Laptop For Programming Remotes- Anything To Look For?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by James Edward, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm going to purchase a laptop with the primary purpose of programming remotes- anything from a Pronto to the
    HTM MX-700, or whatever.

    I would like to stick with Dell if possible, and wonder if their home version or business version would be better.

    Is there a particular feature I should be looking for? It seems that remote programming does not require a full blown top-end machine, but I just don't know what I do need to look for...

    Any thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Messages:
    932
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Try and find an older unit that has a serial port, or optionally get a new unit with a serial port if possible.

    I have found (for other applications) that new Laptops with USB only can give problems - it is the USB to serial adapters that have given me grief (some work, some intermittent, some crash the OS on occassion).

    I would also assume ( [​IMG] ) that a low spec model would suit your purposes.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You should look at the various makes of remotes you want to program and see what their requirements are.

    Dont forget to look for Crestron - a fairly high-end remote. (http://www.crestron.com/)

    Harmony remotes (my favorite) want a USB cable so a USB port is a must-have. Harmony also keeps all the codes for all the devices on their website so a network card/or a wireless network card for internet access will be required to program them.

    You might also look for PC-based RTA (Real Time Analysis) software that uses a sound-card and microphone jack to analyze a room's frequency-response. Getting a laptop with a sound-card and capability of doing RTA would give you another option that you can charge $$$ for. (Check out the SVS subwoofers site - they use one PC-based software program that they like.) Go to our "speakers and subwoofer" fourm and search for "RTA" or "House Curve" to see what some of our members have used.

    I have used Dell computers (got one sitting next to me at the moment) and my company uses them. But their tech-support department is overseas and they have taken a huge hit by out-sourcing phone support to India. Communication can be a problem. (A sister-in-law refuses to recommend/purchase Dell because of the problems with her staff and Dell).

    Oh - you will want a CD-Rom burner in the lap top. This way you can burn a CD for each customer or at least do routine backups of all the configurations. Otherwise, hours of work will be lost if the laptop develops problems and you have to re-format or replace the unit.
     
  4. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Great idea... The guy I work with now doesn't do this, but it's certainly something to make the customer feel better about his dollars spent.

    After reading the posts, I purchased a Compaq VR2570, which seems to fit the bill. I ordered a serial to USB adapter from Amazon, and I should be ready to go.

    I've programmed numerous MX-500's, so the next step is this. Thanks for the advice.
     
  5. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 1998
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Which serial adapter did you get? I use a Keyspan and its worked flawless for programing pronto's. Some of the cheaper ones don't allow you to change the baud rate or com ports which is critical for proper communication to some devices (esp the older pronto's)
     
  6. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Andrew,
    Phew!!! I ordered a Keyspan, and it arrived today. I'm about to install the drivers now.
    Thanks for letting me know I got the right one!
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 1998
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Anytime James. If you have any question about it just let me know.
     

Share This Page