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Home automation resource suggestions please - Page 2  

post #31 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCiEnt
Can anyone authoritatively answer my other question about using using touch panels by either Samsung or Viewsonic with Crestron or Control4 systems. Thanks.
A client of mine has a Crestron-branded system that obviously uses Viewsonic 802.11 touch panels.
post #32 of 59
Thread Starter 
Dean Roddey: I am looking if not for all atleast 90% of the functionality.

From what Andrew and audiblesolutions say looks like its possible...

But Andrew why does your client "obviously" use the Viewsonic touchpanel?
post #33 of 59
Crestron OEMs any number of the equipment they sell. Their amps come from RTI, their ML-500/600 from Universal Remote Control, their TPS-4X from Nevo and their TPMC-10 is from Viewsonic. There are any number of minor or major modifications to these devices. For example, Universal Remote's RF performance is known to be suspect but the ML-500 has always had superior performance due to modifications to the RF section. Supposedly there are also significant modifications to the Nevo piece. This has always made sense to me even if some have criticized the practice. Plastic molds are expensive. I'd rather Crestron spent their money on new technologies, like their propritary Zigbee com link, commercial video distribution products, new development tools and products like the Adagio ( which will soon come with built in surround processing and component video switching ). Which would you rather have? A remote manufacturered in house or wireless thermostats and lighting components?

Alan
post #34 of 59
Quote:
A client of mine has a Crestron-branded system that obviously uses Viewsonic 802.11 touch panels.
You are probably talking about the $3600 to $11,000 dollar OEM'd version of the Viewsonics that Crestron sells, not the off the shelf one.
post #35 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions
Crestron OEMs any number of the equipment they sell
.
.
.
manufacturered in house or wireless thermostats and lighting components?

Alan

I have to agree with you Alan. I rather that companies do what they do best. I believe that its better to source products from others where they have the technology readily available, than wasting precious resources reinventing the wheel while they could be building something totally new.
post #36 of 59
sCiEnt ,

I hate to see you stray away from the AMX systems as at least a possible solution. I program both Crestron and AMX and in my opinion I like AMX the best. I work for a dealer of both products and I know that there are several AMX kits available that include WAP's, touch panels, controllers and all the software you'll need to program the entire system. These kits are called "AMX Experience Kits".
post #37 of 59
Thread Starter 
stringsender: From what I have heard the AMX systems are more complex to program. But more importantly they do not seem to have a system comparably priced with the Adagio from Crestron. If you know of any please let me know, I will be glad to consider them.

Also I have had very few people speak up for AMX. Alan (audiblesolutions) and a few others have made some very good points for the Crestron so far which I don't see from anyone for AMX. Maybe you could tell me some more of the AMX products as compared with the Adagio as you deal with both Crestron and AMX.

I will keep looking though, and I am open to suggestions.
post #38 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCiEnt
Dean Roddey: I am looking if not for all atleast 90% of the functionality.

From what Andrew and audiblesolutions say looks like its possible...

But Andrew why does your client "obviously" use the Viewsonic touchpanel?

They have a tiny Viewsonic logo on the case :)
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCiEnt
stringsender: From what I have heard the AMX systems are more complex to program. But more importantly they do not seem to have a system comparably priced with the Adagio from Crestron. If you know of any please let me know, I will be glad to consider them.

Also I have had very few people speak up for AMX. Alan (audiblesolutions) and a few others have made some very good points for the Crestron so far which I don't see from anyone for AMX. Maybe you could tell me some more of the AMX products as compared with the Adagio as you deal with both Crestron and AMX.

I will keep looking though, and I am open to suggestions.
There is nothing wrong or bad about AMX. It is a fine company who makes a fantastic product. But they are like CQC, a control system and they have nothing in their SKU like the Adagio. This is what makes the Adagio so revolutionary. It brings basic automation into the price point and expectations of a wider public. But if you have the money there is no reason not to consider a full blown Crestron or AMX system. I got the feeling that you were not looking for a balls to the wall, state of the art automation system, either because of price constraints or philosphical objections. If you are looking to do what our friend IVB as attempted you can use CQC if you want to put in the many hundreds of hours in labor or you can hire a firm and attempt a balls to the wall automation system. Or you can go with the middle ground, get a simple distributed audio/video system with some few ( 20-40 ) lights and thermostats ( 5-7 ) with the Adagio. Point I'm making is that AMX is a fine system and well worth investigating. It's not inherengtly better nor worse than any other save in a particular installation where an AMX product might be better suited.

Alan
post #40 of 59
Thread Starter 
I have no doubt they are excellent systems. Just saying that AMX seems to get less press in this forum than Crestron. I know if I get a Crestron system I can seek help from very knowledgeable people on this forum for help while I am not so sure about AMX.
post #41 of 59
Have you really decided on the DIY route?

AMX, C4, Crestron are not really built for DIY at all. Yes, you can go it alone but those products dont have strong communities behind the DIY effort. They are also definitely the more expensive route and give you the least amount of flexibility when sourcing components. Plus the programming is at a 'lower level' then the DIY choices. Your time and speed of getting up to speed will definitely be 10x slower then if you choose something like CQC. Choosing one of the three above is like buying very expensive tile for your kitchen and installing it yourself for the first time!!, what a waste of money when you screw it up ;)

If you want to save the money then (IMO) there are only two choices in the DIY world, Homeseer and CQC. My choice is CQC because Dean is hands on, he is constantly updating the product and the community is very, very active in adding drivers to the product daily.

I will have 6 audio zones access to XM/FM Radio, 10,000 MP3s , 6 HD video zones access too 200 Ripped DVDs on a server, DVD player, 2 HD cableboxes, Tivo) . HVAC, security (with IP based Cameras), sprinkler system,etc running through CQC. Most expensive part of the application for me is going to be my touchscreens because I want nice ones.
post #42 of 59
Thread Starter 
penngray,
I hear you. But C4 seems to have a fairly strong online community and Crestron, well that seems a little more difficult but there are a few people around here who are always willing to answer questions. I understand that these are more expensive options that Homeseer and CQC but if I wire up my entire home with it I want it to be stable and I want the company to be around to support the product and provide updates. But this does not mean I have eliminated those options entirely either, probably over this weekend or sometime soon I am going to try a trial version of CQC. Another of my concern with these products is device support. On the CQC site it does not list my Rotel RSX1056, my motorola HD cable box or the Oppo DVD player, so that might be a problem.
post #43 of 59
Quote:
On the CQC site it does not list my Rotel RSX1056, my motorola HD cable box or the Oppo DVD player, so that might be a problem.
Worst case for devices that don't have RS232 control is that you use IR to control it. In that case, you'd use one of the IR Blasters, CQC supports the 4 major brands.
post #44 of 59
Thread Starter 
The receiver and motorola box have RS232 ports. But without the drivers how will I control the devices using CQC?
post #45 of 59
True, to control something over RS232, you need a driver. [some are shockingly easy to write, btw - i wrote a very very basic Polk XM one in a few hours using the CQC PDL language until Dean wrote a real one].

However, you can control your oppo/etc via IR, just like using a remote. That's the same thing that many control systems do. You'd get the oppo IR codes into the CQC system, then tell CQC to "blast" those IR signals out via a USB-UIRT or R2DI or GlobalCache IR transmitter to your DVD player.

The downside of IR is that it's inherently one way - you cannot tell current state, nor if it worked, via an automated control. But given that if you press stop, and the DVD player doesn't stop, you could always just press the stop button again.
post #46 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCiEnt
On the CQC site it does not list my Rotel RSX1056, my motorola HD cable box or the Oppo DVD player, so that might be a problem.
I'd be shocked if your Motorola HD cable box had a serial protocol or accepted serial codes. We control most CATV boxes--in this area Time-Warner, Cable Vision and RCN--with a smattering of Cox and old Adelphi thrown in--via IR and we use any number of ways to sense the on/off status. Directv is moving, fascinatingly, to serial, but to my knowledge they are alone among the MSOs in this respect. Do you really need to know that your CD is in play mode? If the unit has discrete codes for power, input and aspect, in many cases IR will work just fine. Do you need to display channels on a touch panel when they come on your display's screen?

You need feedback when you are want a "dashboard," when you want to know about weather or stocks, or data that helps you to select what you want, such as information from a cd or dvd server, satellite radio and such. But do you really need feedback from an AM.FM radio? Will not presets work readily enough for most people? Sure I've written modules for Elan's (Teac's) dual tuner and for the new Sherbourne. But the reality is that I hate wasting a valuable serial port for such a marginal item. Even displays using serial is a waste save in terms of tracking status. I don't know any way of knowing when to send the next code then by waiting for status feedback from the device. But using timers will work, even if it may be a bit gross. I'd wager that 75% of equipment is controlled via IR. As long as there is a physical connector and discrete IR codes, IR will work just fine.

I am a believer in companies too. I recently had one of my files eaten when I tried to save it. The backup files were corrupted but the Crestron was able to save them--which saved me 4 days work on a time sensitive job where I was working around the clock. How would CQC function with Coaxsys as the Network. Possibly fine, as it uses embedded XP but can anyone know what to do if there is an issue? What if there is some issue with a lighting load? A HVAC thermostat? It's nice to have the engineering staff behind your endeavors. Crestron has a great on line community--possibly the best group on the web in terms of programming knowledge with respect to control systems. It's nice to know that equipment has been designed to work together and if there are any interface issue you have someone to call for help who has expertise in that field--which may be video, audio, digital audio, programming, networking, lighting, HVAC, grounding and on and on.

However, just because CQC may not have a driver or forces you to use IR may not be the reason to discard it as an option. I still think for the money you are not going to approach the feature set of an Adagio. But you will certainly pay a price in dollars for the dealer base, tech support and pre-engineered systems any manufacturer brings to market. But you will also need to spend a good deal of time or sweat equity in designing, researching, installing and programming that system. As with women, there is no free lunch. In the end you always pay, either in money, aggravation, or time.

Alan
post #47 of 59
Thread Starter 
I don't mean to dismiss CQC or the likes by any chance. Reliability and support will be my primary concern but a considerable part of that might be offset by the cost savings :D
post #48 of 59
i'm finding that a PC-based system is as reliable as you make it.

My server is like a rock. However, literally all it does is record SageTV and act as the CQC server. Nothing else at all. Never has been used for websurfing even once. 99% of the time, the paltry AMD2500 3yr old CPU sits at 10% utilization. Windows automatic udpates are turned off. There's no dedicated monitor [shares it with the HTPC], and I can't remember the last time I used it directly. But, I'd rather treat it like an appliance rather than try and re-use it for other purposes. Given that I only spent $500 or so on that server [plus hard disks & tuner cards for the TV], it wasn't so much $$. Plus now I have supreme confidence in it's reliability.

Of course, I still think that given your other posts in this thread, C4/non-DIY might be better for you, but there's that pesky $$ thing.

Alan is dead on - you'll either pay in terms of time to set it up, or $$ to pay someone else to set it up for you. Choose your poison.
post #49 of 59
I can't believe nobody has mentioned HAI. I have an OmniPro II system that I have largely installed myself. It currently handles Security, Lighting, HVAC, video surveillance, whole-house audio, and interfaces nicely and easily with ANY PC via snaplink. It is also very easy to grow and evolve the system as your skills and $$ grow. Expansion capabilities are nearly endless.

Another very worthy note, their support is outstanding towards the end user. They don't differentiate between dealer technicians and end-users. The depth of your skills is limited only by your ability. None of this exclusive dealer helpline bit. I know this irritates many dealers, but IMHO their product and support is excellent.

Most everything is run via CAT-5 so whatever you do run plenty of that, as it is probably safe for most equip.


Please no dealer trolls/HAI bashing, I'm just a lowly end-user...
post #50 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions
As with women, there is no free lunch. In the end you always pay, either in money, aggravation, or time.
Alan
Yes. I guess its just for you to decide if its worth the trouble or not (either in terms of money, aggravation or time).
post #51 of 59
i really need to start wiring my own house since i get to bring my work home with me! :D
post #52 of 59
I have not yet had an Adagio in house. This is in large part the result of Crestron's RoHos screw up delaying their ability to get products out the door. However, I was talking with someone the other day who thought the Phast GUI was what this industry needs ( and what C4 is attempting ), who thinks Sonus is better than sex. He loved the idea that he could turn a few dials on the Adagio and the APAD interface just worked. He set up 1 keypad to control his home, added the CEN-IDOC ( ipod interface ) and the questions that popped up were easy to follow. In 10 minutes he had his system up and running without having to perform any "real" programming.

You get a manufactured solution so components ought to play well together. It is said to be a well done UI, is simple and fast to program, has a far better on line community than exists for any other product, including CQC, and has both higher level of tech support resources, from the manufacturer and from its dealer base than any DIY solution. It may not be as much fun to play with as, say IVB's system, but if you want a simple, relatively inexpensive system, that can be setup quickly and with little programming knowledge and whose primary aim is audio-video distribution with the ability to control 30-40 lights and 4-5 thermostats then I find it hard to conceive of a better value than Adagio. Sure you will have to give up those 17 inch touch panels if you go this route, you will not be able to program your sprinkler system via the control system, but you will gain a simple, reliable control processor that does not require programmer or learning a programming language.
post #53 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions
Sure you will have to give up those 17 inch touch panels if you go this route, you will not be able to program your sprinkler system via the control system, but you will gain a simple, reliable control processor that does not require programmer or learning a programming language.
Why? Does Adagio not work with sprinklers and the larger touchpanels?
post #54 of 59
Thread Starter 
Btw I just noticed the title of my thread "Home automation resource suggestions please" :D and I would like some suggestions as to places to look for detailed wiring on simple systems. Something that would tell me how to wire Lutron dimmers, or a simple whole home audio.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCiEnt
Why? Does Adagio not work with sprinklers and the larger touchpanels?
Dean Roddey has, among others, made the point that Crestron's larger panels are prohibitively expensive, especially when compared to the OEM units he and his CQC users install. The Adagio software does not support them either so you'd have to move outside of the basic programming built into the unit. Crestron is not a stupid company. They did not create the Adagio to eat into their other control system sales. While you can use any Crestron device with the Adagio you will need to program it and that raises the system price. If you want simple then you are more or less restricted to Crestron source devices, ST-Tune, C2N-TAM/FM, C2N-TXM, any of the Adagio tuner cards, the Crestron CD server (AAS), CEN-IDOC ipod interface or one of the few third party interfaces for it such as the Request CD server and VRQ product. You get keypads, APADs and the TPS-4L as user interfaces. Once you move beyond that you need to write the code.

Code could be added to the Adagio to control a sprinkler system. But the minute you begin moving down this path you might be better suited to going with a full 256mps processor and a la carte products. The Adagio should be seen as a distributed audio system that can control a limited amount of video sources and include small lighting and HVAC systems. Yes, it can be used to arm and disarm a security system, pull weather and stock quotes from the Internet and lots of other features. But this is a 57mips processor that was designed to be used in small scale systems, not balls to the wall automation systems. It is easy to wire and easy to use and at 2900 for the AAS with XM or Serius tuner card, 500/APAD, 275/keypad and 1250/TPS-4L it is not outrageously expensive for a 4x6 source system. It's purpose is basic audio, video and automation control. Security and sprinklers are not basic control features. It could be done but I'd argue that it shouldn't with the Adagio.

If you were going to hire my company to do your work you would pay more than if you did it yourself. You possibly would pay more than what an other automation contractor might charge. Does a dealer bring with him any value added? I think we do but many on this board would disagree. Part of what we bring is a strategic understanding of the process. How to use keypads in a lighting system. What works and what does not. What is expensive and what is not. How to design a system for the basic user while making the power user happy. How to avoid common foible such as ground loops and what sorts of surge and under/over voltage devices to install that actually work. Much of this knowledge is experiential. Put in the time and you too will rediscover that the earth is elliptical. How much you enjoy the nitty-gritty of the process should inform your choice of road not taken. If you want security and sprinkler system control you might wish to rethink the Adagio as your system. It's not that it cannot be done but perhaps at that point an other system, full blown Crestron, CQC, AMX, HAI, Elk might be better candidates for your selection.

Alan
post #56 of 59
Alan -

Why do you say Adagio can't control more than 30-40 lights or add security. The basic processor (57mips) is pretty fast. Even with 100 or 200 lights, why would that add any load at all? I'd think the processor would more or less be idle most of the time anyway. No matter how many lights you have, the number you switch on or off at any time doesn't really change. Same for a security system. How could that really add any load to the processor?

I ask this because I am considering a Crestron system for a home I am building which will be around 7,000 sq feet. The Adagio seems perfect for what I want - a good price/performance point, and the TPS-4L touchpanel looks perfect. What I want to do is have lighting, HVAC, and audio distribution. I also may put a single home theater under its control.

By the way, though I am very much a DIY at heart, I plan to get a pro to do the work. Here is why (for those other people trying to make this decision):

1. I have done a lot of home automation and while it is fun, you do grow tired of all the tinkering. It would be nice to be able to call someone and just say, fixed it please.

2. The home I'm building is a vacation home and I when I go to visit I don't want to spend all my time debugging, for example, the lighting control.

3. I expect I can find a system and installer that will, at the very least, provide "hooks" into the automation system that will allow me to have some control from other software of the system (either via TCP/IP or HTTP style access).

By the way - does anyone have any screen shots of the Adagio web interface for accessing the music library?
post #57 of 59
If you are doing a major lighting system then it is a good system design to have a decicated lighting processor. If you are building a new home I'd suggest either a centralized or wired decentralized lighting system as opposed to wireless. How much of your processing speed will be eaten up by audio zones? You can go up to 24 audio zones with the Adagio family and if your house has an other 50-70 lighting loads plus the video and source control over head I worry about having problems or legacy issues. No I haven't done the math to see how much of that 57mips will be eaten up by which subsystem or where the practical limations are. My recomendation of 30 or so lights is based upon the INET gateways 32 device limitation. This has changed and is now more robust but I still use the lower number that is no longer accurate. Sure, the Adagio can support 2 INET gateways and 64 wireless dimmers. I just think it bad system design unless it's a retro-fit. If you are going to constantly poll the security system the Adagio does not have the serial ports and I suspect the horse power to do the job.

I'd feel safer if your system design went to a 256mips processor and included the Adagio for audio or you went with a 8x8 PAD8 or 16x8 Bipad8. You gain more serial ports, more processing overhead, more power at the price of some programming complexity. I see the Adagio as a small system; best suited to 12-18 zones of audio and a limited amount of control. If you think you are going to have 14 thermostats and 50-70 lights, 4-6 displays and some video I'd rather see a system design predicated on a 256mips processor than the 57mips Adagio. If I'm too conservative then it does not bother me over much. I like to have plenty of horse power in reseve, especially if I have lots of ramps that need to be accomplished.

Alan
post #58 of 59
Thank you, Alan, that was helpful.
post #59 of 59
Thread Starter 
Anything on where I can go dig up stuff to hard wire a house use either a Crestron or Lutron ligthing system?
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