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post #1 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Time to try something new...

My RTI T4 touch panel crapped out last night requiring a $125 battery. I have quite a bit of $$ into my RTI system... and it is only 1-way (no feedback support - e.g. volume level, input, surround mode, etc). Yes there is 2 way but not for the more esoteric components. So, rather than replacing it, I'm going to try something new in the interest of austerity that looks to completely meet my control needs. IRule. 2 Way is on the way and it is relatively simple to program after a short learning curve.

I've been following the iRule thread here at AVS sometime and am buddies with its founder who lives near me... So talk about support!

So, I'm going to put together a full iRule remote that mimics my RTI theater remote (30 macros, 40 pages of commands). I have 12 controllable sources (7 sources, Masking, Lighting, projector, plasma, etc). I have a very sophisticated system to control with many, many macros. Since the 9.7" screen size of the iPad (diagonal) is far greater than my 6.5" diagonal T4, I bet I can cut out 1/2 the pages.

Here's what I have:

1. 8 components are serial / RS-232 controlled (sources, PJ, masking)
2. 1 LAN controlled piece (ADA SSP*) that is currently RS-232 with RTI
3. The rest is IR controlled

*I will use LAN control with iRule (ethernet control) for the ADA Mach IV since it is already plugged into my home network. LAN is very slick as I can tweak it on my laptop from anywhere in the house. LAN control is certainly the future.

iRule will soon be a 2 way and I've used a beta version of it... all for $49.99 plus Global Caches for serial control and an IR control - available on the site (http://www.iruleathome.com/). So, pretty darn cheap. The goal is to see if I can have the very slick, professional interface with reliable control. Hopefully, a world beater relative to Crestron, RTI, etc... Unlike the aforementioned remotes, you do not need the very expensive boxes and high priced, private programming... though that is available.

I've got the iPad, and now, the need. So, since I am off of work most of the week, together with the founder, we're going to get started tomorrow by putting together a lay out, finding some slick skins and program a few macros. He has assured me that not only will this supersede my pricey RTI remote (XP-8, T4) but it will be far more capable.

As I go, I'll post some screenshots, limitations and pluses.

**One screen shot is my Family Room Directv page. You can flip channels with the channel buttons, icons, or swipe the page left or right to go up on channels or down. I added a couple of channel icons to the page show how they look. I'm controlling my 2 DirectV DVRs via IP. Very fast control.

It is really convenient. I have my ipad at my night stand and read the paper at night and flip channels with it. Very cool!

Anyone else trying it?
LL

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post #2 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:32 AM
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Jeff,
I know that is is a small thing but with family guest in etc what do you do with the large pad when you sit down. I just felt that the Iphone size would be more convenient in the theater itself ?

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post #3 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:52 AM
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I am working on it for both IPad and IPhone for my wife. Planning on 2 way RS232 with Theta Casablanca and most of my other gear as well.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #4 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

Jeff,
I know that is is a small thing but with family guest in etc what do you do with the large pad when you sit down. I just felt that the Iphone size would be more convenient in the theater itself ?

Art

I hear you. I throw it on my center console. Right now I am focusing on mastering the ipad with iRule. That said, I like a lot of buttons on one page so I'm not scrolling to other pages to get to other commands. I use a touch panel now for that reason, I like it and that is what I am used to but certainly an ipod would be a very simple solution to implement and much more discrete.. I can put major macros on my iphone and control my whole theater with a few commands. I may try that. I'm going to see how this all works out.

I'll likely put 'Theater ON, theater OFF and sources on my iPhone so that if I'm out and about from home and my daughter or wife needs help, I can remotely get things going for her. Or if my daughter and friends forget to power it down, I can do it from bed or on the road if I see that the system was left on (when 2 way is implemented). Something impossible with my RTI.

For now, I'm going to leave my ipad in the family room to control the TV, Wii, Blu Ray and then pick it up for when I go into the theater. My other family room remote is still in use but I can see moving to ipods, ipads around the house (I can buy them with the money I'll get when selling my RTI system)!!.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #5 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 05:46 AM
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I have a AMX Landmark system that works perfectly, but I have been looking into the Irule for 2-Way communication for just my CB3HD
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post #6 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:16 AM
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I am very interested in your project and would very much appreciate a step by step review of design & programming from beginning to end. I find the iRule threads a little confusing and wish there was more of a step by step manual that is more comprehensive that what they have on their website.

Currently I use a universal IR remote simply because I can't bear to pay the $$$ for an AMX remote system to integrate with the whole house AMX due to the outrageous expense and lack of convenience when programming tweaks and other changes. I do not want to wait days or weeks to make a simple change and I don't want to pay whenever I want to move a button or change a macro or redesign a page.

Looking forward to these posts. Thanks.
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post #7 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectionist2 View Post

I am very interested in your project and would very much appreciate a step by step review of design & programming from beginning to end. I find the iRule threads a little confusing and wish there was more of a step by step manual that is more comprehensive that what they have on their website.

Currently I use a universal IR remote simply because I can't bear to pay the $$$ for an AMX remote system to integrate with the whole house AMX due to the outrageous expense and lack of convenience when programming tweaks and other changes. I do not want to wait days or weeks to make a simple change and I don't want to pay whenever I want to move a button or change a macro or redesign a page.

Looking forward to these posts. Thanks.

Will do..I have my two caches (ir and serial) and a bunch of serial to Ethernet converters (less than $1 at Monoprice). I am in full control in my family room system. Also, since Directv receivers are centrally located I can walk into any room with a TV and flip channels. I'll need more IR caches to control the volume, power, etc in these other rooms.

One problem I have noticed is one DVR uses a wireless Ethernet wall wart (Apple Airport Express) as I have no hard-wired ethernet port there. iRule control is slower and can get sluggish due to this extra leg of wireless travel. Not fast and responsive like all other equipment. I'm going to add a hard wired ethernet port there to solve this.

In the theater I have control of my ADA which since it is LAN based, I skip the cache and plug directly into my router (along with my Directv DVRs). I am also controlling my Lutron Grafik Eye, Oppo BD, Denon BD along with small macros. I have tested all of my equipment and all is fully controllable. I just need to find the time to program. You can also easily upload your own buttons or photos for custom backgrounds on any page.

2-way is coming out this month (I believe). I have had a 2-way beta for my ADA and it works as advertised.

More to come...

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #8 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:45 AM
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I spent some time with iRule and it was a pleasure working with Itai : great support and program

But I have so much invested in RTI hardware programming I decided to wait for their iPad app. RTI is working at their usual speed [slow to very slow] : I hope someday they will release it: if not soon I may revisit iRule
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post #9 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:57 AM
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Jeff,
How are you using those serial to ethernet converters? (Which ones exactly, and how are they configured). I am using a WTI SCM-16 for my serial control, but would rather get that ugly device out of my rack.
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post #10 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Pin arrangements? They are stock RJ-45/serial converters.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #11 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 07:16 AM
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Jeff, when you get your iRule all done, I will say "URule, Jeff"!!!

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #12 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Pin arrangements? They are stock RJ-45/serial converters.

How are you using them with iRule? How do you assign an IP address, port number, and communications settings?
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post #13 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 07:59 AM
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thebland, looks very interesting. Not sure how your Directv viewing goes, but for me I mostly watch DVR'd shows so I use the transport buttons a lot and I like the feel of a physical remote so I can push the buttons without looking. Do you watch a lot of DVR'd shows and if so, how do you like the Ipad for transport control? Or do you still recommend a physical remote for that?
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post #14 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal87 View Post

How are you using them with iRule? How do you assign an IP address, port number, and communications settings?

For Lan components, yes (DirecTV DVRs and ADA SSP). Just copy IP address from your router into iRule. For serial control, just plug each component into the cache (with converter(s) shown below and iRule will find it and assign lift its own IP address. Cache is pictured as well.

BTW - I hate the mess I have made of my equipment room as I integrate. Wires everywhere!!
LL
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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #15 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sipester View Post

thebland, looks very interesting. Not sure how your Directv viewing goes, but for me I mostly watch DVR'd shows so I use the transport buttons a lot and I like the feel of a physical remote so I can push the buttons without looking. Do you watch a lot of DVR'd shows and if so, how do you like the Ipad for transport control? Or do you still recommend a physical remote for that?

It's different not having hard buttons. It's new. I'm going to try it out in my theater for a few months. I already like the speed and ability to customize.

As for a hard-buttoned remote, if I need one, I can still use it. But I am finding myself using my ipad more and more and to have a remote built into it (and my iphone) is a nice convenience - especially because the feature set is open as proprietary, expensive serial system remote..

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #16 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 10:46 AM
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This looks to be one of the best uses of the iPad yet. Home automation people must be extremely concerned.
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post #17 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

This looks to be one of the best uses of the iPad yet. Home automation people must be extremely concerned.

I'm sure they are. It is amazing how simple it all is. The iPad packs plenty of processing power. Don't need any more expensive processing units or $2000 touchpads.

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #18 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 12:07 PM
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I say that because it's so flexible and easy to program you will find yourself always adding functions and enhancements.

I jumped on board in January 2011. My previous remote was a 13in LCD touchscreen with a thick hardwired umbilical cord for VGA, power and RS232. It was just a copy of the touchscreen in my equipment racks.

IRULE was the first remote I found I could use to replace that old hardwired heavy screen with something more "modern". Crestron and AMX were just too expensive and restrictive in their programming. I'll be damned if I am going to pay for an out of state training class just to get the programming SDK!

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post #19 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

This looks to be one of the best uses of the iPad yet. Home automation people must be extremely concerned.

Nah, I doubt it. The type of people who buy those six figure Crestron and AMX systems aren't the type of people that will sit down and learn how to program Irule. That would seriously cut into country club and yacht sailing time!

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post #20 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

For Lan components, yes (DirecTV DVRs and ADA SSP). Just copy IP address from your router into iRule. For serial control, just plug each component into the cache (with converter(s) shown below and iRule will find it and assign lift its own IP address. Cache is pictured as well.

BTW - I hate the mess I have made of my equipment room as I integrate. Wires everywhere!!

OK, I got it. You are using the PortServer device as the gateway, similar to the SCM-16 that I am using, only the SCM-16 comes with DB9 outlets so no converter needed.
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post #21 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:30 PM
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Jeff,

As you know I use iRule, and have created quite a few backgrounds for both the iPhone version and the iPad version, in styles that I call Steampunk and Streamlined. Here is one of the Steampunk backgrounds for the iPad:



Here is a Streamlined one for the iPhone:



I use the iPhone version to control my preamp/processor and HTPC via IP and my players and projector via IR.

Steve Goff
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post #22 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Steve, I'm using the Seamlined templates. Simply awesome... And thanks for your contribution!

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #23 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 04:44 PM
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Steve, I'm using the Seamlined templates. Simply awesome... And thanks for your contribution!
Thanks, they were fun to make! I don't even have an iPad, but I wanted to make some backgrounds for it because they would give me a bigger canvas.

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post #24 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Nah, I doubt it. The type of people who buy those six figure Crestron and AMX systems aren't the type of people that will sit down and learn how to program Irule. That would seriously cut into country club and yacht sailing time!

Uhhh, you should come to my house and I will prove you wrong...not all of Crestron owners are elitists...

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post #25 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Nah, I doubt it. The type of people who buy those six figure Crestron and AMX systems aren't the type of people that will sit down and learn how to program Irule. That would seriously cut into country club and yacht sailing time!

I am and I will.

I have a whole house AMX system installed 18 years ago when home automation was a novelty. I even went to AMX programming school which was allowed back then.

Regardless, today I have to rely on a dealer for parts & support which is fine, however, it simply doesn't make sense to spend thousands of dollars on a remote that I can't program without paying some outrageous fee that costs more than brain surgery.

It's only a matter of time before AMX, Creston, and others have to provide their customers with more cost effective options.
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post #26 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

Jeff,
I know that is is a small thing but with family guest in etc what do you do with the large pad when you sit down. I just felt that the Iphone size would be more convenient in the theater itself ?

Art

In the theater?

Use the RAM-A-CAN. It holds it right where you want it.

Otherwise there are enough wedges you can sit on tables.

But as much as I love the IRULE, I would multitask into DirecTV's own app.

Sorry - nothing can touch that!

Also for Kaleidescape there is an awesome app too.


LL
LL
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post #27 of 250 Old 05-05-2011, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
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Uhhh, you should come to my house and I will prove you wrong...not all of Crestron owners are elitists...

That's actually refreshing to hear!

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post #28 of 250 Old 05-06-2011, 07:32 AM
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I am wondering if there is any way to integrate the Irule into an existing Landmark system using the existing AMX CF10 card frame/controller http://www.amx.com/products/PLB-CF10.asp
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post #29 of 250 Old 05-06-2011, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Nah, I doubt it. The type of people who buy those six figure Crestron and AMX systems aren't the type of people that will sit down and learn how to program Irule. That would seriously cut into country club and yacht sailing time!

The only problem with having someone else do it is, it won't be to your satisfaction 110%. No matter how good the integrator is, he can't read your mind and tweak it the way only you can.
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post #30 of 250 Old 05-06-2011, 08:29 AM
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The only problem with having someone else do it is, it won't be to your satisfaction 110%. No matter how good the integrator is, he can't read your mind and tweak it the way only you can.

also consider channel remapping which happens all the time: Sirius XM just remapped all their channels: each remapping could involve a service call to reprogram the system

some systems can be updated remotely via Ethernet but the home owner will still be charged
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