How do I use RS-232 control - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-05-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone. I am interested in exploring the use of control VIA RS-232. I have several devices that can be controlled in this way, and others that cannot. I understand it is a much more stable set up than the current system of IR repeater that I'm using. It's not a requirement for me, but I'm interested in learning and experimenting. How does it work? What do I need to get it to work?

Devices I have that can use it:

TV

Receiver

HTPC

HDMI switcher

Thanks, Craig
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-06-2012, 10:36 AM
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There are several ways to do this and all of them will require at least one or two pieces of hardware.

First you have to decide on a control system. Do you want to use iPads, iPods etc. to use as the remote interface and send out commands via IR or RF? You can also work with a company like URC and use their remotes to send the commands.

Second you will need hardware that will receive the IR or RF signal and convert it to ASCII or HEX commands and the feed them out to the RS232 serial port. I am most familiar with URC systems. I have several remotes that send the commands via RF to the MSC-400 which then outputs the commands via RS232. The remotes just send a "trigger" for the MSC to send the actual command that you are requesting.

This can get expensive with this type of system. Expect to pay at least $200-600 for the remotes, $400+ for the MSC-400 and then you will have to work with a dealer to get the software if you want to do the programming.

There are more "open" products available from iRule, global cache, red eye and others which can so similar things using an iPad or phone as the remote. I do not use these products so I will let others comment.
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-06-2012, 11:26 AM
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A good RF remote will be much cheaper and just as reliable as RS232. The main reason high-end users typically opt for RS232 is for the 2-way communication, not necessarily stability, although you'll certainly get that. But since the interface from the remote to the serial device is still IR or RF, you're not really gaining much over RF alone in terms of reliability. If you don't have any need for feedback (for volume display, confirmation of power and input states, etc.), RS232 is unnecessary IMO for the average user. If you have a high-end, professionally integrated system then that's a different story. I can't quite tell where you're coming from.

If I were looking to make a system more reliable, I'd start by finding all the discrete power and input codes for my devices and re-write my macros using those. Then take advantage of any auto-sensing your HDMI switch can do so you won't ever need to send commands to it (assuming you don't have a matrix switch). Next, consider taking advantage of HDMI CEC so you can get by with sending commands to fewer devices via IR. If those steps aren't enough, then invest in an RF remote which you can use on an RS232 system down the road if you want to take advantage of the feedback you get from serial devices.
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-07-2012, 01:27 PM
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While I do generally agree with everything you have said I can give a couple of examples where the RS232 does give an advantage over IR.

DTV boxes are notoriously finicky when using flashers and using the USB/Serial adapter makes them bomb proof as far as response time.

Some companies offer more codes with RS232 than IR. Recent example is my AV7005 where there was only an IR toggle code when choosing the HDMI output where in the RS232 codes there is a discrete code to choose which output you want.
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