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Hello all,


Long time lurker, first time poster. We're cooking up a new home and naturally home automation is part of the recipe. In our current home we have Crestron and don't like it for a few reasons (neither or which are solely the fault of Crestron).


Firstly, it sort of sucks. We have issues with the control unit locking up frequently or being extremely laggy and the UI of the panels and remotes leave much to be desired. We know this is likely mainly the fault of the installer/coder(s).


Which brings me to the second dislike: it's closed, so I need to depend on said installer/coder(s) for fixes. What a pain. As a tech guy and tinkerer I prefer to have at least some control over my own stuff. I did manage to get the software for the RTI remotes we use and tweak the layout and code on those, but that's just scratching the surface of the issue.


Anywho, we moved on to a new dealer for our new home and they really push Savant. I told them my concerns and they stated that Savant would be cheaper and more open. From reading around here though, it seems that in some cases Savant can actually be more expensive than Crestron? I'm also not too sure on how "open".


So I guess that brings me to the question: is the DIY route any good? And if so, what's recommended? Until browsing a bit here I thought I would be forever tied to a dealer with home automation systems, but it's good to know there are options. The question is what are those options and will the headache be worth ditching the ball and chain?


I have no problem paying for help when needed, but I would like to retain some bit of autonomy after the install is done. Perhaps I can have the company do the initial wiring and I can install units afterward? I guess I'm basically trying to balance control with ease of install/maintenance -- and of course: price.


Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22235260


Welcome to AVS

check out this related thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1365187/savant-horror-story-need-help
thank you, will read. Also, if there are any related threads, please point me in the right direction. I'm not adverse to diving in and reading things, I just didn't find much as there's no stickies in this subforum and search doesnt seem to be enabled in tapatalk here
 

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I've used tapatalk for other forums, and I'm not impressed. This new avs site works pretty well on android natively.


The relative problem with all HA systems is the steep learning curve, for installation and programming. If you're a DIY'er, it needs to be a hobby, and the install may take a year or more for a full system, to get to the point of 'seamless'.


Control4 marketing has been pretty annoying lately, so I'd stay clear of them. Not sure how long they'll be around, either. The owners haft

a history of cutting their losses and running.


CQC installs can rival the quality of professionally installed systems, but it can take a while, and you'll have to be the kind of person that enjoys tech tinkering.


Elan may be another system to consider.


If you're outgoing and rich, you may be able to find an installer that gives you lots of control after the install.
 

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I went through a lot of different remote systems....


started with Crestron but soon became disenchanted with it: every time a channel had to be remapped or I bought a new piece of gear, I had to call the programmer back in and pay him: tried several other remote systems as well...


Finally I worked with a local dealer and bought an RTI system: I offered to do programming for the dealer and in return got access to the program: I still use RTI and love it: and I have become proficient at programming including 2 way drivers and RTI iPad app: I would not go back to a proprietary system I could not program myself


Crestron/ RTI systems are expensive and most dealers will not give you the program: although now they can update programs off site so it is easier to get changes made remotely by the programmer


If you can't get access to the program, consider iRule: there is a thread here on AVS about it:: it is an excellent program and relatively inexpensive: and you can do it yourself


Happy to help with any detail questions: above is my opinion only
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This forum definitely doesn't like tapatalk... I've been trying to post for a couple days haha


Thanks guys, going to look into CQC and see if I'm going to be able to handle this beast
 

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Just to be clear, CQC is designed for professional installers, but they allow DIY.
 

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CommandFusion now offers its own hardware. I have no experience with the hardware but have used CF to program my iPad for use with a Crestron system. You may want to take a look into it. There is a GoogleGroup which offers pretty good support. Perhaps somebody else around here has some experience with it and can't talk about if it would be a good DIY solution.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrdsl23  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22241607


CommandFusion now offers its own hardware. I have no experience with the hardware but have used CF to program my iPad for use with a Crestron system. You may want to take a look into it. There is a GoogleGroup which offers pretty good support. Perhaps somebody else around here has some experience with it and can't talk about if it would be a good DIY solution.

Sorry to bump this back from oblivion, but since we're finally moving on the tech end of the build process, I've been going back through this thread and researching options again (trying to find one system to rule them all... and all that jazz). I found their group and did some reading, but it seems most people just use their software to control other systems (crestron and the like). Does anyone here have any real experience with their hardware (especially from a DIY perspective)?


We looked into the XFINITY system as well, and while nice, seems a bit limited (and we'd still have to use another system for audio/video distribution).
 

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Did you take a look at CQC? I bet they would do design work, too, to get you started.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Originally Posted by Neurorad  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22988075


Did you take a look at CQC? I bet they would do design work, too, to get you started.

I did, but to be honest (from my limited knowledge of course), it all looked a little haggard. Also, though I use a PC day in and day out, when I saw it was windows-based, I cringed a bit.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airkat  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22987086


We looked into the XFINITY system as well, and while nice, seems a bit limited (and we'd still have to use another system for audio/video distribution).


Until Comcast (Xfinity) hires sophisticated technicians they will just be a wirepulling outfit installing home automation. And there are plenty of those out in the world.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airkat  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22988290


I did, but to be honest (from my limited knowledge of course), it all looked a little haggard. Also, though I use a PC day in and day out, when I saw it was windows-based, I cringed a bit.

Windows is everywhere. With a dedicated PC, stability is (almost) a non-issue. ATMs are a good example of Windows applications. There are steps that are taken to lock the system down.


The PC communicates with the lighting controller, the HVAC controller, the irrigation controller, the CCTV DVR/NVR. The mission critical components don't depend on the PC for operation.


I suggest you take a closer look.
 

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Wow, we've never been called 'haggard' before. Not to worry, when we deploy our new Bow-Tox technology, all that will be behind us. Could you elaborate on haggard a bit? Hopefully I can then either allay your fears, or at least book some time at the spa.


As to being Windows based, as indicated above, it's not an issue. Set up the server, put it in the closet, never used directly, if you want to get more adventurous strip it down to the bare minimum functionality. It will remain stable without problems. Lots of servers out there are running Windows. Our web site is on a Windows machine that has been shut down once in something like 7 years, and that was just to upgrade the memory.
 

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Hi OP, decided to register to get in on this discussion



I purchased a home to renovate a few months ago. I've been looking at the different HA systems for a few years now, and after looking at many expensive and proprietary options, decided to jump in head-first with Loxone . I dont have an electrical or installation background, but it hasnt been to bad so far. this is the stage I am at at the moment:




Pros, IMO:


- cheap. Miniserver (the main logic controller) retails for $465 USD. thats 8 digital relay outputs, and 8 digital inputs.

- robust. basically its a domesticated PLC , same as used in industrial automation

- small. DIN mounted unit that fits in a distribution board

- easy. once you get your head around how the hardware and software work together, its quite simple to configure

- scalable. if you need more inputs or outputs, or other functionality like IR control or DMX control, you add another extension unit

- good looking. the UI is clean - not a blue gradient or gaudy red button in sight


Cons:

- support. mostly in German at this stage, although there is an english forum. the UK reps are quite helpful at answering questions. For basic setup and operation though it shouldnt be a problem

- userbase. not many installations outside of the EU. what case studies they have presented look good though


Just another option for you OP. Honestly I cant see any justification in paying a company huge dollars for the hardware and then more for after-sales support.


Let me know if youve got any questions. Im not affiliated with Loxone in any way


GB
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbone  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22996851


Honestly I cant see any justification in paying a company huge dollars for the hardware and then more for after-sales support.


I am really biting my tongue here...


I honestly wish you the best, please keep us posted with your progress and update once you go live.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep  /t/1421101/crestron-savant-vs-diy#post_22997733


I am really biting my tongue here...


I honestly wish you the best, please keep us posted with your progress and update once you go live.

ok, an addendum; I cant see any justification in paying a company huge dollars for the hardware and then more for after-sales support, if you are reasonably comfortable with the basics of HA and are willing to put in a little time with the config software, because I cant see anything this system cant do that the expensive ones can


GB
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi greenbone, what are you doing for control? Programming remotes? iPads?


As an aside, why did the owners of this forum install tapatalk if pretty much everything is broken or disabled?


*edit* not seeing much about video distribution, though I guess that could be handled on its own.
 

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i guess you could split my installation into 4 areas of input - pushbutton / switches, ipad and iphone, sensors, and IR


any switch capable of closing a 24v contact can be used for digital input. so the switch you have on your wall now is probably compatible. the miniserver works by recognizing pulses of closed / open contact, so pushbuttons are preferred. examples of pushbuttons i have tested


clipsal impress, rrp around $14




pdl pushbutton, about the same price per module




im using a couple of these in the bathroom - ip68 pushbuttons, $5-10 each. one in the shower for music control




there are plenty of options. the idea is to reduce inputs on the wall switch - so instead of having 4 and 6 gangs each for individual functions, you can program a button to recognize double-clicks, triple clicks, push and hold, or any combination of each. these can be assigned to different functions. for example single push for lights on / off, double click for music on, push and hold for dimming.


sensors are similar, as long as they have a NO / NC relay output capable of 24v they can be used. im using a couple of these paradox ceiling sensors from dx.com, $10 maybe




again there is lots of options here


switches and sensors are wired back to the inputs on the miniserver with cat 5.


the IR extension module can be used to consolidate IR commands. for example you can program the IR signal from the nice looking apple remote to control lights, blinds, a combination of functions. just a matter of piecing the program blocks together in the config


video distro - i have no idea about really, but im sure you can work a third party into Loxone, in a similar way that they support Casatunes for multi-room audio


the ipad wallmount that Loxone produce is really nice, i have one in the kitchen. the ipad is one of the best looking and best functioning touch interfaces around, of course that is what you want mounted on the wall, not some big-bezzled beast that cost 4 times the price and lags out when you operate it
 
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