IR Distribution Help Needed - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I've just ordered a new Denon AVR-4520CI to replace my aging Pioneer AVR in my basement home theater. I am going to use the Zone 4 HDMI output to provide the sources in the basement to a second viewing area in the upstairs living room. I am trying to figure out what I need to purchase to control the equipment in my rack (in a closet) from both the living room and home theater via IR.


Here is what I currently have:

Basement Home Theater

Primary Control: iRule on dedicated iPad

GC-100-18 installed in the equipment rack in the closet (for RS-232 and IR devices)

Upstairs Living Room

Logitech Harmony 900 RF Remote


I want to add two new control options to my system. First, the ability to control my new AVR (and other sources) from the upstairs room. Second, to add a backup IR control from inside the home theater. This is for use of my wife when iRule isn't cooperating for her. I've been researching Xantech components and that seems like my best bet to achieving what I want, but I have a few questions.

Ideally, I want to keep the Logitech Harmony 900 in use upstairs as the family is already very familiar with it, but this seems like the biggest issue with the Xantech system. Does anyone know if it's at all possible to integrate the RF-to-IR box of the Harmony 900 into a Xantech IR distribution network? Theoretically, it looks like it might just plug into a CB12, but I can't find any documentation of anyone who has tried this.

Also, to those who have used and installed systems like this. What type of cable is generally ran between rooms to transmit the IR signal. I currently have a 3.5mm stereo cable ran between rooms, but can easily run anything else if necessary.

Finally, If anyone has any other solutions that might be better for my situation, please let me know.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewconner View Post

Ideally, I want to keep the Logitech Harmony 900 in use upstairs as the family is already very familiar with it, but this seems like the biggest issue with the Xantech system. Does anyone know if it's at all possible to integrate the RF-to-IR box of the Harmony 900 into a Xantech IR distribution network? Theoretically, it looks like it might just plug into a CB12, but I can't find any documentation of anyone who has tried this.

Also, to those who have used and installed systems like this. What type of cable is generally ran between rooms to transmit the IR signal. I currently have a 3.5mm stereo cable ran between rooms, but can easily run anything else if necessary.
There should be a way to connect...if necessary you could always just tape an emitter to a sensor to make a simple connection. For the cable, it depends on the devices. Most IR outputs are mono cables (just signal and ground), but most IR inputs are stereo (signal, ground, and power). So sometimes you need a special cable...you can also just make the cables yourself as the documentation for the equipment should show the pinouts for the cables. As for running between rooms, you can extend the 3.5mm cables via cat5...just pick 3 (2 for mono) of the wires and splice to both ends. As a general rule, cat5 is going to be better for the long runs. Long 3.5mm cable could have a lot of signal loss and be susceptible to more interference.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I did a bit more research last night and I think I've come up with a plan. Let me know if any of this does not sound feasible.

I think I'm going to purchase the following components:

Xantech 78944 One Zone Four Source Connecting Block
Xantech CB12 One Zone One Source Connecting Block
Xantech HL85 LCD/CFL Hidden Link IR Receiver
Global Cache GC-CGX IR Converter Cable, GC-100 to Xantech

I would install the 78944 in my equipment rack and run the IR emitters to my various components. The CG-CGX would also go in my equipment rack and connect my GC-100-18 to the Xantech system. This would allow me to use only a single IR emitter on each device and control it with either iRule or IR. I would put the HL85 in my home theater room for IR control. Finally, I would use the CB12 to connect my Logitech Harmony into the Xantech system. This is the point that is the most likely to not work. The logitech system uses mono connectors and the Xantech uses stereo, however the biggest issue is that the Xantech pinout for their stereo connectors is non-standard. The sleeve on a Xantech connector is +12v instead of ground. I don't need the +12v connection at all to power the Logitech, therefore I think a custom cable connecting the mono tip to the stereo tip (signal), and then the mono sleeve to the stereo ring (ground) might work.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-21-2012, 09:13 AM
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I'm not that familiar with Xantech's stuff so I can't comment on the specifics of the models, but your basic approach is absolutely correct. Connecting Block with inputs coming from an IR receiver (for IR remotes) and your Global Cache (for iRule) and outputs going to all the equipment.

I also think you are spot on about the custom cable. You can just get a stereo cable and a mono cable, cut off the mono end and splice it into the stereo cable. One wire of the stereo cable will be unused so you can just tape it off.

As an aside, if you are going to connect to the screw terminals on the Xantech block, you can get stereo headphone extender cables and cut off the female end. Attach the wires to the screw terminals and then you can just plug in to the female end. I do that for the Global Cache so I didn't have to cut the $30 GC-CGX cable. =p
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-11-2013, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got it all working and just wanted to update the thread with what I did in case anyone else comes along looking for it. In the end, the custom cable I made did not work. I think it was because of the Xantech and Logitech systems not having the same ground. On a whim, I tried using the Global Cache GC-CGX I was using on my GC-100 in the basement and sure enough that worked! I simply put a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter on the GC-100 end of the GC-CGX and the other end into the IR Input on the Xantech CB12. I was curious why this cable worked when my custom one did not and I found the secret to the GC-CGX is that the two ends are completely separated by IR. Inside the little box is an IR blaster on one end, and an IR receiver on the other. I guess I could have achieved the same result by just putingt a Xantech IR receiver in front of the Logitech blaster, but the GC-CGX is much cleaner.
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