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How to control amplifier inside a cupboard?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by rob@rar.org.uk, Jan 21, 2002.

  1. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    I'm looking to upgrade my amplifier and was thinking about the Denon 3802. To keep my girlfriend happy I have promised to install the home cinema kit in a cupboard. I've seen that some amplifiers (and DVD players) include a 'Remote' socket on the back panel. What are these for? Is it possible to connect an IR receiver directly into these sockets to relay IR commands from the remote control?

    How do you guys control equipment which needs to be kept away from the wife's eyes?

    Regards

    Rob
     
  2. Suki

    Suki
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    Not sure about using the remote socket but there is a remote control repeater/resender that would do the trick - it involves an ir receiver and a series of repeaters on bits of wire that you tape over the ir windows on your equipment - you could put your amp, dvd video etc all in the same cupboard.

    I think they are called " little one" or similar - my advice is call someone like musical images in covent garden or phase 3 in worthing - any BADA or CEDIA member should be able to advise better than I .

    Good luck

    Suki
     
  3. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    Thanks for the links. I was hoping for a more elegant solution than sticking IR repeaters to the front of all the units - anyone used the 'Remote' sockets which some HC kit seems to have?

    Regards

    Rob
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    You don't have to stick ir repeaters on the front of everything...

    You could just use an IR blaster pointing at equipment in cupboard. You'd need an IR receiver, amp and blaster. These are available from QED dealers or under the Xantech brand. Xantech do a huge range of this sort of stuff. You should be aware that if you are using a plasma panel in the room this will cause MEGA problems for any IR relay system.

    If you don't want a wired solution then try a QED powermid wireless one. Not as reliable but should work

    EDIT: I've just seen your other post about plasmas. Plasma devices chuck out tones of IR noise. This locks up most IR relay systems. Very careful placement of IR sensors can help or creation of some form of cowling for the ir receiving window. Plasma friendly ir receivers are available. These basically chop out high frequency ir noise. Unfortunately a few Sky Digital IR codes live at the frequencies they chop off...resulting in them not being very good if you have Sky Digital.....

    The most elegant solution is to use some form of control system with RF transmission to your cupboard. If AMX or Crestron are too expensive, and they are for most here, then consider the new Colour Pronto Pro and optional RF base station. Mine should be arriving today or tommorrow....Hope it works....

    Gordon
     
  5. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    Thanks Gordon. I was aware of the IR noise situation with plasmas, and hoped that the placement of IR sensor/repeater (facing directly away from the plasma) would resolve the problem. Do you think that IR reflected off the back wall of my living room would still cause a problem?

    I don't know much about RF control systems. Any chance of a brief summary? Would I be restricted to AV equipment which has RS232 sockets on the back? How are the RF signals from the remote control converted into signals, IR or otherwise, which control the equipment? Finally, is there an upgrade available for the original Pronto which converts it to RF use?

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards

    Rob
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Rob,

    Pointing the IR sensor away from the plasma is in no way any guarantee that you wont have serious problems. These things CHUCK ir everywhere. I've had situations in rooms where it was impossible to place the receiver anywhere without IR lock up. This was not with a Panasonic.

    The client who is to get the colour pronto had initially had his ir receiver sandwiched between his Arcam FMJDVD and his VCR, tuecked back under the lip of the DVD facia to shield it from palsma 2 feet above. He then had a cabinet manufactured for all the gear in the room. The IR receiver went outside and we were unable to find any reliable position. We built a shield type cowl around the ir receiver window which works just now but makes it important that you point Pronto directly at window and also doesn't look to good.

    RF devices basically consist of two things. The touch panel and the receiver/processor. The panel transmits in RF to the base station/processor which knows...ok button 1 has been pressed I need to emit CODE 21,2 or whatever is assigned to button 1. The Processor with a Pronto Pro has multiple IR output's to connect emitters to. Devices like Crestron and AMX also have relay control, rs232 serial ports and all manner of other jiggery pockery.

    The RF base station for Pronto Pro is not available in this country yet. I have imported one to test. We'll see how/if it works. It wil lnot be possible to update an normal pronto to RF useage.

    Gordon
     
  7. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    Thanks Gordon, this is very helpful (although it does give me more to think about!).

    Regards

    Rob
     
  8. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Rob, this is probably not the solution you're after, but it might be worth considering: My spare TV sits on top of a stand designed to hold a couple of pieces of anciliary equipment, and the stand is provided with quite dark smoked-glass doors.

    I don't use it any more, but when I did I found that the smoked glass allowed standard remote signals through with no problems at all.

    Perhaps a bank of gear semi-hiding behind darkened glass might be almost as acceptable as a bank of gear that's totally out of sight?

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  9. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    Gordon, i will be interested to see how you get on with your rf pronto control - a friend of mine went down this route but still had trouble (as the ir is converted to rf it will still suffer from the same ir noise of the plasma - RS technical reasoning to stop him from moaning at them!) and was still a bit iffy with placement near his plasma. it worked eventually but was a ball-ache and not as easy as it should have been!
     
  10. rob@rar.org.uk

    rob@rar.org.uk
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    This just proves that old threads never die...

    I've now fully installed all my home cinema equipment into a custom built cupboard, with the exception of my DVD32R which sits proudly on top. The DVD32R relays IR commands to the other Tag kit in my setup via the Tagtronic bus, and a Hotlink extender does the same for the rest of the kit. In the end I didn't worry about IR repeaters stuck on the front of each item - it's all in the cupboard so appearance is less of an issue! I do not have any problems with IR noise from the Panny plasma which is mounted just a few feet from the IR receiver.

    Observant readers will note that I started this thread thinking about upgrading my amp to a Denon 3802. In the 12 month interval between starting this thread and now I changed my mind and bought a Tag DVD32R, AV32R, 100x5, Panasonic 37PW5 and I'm about to buy a Panasonci AE300. Finding this discussion board is the most expensive thing I've ever done!

    Regards

    Rob
     
  11. daren jackson

    daren jackson
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    I have IR receivers in every room, connected to a central cupboard which houses all my equipment. I too had problems with my bedroom plasma (everything worked except the volume control to my Denon A1). Replaced the existing IR receiver with another Xantech "plasma friendly" IR receiver and problem solved. I have no problems controlling a Sky + box or any other components. Be warned that the "plasma friendly" IR receiver is expensive (£200) but cheaper then a Pronto Pro. BTW I use a Pronto Pro and tried the RF but it wasnt 100% successful so went back to using IR.
     
  12. Flimber

    Flimber
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    There are RF mods available for standard Prontos, BTW.

    Mike.
     
  13. datanet

    datanet
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    oops..double post...see below!
     
  14. datanet

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    I have a Denon AVR-2800 in a cupboard which I'm currently changing to a 3803 to get over limitations of the IR control.

    With the 2800/ IR:-

    1) I couldn't set the colume to a specific volume. The RS-232 on the 3803 allows you to do this. Similarly you can read the current value and add, say, 3dB to it. Very useful if you want to set specific gains for different channels, etc or make sure that the amp goes to -23dB, etc when you switch it on...
    2) Video Select function isn't remote controllable, meaning that if I wanted to watch TV whilst listening to a CD, etc I couldn't. This is probably the most annoying point 'cos I had to keep visiting the cupboard. With the 3803 you can set the video source, but only via RS-232- not IR.
    3) The 3803 has two true zones and you can set either to any input- all via RS-232
    4) The video transcoding of the 3803 means that I don't need to script as many changes for the plasma, etc when I change input source from say, component to S-video.
    5) The Denon RS-232 command structure is great- wish other implementations were as easy. It took less than 4 hours to program in the codes to my automation system and map across IR control codes.

    I'd really recommend this amp/ approach if you're looking at a hidden implementation. IR does work, but the RS-232 is a lot more robust. Once you put the amp in the cupboard I think you realise how much you normally check the display...
    There are loads of software apps like Homeseer, ACE, etc which will allow you to send the RS-232 codes and accept IR from Pronto, etc...you just map through functions you want.

    Chris
     
  15. DJP

    DJP
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    datanet - Where did you find details regarding the Denon commands? I had a look through their web site but wasn't able to find any info regarding this...must be getting old:suicide:

    Derek
     
  16. datanet

    datanet
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