Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


A Programmer’s Plea to Manufacturers: Give Us Your Code

In order for programmers to effectively do their jobs, manufacturers should make the code needed to program a system readily available.

Tim Albright

My full-time job is running AVNation. In addition to this, I occasionally get a call from an old colleague asking for some programming help. Such was the case the last couple of weeks.

Most of the conference room systems I have worked on are equipped with a couple of displays or a projector, DSP, switcher, and a control system.

Most display manufacturers are great about documenting their control codes. This is either in the documentation they provide in the shipping box or you can find it on their site. This is, of course, if you don’t have a module provided by Crestron or another competent programmer.

With codes in hand and the program written, I set out to make a day of being on site again, enjoying the comradery of fellow AV professionals.

Our first task was to load up the code. We discovered that the commands for the projector weren’t working. In fact, I wasn’t even getting a response from the projector.

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For those who have never programmed before, that’s a sign of either bad wiring or inconsistent baud rates. So, we flipped the wires and tested all the rates, but to no avail. 

This system was sending the code down an HDBaseT line. After an hour of banging my head against the proverbial wall, we called the manufacturer.

The manufacturer responded, “You have to go into the service menu to enable HDBaseT control and then set it to this baud rate.”

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Well, how do I get to the service menu? “Up, Down, Left, Right, A, B, Select.” Not quite the secret Nintendo code, but it was close.

How to Help Us Help You

Here is my request, my plea to manufacturers. Help us help you.

If you have something like this, something that a part time programmer ran into twice in the course of two weeks, document it somewhere. Put it in the control commands doc, on your website, or give it to your dealers.

Make this knowledge available outside your company.

We are here to help make your components integrate into a system at large.

So, do all of us programmers a favor and give us the tools, the knowledge, to do our jobs.