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Official Touchtronix IP Touch and NComputing Owner's Thread

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I have just installed 2 IP Touch panels from TouchTronix. I did not see a tread specifically for UTMA devices so I'm starting one! Please post your tips, problems and success stories here. This forum is full of creative people and I'm interested in seeing how others are using the panels.

As for my story...I installed the Touchtronix UTMA touch panels (I will actually hook up the power and Cat5 later) in the walls. I have one in the living room and one at the top of the stairs. These will run MainLobby @ 1024x768 resolution. I will eventually put some more in the house and one in the theater. I have actually pre-wired all the rooms to support these panels.

Touch panel out of the box.


Leveling the cutout.


ByeBye drywall.


Box inserted.


Panel inserted.


Finished product downstairs.


Finished product upstairs.



I was very happy with the easy install...and the finished product looks great! I plan on using a mix of these panels and some NComputing boxes hooked up to standard monitors.

The question I have now is...what power supply do I need. The kit came with one to mount in the enclosure...but my 12v power wire goes back to my equipment closet. I may need a more powerful supply because of voltage drop due to the length of the wire.
EDIT: Voltage was not a problem...I tested w/ a multimeter and was able to use included power supplies in the equipment room.
post #2 of 35
Well, it may not be the success story you were looking for, but I successfully avoided Dwayne/Touchtronix' 12" IPTouch for $695 a few weeks back. Quite difficult, I was ready to buy on 3 different occasions, succesfully withstood temptation.

I met Dwayne @EHX in November, seems like a really nice and good guy.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

I successfully avoided Dwayne/Touchtronix' 12" IPTouch for $695 a few weeks back.

Any reason you have held off? Are you going another route?
post #4 of 35
Size is too big for WAF. I've been chatting with Dwayne on & off for several months on the cocoontech chat, plus @EHX; he's working on an 8" version. He mentioned that they've been going back&forth with templates and other manufacturing stuff I don't really understand, but the kinks are getting worked out.

There's now a teaser about it on their page, so it must be getting close.
post #5 of 35
Keep in mind those are terminal services clients only. meaning they need a host pc in order to work. Its the same as the Viewsonic airpanelthat you can get for about $200 except for the inwall mounting.
post #6 of 35
Frunple,
Yes, the Viewsonic and the TouchTronix UTMA require a host PC. Yes, they both display PC stuff.

Other than that, there is no comparison.

If you are looking for an in wall touch solution, and don't require full motion DVD grade video, can't run a pair of CAT5 cables from PC to in-wall (for VGA balun / serial connection) the Touchtronix UTMA is an excellent solution, especially for the price.

If you can run the two Cat5 cables, TouchTronix also makes their Relay Touch product which omits the proprietary UTMA communications board.
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
Don't forget that you can run up to 10 of these from one host computer. Each having its own Windows session.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post

If you are looking for an in wall touch solution, and don't require full motion DVD grade video,

The TT's don't do full motion video, or just the resolution&refresh rate of DVDs?

I was contemplating putting one in a location where TV shows would be distributed (ie, in kitchen you can watch the cooking show with the recipe you're trying to destroy/emulate). Those could be in HiDef, but very likely not.

Sounds like that's a no-go then?
post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 
The only video I will show on these is security cameras... and it is good enough for that. I have dedicated HD monitors anywhere I need to see video programming. Full motion video would be a nice spacesaver...but I don't need it in may case.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Also more pics of the touchscreens on my Whole House Automation Thread
I powered on up for testing.
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Anyone used an NComputing L-Series device with a wireless ethernet bridge?
Did it work well? Was it wireless g?
Thanks
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

The TT's don't do full motion video, or just the resolution&refresh rate of DVDs?

I was contemplating putting one in a location where TV shows would be distributed (ie, in kitchen you can watch the cooking show with the recipe you're trying to destroy/emulate). Those could be in HiDef, but very likely not.

Sounds like that's a no-go then?

IVB, The ncomputing technology is simply a remote desktop session. If you've ever used remote desktop (not sure if you have), but it doesnt have a real "refresh" rate. It kinda "repaints" the screen when needed so any video would be really choppy.

I wish ncomputing would disclose the truth about these things in their advertising, people think they are getting a good deal on a touchscreen running "its own windows desktop with its own ip address" which leads you to believe its an actual pc, its just a dumb terminal remoting into a pc which has concurrent connections enabled. Sure you can connect 10 of them to one pc (you can do that with the concurrent connection termserv.dll also, and they both break MS' EULA equally) but everyone of them 10 screens will be broadcasting the same ip address of the host pc. The ip of the TS is only used to put it on the same subnet of the host, it serves no other purpose.

Now a lot of people are gonna say how good these things are and that I should stop putting them down. If you like them , use them, I'm just letting people know what they are really getting. It might save them some trouble.
post #13 of 35
I didn't know that, thanks for that info. It certainly does shed light on the downside of this solution, and gives me something to think about.
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frunple View Post

I wish ncomputing would disclose the truth about these things in their advertising, people think they are getting a good deal on a touchscreen running "its own windows desktop with its own ip address" which leads you to believe its an actual pc,

I was never under the impression it was it's own PC...the Ncomputing website seems to be fairly straightforward that it is a remote desktop session with a single host pc.
I think one of the advantages to this system is the fact that IT IS a dumb terminal. I did not want to install a full pc in-wall...and there is also a power savings aspect.
For me it came down to ease of expandability, multiple remote touchscreens and dumb terminals fed by one computer, and power consumption.

Sure it is not a good solution for streaming movies or tv (limited to 15 fps)...but it is perfect for simple web browsing or home automation. For the simple stuff, I would rather have 10 remote terminals running than having to deal with 10 separate computers. Think about it...only having to do updates and install software on 1 pc vs 10...time savings alone is worth it.

Bottom line... these are niche products. If you want full blown multimedia then get dedicated pc devices. If you don't... then remote desktop might be for you.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by videocam View Post

I was never under the impression it was it's own PC...the Ncomputing website seems to be fairly straightforward that it is a remote desktop session with a single host pc.
I think one of the advantages to this system is the fact that IT IS a dumb terminal. I did not want to install a full pc in-wall...and there is also a power savings aspect.
For me it came down to ease of expandability, multiple remote touchscreens and dumb terminals fed by one computer, and power consumption.

Sure it is not a good solution for streaming movies or tv (limited to 15 fps)...but it is perfect for simple web browsing or home automation. For the simple stuff, I would rather have 10 remote terminals running than having to deal with 10 separate computers. Think about it...only having to do updates and install software on 1 pc vs 10...time savings alone is worth it.

Bottom line... these are niche products. If you want full blown multimedia then get dedicated pc devices. If you don't... then remote desktop might be for you.


I agree with you. I actually use 2 of the viewsonic airpanels. These do exactly the same thing as the touchtronix screens except I paid under 300 for each.
My point is to let other people know that these are terminal services clients. Yes, you knew that from their website but a lot of other people dont.
It just seems ridiculous to me to pay over $1000.00 for a beautiful in wall touch screen that you can't even use as a digital picture frame!! For a couple hundred more you can have a webdt 880 that runs a full wince os.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frunple View Post

I agree with you. I actually use 2 of the viewsonic airpanels. These do exactly the same thing as the touchtronix screens except I paid under 300 for each.
My point is to let other people know that these are terminal services clients. Yes, you knew that from their website but a lot of other people dont.
It just seems ridiculous to me to pay over $1000.00 for a beautiful in wall touch screen that you can't even use as a digital picture frame!! For a couple hundred more you can have a webdt 880 that runs a full wince os.

Why couldn't these be used as a digital picture frame? Isn't 15 fps plenty fast enough to repaint the screen as you move from one picture to the next?

Maybe I am missing something here?

thanks,
Murray
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well they would be a tad expensive to use as a digital picture frame...but that could be a use. I read over in another forum that NComputing is not a standard Remote Desktop session...it is constantly repainting the screen...so video is possible...but limited to 15 fps. Not DVD quality in terms of frame rate.

At any rate... a networked digital picture frame would be much less expensive...but if you want a touchscreen for home control, etc., you could use the screensaver function on the computer and have the frame show pictures when not in use as a touchscreen.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by videocam View Post

Well they would be a tad expensive to use as a digital picture frame...but that could be a use. I read over in another forum that NComputing is not a standard Remote Desktop session...it is constantly repainting the screen...so video is possible...but limited to 15 fps. Not DVD quality in terms of frame rate.

At any rate... a networked digital picture frame would be much less expensive...but if you want a touchscreen for home control, etc., you could use the screensaver function on the computer and have the frame show pictures when not in use as a touchscreen.

Yes, using the digitial picture frame as a screensaver is what I would use it for. I think that his the only way I can get my wife to go along with sticking a "computer screen" in to one of the walls. I'll just conveniently forget to tell her it can also double as a touchscreen for all "my" automation stuff and let her think that it is just a digital picture frame -- I need to get busy on digitizing all those old pictures first!

I just did not understand why Frunple stated that you couldn't even use it as a digital picture frame.

Murray
post #19 of 35
Simple, because you cant. Remote desktop doesnt allow the use of screen savers. This is probably my biggest peeve related to these ncomputing devices.
Sure, the screen saver will kick in on the host pc, but on the remote desktop touchscreens you will only get a blank screen.

In reply to videocam... it is a standard remote desktop connection. The ncomputing software just allows concurrent connections to the host, nothing more.
post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
As for the screensaver... I have not tried it yet on my setup...but over on the ncomputing forums some users say the screensaver works fine and there is also a mention of NComputing enabling screensaver in a bios update. So I guess I'll find out soon if the Windows screensaver works or not.

If it does not work for some reason, I know some people use the slideshow function in Windows using standard remote desktop. Also programs like this should work:
http://www.wnsoft.com/apr/
http://www.al-soft.com/alpss/picture...w-studio.shtml
They take your pictures and creates an .exe file that runs a slideshow!
You could start the "picture frame mode" whenever you wanted.

See Frunple... it is about thinking outside the box. Just making it work
I'm not saying NComputing is right for you...but I am trying to find out what happened that made you so steamed at and aggressive toward NComputing and Touchtronix. I mean they offer a product that is perfect for some people and not perfect for others. Is there not room enough out there for multiple technologies? I mean if I drive a BMW, I'm not going to try and convince a steamboat captain that he should try and use a BMW on the river instead! They both get from A to B... but they both do it differently. A steamboat is more suited for the river and a BMW is more suited for the road. Just multiple PC boxes are more suited for some and RDP is more suited for others.

Also....

Here is an exchange between Frunple and Dwayne of TouchTronix I found over at cocoontech.com

Quote:


QUOTE(Frunple @ Sep 22 2007, 01:37 PM) *
Keep in mind, these are not true pc touchscreen. They are terminal services clients. They simply run a remote desktop session to a host pc. This is the real reason they wont run video mentioned earlier in this post. remote desktop doesnt have a true refresh rate, it simply repaints the screen when needed.

You can get a viewsonic airpanel v150 for around $300 on ebay with a 15" screen and its the same as these units.

QUOTE Reply (Dwayne)
A few corrections:

They will indeed run video. The refresh rate of the video window itself is limited to about 15 fps. This has something to do with the fact that video windows are running with DirectX, which is different from how software is writing to the screen. This is fine for things like a front door camera. In fact, we have manufacturer of security systems using our UTMA displays to display 9 cameras at once, and they are happy with the video quality. What you don't want to do with these, and I think what DavidL was saying, is watch a DVD movie on them. The refresh rate limitation affects video windows only, not the rest of the desktop.

Unlike the airpanel or other thin client, these devices are not a PC and have no OS. The Windows session is running on the host PC, in the background, and rendered on the device. The rendering is done across the network and is rendering 100% of the time. There is no OS on the device. In contrast, the airpanel uses CE as its OS.

To say that an airpanel on ebay is the same as these units is ridiculous. The airpanel is a wireless replacement for your monitor. It was designed by Microsoft and Viewsonic to allow you to occasionally disconnect your monitor from your PC and carry it around the house. The ipTouch products, with NComputing's L200 technology inside, were designed as true in-wall touch screens that share one host computer, running multiple sessions, each with their own IP address, on the host PC.

There is a large performance difference between the airpanel and ipTouch. Our company used to stock and sell the airpanel as part of our product offering so I know them well. They were slow and not always responsive. With a properly sized host PC, the ipTouch is so responsive that you will forget that its not a PC.

There are some limitations to this and any type of similar product. But for many users the limitations far outweigh the costs. For the others, our RelayTouch product is the same as the ipTouch, except without the NComputing inside. With RelayTouch, you can use a variety of cable or extender products to connect the monitor to a PC. You can use individual separate PCs, or one server with multiple video cards. Its even compatible with Vista.

I have a lot of respect for the DIY crowd, and I myself purchase products from eBay to experiment with and roll my own. When I buy from eBay, I understand that I am taking the risk that if the product doesn't do what I wanted it to, or didn't particularly fit my use, then I am stuck with it. Our policy has been and always will be that if you don't like our products for any reason you can return them for a full refund.
post #21 of 35
I have used a Touchtronix UTMA with our PhotoLobby product since the UTMA first came out. I believe the first production unit Duane (TouchTronix) had was used by us at the EHX show displaying PhotoLobby showing a slide show of our software product. Duane hand delivered and installed it in our demo booth wall (Thanx Duane!). It worked perfectly.

Frunple - have you ever used a TouchTronix UTMA?
post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post

I have used a Touchtronix UTMA with our PhotoLobby product

PhotoLobby? Sounds kind of cool. I don't think I have ever seen that. Is it on the Cinemar Products webpage? Is it integrated w/ MainLobby?
post #23 of 35
Hi Cam,
PhotoLobby has been in Alpha testing for a LONG time. We haven't gotten the time to finish it. It is a photo presentation system / database that is integrated in MainLobby Suite. Really not a whole lot of work left, but we have so many other projects going on right now to finish it.

We have a bunch of new products coming out in the next couple of weeks that might give PhotoLobby it's due time.
post #24 of 35
As far as the post of duane and myself.... at the time, he didnt know much about this product. He was intent on convincing me that they DO use their own ip on your network and they WERENT a remote desktop connection. He also said that the airpanel uses window ce, not true, they use a special ce for smart panels which is the same as ncomputings embedded "OS" if you will.

I have no hatred or aggression towards touch tronix, as I said before I think they are beautiful screens, just not marketed correctly.
And yes, I have used them.

As far as the screensaver, if they did come up with a bios update then great!! It still falls way short of what an inwall touchscreen should be to myself.... I would want to watch my slingbox on them as well as many other uses.

If they were priced where they should be ($400 or so) I would buy 3 or 4 of them myself... just not gonna waste over a grand on a remote desktop client and , again, I just want to make sure every else, who may not know this, is aware of the facts.
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
Frunple,
Fair enough. I was just wondering because you repeated the same thing over and over. And remember... Dwayne said "Our policy has been and always will be that if you don't like our products for any reason you can return them for a full refund." Which brings me to the part where you state that he didn't know much about the product back then. The post you are referring to was made in September 2007 and I have been following the IP Touch (Relay Touch UTMA) since Feb. 2006! How could he not know much about his product after 20 months (over a year and a half) on the market? Just a question.

A computer is better for you. As far as for me.. I just use them to control my house and other devices take care of full motion video.
I prefer the sleek in-wall look and will only use a wireless panel for casual control around the house.
BTW I didn't spend a grand on the IP Touch panels... I bought them on the special they had a while back. You could have bought 3

I didn't really want to go back and forth arguing in this thread...I was hoping it would be a place where owners could find ways to make "best use" of the devices....and if problems arise...solve them.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by videocam View Post

Frunple,
Fair enough. I was just wondering because you repeated the same thing over and over. And remember... Dwayne said "Our policy has been and always will be that if you don't like our products for any reason you can return them for a full refund." Which brings me to the part where you state that he didn't know much about the product back then. The post you are referring to was made in September 2007 and I have been following the IP Touch (Relay Touch UTMA) since Feb. 2006! How could he not know much about his product after 20 months (over a year and a half) on the market? Just a question.

A computer is better for you. As far as for me.. I just use them to control my house and other devices take care of full motion video.
I prefer the sleek in-wall look and will only use a wireless panel for casual control around the house.
BTW I didn't spend a grand on the IP Touch panels... I bought them on the special they had a while back. You could have bought 3

I didn't really want to go back and forth arguing in this thread...I was hoping it would be a place where owners could find ways to make "best use" of the devices....and if problems arise...solve them.


As far as why he didnt know much about them...you'd have to ask him. All I know is he was pretty adament about telling me how they DO use their own ip addresses and he didnt really get the point of them being a terminal services client, but whatever, I'm sure he knows everything about them now.
I repeated the same thing over and over because their website advertises them as if they ran their own os, and again, again, again, I just want to make people who may want to buy one aware that they dont. You knew that when you read it, others may not.

I did buy 3.... and quickly returned them!! as I said, if they were priced comparable to what they are, I would've kept them!
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
OK.
The touchscreens are all connected to one computer.
The touchscreens DO NOT mirror eachother.

I think the NComputing says it well.
Quote:


Simultaneous desktop operation.
Each L230/L130 accesses the host PC OS and runs its user
applications concurrently and independently.

Quote:


Share 1 PC with up to 30 users

Quote:


With no moving parts or local
storage, repairs are rare and your maintenance costs are kept in check
because you only have to maintain and upgrade the shared PCs—not
the L230/L130s. In fact, whenever you refresh to the latest PC
technology, your L230/L130 users will automatically enjoy the increased
performance.

Quote:


- By default, the terminal is set to get an IP address dynamically. If you enter the setup screen of the terminal, you can change whether the terminal uses a Dynamic address or a Static Address. To use this option the router has to have DHCP server functionality activated. If you do not have a router, you have to install a Host PC that can allocate the DHCP addresses on your network. When you connect the terminal directly to a Host PC, you can not use this option unless internet connection sharing is enabled. In this case, select "Use Static IP address" and input an IP address that would work with whatever addressing scheme you create. Check to make sure that the DHCP function is activated, and that the LAN cable is connected.
- Turn off the terminal and wait several seconds, and then turn it back on.

The TouchTronix website says:
Quote:


Here's how it works! ipTouch uses new technology from NComputing to utilize unused CPU power from your Home Computer or a Server. Each ipTouch has its own Windows XP desktop and IP number, without the usual performance limitations, noise, or moving parts of a typical computer.

Both sites seem to be straighforward and clear about what their product offers. The terminals do get their own IP address via DHCP or you can assign a static one...However the host PC does maintain it's own IP address for internet, etc. IP traffic is routed back to the correct NComputing/Touchscreen device.

Also I found this on Ncomputing's website re: video.
Quote:


Our product shares the resources of the Host PC, so the memory and Host PC resources are limited and the performance is dependant on the Host PC's specifications. Playing the video in full screen mode takes a lot of system resources. We recommend playing the video in an appropriate screen size that does not reduce the system speed.
NComputing terminals are primarily designed to run office applications such as a surfing the Internet, word processing, or working with spreadsheets. However, video applications can be supported when viewed in smaller windows.

If you are an informed consumer there is no problem. I see nothing on either site that misleads anyone. All anyone has to do is READ! and learn how the technology works.
Quote:


Frunple says: Yes, you knew that from their website but a lot of other people dont.

By reading the Ford website, I know my car runs on gasoline... is it Ford's fault if someone does not read the website and thinks their cars run on shaving cream? See how ridiculous that argument is? Just read and learn and be an informed consumer. Don't assume anything and 9.9 times out of 10 you will have a pleasant experience with your purchases.
post #28 of 35
and theres nothing wrong with helping someone else out also.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
For those of you that don't want to mount your power supplies with the touchscreen... here is what I did. The power supplies were the 12v ones provided by TouchTronix for mounting in the touchscreen enclosure. Disclaimer: Before you do this... be sure to check the voltage at your touchscreen with a multimeter. A long length of wire can cause voltage drop.

I bought a Square-D pull out disconnect switch at Home Depot and gutted the enclosure. I mounted the 2 stock touchscreen power supplies on one of the TouchTronix provided mounting plates. The plate is the perfect size for this box and holes are pre-drilled to accept 2 power supplies. I can slide the plate in behind a couple of dimples on the sides of the enclosure and it fits snugly inside.



The power supplies now power my touchscreens from the equipment closet!
post #30 of 35
Cam,

Nice work! One note. Those are the AC/DC power supplies, and they each have a DC output voltage adjustment, so you can adjust the voltage on the DC side and measure at the touch panel with your voltage multimeter.

Thanks for all the great photos and documentation of your install.
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