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  1. #1

    DenonSerial plugin thread

    For a number of weeks now I've been using a plugin at home that I put together to control my Denon A/V receiver through SqueezeCenter. It's called DenonSerial because the focus is the lower-end "CI" Denon amps that offer RS232 serial ports for control (the more expensive Denon amps have Ethernet ports, and Aesculus/Chris has already written the "Denon AVP Control" plugin for those, http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=60114).

    I've put up a web page about the plugin, and would love to hear from any Denon owners who'd be willing to try it out -- whether you have a relatively low-end Denon like I do, or a nicer, network-ready model. Despite its name, DenonSerial CAN control network-enabled Denon amps via their ethernet ports. The web page explains the features & requirements.

    http://www.tux.org/~peterw/slim/DenonSerial.html

    This plugin isn't quite ready for me to officially release it -- mostly because I've occasionally seen it get confused and stop controlling the amp. I'm working hard on that, as I rely on this plugin myself for daily use. Anyway, since it's not quite ready, you won't find it in my main Extension Downloader repository. See the web page for my test repository location.

    Thanks,

    Peter

    Note: most recently I have been using a Raspberry Pi Model B and an inexpensive USB-serial cable (an old one with a Prolific 2303 chipset) to allow DenonSerial to use TCP to control the Denon, as it is no longer in the same room as my SBS/LMS server. This has worked very well -- more reliable than a Windows 7 Atom-based machine that I also used in this manner for a couple years. The Pi is far smaller, cheaper, and uses far less power than the Atom PC. It's also cheaper than most dedicated serial port network servers. The Pi runs Rasbian Wheezy, using the ser2net package. Here's what my /etc/ser2net.conf looks like -- change "5000" to whatever port you like:

    Code:
    5000:telnet:600:/dev/ttyUSB0:9600 8DATABITS NONE 1STOPBIT
    Last edited by peterw; 2013-07-28 at 16:23. Reason: add note about Raspberry Pi as serial server
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

  2. #2
    Old news, new news.

    New news: I finally got around to hooking up an XP box to act as a TCP serial port server to make sure the serial port code worked OK. With verison 0.1.27, it didn't, but DenonSerial version 0.1.28 fixes that bug. It should work fine with Denon units that have Ethernet ports and RS232-equipped units with devices like the Sena LS110 providing a TCP/telnet/network interface.

    Old news: the "confused and stops controlling" bug has been fixed for a while.

    -Peter
    Last edited by peterw; 2009-11-02 at 18:31.
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

  3. #3
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    Hi Peter,

    Your Denon serial plugin is very interesting. Much thanks for sharing!

    You mention the Sena LS110 to provide RS-232 control when the SB server machine is not located near the controlled Denon receiver. Any chance the Global Cache products, such as the GC-100 would also work?

    Doug

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TechHome View Post
    You mention the Sena LS110 to provide RS-232 control when the SB server machine is not located near the controlled Denon receiver. Any chance the Global Cache products, such as the GC-100 would also work?
    I hadn't heard of them before, but I think so. Looks like you'd just need to set up the GC-100 to use 9600 bps 8N1 for the serial port and tell DenonSerial to use a host like 10.1.2.3:4999 (port 4999 being the TCP/IP port for the first GC-100 serial port). Please let me know how it goes if you try this. If you ave trouble, please set the Squeezebox Server plugin.DenonSerial logging level to DEBUG and show me what it says when you try changing the Squeezebox volume.

    -Peter
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw View Post
    Please let me know how it goes if you try this. If you ave trouble, please set the Squeezebox Server plugin.DenonSerial logging level to DEBUG and show me what it says when you try changing the Squeezebox volume.

    -Peter
    Thanks! At this point, I'm still putting the shopping list together for a multi-zone system. For amplification, the finalists are DRA-697CI, A-9555 and HK-3490. I like the RS-232 in the Denon, the cool running Class-D amplification in the Onkyo and the onboard DACs in the Harman Kardon...

    I already have a Niles SVL-6 which goes between the amplified output and the speakers. It allows up to 6-pairs of 8 ohm speakers to be powered by a single amp and presents a 4 ohm load at the amp. An On-Off pushbutton and volume attenuator are provided for each zone. The volume control of the receiver or integrated amp will serve as the master volume control. If I go with the HK or Onkyo, I'll stick with a SB classic and IR Blaster. If I go with the Denon, I plan to use your plugin which will allow me to upgrade to a SB Touch while retaining IR Blaster like control of the receiver.

    I'd love to use a SB Touch as the primary source, but receiver control ala IR Blaster is a must. Unfortunately IR Blaster does not currently work w/ the Touch. My hope is that your Denon Serial plugin will at least allow equivalent functionality to IR blaster with the SB Touch to control receiver volume, speaker selection, source selection and on-off.

    I uses the excellent IR Blaster plugin for an SB2 and SB classic in different rooms with great success. But, I do more that just turn the receiver on and off. In one room when the SB is powered the receiver is blasted with a standby code - pause - toggle power code - pause - toggle B speakers code - pause - CD input code. When the SB is powered off, the receiver gets toggle B-speakers code - pause - DVD input code - pause - standby code.

    In the case of the Onkyo receiver in use, it has a code that puts the receiver in standby if on and leaves it in standby, if not. The other power IR code is a toggle on-off. On SB power-on, by blasting the standby code 1st, I'm able to put the receiver in a known power state (standby), then turn it on. Toggling the B-speakers provides A+B speakers for SB listening. Selecting CD ensures that the SB's output will be the active receiver input.

    On SB power-off, the B-speakers are toggled off and input set to DVD to help ensure proper settings for 5.1 TV use with the SageTV extender

    Does your Denon Serial plugin similarly allow multiple control events to be associated with power-on and power-off?

    In regards to the Global Cache units, my interest is that they are supported by a number of universal remote control apps for the iPhone that could be used to build a seperate, but comprehensive iPhone remote for the DRA-697CI, or for any IR or RS-232 controllable device. In this case, in addition to on-off, volume up-down, I'd like to be able to switch sources, adjust tone controls, select FM presets and control an iPod docked in the companion Denon dock.

    Doug

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TechHome View Post
    Does your Denon Serial plugin similarly allow multiple control events to be associated with power-on and power-off?
    Currently, no. How user-friendly would you need this to be? Wouold it be acceptable to have text-fields in the web settings for "extra RS232 commands" when the SB is turned on or off where you'd enter things like Z2MUON; SIDVD; MUOFF to mute zone 2, switch the input to DVD, and un-mute the main zone? (These commands are from the Denon RS232 documentation.)

    For over a year now I've meant to develop a Touch applet that would let you use a $10 USB-to-serial adapter so Touch itself could relay these commands to the Denon serial port (instead of something like the GC-100 or Sena boxes), but I haven't gotten around to it.
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw View Post
    Currently, no. How user-friendly would you need this to be? Wouold it be acceptable to have text-fields in the web settings for "extra RS232 commands" when the SB is turned on or off where you'd enter things like Z2MUON; SIDVD; MUOFF to mute zone 2, switch the input to DVD, and un-mute the main zone? (These commands are from the Denon RS232 documentation.)
    Seems friendly enough to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterw View Post
    For over a year now I've meant to develop a Touch applet that would let you use a $10 USB-to-serial adapter so Touch itself could relay these commands to the Denon serial port (instead of something like the GC-100 or Sena boxes), but I haven't gotten around to it.
    This sounds great! I'm amazed at how little interest there seems to be in apps like this and IR Blaster. IMO, the SB receiver would be an ideal unit to hide away in a closet with an integrated amp or receiver but is a non-starter since it has no equivalent functionality to IR blaster. With the requirement to purchase a Global Cache or Sena unit AND a SB Touch, I start to question whether the cost is worth it. Replacing the GC-100 or Sena with the SB Touch plus USB to serial adapter is a big step in the right direction.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TechHome View Post
    Seems friendly enough to me.
    OK, I'll take a look at that.

    This sounds great! I'm amazed at how little interest there seems to be in apps like this and IR Blaster. IMO, the SB receiver would be an ideal unit to hide away in a closet with an integrated amp or receiver but is a non-starter since it has no equivalent functionality to IR blaster. With the requirement to purchase a Global Cache or Sena unit AND a SB Touch, I start to question whether the cost is worth it. Replacing the GC-100 or Sena with the SB Touch plus USB to serial adapter is a big step in the right direction.
    I think there is a fair amount of interest in these sort of extensions -- Logitech staff have even admitted publicly that omitting IR Blasting capability from Receiver was a mistake. (But I don't know how to reconcile that with Touch repeating the mistake; maybe they're really embarcing Apple's "80%" design mantra.)

    I've been looking again at Lua coroutine information, and it really looks like it shouldn't be too hard to make it work, at least for DenonSerial -- I just have to overcome the inertia of having not yet written an applet.

    I think it would also be very cool to offer something for Touch that would turn Touch into a replacement for a Sena LS-100 -- that is, something that would act as a TCP-to-serial bridge and not care what sort of RS232 device was connected; unfortunately it looks like that would need to be a standalone application and not merely a Squeezebox applet, due to the design of the Lua network socket APIs. Since Logitech doesn't include the standard Lua interpreter on Touch, it would need to nbe compiled code, and I've never much liked setting up cross-compiling environments (and have enjoyed taking a break from C and C++ code).

    Finally, it would be cool to have a 100% applet version of DenonSerial so Touch would retain control over the amp even if using its internal server or MySqueezebox.com. But I haven't been terribly motivated because I don't need those sorts of things myself.
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

  9. #9
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    Peter,
    Please don't do any of this for me. I don't own a SB Touch or an RS-232 equipped Denon. In fact, I'm leaning towards the cheap and easy and will likely purchase an Onkyo TX-8555 ($179 HH Gregg grand opening sale) to use with a SB v3 & IR Blaster and the Niles speaker selector for a budget single source six zone system.

    Doug

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TechHome View Post
    Please don't do any of this for me. I don't own a SB Touch or an RS-232 equipped Denon. In fact, I'm leaning towards the cheap and easy and will likely purchase an Onkyo TX-8555 ($179 HH Gregg grand opening sale) to use with a SB v3 & IR Blaster and the Niles speaker selector for a budget single source six zone system.
    No sweat. Adding the extra commands was easy; that's now in 0.1.36. Hard to argue with the price of that Onkyo, but, man, I'm so happy with RS232, with being able to precisely set volume levels, with having more assurance that my commands will work the first time. My old mini stereo that uses IR Blaster feels so primitive now. Plus the Audyssey room correction is pretty nice. :-)
    owner of the stuff that used to reside at http://www.tux.org/~peterw/
    Note: The best way to reach me is email or PM, as I don't spend time on the forums.
    Free plugins: AllQuiet Auto Dim/AutoDisplay BlankSaver ContextMenu DenonSerial
    FuzzyTime KidsPlay KitchenTimer PlayLog PowerCenter/BottleRocket SaverSwitcher
    SettingsManager SleepFade StatusFirst SyncOptions VolumeLock

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