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Crestron equipment/programming advice needed - Page 3

post #61 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

Just for $hits and giggles, what would be the answer to this question?
I have a Crestron system which is working fine. My projector died and is out of warrantee. My dealer is no where to be found and I don't have a copy of my program. I'd like to get a new projector and add a blue ray player to my system.

Even if you sell him a new projector and BD player, the other 90 percent of the system you didn't provide. Would you take it on or refer him to a CAIP and pick up his equipment elsewhere?

Well, that is one of the dirty secrets of the industry in not providing the source code to the customer. Everyone should demand and get that source code. In every case the customer has been much happier with the results.

We have taken on jobs like that and one of two things happens:

1. We get the customer to get the source code from the other installer. We actually have a job like this right now.

2. We examine if the customer was happy with the old system anyway. Half the time we find out they couldn't use it because it was too complex, too old, or too unreliable. In these cases, we show them the Elan/HomeLogic and they always go for it. We can then get them back to speed at lower cost than making sense out of the old system without source code.

Quote:


Point is, not everyone is trying to beat you out of a buck. They're in a bind and just need service.

I don't know how this point is related to the topic at hand. The issue here is lack of source code, not who buys the gear or whether it is discounted or not.
post #62 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

Just for $hits and giggles, what would be the answer to this question?
I have a Crestron system which is working fine. My projector died and is out of warrantee. My dealer is no where to be found and I don't have a copy of my program. I'd like to get a new projector and add a blue ray player to my system.

Even if you sell him a new projector and BD player, the other 90 percent of the system you didn't provide. Would you take it on or refer him to a CAIP and pick up his equipment elsewhere?

Point is, not everyone is trying to beat you out of a buck. They're in a bind and just need service.

In this instance you have to have the program rewritten. Before the program can be written we would need to charge you for discovery (if you dont have complete documentations of everying). Thats where a couple of guys go out for a day or two to reverse engineer the system. Then we have to document the system so that we have something to hand to the programmer. Not just wiring and zone information. Product models, inputs used, what level of control you currently have and what if any changes you would like to make to the interface.

I would estimate 2 full weeks, 2 guys for this project. First week will be spent figuring out the old system and installing the new hardware. Second week will be spent testing the programming and configuring the new hardware. Plus there are always tons of missed details. I get to takeover jobs sometimes and find programming bugs allover the house. No one ever noticed them because the system was so complicated/buggy that they just assumed it was doing what it should be doing. Another common thing is to find multi thousand dollar touchpanels with the bare bones basic feature set included. The crestron processor can handle everything yet the original dealer was lazy or not skilled enough to implement them. Point being that sometimes it takes a couple days just to give the client what he should have had in the first place.

All this is assuming you are the typical client who doesn't know the difference between HDMI and RCA. Now if you are the guy who wires his own house, installs his own gear and only need the program rewritten.. Why would you call me in the first place? Its in your best interest to contact a programmer directly.

I do my own brakes on my car. I hit the auto parts store, pick up what i need and handle it in my driveway. Why? I can spend $100 on parts doing it myself or i can spend $600-1000 letting the repair shop do it. When i have engine trouble i have to let the pros handle it. I dont have the ability or interest to learn how to repair engines. If they tell me its $1500 then i pay $1500. If my brakes fail its my problem. I dont think the brake shop is trying to rip me off because i understand what it costs to run a business.
post #63 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Well, that is one of the dirty secrets of the industry in not providing the source code to the customer. Everyone should demand and get that source code. In every case the customer has been much happier with the results.

The problem is that most dont know what source code is and have no idea that they need it. I also dont think all CI's are trying to hold it hostage. I think its more likely that some companies are not organized well enough to have a process in place for assembling a document package for the client. It gets forgotten about. Even those who do provide the code often dont follow up after additional programming changes.

At a recent take over project the client gave me the document package. The files on the CD were months older than the version on the lighting processor. I had no choice but to use the archived D3Pro file and attempt to guess at all of the changes made by the other firm at their last visit. Luckily the client remembered most of it and i was able to figure the rest out. We still arent 100% sure i got everything but shes happy for now.
post #64 of 389
I just feel bad for the OP. How could he possibly know how important ALL the equipment is in a "whole system". Most of the missing stuff is "plug and play" on it's own but when part of integrated system, is like a chain missing a link.
I only see a few options here.

1. Contact the company that installed it and see what they would be willing to do.
2. Contact the seller and see if he has or can get the programming and touch panel source files. The installation Co. is not likely to give it to the second owner.
3. Find out what equipment is missing, see if he would be satisfied with what was there. If so, replace it part for part and make it re-plug and play.
He does have to buy replacement equipment anyway and he might just like what was there
post #65 of 389
Thread Starter 
Stefeul, I agree those are the best options.

1. Sounds like what I will do. Hope they are understanding.
2. Doubt he has source files. Whats the chance the installer even still has them from 2005?
3. It was high-end equipment but circa 2005. 720p, no bluray, no new audio codecs, etc. I know the pj was a 720p SIM2. I think I would much prefer new. I wouldn't really like the gameroom having better equipment than the theater!

Stamp, I am the type that can do my own install and just need programming. So as you suggested, why wouldnt I just contact a programmer? Well, other that the guys here, I would have no idea how to find a local programmer.

As an aside, whats a cost comparison of the Homelogic/Elan system vs Crestron? Looks nice on there site, though the list of supported display devices is little (only one JVC pj, perhaps not updated?)
post #66 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

Stefeul, I agree those are the best options.

1. Sounds like what I will do. Hope they are understanding.
2. Doubt he has source files. Whats the chance the installer even still has them from 2005?
3. It was high-end equipment but circa 2005. 720p, no bluray, no new audio codecs, etc. I know the pj was a 720p SIM2. I think I would much prefer new. I wouldn't really like the gameroom having better equipment than the theater!

Stamp, I am the type that can do my own install and just need programming. So as you suggested, why wouldnt I just contact a programmer? Well, other that the guys here, I would have no idea how to find a local programmer.

As an aside, whats a cost comparison of the Homelogic/Elan system vs Crestron? Looks nice on there site, though the list of supported display devices is little (only one JVC pj, perhaps not updated?)

Why not contact Crestron to point you in the right direction as far as finding a programmer (CAIP) or dealer in your area? There are several programmers here that can also do remote programming if you can provide remote access to your system.

Armin also mentioned earlier about the code. Hopefully you can get the existing code, but also make sure if you move forward with Crestron what the code policy is with the dealer/programmer you use. Some will give the code and others will not. There are several threads and articles with plenty of details on the argument. I personally do not understand not giving the client the code when the project is paid in full. But many others disagree with me.
post #67 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

Stefeul, I agree those are the best options.

1. Sounds like what I will do. Hope they are understanding.
2. Doubt he has source files. Whats the chance the installer even still has them from 2005?
3. It was high-end equipment but circa 2005. 720p, no bluray, no new audio codecs, etc. I know the pj was a 720p SIM2. I think I would much prefer new. I wouldn't really like the gameroom having better equipment than the theater!

Stamp, I am the type that can do my own install and just need programming. So as you suggested, why wouldnt I just contact a programmer? Well, other that the guys here, I would have no idea how to find a local programmer.

As an aside, whats a cost comparison of the Homelogic/Elan system vs Crestron? Looks nice on there site, though the list of supported display devices is little (only one JVC pj, perhaps not updated?)

The chances of them having the files is pretty good IMO. I have programming files from 12 years ago.

If you are able to document the system well enough for the programmer.. then IMO you should contact one. You basically just need to give him a list of how things are connected. Like "relay 1" is film screen up and relay 2 is film screen down" "Master bed audio zone is output 1" etc. If you can setup a network you can even have the programming done remotely. This typically costs less but takes 2 or 3 times longer with the back and forth bug discovery/correction. Having someone come out to your home can be annoying but its so much easier to track down problems when the programmer is there to spot them and correct them.

Google "crestron programmer_________" your area in the blank space. You can also check the crestron yahoo group. Post "i am located in___________ and looking for a programmer". Here and Remote Central are also good places to find programmers.

I dont know enough about elan to be specific but as a general rule.. any CE product can be controlled by any control system product. They all have the ability to learn or add IR and RS-232 commands to their data base. The issue is making sure you pick a product that has discrete commands. Most of the JVC projectors should be safe bets.

Depending on the scope of your project.. it may be less expensive to start over with a different product. The pro2 and audio switcher and xm tuner are great products. It would be difficult IMO to price out a comparable system that costs less than just reinstalling the crestron gear. The PRO2 is IMO the best control system processor on the market and the bipad is a great switcher. The LC-1000's and TPMC-10's i would get rid of and replace with iPad's.
post #68 of 389
OP, You're going to need some kind of control system. Find one that is DIY, or you will require a pro.

Some pros will give/sell you the programming software, as part of the deal. Make it clear up front.

For a single room, a Logitech Harmony will suffice until you find a more...suitable solution. It will buy you some time. Will take a while to figure out a reasonable DIY control solution.

Or, you can call a pro now, who will help you pick out good equipment and set you up with a control system that works well immediately.
post #69 of 389
I'm having a brain_fart this morning but won't he need the router that was configured in the system for any "remote" service to happen?
post #70 of 389
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post
I'm having a brain_fart this morning but won't he need the router that was configured in the system for any "remote" service to happen?
Had the same thought but since I am clueless about this stuff thought I would leave it alone!

Neurorad: Agreed, days of the harmony are over for me. It was great in our previous theater with an IR repeater system but the one way communication always has its limitations. Wife always would get frustrated when some command was missed, I always got frustrated when the PJ off command was missed and pj got left on! Plus this house has way too many things to control with a Harmony. DIY may be the ultimate avenue (I know not Crestron DIY!) depending how much they want to get this thing setup. Tempted just to bite the bullet and do it right upfront though.
post #71 of 389
Thread Starter 
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post #72 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

I'm having a brain_fart this morning but won't he need the router that was configured in the system for any "remote" service to happen?

Any router with port forwarding capabilities will work and can easily be configured for remote access. Most entry level Linksys routers can handle this... Or you can step up to something with VPN capabilities depending on how your programmer wants to deal with access. As long as you have high speed Internet (not everyone does believe it or not) remote access should be the least of your worries...
post #73 of 389
Lots of good discussions in this thread, although I think I've seen them take place here before .
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

No offense, but welcome to the real world! Just about every professional I can think of have some jobs that take a little time, others a lot of time.

That is true but that does not mean they are all equal in that regard, some fields involve much higher predictability than others.

In my experience the higher priced and skilled the professional the more likely they are to work on an hourly basis. Even in instances where bids are given by high priced professionals there are usually a plethora of circumstances where change management occurs, so for example if when a builder opens the walls it's discovered that the pipes are defective and replacing the pipes was not part of the bid, that's an immediate change order.

In instances where the work is not predictable it's very common for professionals to work on a time and materials basis (or to quote very high). As an example, there is a good level of predictability involved in wiring new construction, but in retrofit all bets can be off. Walls may have horizontal cross members installed in unexpected places that prevent wire from being fished up the wall. Existing work may be found to be defective as work progresses, requiring additional work.

For the same reason most CI's want to work on T&M if they have not supplied the equipment. Too little predictability, and also too much research that will have to be done to get up to speed because of the unknown components. This concept is hard for some to relate to if they come from a profession where they don't deal with this level of unpredictability regularly. Amir gave a great example with the TV. To explain further, we can't even count on the manufacturers to provide accurate information. As an example a manufacturer thinks nothing of putting an RS-232 port on a piece of equipment and claiming it has a protocol when it doesn’t! We just dealt with this on a project where a Client had an existing CCTV DVR. After countless phone calls and emails and claims by the manufacturer that the product could be controlled via RS-232 we discovered that well, it was a false claim, and the port did nothing.

This is different than many other industries, as an example I think I could set up just about any network router and have it up and running in short order because in the PC industry there is a higher level of standardization. Give me any PC from any manufacturer and I'll gladly agree to have my techs install windows on it and set it up for my Client, it's predictable. I can't even dream of that level of predictability in my industry.

Another question to ask is does the Client want to pay for the necessary research that might assist in delivering a fixed bid? I’m much more inclined to deliver a fixed bid if the Client understands that it’s going to require x hours of work and discovery to determine the work that needs to be done. Using your project as an example, the very first thing I would do is ask you if you had documentation for how your house was wired. Then if you didn’t, I’d want to trace out all of the wire in your home, and research the equipment you own to determine how well it can be controlled. That would be the best way to generate a predictable bid.
post #74 of 389
Heeeeee's Baaaaack.
post #75 of 389
Good to see you too Chip . I've been busy really.
post #76 of 389
I was starting to think you'd given up on us.
post #77 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

I was starting to think you'd given up on us.

I don't think David could give up on the forums even if he wanted to give up... lol
post #78 of 389
Thread Starter 
Is there anyway to know what av products are middle of the road and easy for integration? You guys have suggestions? The main dealer town that installs Crestron carries Theta, B&K, Linn, Arcam, VTL, BEL and NAD. You guys know how expensive that stuff is with the exception of NAD. I assume Denon should be good. How about Integra?

They carry JVC, Runco, Epson, Sim2 for pj's so should be able to find something reasonable in that category. The previous av equipment was a Denon AVR 4306, Denon dvd, not sure about other sources.

Theater lighting is via Crestron. A caen-2x1 enclosure is in the equipment closet.

Regarding wiring, the audio is labeled by rooms. The crestron terminated wiring does not appear labeled. I would need to figure how the control of Jandy pool equipment, pool lighting, landscape lighting and the additional wall controllers in master bedroom and living room are wired. Is there a good way to sort that out? Some sort of wire tester or apply low voltage and testing with a multimeter?
post #79 of 389
Denon and Integra are perfectly fine. As far as projectors go, those are all good brands that offer a mid level product along with a high end.
post #80 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

Is there anyway to know what av products are middle of the road and easy for integration? You guys have suggestions? The main dealer town that installs Crestron carries Theta, B&K, Linn, Arcam, VTL, BEL and NAD. You guys know how expensive that stuff is with the exception of NAD. I assume Denon should be good. How about Integra?

They carry JVC, Runco, Epson, Sim2 for pj's so should be able to find something reasonable in that category. The previous av equipment was a Denon AVR 4306, Denon dvd, not sure about other sources.

Theater lighting is via Crestron. A caen-2x1 enclosure is in the equipment closet.

Regarding wiring, the audio is labeled by rooms. The crestron terminated wiring does not appear labeled. I would need to figure how the control of Jandy pool equipment, pool lighting, landscape lighting and the additional wall controllers in master bedroom and living room are wired. Is there a good way to sort that out? Some sort of wire tester or apply low voltage and testing with a multimeter?

You can pick up a toner/inductive pick up at Home Depot for around $100. That is pretty simple tool to use, just make sure nothing is powered when tracing wires... Yes it is tedious and time consuming, you might want to talk a friend into helping you. 2 people are 3 times as productive as 1.

Most Crestron dealers carry product that is controllable. There is no blanket statement that a line is controllable. For instance there were issues with discretes with entry level Sim2 projectors. I have integrated dozens of Sim2's, but never an entry level component... Places like here and remotecentral are good places to search. This is the stuff we as dealers/integrators deal with...

Jandy has a white box, a 7620 that would interface via serial connection to your processor. If only a small amount of Crestron lighting that could all be controlled via 1 processor probably via Crestnet wiring. They could be using Infinet and have repeaters in conjunction with what is in The CAEN.
post #81 of 389
Well if you want to take baby steps to start figurnig everything out you could take the LC-1000's and plug them in at their wall boxes. They are cresnet devices and should have only a 4 wire plug that only goes in one way. Then connect the cresnet connector to the Pro2 and then the power cable. After the Pro2 powers up, you should be able to get lighted screens at the LC-1000's. Look at the screens and see if they make sense where they are. If you have pool controls in the master bedroom, it's probably not in the right place, unless of course the pool is in the bedroom
I'm guessing the wireless panel is for the theater.
post #82 of 389
Get the correct router and finish sorting out which touchscreens go where.

Then go to the projector location and see what you have for connectivity there. That's where the first snag will come in when you up-grade the projector as you will probably want HDMI there and you probably only have RGBHV or component. Also look to see what type of control was fed to the projector (IR or serial).

Here's a way to sort out serial cables. If everything is unplugged at both ends, use a multimeter and check pins 2 and 3 on the DB-9 connectors at the rack end. They should all show open circuit. Go to the projector and jump pins 2 to 3. Go back to the rack end and look for continuity and mark that plug "projector". You can use the jumping/continuity test for just about anything when everything is disconnected. Comes in real handy for un-marked speaker wire. Use a digital multimeter with a "diode test" (BEEP). that makes it go fast.
post #83 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

Regarding wiring, the audio is labeled by rooms. The crestron terminated wiring does not appear labeled. I would need to figure how the control of Jandy pool equipment, pool lighting, landscape lighting and the additional wall controllers in master bedroom and living room are wired. Is there a good way to sort that out? Some sort of wire tester or apply low voltage and testing with a multimeter?

In order to provide a meaningful document to an integration firm I recommend the following.

1. Install labels on each cable.

2. Each cable label should have a unique number. If you also want to put room names on the cable that is fine, but if it has to be one a number is much better because it can be unique and referred to on a spreadsheet.

3. The cable number should be entered on a spreadsheet with the following information for each cable:
  • Cable Number (101)
  • From (living room, east wall)
  • To (head end)
  • Cable Manufacturer (Belden)
  • Cable Model (1829A)
  • Cable Description (Category 5A)
post #84 of 389
Thread Starter 
Great information guys, truly appreciate it.

There is an HDMI run to the projector box as well as what looks like IR control. Don't see any DB-9 there. In fact, I don't see many DB-9's in the closet either. Maybe removed or everything was controlled via cresnet and IR? Lots of plugs with the blue crestron 4 wire termination. I know the Jandy had to be a DB-9 connection though. When I get everything sorted out a little I can get some pics up.
post #85 of 389
Crestron is fairly simple though like anything it has its quirks and shortcuts, though the shortcut for Crestron is to do it right the first time. The Jandy talks over a 4 wire from the Aqualink RS in the Pool equipment area to the equipment room, could be Cat5 too though should be 16 or 18/4.

So how far are you planning on going with the DIY?

FYI the Crestron and Elan will be almost impossible to do yourself, both really control their lines and programming is not simple.

I would get a local pro in the area to help you out if not do it for you, Im going to get killed for saying this but if your not going to hire a company Im sure there are plenty of out of work guys that will help you out. It is risky but if all you care about is saving money thats your option.
post #86 of 389
Then you have to tell us what type control connections are at the screen and drape locations. Are the drapes and controllers still there. I'm starting to think you don't even have all the Crestron equipment that was there, like a cresnet distribution block and perhaps a power supply or two.
post #87 of 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&M 350Z View Post

There is an HDMI run to the projector box as well as what looks like IR control. Don't see any DB-9 there. In fact, I don't see many DB-9's in the closet either. Maybe removed or everything was controlled via cresnet and IR? Lots of plugs with the blue crestron 4 wire termination. I know the Jandy had to be a DB-9 connection though. When I get everything sorted out a little I can get some pics up.

If I were looking at this project the thing I really want to know re: wiring is what I detailed in my last post. I really don't care what equipment was there before, or whether cables have DB9 connectors etc., what I care about is what is the cable and where does it go from to. For instance if you can tell me that from the head end to the projector is a HDMI cable and a Cat 5e cable that's what I need to know. That tells me I can run video over the HDMI cable and use the Cat 5e cable for control over Ethernet or IR or possibly RS-232 depending on the distance. On the other hand if you were to tell me that it looks like there is a cable there for IR control, that really doesn't tell me anything unless I know what the cable is, i.e. is it 18 AWG 2 conductor shielded, cat 5 etc.

I'm just trying to give you a feel for what is going to be the most useful information to provide an integrator.
post #88 of 389
David, not sure if you read the whole thread but in the beginning we were led to believe that he got the whole system back. Then we found out that he only got some of it back. My line of questioning is to figure out what else might have been there that he doesn't have but should. The theater equipment is gone and I'm starting to think that some of the control support equipment is MIA also. In the beginning he was looking for someone to come in and re-connect everything. Everything is not there to re-connect.
post #89 of 389
Got it. I am just saying that from my standpoint if his goal is to save himself the expense of having an integrator have to trace down all the wiring in the system, that my primary interest is what is there now. Certainly that would include equipment too in addition to the cabling I mentioned.

If he knows what is there now (equipment and cabling, both with the information I mentioned for the spreadsheet) then it should be pretty easy to determine what might be missing and needed.

Of course an integrator is still likely going to want to perform an on-site visit, but if he has already traced everything down and documented it that could mean the difference between the integrator having to devote 2 days to it versus 2 hours. My point being that with the documentation I mentioned and an on-site visit by an integrator, they should be able determine any additional components that he might need.
post #90 of 389
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

David, not sure if you read the whole thread but in the beginning we were led to believe that he got the whole system back. Then we found out that he only got some of it back. My line of questioning is to figure out what else might have been there that he doesn't have but should. The theater equipment is gone and I'm starting to think that some of the control support equipment is MIA also. In the beginning he was looking for someone to come in and re-connect everything. Everything is not there to re-connect.

stefuel, I confirmed with the previous owner that everything previously installed is either present or will be returned to the house. I know the Jandy controller was removed but will be returned.

David, you are correct. I know Crestron is not DIY but I don't need to pay someone to come in and spend days tracking down wiring. I should be perfectly capable of doing that. Should save some coin, albeit likely little. Still, I prefer to be an educated consumer and involved in the process rather than saying "here, fix it".
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