an inexpensive lighting control sol'n (Centralite Elegance) for security and lighting. I was hoping to emulate the HAI keypad on Crestron touchscreens interfaced to an Adagio w/the 6 room extender for a 10 source 12 zone audio system. I would like my family room, master bedroom, and office to have 5.1 audio and I'm presuming the best way to do this is with local AV receivers.

I was under the impression that I could use the HAI's processor to control the Centralight system and HVAC, offloading the Adagio and using it primarily for audio and touchpanel interface to the HAI.

I want to pin every door/window in my house including interior doors, have motion detectors inside/out, and a driveway sensor, to initiate event driven code on the HAI - for example driving home trips the driveway sensor and turns on the exterior lights for 20 mins....or after 11pm when I open my master bedroom door a lighted pathway to the kitchen/child's room lights up for 5 mins. You get the idea.

It seems to me that the HAI is capable of doing all of these things and the Adagio is limited by the processor and memory available to it, so why not offload some of the automation to the security system assuming I can still use the Crestron as top dog for controlling the security system?

I had also thought of adding a CP2E or a QM-RMC for additional ports/flexibility.

Is my theory flawed?

AI Limited
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post #14 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 02:37 PM
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Also, how does the PVID factor into the equation, does that push my design into the AV2/Pro2 realm?

It really does start to add up when you want to distribute component video and local sources (PVID and Room Boxes), audio (ADAGIO), security (HAI), and lighting control (Crestron or Centralight).

AI Limited
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post #15 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 04:00 PM
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I am interested in doing a lighting plan, similar to what you describe, with motion sensors etc. One thing I am wondering, is it necessary to go with the complex, equipment intensive lighting control systems of the past, with cat 5 wiring to each switch etc. Or would it be possible to do it all now, with the newer power line control systems such as insteon etc. where all the switches communicate with each other over the electrical wiring?

Phil
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post #16 of 94 Old 03-03-2006, 04:16 PM
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If you can do wired lighting, I think almost everyone would argue that you should, except perhaps in some peripheral areas.

Dean Roddey
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post #17 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Free
I am going to throw in my opinion from an end users point of view, and I know it is not going to be popular.

I have a Crestron system, and I have not found it to be reliable. Not only have I had equipment failures, but I have had endless issues with programming. I know that the programming is the programmers fault, but you have to keep in mind the complexity that is possible with Crestron, can lead to many headaches. You also have to consider the cost to make changes to your system, that require complex (and expensive) Crestron programming.

I am currently building a second home, in which we are not using Crestron. It will be more of an Elan based system, and I am going to see how that compares. I know it will be more simple, and reasonable in cost.

P.S. Don't even get me started on the TPMC-10 touch panel. :mad:
Phil,

You and I have discussed this before. Keep ranting away, but it was quite obvious from your posts the other time we discussed this that you were working with someone that was horribly incompetent. You forget to tell the folks here how it would take him a day to add a DVD player to your system. And when I asked you about schematics for your system you indicated that none existed. You've got a complex Crestron system and don't have an installer or programmer that have even drawn up a set of wiring blueprints?!

Crestron's service is the best in the industry. The things they have done for me have been nothing short of incredible. They've Fedexed equipment to me on projects in other countries at no charge to replace a problem component. I strongly suspect your service experiences have also been related to your programmer/installer, and can't help but wonder if at times you are not being told the truth. It's quite common for incomptent dealers to blame things on manufacturers that are not the manufacturers fault.

I know your experiences have been real, and if it makes you feel better to blame them on Crestron, keep ranting...
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post #18 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Free
The TPCMC-10 is unstable and buggy. The range is poor, and once out of range, it crashes, and may not come back for hours. Sometimes it just crashes, and I have to pull the battery to get it to re-boot. I am using the recomended wireless routers, on Crestron's web site, have upgraded the panel to a "G" wireless card, and installed the latest firmware. It is now being used basically as a stationary panel, because walking around with it is not a good idea.
The TPMC-10's are not meant to roam from wireless access point to wireless access point. You should have been told that from the beginning. Other than that, all of those issues should be able to be fixed. You said you have routers as in plural. Make sure they are set to different channels, either 1, 6, or 11. Make sure they have different SSID's. Some of the other settings are important too, both on the routers and the TPMC-10's. If things are not set up correctlly you will experience what you are describing above. Limited range and the TPMC-10 will drop off intermittantly. Set up correctly range should be good and connectivity reliable.
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post #19 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 05:58 AM
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Thanks Q, but I have one wireless router, configured as an access point. The other router is wired. The wireless router is the Belkin, recomended by Crestron, and has the proper firmware. The panel was sent back to Crestron to upgrade from the original B card to a G, but it did not make a difference. The TPMC-10 is good for about one room in the house.

On the other hand, I can walk all over my house with my laptop, and when it finally looses connection, I can just come back into range and it works again. With the TPMC-10, when it looses connection, it crashes, and is done for a while.

Phil
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post #20 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Phil,

You and I have discussed this before. Keep ranting away, but it was quite obvious from your posts the other time we discussed this that you were working with someone that was horribly incompetent. You forget to tell the folks here how it would take him a day to add a DVD player to your system. And when I asked you about schematics for your system you indicated that none existed. You've got a complex Crestron system and don't have an installer or programmer that have even drawn up a set of wiring blueprints?!

Crestron's service is the best in the industry. The things they have done for me have been nothing short of incredible. They've Fedexed equipment to me on projects in other countries at no charge to replace a problem component. I strongly suspect your service experiences have also been related to your programmer/installer, and can't help but wonder if at times you are not being told the truth. It's quite common for incomptent dealers to blame things on manufacturers that are not the manufacturers fault.

I know your experiences have been real, and if it makes you feel better to blame them on Crestron, keep ranting...

You are right, that I don't have a schematic, and my programmer could be faster, although he has never installed a DVD player, or any other theater equipment in my system, I would not trust that to Crestron, or anyone else. Also, the equipment reliablility is an issue, when it just goes bad, not a problem with the programmer, and I have spent time on the phone with Crestron tech support myself trying to get them to admit there is something wrong with the TPMC-10, following all of their instructions with no luck.

Oh, and thanks for giving me permission to "rant" since I never would have been able to speak of my experiences with Crestron equipment on this forum without your permission. :rolleyes:

Phil
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post #21 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 06:39 AM
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Free

While I see range issues with TPMC-10 I also see range issues between a laptop with a PCMIA card compaired to the one built into my laptop. One needs to know about networking and basics to understand how to configure and addess any issues that may arise. BTW the TPMC-10 is a Viewsonic panel with a few additions.

We had a Creston dealer in town who WAY over speced some parts. A Pro2 and with Crestron AMP for six 12 button keypads with 6 pars of speakers. The issues was this dealer couldn't make this system work. The source equipment was left over from an Audio Ease system. That dealer called us so help figure out non working keypads and speakers not tracking in each zone.

This took me about 3 hours to rewire the needed keypads, patch the audio to the right area and program the keypads for all the sources. There should have been no reason for this but this dealer called us for help. So sometimes dealers are over their head and others have done it 1000 times.

My first theater and multizone system took me a week to program. Now one day. I see Crestron products heading back to be repaired. More often than no they fix items under warranty. I like QQQ can make a call and have UPS devliver a product early delivery the next AM.

That same installer could have made the same mistakes with any product and take days to figure out. So while a product(Manufacture) makes a difference the installer/dealer makes more of a difference in the end.

Dave
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post #22 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 07:14 AM
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Good points Dave. Do any of you know of good Crestron people in Arizona (Dealers, installers, Programmers, or System Designers)??

Phil
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post #23 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 07:17 AM
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What part of Sunny AZ are you in?
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post #24 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 07:45 AM
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Near Scottsdale. :)

Phil
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post #25 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 08:07 AM
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I'll chime in to add this bit of information. I have had to fix a few disaster Crestron systems this year. In one case some very high up folks became involved. Any automation system can be complicated to design and install. The more options the more complicated, as is the case with the PVID and room control boxes. And for those who care, walk over to the Yahoo site to see some CAIPs take their shots at me because they feel D3, Crestron's GUI lighting program, is superior to hard coding lighting and I do not. And they take umbridge when I take issue with their lack of supporting evidence for their beliefs

Point: Find a competent dealer. Too many dealers are able to convince clients to write checks but cannot design or program a job. Look at at least 2 jobs the firm has done in that year. I know of one builder ( different example but proves the point ) who takes clients to a job he did 7 years ago. If you saw the work he currently did or spoke with the contractors he hired you would never use him.

I wrote earlier about the Adagio that it is designed for smaller jobs and ought never to be used for a balls to the wall integration job. I also suggested that some dealers would in fact use the Adagio in this sort of job. If and when it failed whose fault would it be? Crestron's fault, the dealers fault or yours because you failed to adequately qualify the dealer.

I am a good control system's programmer but I have limitations on what code I can write. If I construct my system designs to fit within my programming abilities all will be well. If I design a system that is beyond by coding ability and fail to contract out those parts that are beyond my ability is the fault Crestron's or mine?

Here is what I have discovered this year. I will NEVER use CAT5, CAT6 or CAT7 as Cresnet cable. Only shielded cable ought to be used for an RS-485 network. Not only are there possible power issues with respect to wire gage and voltage over a length of a cable run but I have seen dramatic performance issues when we rewired a system from CAT5 to shielded wire. Part of this I think is the benefits of a shield to provide RFI/EMI protection. RS-485 networks do not have the built in error correction that Ethernet networks have.

I have had magnetic pulses from lighting take out half of a Crestron system. Is that the fault of the hardware, the installation, or is it an act of god? If the latter do you have home owners insurance? I have seen many horrible examples of Crestron programming. Bad UI and bad coding make for an unstable network and unstable system. Sometimes this is also the fault of poor surge and over/under voltage protection.

Understanding a product's limitations and designing to them is wise. A TPMC-10, as with the Adagio, have limitations. They can do a lot but a wise dealer will limit what can be done. Shockingly, I do not use the built in computer functionality much, save recently to add video from CCTV cameras over the built in Windows Media Player. It is a large wireless touch panel that serves one location. It does not multi task, and what I mean by that is it is not permitted to roam and control multiple locations. I have a limited number of these touch panels in service as I am a small company. Perhaps 10 panels are in use but they include a number of first generation wireless B panels and they function fine. They do need to be rebooted every so often but they other than that they work---and every client was informed that they might need to reboot the panel every so often.

Ultimately, a control system is only as good as the programmer and the installation. I have seen horrid installations this year that cause me to shake my head. I am no master rack builder. Many could wire and terminate a rack far neater than I. But even my worst example is nothing like what I have come across this year. If the code is bad and the wiring is worse you will have an unstable system. Despite the Yahoo thread, I feel there are many competent CAIPs and firms with in house programming. If you, as a customer, contract an incompetent CI firm to perform the work and the work is installed and programmed badly the fault lies not with the manufacturer, automation and integration as a concept but with you for making a foolish decision. Part of what set off some CAIPs is that I am indignant that Crestron dealer exist who cannot use a GUI programming utility that most every DIY on this board could use. If you hired an incompetent builder, plumber or electrician would the problem be in the wires and fixtures they installed or in the poor installation? Part of a Crestron instalation is understanding the products, using them in the appropriate application and keeping the system within the programming abilities of the programmer. As a client you measure this ability by looking at work the firm has performed in the current year or over the past year.

Alan
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post #26 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 08:52 AM
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I recently went to a house owned by one our mainland clients. They complained about some issues with useability and stuff working properly. Should they be blaming the equipment, or blaming the installer?
LL
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post #27 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 09:16 AM
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I went to a client's house, they had a few issues with how it worked, and a few things didn't work. Should I have told them to blame the equipment?

Alan, are your racks better than this?

[IMG]http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/1...ikethis2ng.jpg[/IMG]

Notice the exquisitely mounted ATM system. It might be hard for you to see, but there's a Bijou THX equaliser at the top, with merely the power cord hooked up. I'm glad they didn't say the system sounded like crap and blame the Bijou...
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post #28 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 10:10 AM
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I think that's one of Dave's systems.
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post #29 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 10:12 AM
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p.s. Love that fan system. That belongs in the hall of fame/shame because of the fans but I can tell you I have seen MUCU MUCH worse.
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post #30 of 94 Old 03-04-2006, 10:27 AM
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BTW, the inability of the TPMC-10 to roam is a Microsoft XP Embedded issue, not a Crestron issue . (well, it's a Crestron issue since it's a Crestron touchpanel, but you know what I mean). But in 10 years I've never had a customer who wanted to roam from room to room with a touchscreen so I don't see that as a major issue for most people. Sort of like carrying the remote control for your TV from room to room - not a big feature request. The TPMC-10 range should be quite good though, more than adequate for a single room. The part that Free reports it taking several hours sometimes to go back online is very strange. If it does go offline due to going out of range, a battery reboot should immediately bring it back online.

Based on the problem that Free is having I'd look for someone that can do an RF survey as well (check for other sources of interference) and also has network expertise. It frustrates me to see problems like this and I wish I was in Free's city and I'd go over and get that sucker working OR have Crestron send him a new one.
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