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Help choose home system, HAI, Elan, Crestron - Page 3  

post #61 of 94
QQQ

Some later versions of the Pana 624 we used the caller ID info from it and displayed it for 30 seconds on touch panels. Other than that the 624 serial was not much use. The russian guy that made a GUI for programming them was useful for backing up and reprogramming 624s that went down due to...........

Dave
post #62 of 94
A serial port on a phone system can be incredibly useful. Examples could include:

1. Display caller ID on touchscreens.

2. Sense when a PARTICULAR extension goes off hook and mute the speakers in that room ONLY, then ramp the sound back up when the phone goes back on hook.

3. You could even program buttons on the phone system to control the A/V system. Turn music on or off. Maybe as you are hanging up the phone you decide you want music. So instead of walking to your touchscreen you just press the button that says "jazz" on the telephone. Cisco now makes phones that have touchscreens built in.

The exciting thing that is happening is that any interface in the home can become an interface for anything else. There is no reason you have to look at the lighitng keypad as for lights only, the phone for talking only etc. That is not to say you don't want each item to have its primary function, but convienance can be greatly enhanced by providing basic functionality over the homes system from a wide number of control points.
post #63 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
QQQ

Some later versions of the Pana 624 we used the caller ID info from it and displayed it for 30 seconds on touch panels. Other than that the 624 serial was no much use. The russian guy that made a GUI for programming them was useful for backing up and reprogramming 624s that went down due to...........
I've lost touch with what Panasonic is doing as I found them so limiting. It's been what, 15 years since they introduced caller ID and they still don't allow every extension to log called ID?! Which is the most common request for a home. And not being able to adjust automatically for daylight savings! I know some of their systems do now but still not all which I think is ridiculous. But you've probably read about my love of Panasonic over at RC ;). We use the TCI caller ID box for integration with Crestron.
post #64 of 94
Yea, Pana isn't one of my favorite brands. We have about 4 KSUs hanging out. Still have a sledge hammer with "pronto 4 edit" written on it. The Edit software might meet a KSU this Friday. Haven't had an Edit day in a few months. Kind of helps people bond and have some fun. CID info so soooo picky down here. Have too many 'devices' on that line and the CID boxs will not have enough voltage to act correctly. Phones and I don't like eack other. Don't care to have a 5% hold on final payment for some crazy numbers game. Who do I call. ATT or bellsouth?
post #65 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
As a broad generalization the pro is always going to prefer serial. If someone is using IR on a product that could be controlled via serial (AND they have a serial port available) it probably means that either the serial protocol is seriously flawed (which does happen from time to time) or someone is being lazy or worse. IR is easier for most people so that should pretty much tell you all you need to know. Oh, there is another reason. Sometimes that so-called serial port doesn't actually do anything :). .
I'll disagree, sort of, at least with respect to why I sometimes do not use serial to control a DVD. It's not laziness nor is it from lack of ability. It depends on what I need to happen and it also depends on the cost of the serial port. There is an assumption that jobs do not have some limitation on cost or that cost does not drive some engineering decisions. Even seemingly big budget jobs may reach the point where engineering trade offs occur.

If the device has a rear IR jack and discrete IR codes it is identical to one way serial via RS-232. Even when some serial ports work they may not offer all that much more than discrete IR in terms of control. Panasonic plasmas, Sim2 projectors, the list could be quite long. Finally what if a have a processor with only 3 serial ports and I need the 3 that I have for the lighting system, the CD server and the surround receiver. Might it be something other than laziness to choose to control the DVD with discrete IR via a rear IR jack, such as is found on Denon and Integra?

Finally, what will you do with the information programmaticly? If you intend to turn on the system and switch inputs automatically simply by putting a disc of some type into the DVD player then it makes sense. If all you are going to do is send commands from a one way remote it may not. Is a serial port worth having to display transport feedback? How about the ability to display disc type on the touch panel? Determine power status? Maybe. But I've found that there is little information, save for power status, that is of any importance to me or a client in most DVD players' protocols. If I have the extra serial ports I'll use one on a DVD player. If not I may not view the price of the additional ports as money well spent. My opinion and QQQ is not necessarily wrong in thinking it essential. My systems are not usually as large as his nor do they have his average budget.

Ultimately my decsion is based upon the cost of the serial port ( or its availability ) or whether it will provide something desireable for me to use in my logic or offer the client on the touch panel. I don't get information as to where the disc begins so I can jump there. I don't get aspect ratio information. So I don't think controlling a DVD via discrete IR and a rear jack much of a trade off or such a poor engineering decision.

Alan
post #66 of 94
I agree with all above 100%. Budget I meant to include when I said ""and they have a serial port available" but that was poorly worded. Certainly we go the IR route when a serial port on the control system is not available. And a rear IR port is not bad at all, I despise emitters :).
post #67 of 94
Panasonic has new KSU's out (well sort of new) that are digital hybrids. If not Panasonic, what other brands of ksu's have people found to be better for integrating into systems that have extension feedback, cordless, etc ? Obviously the killer industrial system have such features but its not like I'm going to put a Meridan 1 Option 11C that can handle thousands of lines/extensions in a residence.
post #68 of 94
What would a Meridian 1 Option 11C get you in one of the above scenarios?
post #69 of 94
If I had a Kaleidescape in the system I want the serial connection. Not that it provides much in the way of indirect text but they provide information on which to pop up only those buttons you need at the moment to operate the features on the screen. If you need transport controls you might not need the cursor. It is ingenious and I have posted about trying to implement it's design in players that don't provide those cues. I took their course to see if they understood GUI design. Boy, do they ever. And they don't even provide much in the way of indirect text as feedback because, duh, it's on the TV screen. My Video Request touch panels provide no indirect text either as a result of that Kaleidescape course.

Alan
post #70 of 94
QQQ
Where did you get that picture of the ladies flipping people off. The lady on the far right looks exactly like my Grandmother.
post #71 of 94
I always use the serial ports. Just for the reason that I like to get feedback from the unit I am controlling. We use AMX all over campus. The new Netlinx controllers are really nice and I like the network capability they offer. We do all of our own programming so cost for changes is not a problem. The problem with programming is simply finding a good programmer. Some programmers have a problem with programming the system how they think it should work as opposed to how the customer wants it to work. The flexibility of an AMX or Crestron system offers is really nice.

One thing I would mention about AMX or Crestron is to write in your agreement that you get a copy of the program/source code upon completion so you are not stuck. Many things can happen to companies or programmers leaving etc. Having that program/source code gives you the ability to go wherever you need to get what you want. Just my opinion.
post #72 of 94
Quote:
One thing I would mention about AMX or Crestron is to write in your agreement that you get a copy of the program/source code upon completion so you are not stuck. Many things can happen to companies or programmers leaving etc. Having that program/source code gives you the ability to go wherever you need to get what you want.
Uh oh, when Alan reads that...let's just say you may have opened up a floodgate ;).
post #73 of 94
LOL, I know. Some contractors are really opposed to that. On the other hand, if someone wants that option, make'em pay for it. I know that I as a customer wouldn't want to be stuck especially if the provider turns out to be a lemon. Then again, I as a contractor would want the customer to have to come back to me for service. I can see both sides of the fence on this. My personal feeling is to get the code. If the contractor doesn't like it, find another one. If I am the one shelling out the cash then I had better get what I want. Not trying to make anyone mad. Just my opinion.
post #74 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by indil377
Some contractors are really opposed to that. On the other hand, if someone wants that option, make'em pay for it.
I doubt he'll argue with that.
Quote:
Then again, I as a contractor would want the customer to have to come back to me for service.
I'll let Alan speak for himself but I think for him it is much more of an intellectual property issue and the fact that he has spent much time developing what goes into his projects. I think he dislikes the idea of another contractor being able to get ahold of his code and using or perhaps especially reusing it. Perhaps one of these days Crestron will develop an activation system similar to that used by software companies so that a program cannot be used on more than one system without "activation" and then everyone could be happy.

Who am I kidding? That's not going to happen and it wouldn't make everyone happy either ;) :D.
post #75 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Perhaps one of these days Crestron will develop an activation system similar to that used by software companies so that a program cannot be used on more than one system without "activation" and then everyone could be happy.

Who am I kidding? That's not going to happen and it wouldn't make everyone happy either ;) :D.
That is an interesting concept but I agree they wouldn't go for that. I'm sure you're not the first to think of the idea. It would certainly make things very interesting.
post #76 of 94
I personally hate having to go through someone elses program to make changes. I have done it many times and still have to periodically. Everyone has their own style of programming per say. I find it difficult to try and think what another programmer was thinking. Especailly if you run across someone that didn't really have any method or structure. Some programmers don't make any notes in their programs or label things at all making all the more difficult to work through. Also, I'm speaking from an AMX point of view. I took 1 Crestron class and know absolutely nada about the code.
post #77 of 94
Same thing with Crestron of course. The same program can be written 100 different ways and depending on the programmer and how well they organize things it can be obvious what they are doing or a major PITA to figure it out.

Unfortunately too many people in all industries do their work as if they will be the only ones ever working on it, even as if they will be the only ones within their company ever working on it! Then they leave and the next guy at the company has to try and figure out what the last guy did because he didn't document or make notes. I see it in every aspect of construction. The electrician rarely documents his work fully and half of the time can't even remember how he wired something once he's been off the job for a month. Same with the HVAC guy. And so on...

That's why as a Client I would insist on FULL documentation from all trades and ask to see samples of previous documentation BEFORE hiring anyone. It tells everything about who you are doing business with. I'd guess less than 5% of all subs documents their systems well.
post #78 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Same thing with Crestron of course. The same program can be written 100 different ways and depending on the programmer and how well they organize things it can be obvious what they are doing or a major PITA to figure it out.

Unfortunately too many people in all industries do their work as if they will be the only ones ever working on it, even as if they will be the only ones within their company ever working on it! Then they leave and the next guy at the company has to try and figure out what the last guy did because he didn't document or make notes. I see it in every aspect of construction. The electrician rarely documents his work fully and half of the time can't even remember how he wired something once he's been off the job for a month. Same with the HVAC guy. And so on...

That's why as a Client I would insist on FULL documentation from all trades and ask to see samples of previous documentation BEFORE hiring anyone. It tells everything about who you are doing business with. I'd guess less than 5% of all subs documents their systems well.
LOL, I had to throw that in. One good thing about where I work is that there are restrictions and regulations governing contractors and their work. There is a team of inspectors that go aroud throughout the project and make sure it is following the guidelines. However, something always falls through the cracks. Union labor is the only thing allowed here on campus. As a matter of fact, we are union as well. Not saying that union is always good but at least they have a standard to try and follow and good training to back it up.
post #79 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by indil377
I find it difficult to try and think what another programmer was thinking. Especailly if you run across someone that didn't really have any method or structure. Some programmers don't make any notes in their programs or label things at all making all the more difficult to work through.
Those aren't called programmers, those are called hacks.
post #80 of 94
I am sure the serial port on the Panasonic phone systems are not only used for programming, but also for real-time management of calls.

Here is one of the software packages available: http://www.ablecomm.com/calacsofship.html
post #81 of 94
cmcjo

If you have hyperterminal up these are just transmitted from the phone system. Nothing special except the gathering of info on the software side.

Dave
post #82 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Uh oh, when Alan reads that...let's just say you may have opened up a floodgate ;).

Most of my reasons have been summarized, more or less. Intellectual property, cost and finally copywrite issues. The first is fairly obvious. The second is that most times the code is subsidized as part of the price of the turn key system. It is not really "paid" for but is provided as part of the system for use. Were it actually "purchased" and the software developer compensated for his time and talent then I might be some what less argumentive on the issue. However, anyone ever see the code in most commercial A/V projects where it must be turned over? Often it's pretty pedestrian. I wonder why?

Finally, If I have purchased any code or GUIs then I have the right to use it but should that code fall into the hands of unlicensed third parties those individual's work will be used without compensation. Not much support for copywrite on this site but it is something to consider. In fact educational institutions are among the biggest offenders ( so I am told. No personal experience as I don't work in that field. ) Often they will pay to have a system installed and coded. Extract the compiled code and load it into exact copies of the install all over the campus. Is this good business or immorality--assuming it occurs?

Alan
post #83 of 94
Well, being that I work at an educational facility, I can assure you we don't pirate code. I write all my own AMX code for our systems. I can't speak for other institutions. We used to have a 50/50 mix of AMX and Crestron control systems but the director decided to go with one system and they chose AMX. I would agree that piggybacking off of a vendors program to cut costs is a cheap way of getting things done and isn't fair to the vendor but the vendor also has the option to turn the work down if they suspect this. The bad thing about it is if one vendor turns it down, there is another one waiting to do the job to make the money. So who is to blame, vendor or end user?
post #84 of 94
Certainly the end user. He's the one that is doing something wrong. I don't buy into the argument that stealing music is the fault of the music labels, even though I'm not a big fan of them. But let's keep this thread on topic, shall we :)? Otherwise it will go to hell in a handbasket.
post #85 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Certainly the end user. He's the one that is doing something wrong. I don't buy into the argument that stealing music is the fault of the music labels, even though I'm not a big fan of them. But let's keep this thread on topic, shall we :)? Otherwise it will go to hell in a handbasket.

LOL, fair enough.
post #86 of 94
Boy, I sure would like to know what phone system you guy's recomend. I have the Panasonic 624, and the CID only works for a few weeks before I have to re-boot and re-program the whole thing. That programming manual sure is fun, must have been written by monkeys. And you would think that in the 21st century, they would be able to make the clock in the system keep accurate time.
post #87 of 94
Bad choice of words as I don't wish to make it personal but it makes it seem that way. I posted this story on one of these sites a while ago. Who told it to me was in a position to know but it is still the grossest of hearsay. I believe it was true as it also came with suggestion on how to protect one's code. I was later told to cease posting the solution by a third party coder who did play in that part of the world. Proof? Wouldn't hold up in court but I beleved it to be true. Still even if it is completely false it could be true. And if it was been one single educational institution out of the tens of thousands of honest ones does it not point to the reality that one needs to be aware of the possibility and possibly take precatuions? And you are precisely correct that the next firm in will be more than happy to take posession of that code and reuse it.

I see both sides. End user has to pay twice for the code. But does he? If the code's cost were subsidized what he paid for was the system he has and the code for that system alone. Otherwise he might have had to pay more for the code line item. Most of my clients have been honest. A very small few have not been. It's the dishonest ones who have chnged the way I do business. If I were the end user who had to pay twice I'd get the code no matter the price.

It is far easier to deal with code in Simpl than a procedual code. Most Crestron coders have been trained by Crestron and follow their conventions and comment on the symbol's purpose. It is also organized into folders which makes it easier. Still, as you have said, it can be a pain in the ass to get into an other programmer's head. It will always take longer to add a code block, even an additional source to existing code written by someone else just to make sure one hasn't missed. Hell, it will take a few minutes when I open code I wrote 5 years ago. It's not as if you don't learn and change the way you do things.

Alan
post #88 of 94
Alan,

I'm not going to argue with you. The bottom line is trying to put food on the table for your family. I'm not nor would I be interested in trying to screw someone out of their work. Believe me when I tell you that educational people for the most part absolutely do not care about anything but their agenda and budget. If some fella gets steam rolled then oh well. They don't lose any sleep over it. One good thing I can say about our union is that everyone knows what the can and can't do. Go over your bounds and get a fine. Besides, if I start doing some fella's work, then that's more work for me. I'm a hard worker but I'm not generous.
post #89 of 94
I realize that this thread is a little long in the tooth but I was browsing looking for comments on the TPMC-17-CH and ran across this one that had a number of comments on the TPMC-10. We just installed a pilot project for audio distribution to 10 rooms using a PRO2, BIPAD8, AMPX16x60, ReQuest and a single TPMC-10 to evaluate the TPMC-10. A few observations on the 10:

1. It's a beautiful device to program and use.

2. Why Crestron says it won't same-SSID roam is baffling. In our pilot, we have 2 Cisco Aironet 1100 access points, each one at opposites ends of the house. Both use the same SSID, one on channel 1 and one on 6. The TPMC-10 properly roams from AP to AP and back as we walk around the house. We know this by looking at the log in setup and see it associating with the other AP as we move out of range of one and into the other. It works flawlessly in that regard. I would be curious to see some feedback from others. We're happy it works but can't quite figure why when it's supposedly not suppose to.

3. Microsoft says same-SSID roaming is in CE 4.2 and that's what our 10 is using and so it all seems like it should work and it does. What we can't figure is why Crestron say it won't same-SSID roam and yet ours works. Any works of wisdom would be appreciated.

4. The idea of limiting a 10 to one room is not very workable in this pilot and likely the final system. The 10 is easy to carry around and at $3,800 retail, it would be tough to sell 10 for this pilot project at a total list of $38,000 for the panels especially when carry them around is acceptable and desirable. From a utility point of view, the final system will need more than 1 but far less than 10, from the user's point fo view and so room to room roaming is desirable and.....it works.

5. Where we found the 10 to be limited in its roaming and carrying-around aspects, is the range of its transmitter/receiver. It's quite limited, about equivalent to 802.11g units in laptops of a few years ago. We did a site survey and the 10 came in equivalent to the 802.11g cards for the Thinkpads we compared it to of 2 to 3 years ago. The 10s range compared to recent 802.11g hardware in current Thinkpads is poor. Two APs easily cover the 10 rooms in the pilot for the Thinkpads that are being used with 100% coverage but the 10s are out of range around 40% of the locations. We added 2 more APs, as a test, and the coverage increased to 100% for the 10. It took 4 APs for the 10 versus 2 for the Thinkpads. If we stick with and add some 10s in the final system, we'll have to add 1 or 2 more APs to keep it in range in all the places it will be used.
post #90 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by focusontheworld
I realize that this thread is a little long in the tooth but I was browsing looking for comments on the TPMC-17-CH and ran across this one that had a number of comments on the TPMC-10. We just installed a pilot project for audio distribution to 10 rooms using a PRO2, BIPAD8, AMPX16x60, ReQuest and a single TPMC-10 to evaluate the TPMC-10. A few observations on the 10:

1. It's a beautiful device to program and use.

2. Why Crestron says it won't same-SSID roam is baffling. In our pilot, we have 2 Cisco Aironet 1100 access points, each one at opposites ends of the house. Both use the same SSID, one on channel 1 and one on 6. The TPMC-10 properly roams from AP to AP and back as we walk around the house. We know this by looking at the log in setup and see it associating with the other AP as we move out of range of one and into the other. It works flawlessly in that regard. I would be curious to see some feedback from others. We're happy it works but can't quite figure why when it's supposedly not suppose to.

3. Microsoft says same-SSID roaming is in CE 4.2 and that's what our 10 is using and so it all seems like it should work and it does. What we can't figure is why Crestron say it won't same-SSID roam and yet ours works. Any works of wisdom would be appreciated.

4. The idea of limiting a 10 to one room is not very workable in this pilot and likely the final system. The 10 is easy to carry around and at $3,800 retail, it would be tough to sell 10 for this pilot project at a total list of $38,000 for the panels especially when carry them around is acceptable and desirable. From a utility point of view, the final system will need more than 1 but far less than 10, from the user's point fo view and so room to room roaming is desirable and.....it works.

5. Where we found the 10 to be limited in its roaming and carrying-around aspects, is the range of its transmitter/receiver. It's quite limited, about equivalent to 802.11g units in laptops of a few years ago. We did a site survey and the 10 came in equivalent to the 802.11g cards for the Thinkpads we compared it to of 2 to 3 years ago. The 10s range compared to recent 802.11g hardware in current Thinkpads is poor. Two APs easily cover the 10 rooms in the pilot for the Thinkpads that are being used with 100% coverage but the 10s are out of range around 40% of the locations. We added 2 more APs, as a test, and the coverage increased to 100% for the 10. It took 4 APs for the 10 versus 2 for the Thinkpads. If we stick with and add some 10s in the final system, we'll have to add 1 or 2 more APs to keep it in range in all the places it will be used.

Here's some words of wisdom: Items 2 and 3 are the same. :D
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