Help with CRESTRON ML600 programming - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 04-15-2009, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi I just bought a house and it has a full Creston system. Video Distribution, Audio, Distribution, XM radio, Touch Panel Display two CRESTRON ML600 remotes Imerge 2000, etc. I contacted the local Creston dealer who did the original installation and got a quote for some modifications that I wanted. Most of these changes had to do with the CRESTRON ML600's remotes not being set up with my HD DVR from DTV and my old DTV TiVO that has all my kids shows on it.

I was blown away when I saw the quote to make a few changes. They claim the cost to program two CRESTRON ML600's (i have) plus add one CRESTRON TPS-6X and customize the touch screen would be $3,840.00 This does not include the cost of the remote. The remote itself would be $3,200.00 plus another $600.00 for the CRESTRON CEN-HPRFGW RF gateway. When I questioned the guy he just kept saying that it's for programming. Well I have been writing real code VB6 VB.NET, C# etc for the last 15 years. I also run a software company and know what programming really is. Programming a remote is not programming. That is like saying programming your VCR is actual programming. All I can see them doing is plugging the remotes into a laptop via serial or USB and clicking some buttons Just like I would with a Harmony One.

My question is does anyone have any info on how to program CRESTRON ML600's. Is there a software package that the dealers have access to or is there some resource out there that can give me the info. I just do not see paying these con men for something that I know is trivial and that I can do myself.

PS. I have posted a picture of the rack and the equipment that I have for your review.

Thanks

R
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post #2 of 60 Old 04-15-2009, 07:46 PM
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Crestron systems it's not "remote programming". That said, if you put the time in, you could do it. They do not have resources for end user system programming. There is an unofficial support group on Yahoo.

FYI, you're not gonna get real far with any integrators with the "con men" approach.

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post #3 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I was not suggesting that all intergrators are Con Men. Just the ones that charge $3,2000 hundred to program some remotes.
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post #4 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 09:46 AM
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"Programming a remote is not programming. That is like saying programming your VCR is actual programming. All I can see them doing is plugging the remotes into a laptop via serial or USB and clicking some buttons Just like I would with a Harmony One."

That's 100% incorrect, and as such, the entire basis of your argument is wrong. Crestron programming is nothing like Harmony programming, and requires knowledge of a proprietary Crestron programming language. Training for Crestron system programming takes years to fully master it, and the high cost is justified by a level of service that, if done correctly, cannot be matched by virtually any other system (well, except for AMX). I hate to say it, but your ignorance of comparing programming a Crestron system to a Harmony remote will likely offend any installer that reads this post.
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post #5 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 09:47 AM
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My advice would be to call other local Crestron installers so at least you would have a better idea of whether the estimate is in fact reasonable or not. You may also want to talk to the original installers again and make sure that the estimate they gave you did not include "feature-creep." I often speak to a lot of customers who start out asking for small changes like re-programming for an updated device and by the time the phone call ends I've suggested 20 other "enhancements" and they've asked for 12 more and before you know it we're talking about re-designing the whole system. More and more features and upgrades keep creeping into the conversation that started with a pretty simple request. It would be in your best ineterest to get a good dialog started with a local Crestron dealer.
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post #6 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLCentral View Post

That's 100% incorrect, and as such, the entire basis of your argument is wrong. Crestron programming is nothing like Harmony programming, and requires knowledge of a proprietary Crestron programming language. Training for Crestron system programming takes years to fully master it, and the high cost is justified by a level of service that, if done correctly, cannot be matched by virtually any other system (well, except for AMX). I hate to say it, but your ignorance of comparing programming a Crestron system to a Harmony remote will likely offend any installer that reads this post.

I just love these Crestron debates, well you're all wrong! Apologies to all the Crestron Dealers and their remote programmers. Crestron is a fine product and is well supported by their dealers who proved an excellent reliable service to their customers, but, the only reason you need someone at your local home theater store to program the remote is Crestron carefully protects their customer base (the dealers) from competition and does not provide any details to anyone else. Come on folks, were not talking about programing the FPGAs on the flight control system aboard a 747. It's a remote and any Computer Science major fresh out of school with any gumption could figure out how to program the thing given the documentation and a several weeks of training. In fact Crestron goes out of their way to make a flexible and expandable system that in the grand scale of commercial software projects is easy to program and does not require a team of computer scientists with degrees from MIT or Berkley to program. Think about that, if it was really difficult, like commercial control systems software, nobody not even well heeled customers could afford it nor would anyone put up with the programming bugs that would inherently be found in each project. All that said Crestron and AMX have found their niche they fill it well and DIYers need not apply.

Human perception is not a direct consequence of reality, but rather an act of imagination. - Michael Faraday
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post #7 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLCentral View Post

"Programming a remote is not programming. That is like saying programming your VCR is actual programming. All I can see them doing is plugging the remotes into a laptop via serial or USB and clicking some buttons Just like I would with a Harmony One."

That's 100% incorrect, and as such, the entire basis of your argument is wrong. Crestron programming is nothing like Harmony programming, and requires knowledge of a proprietary Crestron programming language. Training for Crestron system programming takes years to fully master it, and the high cost is justified by a level of service that, if done correctly, cannot be matched by virtually any other system (well, except for AMX). I hate to say it, but your ignorance of comparing programming a Crestron system to a Harmony remote will likely offend any installer that reads this post.

I agree that I am ignorant when it comes to programming a crestron system. But that is not what they were providing. They were programming two remotes to work with my DTV DVR and one touch panel. I do not care that I do not know how Crestrons closed systems work. What I do know that with over 15 yrs true application development experience for fortune 500 clients and certifications in various programming languages, there is no way that would take any good programmer 35 hours to complete that task. That's just absured. Comon, you're telling me that updating an exsiting remote to work with a new DTV DVR is that complicated.

They were just padding the bill plain and simple. They do it because they think that they can get away with it.
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post #8 of 60 Old 04-16-2009, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdputnam View Post

I just love these Crestron debates, well you're all wrong! Apologies to all the Crestron Dealers and their remote programmers. Crestron is a fine product and is well supported by their dealers who proved an excellent reliable service to their customers, but, the only reason you need someone at your local home theater store to program the remote is Crestron carefully protects their customer base (the dealers) from competition and does not provide any details to anyone else. Come on folks, were not talking about programing the FPGAs on the flight control system aboard a 747. It's a remote and any Computer Science major fresh out of school with any gumption could figure out how to program the thing given the documentation and a several weeks of training. In fact Crestron goes out of their way to make a flexible and expandable system that in the grand scale of commercial software projects is easy to program and does not require a team of computer scientists with degrees from MIT or Berkley to program. Think about that, if it was really difficult, like commercial control systems software, nobody not even well heeled customers could afford it nor would anyone put up with the programming bugs that would inherently be found in each project. All that said Crestron and AMX have found their niche they fill it well and DIYers need not apply.

well said.
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post #9 of 60 Old 04-17-2009, 06:02 AM
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I just love these debates.

I'm especially fond of the "I program XXX systems for government/military/Forturne 500 companies, and that makes me an expert on how custom installers are overcharging for my home system".

You're assuming you know a number of things about the fair market value of Crestron programming that you haven't shown you know.

In fact, the "it's just remotes" is factually incorrect; the touch panel is part of the cost but you keep glossing over that. I would guess the cost of the programming might be half if it were just ML-600's. But that's really not my point...

The "it's just remotes" observation is intended, I believe, to lower the perceived effort needed to accomplish the contracted job to the point where the cost asked for constitutes gouging, because it is bone-simple, anyone could do it, and the programmer only asks that much because he can and he's eyeing a new set of golf clubs that he wants to buy on your dime.

It is common practice, when trying to demean or denigrate the value of others, to utter the "it's just (fill in the blank)". Another CI I've seen around uses the "it's just wires, right?" tag line for entertainment value.

You don't mention how much of a programming scope they've given you, or how much customization you've asked for. That would vary the cost to program by a large percentage; have you considered that?
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post #10 of 60 Old 04-17-2009, 07:29 AM
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The problem you face is that once the code is compiled and loaded, it can not be extracted. Programming a "remote" also involves programming the main processor as well.

So even if you were able to get the software, you would have to start from scratch. Unless you can get the uncomplied code from the dealer, you are a hostage to his price.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
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post #11 of 60 Old 04-17-2009, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I assume that you must be an integrator then. You can try to justify all you want that Crestron programmers are such a special breed that they demand a higher cost to do what they do. However, If I am asking an integrator to take the existing HD DVR remotes I currently use and "Program" those codes into the three existing remotes that I have so I don’t have to walk to a rack to change the channel, that should not be over 3K worth of work. You know it, even if you do not want to admit it. There is just no way that can be 35 hrs of programming. Even if they had to program a processor.

Oh and by the way it is "just a remote" and if Crestron makes it take 35hrs to program a couple of "remotes" that is ridiculous. So if I have to change out a faulty DVR it should cost another 3k to make those remotes work now. I guarantee that whatever programming does need to be done is going to be mostly copy/paste from other similar systems that they have done in the past. For crying out loud we are talking about a couple of TiVO commands and a standard DTV DVR. They have probably done thousands of those before.

Look, I am sure that some of the Crestron systems can get very complicated and require a lot of custom code to be written. However, we are dealing with an existing system that works and works well. All I did was swap out two old DVR’s and replace them with mine. The fact that they even have to write any code to change the commands does not make much sense to me except for the fact that want to make it difficult and expensive to change.

Thanks for your comments. I do enjoy a fun, healthy debate about things like this.

Robert
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post #12 of 60 Old 04-17-2009, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

Well I assume that you must be an integrator then.

Nope, just an end user that understands a little bit of how these systems work.


Quote:


However, If I am asking an integrator to take the existing HD DVR remotes I currently use and "Program" those codes into the three existing remotes that I have so I don’t have to walk to a rack to change the channel, that should not be over 3K worth of work.

That is not what you described. You described the $3800 as being to program the 2 ML600's AND program and customize a TPS-6X. That is where the money is, not in the ML-600's.

Just out of curiiousity, why do you need to get up to change the channel? Don't you have remotes for the HD DVR? You can use the RF capability to change the channels without having LOS. You are out of luck with the older DirecTiVo as far as RF goes.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
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post #13 of 60 Old 04-17-2009, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

Well I assume that you must be an integrator then.

You may have been referring to me. Yes, indeed I am; proud of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

You can try to justify all you want that Crestron programmers are such a special breed that they demand a higher cost to do what they do. However, If I am asking an integrator to take the existing HD DVR remotes I currently use and "Program" those codes into the three existing remotes that I have so I don't have to walk to a rack to change the channel, that should not be over 3K worth of work. You know it, even if you do not want to admit it. There is just no way that can be 35 hrs of programming. Even if they had to program a processor.

Oh and by the way it is "just a remote" and if Crestron makes it take 35hrs to program a couple of "remotes" that is ridiculous. So if I have to change out a faulty DVR it should cost another 3k to make those remotes work now. I guarantee that whatever programming does need to be done is going to be mostly copy/paste from other similar systems that they have done in the past. For crying out loud we are talking about a couple of TiVO commands and a standard DTV DVR. They have probably done thousands of those before.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it a duck?

You keep lowering the definition of your job bid to "remote". It's not. It includes a touch panel with two way communication, a significant job in terms of artwork and programming, for an unspecified number of sources. Then it's "customized" in an indeterminate way by the end user, always a hard thing to do.

If it were just changing to DVRs, for your ML-600's, you would be right in griping about a $3200 estimate. But you're not!
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post #14 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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because when I moved in I plugged my DTV DVRs into the rack. Since the exsiting ML 600's are not configured to work with the these new DVR's I am forced to turn on the system in one room and then go to rack with the DTV remote and change the channels.
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post #15 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 12:31 PM
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what happens on the ML600 when you press and hold MAIN & ENT? What options show up in the lcd screen?
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post #16 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 03:40 PM
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Just reading the initial post I was thinking to myself programming ML-600s are pretty darn basic in Crestron land. Most of the programming time/price from above(seems to me) to be with the 6x programming.

I might ask for a quote just with equipment adjustments on the ML-600s (for now).
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post #17 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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when I do that I get a screen that says Setup, scan, learn

when I select setup, then select the button I want to program I take the DVR remote and hit the corrospnding button I see it display saved but when I try use the buttons nothing happens. Any suggestions?
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post #18 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

when I do that I get a screen that says Setup, scan, learn

when I select setup, then select the button I want to program I take the DVR remote and hit the corrospnding button I see it display saved but when I try use the buttons nothing happens. Any suggestions?

Just some info here... The ML-600 ONLY transmits the RF code for a button.

So for Source 2 hard button 2 it would send S2B2 (not really) but it will NOT transmit or work anything like a Harmony remote.

ALL the logic for the press is in the Crestron brain with NONE in the remote.

See my suggestion above. It comes from a Crestron programmer not a wild guess.
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post #19 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson View Post

Just some info here... The ML-600 ONLY transmits the RF code for a button.

So for Source 2 hard button 2 it would send S2B2 (not really) but it will NOT transmit or work anything like a Harmony remote.

ALL the logic for the press is in the Crestron brain with NONE in the remote.

See my suggestion above. It comes from a Crestron programmer not a wild guess.

Because of the above and this:

http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin...ost.cgi?314760

Never mind.
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post #20 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson View Post

ALL the logic for the press is in the Crestron brain with NONE in the remote.

To expand upon what David is saying, All Crestron remotes, be it IR, RF, WiFi, Hand Held or Touch Panels, communicate with the Processor (AV2, Pro2, etc) and the Processor will then communicate with the equipment (DVD Player, DVR, Receiver, etc). Crestron remotes never communicate with the end device directly.

As far as the TPS-6X goes that is a 2-way remote, unlike the ML-600 which is a one way remote. A 2-way remote will also display status/FB ie current Volume Level, Album Cover Art, Song Title, weather, Radio Station, etc. When adding a 2-way TP that does take time and some system programming.

How much time and programming? Thats depends on what you want the remote to do and how complex you current program is? Is the TPS-6X for just one room or function say only AV or is it for AV, Lighting, HVAC, Shades, Whole house Audio, Whole House Video, Security, Pool/Spa, etc?

The price quoted to "add one CRESTRON TPS-6X and customize the touch screen" plus update the ML-600 does not seem out of the ball park. You didn't state the hours or the hourly rate quoted nor did you go into detail on what you want the TPS-6X to handle.

Another thing to keep in mind is that SIMPL is Crestron's programing language. Crestron does not run Windows or *nix (Unix/Linux) on their processors. There is no VB, C+, C++, etc. You do have SIMPLE+ but thats a whole different ball game and it mostly used to write modules and not a whole program, although you technically can.

As other have stated, get a quote for just the ML-600's. Even though most of the work is for the ML-600's I have a feeling, but I may be wrong, that the addition of the TPS-6X takes up most of the programming cost.
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post #21 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

PS. I have posted a picture of the rack and the equipment that I have for your review.

Thanks

R

Where did you post the pic?
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post #22 of 60 Old 04-18-2009, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Here you go
LL
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post #23 of 60 Old 04-22-2009, 02:42 PM
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rdod, it seems like you've stumbled into the 'custom installers' lounge'!!

In any event, has the Creston dealer offered you an estimate as to how many hours the work will take? I notice that none of the responders to this thread have offered any info in that regard. If you had that figure you could at least have a better handle on how reasonable his charges are...

but I digress......
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post #24 of 60 Old 04-22-2009, 07:48 PM
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I think that it's funny how much you know about Crestron programming, including how difficult it is, without having programmed it yourself. The Crestron programming language is more like programming logic system with a high understanding of A/V equipment and hexadecimal manipulation than the procedural languages that you use. As others have stated, adding the programming to the ML-600's is relatively insignificant compared with the full programming of a 6x.

I have programmed Pronto's, RTI, Elan, Harmony as well as others. I (at one time) knew and could program in Basic, FORTRAN, Pascal, C++, Lisp, Forth, SysRPL and Assembly. Crestron is in a whole different ballpark.

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post #25 of 60 Old 04-22-2009, 07:54 PM
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I'll bite. 20,000 hours at $199.99 per hour. Non-refundable, customer signature of contract show acceptance and forfit of any input. As-is system.

Wait,, this isn't a board game is it? Sorry wrong forum!
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post #26 of 60 Old 04-22-2009, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdodd View Post

There is just no way that can be 35 hrs of programming.

The OP has already stated how many hours were quoted. At $3,840 for the programming, that comes to roughly $110 per hour, which is pretty common for Crestron programming.

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post #27 of 60 Old 10-21-2009, 05:43 PM
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Haha, this thread is quite entertaining. I recently (and now I can see stupidly) bought a crestron touchpanel, reading the manual that it had a RS-232 port, and could be used independently from a crestron processor, and it could, IF one could get the software to program the damn thing.

I think all these people that claim Crestron programming is so challenging are completely full of it, and themselves. It's a little empire that Crestron has setup, and if you're not in the club, then you can't even get a hold of the software to program their devices - why, probably because it's not very complicated at all, and if it was open, anyone could do it.

The best comments are ones like "oh, you can program in procedural languages, but this involves complicated things like hexadecimal" - wow, that is the funniest thing I've read all week. Obviously these people have never gotten beyond the "hello world" stage in a "easy procedural" language. Just goes to show you what kind of people are involved with the Crestron empire.

I'm sure for what someone would charge me to program this stupid touchpanel, I could re-write the firmware for the embeded processor myself - it's just a motorolla 68000 series, or something similar. I've developed firmware from scratch for other 68000 based projects before - time consuming, yes, hard, no (but then again I have an engineering degree too, so that's all relative). Or I could just buy a touchscreen kit for an LCD monitor, and do something myself that's linux based, and save all the hassle.

I am mainly posting this to hopefully inform anyone else that think Crestron is good for automating a home, or home theater or anything similar. The answer is yes, but only if you have a pile of money to throw away and or don't know which end of the soldering iron is hot. The long and short of it is, the hardware is way overpriced for what you get, the software is closed, and it's supported by a community of snooty installers that think they're king s**t for knowing a little binary logic. My advice, RUN, RUN like there's no tomorrow.
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post #28 of 60 Old 10-21-2009, 07:13 PM
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Boy, you're pretty full of yourself. It's great that you can connect the dots to realize that it's not generally available because it's so simple. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. If you can do it so much better yourself, go ahead, and stop complaining.

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post #29 of 60 Old 10-21-2009, 07:35 PM
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So sad that so many threads here turn into this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by htomei22 View Post

rdod, it seems like you've stumbled into the 'custom installers' lounge'!!

In any event, has the Creston dealer offered you an estimate as to how many hours the work will take? I notice that none of the responders to this thread have offered any info in that regard. If you had that figure you could at least have a better handle on how reasonable his charges are...

Why hello there ! The problem is that it is impossible to comment because the thread starter has not included a scope and his post is also highly misleading, insofar as he makes it sound like the issue is ML600 remote controls and talks about a "couple of remotes" and then just throws in that it also included programming a TPS-6X. The original post is akin to me posting "car dealer wants $4000 to replace my tires!" and then mentioning as a side note that it also included a new transmission and replacing two doors. And from there a bunch of people who don't know the first thing about car repairs show up and say things like "that's outrageous, all these car mechanics are prima donnas, it should take them 3 hours to do this". And they know that of course, because well, 1 it just should and, 2 they repair Patek Philippe watches so surely that makes them an expert on car repairs. While in the next breath they make comments that reveal an astounding lack of knowledge about cars.
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post #30 of 60 Old 10-21-2009, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakman View Post

Haha, this thread is quite entertaining. I recently (and now I can see stupidly) bought a crestron touchpanel, reading the manual that it had a RS-232 port, and could be used independently from a crestron processor, and it could, IF one could get the software to program the damn thing.

This is one of the most uninformed posts I've seen on this forum in a long, long time. I most definitely appreciate why you're upset that Crestron blocks unauthorized people (anyone other than dealers and some other select groups of people such as CAIP's and educational institutions) from obtaining their software, but in case you hadn't noticed they aren't the only company that does this (hint - don't purchase your next remote from RTI before doing some research). They have their reasons for this and it really doesn't matter if you or I agree with them - it is what it is. Their reasons are mostly centered around protecting their dealers from unfair competition ("trunk slammers") and making sure that their product is presented in the professional manner that keeps their name at the top of the heap. Unfortunately, a side effect of this is that it makes it rather difficult for hobbyist types (who aren't likely to cause the problems that Crestron is trying to avoid) to program their own systems (there are ways, but being hostile towards the entire Yahoo Crestron group and the dealers who post here on AVS isn't a good way to form such a relationship).

Take a step back and realize that you might have made a mistake in not researching the availablility of the programming tools before you made your purchase - I know I would have wanted to download the programming tools first to make sure it could do what I wanted with a reasonable amount of effort.
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