Looking to be pointed in the right direction - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 2Likes
  • 1 Post By mbarland
  • 1 Post By mbarland
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 03-29-2018, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Looking to be pointed in the right direction

Hello!

I am looking for how to start in on making my own simple control system. I am a tech-savvy type with programming experience, but this is a whole new world for me.

I have devices with varying control methods: a projector with RS-232, direcTV and AppleTV with IR, a blu-ray player, a laptop, so on. I would like to be able to do things like push a button that starts the projector, switches to the correct input, starts the DirecTV, and puts on the sound. If I can do the lights too, I will!

I'm expecting to do this all myself, and would like to avoid getting a whole lot of hardware (but I know I will need some). Mainly I just don't even know where to start. Crestron wants to set up a 500 person auditorium or something, and other things seem to be way out of scale like this.

Thank you!
part15 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 07:22 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Posts: 356
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked: 35
There's a lot of systems out there. I'm a fan of this one by elan (link).

If I were in your position here's what I would do:

1. Learn about 5-6 different options (you'll get that many recommendations in this thread), and then narrow it down to 3 based on UI, hardware, and raw capabilities.
2. Download the programming software for the 3 that you have narrowed it down to. Examine the back end of it, verify that it'll do what you want it to do.
3. Choose one that is the best balance between UI, Hardware, supported drivers, and back end.

For what you want to do, something like MX Home Pro might not be a bad solution. Kind of a small box to fit into, but the programming is dead simple. Not sure you'd be satisfied with the 'drag and drop' style programming though, what you get in ease is given up in the ability to customize.

Everything you listed is pretty simple. Don't be afraid of something that might scale larger because that doesn't mean that a smaller system will be over priced.

James Babin - System designer myEasytek
Last Post: Low Voltage Wiring Guide
JT Babin is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 07:55 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 255
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by part15 View Post
Hello!

I am looking for how to start in on making my own simple control system. I am a tech-savvy type with programming experience, but this is a whole new world for me.

I have devices with varying control methods: a projector with RS-232, direcTV and AppleTV with IR, a blu-ray player, a laptop, so on. I would like to be able to do things like push a button that starts the projector, switches to the correct input, starts the DirecTV, and puts on the sound. If I can do the lights too, I will!

I'm expecting to do this all myself, and would like to avoid getting a whole lot of hardware (but I know I will need some). Mainly I just don't even know where to start. Crestron wants to set up a 500 person auditorium or something, and other things seem to be way out of scale like this.

Thank you!
What model projector?
weboperations is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 08:00 AM
Senior Member
 
mbarland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 411
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
Liked: 54
Like JT said, a lot of options out there. Might help if you give us a budget.

Would also be nice to know what you consider DIY. For example, are you looking to program a simple smart remote like a Harmony, or are you looking to get into a more robust (but harder to program and troubleshoot) control system like a URC setup? When you say you want to do lights too, are you able/willing to dive into the high voltage side of the house and replace light switches or do you just want plug in modules and/or "smart" bulbs?

Do you just want to automate the theater room or start there and extend it to the rest of the house?

I have a fully automated house, with smart switches, whole home audio, Alexa voice control, in-wall keypads, and handheld remotes for each room that let you run it all from an easy chair. This level of automation isn't cheap and isn't uncomplicated or for the faint of heart. This is why system integrators charge so much for complete systems. All of mine is DIY oriented:
  • Light control is all Insteon, controlled by an ISY-994i/IR.
    Alexa is covered by Echo Dots throughout, most of these are used not just for control but for music through in-ceiling speakers.
    Handheld remotes are URC. I use Insteon keypads for most things but also have an in-wall URC KP-4000 at one location.
    The remotes are all RF capable, and I've run RF sensors throughout the house. So I can control equipment in a central closet from the viewing location.
    Thermostat is a Nest.
    Security cameras are on a basic DVR w/ IP and HDMI output.
    All the main TVs are run from a central equipment closet w/ an HDMI matrix.

There are a lot of options. In the DIY space, you'll probably find that everyone who has done it has a unique setup. A lot of it can be seen as a hack or kludge to get to all work together and be useable by a non-techie person. Even with what I consider a slick looking and functioning system I get the wife saying "Why can't we just have normal things?" when something doesn't work exactly right the first time, every time.
JT Babin likes this.
mbarland is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 0
@JT Babin : Thanks for the lead and the advice.

@weboperations : It is a Panasonic. DW6300U. Has an RS-232 port for control systems.

@mbarland : if I can do this within $500, I'd be pretty tickled. It's in the MP room at work, not my own home (but I do spend a lot of time at work. ) and it isn't like I was asked to do this, you know?

What is a good source of hardware? Like a box that would take the projector's RS-232 connection and let me generate and send control signals?
part15 is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 11:09 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 255
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked: 88
I looked up your projector model and it also seems to accept IR inputs (in addition to RS232). If that's the case, and since all your other devices can be controlled via IR and IP, why not just go with a Logitech Harmony Elite?

With the Harmony Elite, it will cover all your requirements. It also includes a hub with both an IR blaster and additional IR emitters you can point to the devices, or hard wire the IR emitter to the projector.

For example, if all your devices are all together, but the projector is in the other room just run an IR emitter to that area or canabilize the current serial cable and convert the wires to an IR emitter and run it to the Harmony hub.

This is all very easy.

Also once you want to do lighting, you can either use switches directly compatible with the Harmony Hub, or get an automation hub that works with the Harmony.
weboperations is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 03:05 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
eatenbacktolife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,160
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked: 31
For a multi purpose room at work? Prob some DIY iPad control system. Most of the control products out there are dealer locked. Wall mount or table mount an iPad, using one of the million products out there.

iRule will still be "supported" for another 4 years and that's only $100. Looks like people have moved on to demopad which is also cheap.

Look at Global Cache for the hardware. GC-100 is cheap, has rs232 and IR. Your directv box can probably be controlled over IP, same with the Apple TV depending on model.

If you have an iPad laying around this can be done for a few hundo, plus you have to design and program it yourself which it sounds like you want to do

There's also URC CCP as mentioned. Dealers can give you the software so that's an option.

Or I know people like these things:

http://spcontrols.com/prodcat.php?hierId=35

I would try to do this with something that's mounted or in wall, so it doesn't walk away or get broken
eatenbacktolife is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 07:25 PM
Senior Member
 
mbarland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 411
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
Liked: 54
If this is your first foray into such things, the Harmony couldn't be a better place to start. It has its flaws, but will do what you want to do easily and well within you budget.

One thing you need to ask yourself is how much time do you want to spend supporting this setup? The simpler it is to operate, the less time you'll have to spend showing people how it works. Harmony is good in that regard because it has a help function that can save you some of those support calls.

iPad control systems are definitely slick when done well, and give off that Star Trek, we're living in the future vibe. They are also well within the DIY sphere, with a couple of options mentioned above. However if it is your first time doing this, you might find the Harmony a good place to start.

You have a tech background, so you could even do all this with a Raspberry Pi. It wouldn't be uncomplicated, but you can do it. Control everything from a web browser. It just goes to show there's many different ways to accomplish the same thing. It'll come down to budget and how much your time is worth.
NickTheGreat likes this.
mbarland is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 03-30-2018, 10:52 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked: 1
If you like tinkering with open source projects you may enjoy openhab. It works pretty well once up and running.
HDengineer is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 04-03-2018, 06:12 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: North America
Posts: 243
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 125 Post(s)
Liked: 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDengineer View Post
If you like tinkering with open source projects you may enjoy openhab. It works pretty well once up and running.
Another plus one for openHab. If you enjoy tinkering you will enjoy!

what-i-d-do-differently-next-timehttps://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...l#post55641388
Epson Projector Power Supply Failure.https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-dig...lure-rate.html
avtvhdbass is offline  
post #11 of 11 Old 04-04-2018, 09:06 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
NickTheGreat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 2,931
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarland View Post
If this is your first foray into such things, the Harmony couldn't be a better place to start. It has its flaws, but will do what you want to do easily and well within you budget.

One thing you need to ask yourself is how much time do you want to spend supporting this setup? The simpler it is to operate, the less time you'll have to spend showing people how it works. Harmony is good in that regard because it has a help function that can save you some of those support calls.

iPad control systems are definitely slick when done well, and give off that Star Trek, we're living in the future vibe. They are also well within the DIY sphere, with a couple of options mentioned above. However if it is your first time doing this, you might find the Harmony a good place to start.

You have a tech background, so you could even do all this with a Raspberry Pi. It wouldn't be uncomplicated, but you can do it. Control everything from a web browser. It just goes to show there's many different ways to accomplish the same thing. It'll come down to budget and how much your time is worth.
I came here to say this. With the exception of lights, Harmony does all of what the OP wants. And if he wants lights, get some Hue bulbs and you're ready to rock and roll.

Unless he plans to get into automation in the future. My home automation bug started with a way to shut off bedroom lights from my nightstand.
NickTheGreat is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Home Automation

Tags
newbie

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off