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control system with NO tp?

jisaacjisaac Junior MemberPosts: 34
Has anyone ever encountered a client that wanted an automation system but did not see the value of or insisted on not using a TP, rather a PC/laptop to interface with their home?
If so what did you do? What was the end result?
Thanks.
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Comments

  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    yes, I just did a system like this last week. I used TP3 and created a virtual panel that does all the controls. Works fine and its cheap. Only thing in the system is a NI700.
  • sethollesetholle Junior Member Posts: 66
    tp3 CONTROL

    i HAVE DONE many systems that are only controlled by web interfaces. Specifically tp3 web control.
    It works very well and is very reliable. I even figured out a way to make a dev of multiple panels, so you could have like 8 of the same web panel open and all the feedback updates correctly.
  • HARMAN_icraigieHARMAN_icraigie Technical Trainer II, Harman Professional University Posts: 544
    Do it all the time with no UI of any sort- just back-end automation between Security, , Access, Lighting, Surveillance and HVAC (sometimes).
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    Easy, cheap yet elegant solution. We have several large display systems that are administered from another state like this - the web instance is perfect.

    Be mindful you can only have a couple of instances of the browser running at any one time though. (4 max if I remember correctly..and requires you to mod the html files for it work with multiple instances)
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    Someone post a Yahoo widget that can be expanded upon for a simple control interface; just do a search for it to get sample code. Over the holidays I modified it a bit to mimic an MSP-32 (though I only got around to the first 16 buttons :)).

    I have found G3 web control to be sufficiently flaky that I try to avoid it where I can, though it is a good solution when you can get it to work.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    G3 webcontrol is in my book, NOT the way to go.
    It's just not reliable when it should be, and you can never ever depend on it (imo)
    I would rather have a customer invest in a wired touchpanel of some sort for control...
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    A physical device is always the ultimate solution, of course, but, doesn't deal with 680 mile gap from HQ to display systems like we have sometimes! (short of some hardware etc etc...no longer a cheap solution)

    If only 802.11 could go further than 10 feet!

    :-)

    The main issues we see with G3 web control are related to the java platform the PC is running - most sites are way past 1.4.x these days.

    Recently one client had exactly this issue, so they dedicated a machine with the low rev of Java and then users access the NI via this machine through VNC. No other machine needed the lower rev of Java.

    Worked ok - little bit slow though.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    A physical device is always the ultimate solution, of course, but, doesn't deal with 680 mile gap from HQ to display systems like we have sometimes! (short of some hardware etc etc...no longer a cheap solution)

    If only 802.11 could go further than 10 feet!

    :-)

    The main issues we see with G3 web control are related to the java platform the PC is running - most sites are way past 1.4.x these days.

    Recently one client had exactly this issue, so they dedicated a machine with the low rev of Java and then users access the NI via this machine through VNC. No other machine needed the lower rev of Java.

    Worked ok - little bit slow though.

    sure, the distance is a factor, but only for administrative purposes. Give the customer a real TP and a web interface to control his home from his vacation location ;)
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    yuri wrote:
    sure, the distance is a factor, but only for administrative purposes. Give the customer a real TP and a web interface to control his home from his vacation location ;)

    If you give them a real TP, you don't need a web interface :). Just provide them with a VNC client and forward a port to the panel. Do make sure you password protect it though, I've had hackers find a customer's panel with VNC and play around turning music on and off.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    with a new G4 panel VNC is possible, but maybe your customer has G3 panels or keypads ;)
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    yuri wrote:
    with a new G4 panel VNC is possible, but maybe your customer has G3 panels or keypads ;)
    That's why I said "real" touch panel :D
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    DHawthorne wrote:
    That's why I said "real" touch panel :D

    touch? 8)
    .
  • dthorsondthorson Junior Member Posts: 103
    It would be nice if AMX offered a black box for a G4 panel. Essentialy a cheap TPI that allowed you to download a TP4 file. One VGA output would be nice.

    You could have the benefits of VNC, Graphics, ect without the need for an actual TP.

    You could also use this to act as a master panel that could connect to any other G4 panel on the network. Buy using G4 computer control you can control one TP from another TP without any additional programming. Try it, it really works!
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    I didn't know that. Can you use panel A to G4 into panel B, and use panel B to G4 into panel C, and use THAT panel to G4 into panel A?
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    Probably end up with a colorful video loop! A into B into C into A into......

    Woah!

    [silly] Was a greatly overused and abused video effect from the broadcasters in the seventies...let's fire up some Pink Floyd and get on with the AMX show....now where's that scooby?!! [/silly]

    :-)
  • jisaacjisaac Junior Member Posts: 34
    im a little confused here. Why G3 web control? i thought there was a G4 solution. I suppose then that means you cant just have an NI master--load TPD4 files on it and serve up a G4 quality interface without having an existing G4 panel in the system?
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    That's exactly the issue.

    G4 web control pages are served from the G4 device itself, not the NI webserver.
  • VLCNCRZRVLCNCRZR Senior member Posts: 216
    G4 VNC between panels

    At one time I had several G4 panels set up for different projects, but just for the
    heck of it, I experimented a little with the G4 computer control.

    I found that if you have a project with identical G4 touch panels, you could
    ultimately only have to load the primary programming into one panel. All the other panels
    would only have a G4cc window linking them to the first unit.

    I suppose this would only be an advantage if you had many identical panels
    that required frequent updates.

    As with many others, I am anxiously awaiting the day when AMX develops
    some type (but definitely not browser based) of PC application that emulates G4 functionality without a physical touch panel needed.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    VLCNCRZR wrote:
    As with many others, I am anxiously awaiting the day when AMX develops
    some type (but definitely not browser based) of PC application that emulates G4 functionality without a physical touch panel needed.

    then you would also see the day that AMX is going to charge you for that PC application... I would rather have them keep on doing it the way they do now, and keep it free :)
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    The option/flexibility of being able to use a browser (through a means that works well and is well-supported) or a G4-engine based application (applet?) that doesn't require a physical touch panel to exist - even for a charge - would be more than welcome...

    - Chip
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    Chip Moody wrote:
    The option/flexibility of being able to use a browser (through a means that works well and is well-supported) or a G4-engine based application (applet?) that doesn't require a physical touch panel to exist - even for a charge - would be more than welcome...

    - Chip

    if they also add (good) pocketpc support, count me in too, but for a WebApplet alone, i'm not paying...
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    yuri wrote:
    if they also add (good) pocketpc support, count me in too, but for a WebApplet alone, i'm not paying...

    We have a software development team that specialise in writing pocket pc apps. We are currently developing a beta version for running G3 and G4 webcontrol. PM with any q's

    Also, the G4 web instances must have the ability to handle multiple users, and even more importantly, must have the external buttons available. Otherwise it's a waste of time.

    Perhaps AMX development can produce a web based version of panel preview as at least a starting place...
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    I don't think we are going to see a hardware-free G4 equivalent any time soon. Have you looked carefully at the hardware in a G4 panel? It's a fairly powerful GPU in and of itself. Then there is the matter of file size - storing that data on a controller would take a huge amount of space. NetLinx masters, in their current form, simply aren't up to it. The only approach that will even come close to being viable is a full-blown PC application like Panel Preview that will actually talk to the master as well. And I am quite sure AMX doesn't go that route because of all the support issues without any of the profit from selling an actual device. It would absolutely cut into their sales, and then they would have to deal with all the software-related compatibility and user-error issues that are inevitable with such a product. It wouldn't make any fiscal sense to release such an application.

    I would be quite happy for something more scaled down. A G3 web control that actually worked, reliably, would be fine. I am leaning more towards the widget route myself, but the tools to customize and produce them quickly don't exist yet, so it's not completely practical yet.
  • Stephen BoltonStephen Bolton Junior Member Posts: 345
    DHawthorne wrote:
    I don't think we are going to see a hardware-free G4 equivalent any time soon. Have you looked carefully at the hardware in a G4 panel? It's a fairly powerful GPU in and of itself. Then there is the matter of file size - storing that data on a controller would take a huge amount of space. NetLinx masters, in their current form, simply aren't up to it. The only approach that will even come close to being viable is a full-blown PC application like Panel Preview that will actually talk to the master as well. And I am quite sure AMX doesn't go that route because of all the support issues without any of the profit from selling an actual device. It would absolutely cut into their sales, and then they would have to deal with all the software-related compatibility and user-error issues that are inevitable with such a product. It wouldn't make any fiscal sense to release such an application.
    Perhaps AMX development can produce a web based version of panel preview as at least a starting place...

    File optimization these days is awesome. These *often* huge files can easily be rastered down by a program to manageable/web sized files...

    Like I said, panel preview is basically EXACTLY what we need, even has external buttons (when you find them!) so surely this is a good starting point to now enable panel preview to reach your netlinx code...
  • Rod NRod N Junior Member Posts: 28
    Ditto to DHawthorne's post.. any non-AMX ( or even AMX sponsored ) GUI that means we sell less gear has to hamstring the quality of product we produce.. and along those lines.. and as much as I prefer to ignore VA... anyone can see why it was engineered. So surely its gotta be as simple as 'we sell AMX'.. why would we want to circumvent our income stream ? ......?!

    However I gotta agree with Snr Bolton.. it would be a fabulous tool whereby we were able to preview a panel that interfaces with the master. Integrate the thing into Studio..
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    Guess I'll continue seeing Cre$tron systems being sold in instances where this type of interface is needed. :)

    There's a decision AMX had to make here, whether they thought it through or not. Lose the profit generated by the sale of a touch panel, (and miss out on all the support issues you mentioned) or potentially lose the sale of the WHOLE SYSTEM to the competitor that has more flexible options.

    I don't think Cre$tron has suffered any when they move system hardware out the door that happens to not include a physical touch panel.

    - Chip

    DHawthorne wrote:
    The only approach that will even come close to being viable is a full-blown PC application like Panel Preview that will actually talk to the master as well. And I am quite sure AMX doesn't go that route because of all the support issues without any of the profit from selling an actual device.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    Chip Moody wrote:
    Guess I'll continue seeing Cre$tron systems being sold in instances where this type of interface is needed. :)

    There's a decision AMX had to make here, whether they thought it through or not. Lose the profit generated by the sale of a touch panel, (and miss out on all the support issues you mentioned) or potentially lose the sale of the WHOLE SYSTEM to the competitor that has more flexible options.

    I don't think Cre$tron has suffered any when they move system hardware out the door that happens to not include a physical touch panel.

    - Chip

    that's because Cre$tron is asking money for it's the use of PDA based webcontrol. Control using a browser is free tho :)
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    There's no compelling reason AMX can't charge for any no-panel solution, be it flash-based or a licensing key to unlock something served by the master. The point is, many customers balk at several thousands of dollars for a touch panel, when they would willingly pay a few hundred. There are always clear advantages to a hardware device, so I don't think that portion of the market is put at risk; what it comes down to instead is a smaller sale vs. no sale at all. It's in their interests to provide that "smaller sale" solution, or we are going to come up with something ourselves that will equate to the "no sale" option for AMX. And those without the resources to create their own solution are just going to go with C instead.
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    It's the same old debate that AMX has nice panels but the cost of them are too high. I know a sales rep and he says that the biggest complaint he hears all the time. A virtual web based panel is needed and even it cost a few bucks for a license fee than I'd be interested in it. Either that or a nice non-expensive panel that looks and works good.
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    The Windows executables are also free - for those that would rather not have to fire up Internet Explorer and/or be worried about the privledges/hassles of the ActiveX control used in the browser version...

    But yes, a PDA executable (not web) license costs a few $$$.

    - Chip

    yuri wrote:
    that's because Cre$tron is asking money for it's the use of PDA based webcontrol. Control using a browser is free tho :)
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