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Moving switchers to the other side? (1 Viewer)

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Rick Austinson
Hi folks,

I'm hoping I can get some advice on how to finally make this system work. I've got a series of HDMI Matrix Switchers I'm using to drive a number of multi-monitor display PCs(not home theater, I know, but am using mostly home theater equipment). Basically, my sources are at one end of a bundle of 50' cables, my screens and switchers are on the other. There are a few problems with this setup, and at the end of the day I am not particularly thrilled with the performance. In my latest round of upgrades, I'm now controlling everything with IR remotes, so I no longer need ready access to the physical buttons on the switchers.

What I'd LIKE to do is to relocate all of the splitters and switchers to the far side, have them be next to the computers; and just run HDMI cables directly into the monitors. I have tried this sort of thing in the past and always had trouble with it. I'm hopping I can get some advice/guidance on how to actually make it work for a change.

There are a couple of annoying caveats: I can't upgrade the cables. I'm just not in a position to replace them or to run Cat5 instead. The cables I have are the cables I have. They are pretty good quality, and have no trouble getting a 4k signal directly from a source into a monitor. The problem happens when I add a splitter or a switcher into the mix. If I don't have the switcher closer to the screen, I can't get a signal.

So... anyone have any advice or recommendations on how I can fix this? I suspect the solution is to add either some kind of conditioner to the far end or a signal amplifier to the near-end, but I have not had much luck with that so far.
 
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Rick Austinson
I've tried using less sophisticated range-extenders and have used spliters as amplifiers with some success. Currently I usually need to have a powered spliter on the end of the cable before it goes into the mess of switchers if I want to get a 4K signal through.

I'm assuming I would need to have that at the far-end of the cable, closer to the monitor?

I'm going to try one of those extenders for a 2k signal that's having some issues with the new setup. Part of what has me wanting to get all the switchers shifted to the far side is to make working on them easier. At present the mass of cables behind my desk is threatening to collapse into a singularity. The main challenge is I need to figure out how to test this in stages, pulling gear out of the rack built into the desk is easier said than done.

It occurred to me today that I actually have not tried running the 4k KVM on the far side of the bridge(closer to the computers); the last time I tried this was with a DVI KVM that had no end of problem.

EDIT: I've read that when it comes to using switchers and long sources, its better to have them at the display-end of the cable, is this true? Does it really matter?
 
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Rick Austinson
Well that changes my whole dynamic!

I was thinking about as a test getting another 50' cable of the same sort I've been using, and hooking that up to the switchers in-place, then into the monitor. That would give me a total run of over 100'; but if it works it would be a pretty good indicator that I can safely move the switchers to the other side.

Does that make sense?
 

JohnRice

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I really haven’t tried to decipher entirely what you’re doing, but whenever you need to amplify a long cable run, you always amplify it at the beginning.
 
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Rick Austinson
You probably don't want to decipher exactly what I'm doing, madness lies that way. But I much appreciate the advice; I had always been told the exact opposite - that you amplify at the end. I've got some other scale tests I can work on but knowing that really changes my whole dynamic. In a good way.
 

Dave Upton

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You probably don't want to decipher exactly what I'm doing, madness lies that way. But I much appreciate the advice; I had always been told the exact opposite - that you amplify at the end. I've got some other scale tests I can work on but knowing that really changes my whole dynamic. In a good way.
And next time you are replacing cables, use these babies and avoid the need for any amplification: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13700
 
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Rick Austinson
Sadly I'm a few years out from new cables, but I promise not to cheap out on them next time(yeah... my 50-footers were about $12 each...). Actually I'll probably upgrade to HDMI-over-Cat6 eventually.

Just in case anyone DOES want to delve into the madness of exactly what's going on... I have a multi-monitor/multi-workstation system. I have 7 monitors on my desk, plus a nearby TV, plus another monitor, plus a screen in the other room. I use a complex array of switchers, splitters, and scalers to put any output onto any screen. WHY i do this is more madness, but I have a lot of fun at it.




Anyway, one last question: anyone happen to know of a device that will do IR over TCP/IP? Not IR over Cat5, I need a receiver I can plug in to a switch in one room and have it repeat the IR signals from a remote over an emitter plugged in to another switch on the same network. I'm aware this is probably fairly complicated but I am running very low on direct Cat5 runs.

Thanks!
 

Dave Upton

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Sadly I'm a few years out from new cables, but I promise not to cheap out on them next time(yeah... my 50-footers were about $12 each...). Actually I'll probably upgrade to HDMI-over-Cat6 eventually.

Just in case anyone DOES want to delve into the madness of exactly what's going on... I have a multi-monitor/multi-workstation system. I have 7 monitors on my desk, plus a nearby TV, plus another monitor, plus a screen in the other room. I use a complex array of switchers, splitters, and scalers to put any output onto any screen. WHY i do this is more madness, but I have a lot of fun at it.




Anyway, one last question: anyone happen to know of a device that will do IR over TCP/IP? Not IR over Cat5, I need a receiver I can plug in to a switch in one room and have it repeat the IR signals from a remote over an emitter plugged in to another switch on the same network. I'm aware this is probably fairly complicated but I am running very low on direct Cat5 runs.

Thanks!
Global Cache makes a network IR gateway.

 
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Rick Austinson
awesome! That is just a tad more sophisticated than what I need but would do the job admirably. At least knowing such products exist will make my search a lot easier. So far the best idea I've been able to come up with was to use a spare 1/4th" audio cable I have on the install and run the existing simple IR repeater I have. Probably not the most effective plan.

Anyway, time to start pathing cables...
 
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Rick Austinson
Well, we have success... sorta but not really? After 2 days of re-configuring(I know I should have done some incremental tests) I have picture but its not stable. The main display blinks in and out. Sometimes it will eb stable for a while, then it blinks every few seconds.

The new configuration has the first splitter/ammplifier just 1 foot from the source(in fact its now bolted to the case and using a 1' HDMI cable) it then goes to a 10' cable and into the switcher, then 50' cable into another switcher, then 12' cable into the monitor(total run of 73', though that's about what it was before).

Aside from a purpose-built amplifier, I'm not really sure what else to do to stabalize the display. There are no passive couplers, every part along the way is an active/powered switcher or splitter.

Any ideas?
 
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Rick Austinson
after a lot of experimentation I have confirmed that the 2k sources are all stable and working perfectly. The downscaled 4k sources even work fine on the 2k screens. But the 4k sources on 4k displays are very unstable. I have a 4k amplifier on the way, lets see how that does.
 
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So a dedicated(and highly-rated) 4k signal booster arrived today and has not helped. The main workstation isn't just blinking in and out, it's actually loosing the monitor. This is despite being connected through 4 seperate devices that are supposed to be spoofing edids.

The current configuration is: graphics card --> 1' cable to HDMI splitter with downscale functions --> 10' cable to 4K KVM --> 50' cable to 4k matrix-switcher --> 2' cable to 4k signal booster --> 12' cable to display.

I'm going to try moving the signal booster progressively further back in the chain for now, but hopefully someone can give me some suggestions.

Here's where I'm really in trouble: if I can't find a way to make this work I am hosed, I physically cannot run new cables right now.
 
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So anticlimactically enough, it seems moving the repeater one step further back, behind the final matrix, has resolved everything. I've had stable video for hours now. Hurray! Going to order a second repeater for the second 4k screen, 2k signals are good. I think everything is now resolved, and I can move on to my next stupid problem.
 

JohnRice

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Like I said, you want boosters early in the chain, not late.
 
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I did that. I put the first booster 1ft from the source. Every device in the chain is supposed to be a booster. Of course, every device is also supposed to spoof EDID to the computer, and not a single one does. Go figure.
 

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