Crestron Electronics CNX-PAD8 Page 3

Remember what I said earlier about the importance of choosing the right installer? It goes double here because there are only two things that limit what these keypads can do: the total budget and the installer's programming ability. For example, the goal in this install was to use as much of the existing wiring as possible while minimizing the total number of touchpanels to be mounted on the walls. So, in two areas where multiple volume controls had been installed near one another, Chris installed one touchpanel and programmed it to perform double-duty functions. Touch the hard key on the bottom left, and the panel controls the kitchen area. Touch the hard key on the bottom right, and the panel switches to control the breakfast area. Most importantly, it does this without any thinking on the user's part.

The LC-1000 gives you as much or as little control as you desire. A creative installer can program the touchpanel to look just about any way you want—from very simple, with just a few large "buttons" on the screen, to the sickeningly complex, with lots of tiny "buttons" like a universal remote from hell. Need more control? You can also layer page after page of buttons, performing every remote function known to man (or woman). Each panel can even store up to four minutes of WAV audio files. At first, I thought this was frivolous; however, if you have a touchpanel in, say, the guest bedroom, you can record voice prompts to help the uninitiated guest use the system. Now that's hospitality!

The display uses a unique white LED for lighting. The usable life span for this LED is so long that Crestron says you can program the panels to remain lit at all times, if you so choose, and not worry about longevity. The display can also be programmed to sense the amount of room light and switch to bright or dim illumination as necessary. Use a new Crestron ST-TUNE integrated AM/FM/TV tuner, and the display can even tell you what radio station you're listening to.

Although this client didn't want it, with the right controller, the well-connected homeowner can have the touchpanels display just about any information you could conceivably pull off the Internet: stock quotes, weather updates, what's next on Cartoon name it.

Although the LC-1000 costs about 1.5 times what the basic keypad costs (about $638 versus a little over $400), it's 10 times as functional and 100 times more fun. Given the choice between cool touchpanels or boring push-buttons, our mystery woman didn't even hesitate.

As beautiful as the LC-1000 is, it can't directly control the brawn of the CNX-PAD8. To make the system work, you need a Crestron network controller, such as the basic ST-CP or the more-sophisticated CNMSX-PRO. For this particular installation, Chris went with the better controller (of course). With eight IR/serial/one-way RS-232 ports, six bidirectional RS-232 ports, eight digital/analog input ports, eight digital output ports, eight low-voltage isolated relay connections, and four expansion slots, the CNMSX-PRO is a true geeky installer's dream. Combined with LC-1000 touchpanels and the CNX-PAD8, it makes even the most complicated wholehouse system orgasmically easy and way too much fun to use.

Crestron Electronics
$1,399, $638, $2,175
(800) 237-2041