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  • General Russound CAA66 Questions

    Blade, this isn't really for you, but for those that use the plugin already and have existing russound systems.

    I just got in my CAA66 and threw it in the rack and hooked up my speakers (I only have 2 zones right now). I hooked up a keypad temporarily to test the zones and sources (Have only tested 1 of the 6 keypads so far). So, here are my questions:

    1) I was thinking of running this without keypads to start. I only have 2 zones and each zone will likely start off with 1 chromecast audio each. There will be no need to change sources at this point. Can i run this without keypads? I couldn't get it to work in my initial test without one hooked up, but I don't have it hooked up to HS yet. I will use other devices in the rooms to turn the zones on (if any lights are on, turn on the zone).

    2) Do I just need an RS232 serial cable, or can I get a serial-> usb cable (this will be easier to do when I move to a NUC for HS)

    3) The way my house is wired, I have patch panels. It appears that the Russound keypads want to be wired directly to the Unit. Has anyone wired this in such a way that they have 1 or 2 patch panels in between? I don't think I will need crossovers or anything fancy as the pins should just "line up" as long as I wire everything T568A, but I want to be sure.

    I think that's it for now. I have 1 more zone to wire (foyer), get the serial cable, then I will get the plugin. I'm hoping I can start off sans controllers for now.
    MeiAutomtion Home

  • #2
    1. Yes they can be run without keypads. I have 6 zones and 4 pads. You will find its easier to program the unit with a keypad though. I personally hate the powerpc software they use.

    2. Russound is very limited on what they support for USB to serial. I had nothing but issues and made sure I bought a pc for HS that still had a serial port. Also my russound unit is not near computer and in a different floor. So I use cat5 with serial adapters on the ends and it's flawless (probably 50 ft on cable run).

    You can run it thru patch panels as long as it's a direct connection.

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    • #3
      Oh and go to the russound website and sign up as if you are a dealer. You get access to a lot of documentation and software. They only ask for an email address.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by waynehead99 View Post
        1. Yes they can be run without keypads. I have 6 zones and 4 pads. You will find its easier to program the unit with a keypad though. I personally hate the powerpc software they use.

        2. Russound is very limited on what they support for USB to serial. I had nothing but issues and made sure I bought a pc for HS that still had a serial port. Also my russound unit is not near computer and in a different floor. So I use cat5 with serial adapters on the ends and it's flawless (probably 50 ft on cable run).

        You can run it thru patch panels as long as it's a direct connection.
        Thanks for the info. My only issue is that the NUC does not have Serial ports on it. MY server currently does, but not that.

        I also don't have the serial cable yet, so I'm guessing I have to either have it hooked up to a PC to adjust zones/sources or use a keypad, correct?
        MeiAutomtion Home

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        • #5
          Correct. If you have the manual you will find the keypad work to set it up just fine (depending on the type you bought) I have the ST2 model with Lcd screens.

          Also use to serial will work as long as you get a type they support. What was weird with my unit is I couldn't use the computer to program it with their software because it wouldn't find it, but when I was testing the casa software (another software to control homeseer) it worked. So it's hit or miss.

          And also I have the CAM6.6 but I think the rnet protocol is the same across the board.

          Like I said earlier just act like a dealer and it gives you a lot of documentation including what USB cables they support.

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          • #6
            You don't need to connect the keypads at all. I haven't bothered to connect my outside zone to a keypad yet because digging a trench, burying conduit and so forth is a PITA.

            I've always used a USB to serial adapter. I just got the first one with an FTDI chip that caught my eye on Amazon. I have actually never touched a serial cable in my life.

            A patch panel shouldn't be a problem. You just can't run it through a switch.
            Originally posted by rprade
            There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

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            • #7
              Thanks all!! I should have the serial cable here Monday :-) (went with and ftdi serial to usb to try).

              Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
              MeiAutomtion Home

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sirmeili View Post

                3) The way my house is wired, I have patch panels. It appears that the Russound keypads want to be wired directly to the Unit. Has anyone wired this in such a way that they have 1 or 2 patch panels in between? I don't think I will need crossovers or anything fancy as the pins should just "line up" as long as I wire everything T568A, but I want to be sure.
                With my CAV6.6's I wire everything 568A and it works fine.
                My keypads all terminate at a patch panel as do the keypad ports for the 6.6's - Then a patch cord to make the connection.

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                • #9
                  Ok, so I've gotten the CAA66 setup and so far it's all working great. I should have the USB audio card and cable here wed (my motherboards sound card isn't recognized by Windows Server 2012r2 for some dumb reason).

                  I do have a question though. I plan to start with 2-3 sources. The first will be the Homeseer Server, which will be used for announcements (BLSpeech most likely).

                  For the others I currently have 2 Chromecast audios. These are fine and they work, but there is only one issue. If the person leaves the room and turns off the zone, the chromecast will just keep playing and most likely no one will know. This could have some benefits, but one downside is the constant use of data.

                  So, I've considered a Sonos Connect (or 2), but I have a hard time justifying the cost of one of those ($350!!!!!). I know there is a plugin which would give me some control over it, but still. that's a lot to take in. I do have a ton of local media (ripped CDs), but our daughter would never listen to that...LOL.

                  So my question is, What are you all using for your sources and how, if at all, do you control them from Homeseer?

                  I'm also trying to figure out how to pull stereo of the living room receiver while keeping it's 7.1 for the speakers. It's second zone won't pull encoded audio into stereo (downmix).
                  MeiAutomtion Home

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                  • #10
                    General Russound CAA66 Questions

                    I am personally using squeezebox with a raspberry Pi as the source. I put two USB audio cards on it for two sources and can control it from hstouch no issue. I have set that if all zones are off to pause audio to keep it from playing. Wife uses Pandora thru it and I Spotify.

                    I have been toying with the idea of removing the russound panels and putting a touch screen in their place. Mine use 2 gang boxes so the screen would be decent size and since I already have cat5 run, Poe would be easy. Just have to find something that would fit and look good. If only HSTouch would run on a Pi....

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                    • #11
                      You may want to look into squeezebox. There is a pretty active plugin and they are dirt cheap. You can make them from a RPI. Also you may want to look into Blades BLMediaPlayer. It's got great announcement integration where you can set it to "duck" the volume of playing music (to, say, 10%) during an announcement and it goes back to where it was when the announcement is over. It's pretty rough around the edges though as Blade doesn't use it at all. I don't really use it much myself because it's playlist driven and I make my own playlists on the fly with WinAmp. That said I have achieved a rudimentary and barbaric sort of WinAmp integration via EventGhost on my PC.

                      About your receiver: A lot will depend on the model you have. Some have a B output that you could just run to the CAA. It may have other outputs. I don't know. Here I mainly listen to music from my PC using WinAmp. I got this to go to both the CAA and my receiver using coax S/PDIF and a S/PDIF splitter. I know that there are some on the market that can parse 5.1 and make it stereo but they weren't well known when I got my device so I can only use it for stereo music. That's fine because I have yet to desire to listen to a movie from another room. That said, your best bet is probably the B output on your receiver. This question gets asked a lot in the distributed audio section on AVS and that's always the first and best answer. Let the receiver do the X.1 to 2.0 downmix for you.
                      Originally posted by rprade
                      There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by S-F View Post
                        You may want to look into squeezebox. There is a pretty active plugin and they are dirt cheap. You can make them from a RPI. Also you may want to look into Blades BLMediaPlayer. It's got great announcement integration where you can set it to "duck" the volume of playing music (to, say, 10%) during an announcement and it goes back to where it was when the announcement is over. It's pretty rough around the edges though as Blade doesn't use it at all. I don't really use it much myself because it's playlist driven and I make my own playlists on the fly with WinAmp. That said I have achieved a rudimentary and barbaric sort of WinAmp integration via EventGhost on my PC.

                        About your receiver: A lot will depend on the model you have. Some have a B output that you could just run to the CAA. It may have other outputs. I don't know. Here I mainly listen to music from my PC using WinAmp. I got this to go to both the CAA and my receiver using coax S/PDIF and a S/PDIF splitter. I know that there are some on the market that can parse 5.1 and make it stereo but they weren't well known when I got my device so I can only use it for stereo music. That's fine because I have yet to desire to listen to a movie from another room. That said, your best bet is probably the B output on your receiver. This question gets asked a lot in the distributed audio section on AVS and that's always the first and best answer. Let the receiver do the X.1 to 2.0 downmix for you.
                        Receiver won't down mix hdmi audio to the second zone and everything I use is HDMI. The only way to get audio out of the second zone is to run rca or optical from those devices that use HDMI, and at that point it's either or, not both.
                        I will look into squeezebox though. I have an extra raspberry pi laying around.

                        Thanks guys!

                        Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
                        MeiAutomtion Home

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                        • #13
                          My Pi squeezebox had got to be the most reliable thing. Plugged it in 6 months ago and haven't touched it since. You have to get a USB DAC though. The audio out on the Pi is pretty rough, but ok for testing.

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                          • #14
                            Add another vote for Raspberry Pi audio sources.

                            Four of our audio sources are RPi:
                            Musicbox - library and streaming
                            Squeeze (on PiCorePlayer) - library or internet radio, mostly
                            2 x Pandora / Pianobar / Patiobar (one for us, one for the older son)

                            The bad news is that only Squeeze is easily supported in HomeSeer. In theory, the other two should be support-able if I can figure out how to get telnet working, both should be do-able. I'm just not very good at that stuff. In theory, Pianobar is using a FIFO file that should allow pulling all the now playing stuff and there are commands for everything else.

                            I'm trying to figure out the best way to play from Google Music. I suspect it'll be the Chomecase audio, but I'm unclear on whether that will play without intervention from a phone? And what are the chances we will get any integration with HomeSeer? Low?

                            If someone can get the whole two-way telnet thing working decent, it would really open up what we can do with the various RPi solutions.

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                            • #15
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