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Is Kramer an option for DIY?

From what I can tell, you buy a Kramer "brain" for $720 (for the SL-240, the recently announced SL-240C may be a bit cheaper?) and the software and unlimited handsets and devices are free. There's also a 7 year warranty on the "brain", which is pretty good.

You can expand your system with more Kramer hardware, but you can also use Global Cache devices which many of us already have.

Assuming one wanted to go this route, would it even be practical as a DIYer? As far as I can tell, Kramer doesn't deal with end users, you'd have to buy from a dealer, and rely on them for any support. There is some limited documentation on their site, but without a forum like this to get help from knowledgeable people it'll be a lot more of a struggle to figure out how things work on your own.
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  • Hi Doug

    How do you know that Global Cache devices are also supported?
    - I have not found any information that indicated support for other than Kramer hardware.

    It would be great though, if we were able to "upgrade" our iRule membership to a Kramer membership, since the Builder looks very similar.

    Best Regards
    Jan Ekstrom
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  • From release notes for version 1.1.0 of the builder I found online at: https://www.manula.com/manuals/irule/...

    New Features

    Added support for SL-240C brain type
    Added the ability to Group Images based on type when uploading multiple images
    Added Errors and Warnings toolbar to show issues within the builder
    Added support for multiple gateway types
    FC-21ETH
    Global Cache IR and Serial hardware

    There wouldn't be any way to "upgrade" the iRule membership since iRule charged for the software and per device/handset beyond certain limits. The software is free with Kramer, and instead they charge for the hardware. I suppose they could offer a small discount on the "brain" for iRule customers, but if they were going to do that it probably would have been in the announcement they made a few weeks back about the future of iRule.
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  • That was an interesting link ;-)

    Have you tried to create an account and thereby getting access to the builder?
    I can see, that you should be able to select "Residential / Home Theater" as Industry and "End User" as Customer Type.....

    Yes, you are probable right wrt any discounts - even though it could have been an interesting offer to "upgrade" from e.g. Global Cache 100-12 to an Kramer FC-26 at a reasonable price.
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  • I haven't looked at prices for their full line, but if the FC26 is an example of their pricing even half off ($190 instead of the $380 I saw online) a stack of $100 iTachs is probably a better deal. Even with the 7 year warranty versus a year or whatever GC's warranty is, at that price difference you could afford to keep an iTach around as a spare and replace one every couple years. Not something an installer would want to deal with, he'll pass the cost along to the customer anyway, but as an end user why buy more expensive gear when cheaper works just as well (not sure what features Kramer's hardware could have that would make it a "better" IR gateway than GC's, there isn't much to them)

    I'm still curious to see where GC's new Global Connect product comes in price-wise, and if they will offer any sort of trade in discount for GC100 owners.

    I haven't tried to get a builder account there yet, but since it is based on iRule's builder I assume it should be pretty similar. Getting a builder account as an end user is one thing, having them support you if you want to report a bug you ran into is another. They might let end users use the builder, but tell you to talk to the dealer who sold you the 'brain' for support, in which case it would make a huge difference where you buy from. That's why I'm hoping someone who knows more about Kramer, or better yet a Kramer / former iRule employee shows up to clue us in.
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  • I went through the online manual for the Kramer Control Builder, which you provided the link to.

    It is surely build on the iRule Builder concepts, but there are also some significant differences, where I came across these (there might be more):
    - You need to define a Company/Building/Floor/Room structure before designing any panels
    - It support multiple users with different roles and rights
    - It handles states and actions, which had to be build using variables in iRule
    - The gateways are defined in the Builder and not on the tablet/phone it self
    - You need to handle the ID of a device if you want to use the same device in multiple panels as you could have multiple devices of the same brand and model (iRule just had the device assuming you only had one of each)

    And I saw a statement about you need to finalize some training within the first 14 days after creating your account in order to keep the account open. I don't know what type of training (online / classroom), how much an effort it would require or what the cost is if any.
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  • I've just done the Kramer training, took about half a day and is very easy if you're already familiar with iRule. You follow their simple demo project and submit a project for checking. I'm now a Certified Programmer.
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  • With some time on my hands I signed up for the training simply to see the KC software in action. So far, I'm impressed, but I have also signed up for further training (at Kramer, rather than distance e-learning).

    I'd say that initially Kramer seem to be targeting whole-building integration rather than professional or domestic AV, so it might appear to be unwieldy for a DIY project. But the UI and underlying workflow would be familiar to any iRule user.

    My rationale for doing this was an imminent upgrade to 4K in my HC, and knowing the iRule servers are in their final sunset period, it made sense to migrate the installation to something else.

    Additionally, I am already using Kramer hardware to provide all my gateway devices, and I expect to be able to redeploy these units in the new installation. I have always found the Kramer range extremely reliable and flexible, but as with all professional kit, not always plug-and-play.

    I was never a fan of the Global Cache range, but since GC gateways are also supported by Kramer Control, it should be possible to redeploy those relatively easily.

    KC device drivers are implemented differently, and seem to be less accessible to the programmer than the low-level access you get in iRule. There is a good range of drivers, but obviously not everything is there. My first impression is that there is no way of automatically converting an iRule device driver to KC, but I shall continue to investigate.

    Does anyone know if there a way of getting iRule to produce an XML dump of its device drivers, for example?
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