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OT-KVM Extension

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JeremyG
OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 14, 2007 at 10:56:36 pm

We are moving! Yay!

Since we have the opportunity, we are going to try and wire up our two main suites together in a central location. Ideally, I would like to keep all machines in that location (computers and all) and have only the necessary audio/video monitors and keyboards in the suite itself. Does anyone have Gefen KVM extenders and do they work with Apple monitors?

I have been doing some research, but can't really come up with the fool proof way. Can KVMs handle 30" monitors? Which model do I need?

Fortunately, the cable run is not long (no more then 20 feet from each suite to the central locale).

Also, does anyone have a line on a small cooling or a/c system that doesn't need external venting?

Trying to get all the ducks in a row before we move. Thanks all.

Jeremy


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CharlieX
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 15, 2007 at 5:50:11 pm

Gefen makes rock solid products. We've got their USB over cat 5 extenders throughout our studio.

You'll need an extender capable of Dual Link DVI for the 30"s. I don't know if any of their Cat 5 products is capable of that?

They have these booster boxes that turn DVI into fibre optic (over thin cables) and back into DVI... but those are REALLY expensive. For a 20' run I'd just buy DVI cables that have fibre optic built in:

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/cables/fiberextreme.jsp#dvifo

less wiring, less mess.



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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 15, 2007 at 5:58:59 pm

Thanks!


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Bob Zelin
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 15, 2007 at 8:46:43 pm

I always get into trouble, and here I am doing it once again. CharlieX is misrepresenting Gefen. Gefen's products are NOT rock solid. I install Gefen products on a weekly basis, and have been doing so for many years, back to early AVID days. I have a love/hate relationship with Gefen, and know their crew very well.

The product you want for the MAC Pro or MAC Quad or MAC G5 is the Gefen CAT 5 5500HD. This product will support Apple Cinema displays up to 23" (NOT 30"), and will also run the Dell 2407WFP monitors, and many others (including HP). This product is $1399. It has USB 1.1 support (not USB 2 in case you need it). It requires 4 CAT 5e cables, and works very well when it works. You may find that the USB port may occationally fail. Some people find that purchasing seperate components from Gefen gives them a little more peace of mind.
For example, if your USB port dies on the Gefen, you just replace the Gefen USB port for about $100 (or the single DVI port for $499), and not the entire $1399 box. But what about warantee support, you ask. Gefen is not AJA. Gefen will not advance ship you a unit if yours fails. You send the unit back to Gefen, they fix it, and send it back to you. Impossible, you say - you have to stay in business. You buy another Gefen directly from Gefen, they send you this unit, and when you send back your unit for repair (within 30 days), and they send it back to you, they will credit your credit card, provided you return the "replacement" unit. This is not AJA.

For 30" monitors, there is no CAT 5 solution for Gefen. Gefen makes an excellent DVI-DL dual link cable booster, which works very well (it works with both Apple and Dell 30" monitors- I never tried it on the new HP 30" LCD). HOWEVER, you MUST MUST MUST use the Gefen expensive cable that they provide for this application. The cables will cost you as much as the extender. I have tried assorted DVI cables, and could never get this product to work, without having to always go back to Gefen for the exact cable for thie product.

I have done much research on alternates to Gefen, like Magenta Research, Avocent, Hall Research, Extron and others.
Many companies like Chyron and Pinnacle use Avocent for extenders, but I have never had luck with them for AVID/FCP systems. Companies like Magenta and Hall have just started making DVI extenders, and they cost DRAMATICLALLY more money than Gefen. Many of the extenders that you see in mail order catalogs are VGA/PS2 extenders, and not DVI/USB extenders. You can get cheap USB extenders (like from Hall) but the Gefen is not expensive either for a stand alone extender.

Dont' think that you should get the Gefen USB2 extender for your keyboard and other USB2 applications in your edit room - you will have trouble. You want the USB1 extender - either built into your Gefen CAT 5 5500 HD , or your Gefen Mini USB-1 extender stand alone unit.

Of course, the question is "why can't everyone be just like AJA".

Bob Zelin


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 15, 2007 at 8:57:18 pm

Thanks, Bob.

Jeremy "SMPTE N10" G


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CharlieX
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 15, 2007 at 10:19:32 pm

I wouldn't say I'm misrepresenting Gefen - but perhaps we've been blessed to never get a lemon. But it sounds like you have much more history with them.

FYI: Avocent DOES make a DVI with integrated fibre optics that Autodesk ships with it's Flame systems. Works great - about 100' runs. Personally I'm all about DVI over fibre versus the Gefen DVI booster with their "special grade" copper. Less things to plug in, less clutter, happier world.




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Russell Lasson
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 16, 2007 at 12:09:18 am

We purchased a pair of the fibre DVI cables from Gefen. Both cables stopped working shortly after the warranty expired. We've used some other Gefen products and have had great success with them. So my experience has been both up and down.

In the coming months we'll be expanding and we're definitely going to be getting the 5500HD for those rooms. I really like the fact that you can customize the length and if a cable goes out, it's easier to replace.

-Russ



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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 16, 2007 at 6:56:44 pm

Thanks for the excellent insight everyone.

I guess I have to go talk to sales now and see what they have to say.

If anyone else has any experience (good/bad/indifferent) please chime in.

Jeremy


PS Bob, let me ask you this. If you were deciding to go WITHOUT the extenders and keep the computers in the suites, all you have to do is string more cables to the machine room, right? Pros and cons?


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Russell Lasson
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 16, 2007 at 7:32:55 pm

[JeremyG] "PS Bob, let me ask you this. If you were deciding to go WITHOUT the extenders and keep the computers in the suites, all you have to do is string more cables to the machine room, right? Pros and cons? "

I know it's a specific question for Bob, but here's my experience.

We have four systems connected by a SAN. All of the computers are located in one room with extenders going to the editing rooms. It's worked really well for us because we can change any computer to be in any room. I also connected two computers into one room using dual monitors (1 computer per monitor) so I can keep an eye on a compression job, export, etc. I just have a little usb switch so I can switch the keyboard between either computer.

This has worked really well for us because each one of our computers has different capture cards in them.

-Russ


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 16, 2007 at 7:37:04 pm

[Russell Lasson] "It's worked really well for us because we can change any computer to be in any room."


See, now that's sweet.


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Bob Zelin
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 1:02:12 am

Russell is correct. The ideal way is to use KVM extenders and keep all the noise, heat, and trouble in the machine room. If things go wrong, you have all your gear in the racks in the machine room, where you can easily get behind them (instead of crawling around on the floor in your edit room in front of your clients).

If you decide to keep the MAC's and AJA's and drives in your edit room, you will run ALL the wires from your AJA to your machine room patch bays anyway (cable costs a lot of money).

No matter what, someone is going to have to do a lot of wiring for you.

Bob Zelin


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 1:33:03 am

[Bob Zelin] "No matter what, someone is going to have to do a lot of wiring for you. "

Oh yeah, no doubt about that, just trying to do the smartest thing. Gefen sounds like a crap shoot at this point, and I know stringing lots of cable will work but that's not really what we want.

Decisions, decisions.

Jeremy



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Joe Murray
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 3:38:02 am

My experience with Gefen has not been good. I needed to go 150 feet with a 23" monitor and never got it to work properly with the product they recommended. But in our case it may have had something to do with a radio tower a couple hundred yards from out building that was illegally boosting their signal...no way to know for sure, but in any case the Gefen didn't work as advertised.

I also tried a DVI extender from Black Box but was only able to get it to work at a 75 foot length and only at 1600 x 1200. They do have a Cat 5 extender for USB that's a good add-on if you find a DVI solution that works for your monitor. Let me know if you want that model number.

As far as air conditioning in our equipment room, we use a Mitsubishi wall mounted unit that didn't require an external vent, but it did require a refrigerant line and a 3/4 inch flexible hose to expel the condensation to the roof. Not sure if your situation will allow any access to an outside wall or roof but the AC is very quiet and cools really well. Here's a link:

http://global.mitsubishielectric.com/bu/air/products/room_air.html

Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 6:00:22 pm

Awesome. Thanks a ton, Joe.


We are in fact on the top floor so if we need to, running a hose outside shouldn't be too much of a problem. Until it leaks.




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Joe Murray
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 7:24:34 pm

Yes it could leak, but it has a pump that pushes the water out through the drainage hose. I have had a couple of minor issues - once I had the thermostat turned down to 63 degrees and it accumulated some ice inside the unit that melted and dripped on the floor. And just recently the condensate line froze because there was too much extra hose lying on the roof out in the cold. Once our AC guy trimmed the hose we haven't had that problem, and it doesn't really accumulate that much water anyway. Certainly not enough to cause major problems.



Joe Murray
Edit at Joe's
Charlotte, NC


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Bob Zelin
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 2:23:53 pm

this is the answer that you don't want. I am making these assumptions based on your posts here. I assume that you are used to buying products (like AJA products), and figuring out these things yourself. If you are building a machine room, with central racks, patch bays, perhaps a router (and even Gefen extenders), you will FAIL if you try to do it yourself. You need an engineer that does this for a living - either staff, freelance, or a systems integration company. I use Gefen extenders (with all their issues), and my clients think that Gefen is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Everything works when I get done. But when you build a big system you have PROBLEMS - and if you are making a living editing and doing graphics, you do not have time to deal with these problems. This is no different than building a big SAN storage system for your facility. You aint' gonna "figure it out" by yourself by just poking around. You need to HIRE SOMEONE TO HELP YOU.

Some people can't get AJA products to work by themselves, but as you know, you follow the instructions, and perhaps make a few calls, and you are in business. Same with the Gefen.
Gefen products ultimately work, thats why I keep using them. Believe me, if you are doing a machine room, the Gefen's will be no challange when you are all of a sudden dealing with 600 - 2000 audio/video/control wires all coming to a central location. The Gefen is the least of your worries.

Bob Zelin


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 17, 2007 at 5:54:42 pm

[Bob Zelin] "you will FAIL if you try to do it yourself."

In all honesty, I tried to contact you through the cow, but it seems it didn't work.

We are definitely hiring someone. The guy I talked to said he's put in Gefen with varying success. I was coming to the cow to see what other people had to say. I personally do not know anyone that has used them and I figured someone here would know more about it. Although we are hiring someone to wire us up I like to make informed decisions and not get sold a bill of goods. Gefen is expensive. I hate expensive headaches. So far (knocking on wood) all of the major purchases that we have made have been smart business decisions. Going to a central machine type of room is going to be a smart decision for us as well as it will increase efficiency. Since this is not a major installation (WGN we are not) and we do have a choice of Gefen or no Gefen, stringing the extra wire might be worth it for us if Gefen likes to not work.

[Bob Zelin] "and if you are making a living editing and doing graphics, you do not have time to deal with these problems."

Actually, we are a a team of mechanics that specialize in foreign cars. We just like AJA products so much that we decided to give editing a whirl.


Jeremy


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Sam Zimman
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 19, 2007 at 4:53:41 pm

Just a tip from when I helped rewire a machine room that used CAT5 Geffens. Do yourself a favor and run one or two extra CAT5 cables to each room. It's cheap and much easier to run it all at once as a bundle than a year or so later when something fails.

-Sam


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 19, 2007 at 4:54:51 pm

THanks, Sam.

What does this accomplish? Are you saying if one of the Cat5 cables go bad, just swap it out for one of the extra ones?


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Sam Zimman
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 19, 2007 at 5:35:15 pm

well, in our case, yes and no. our Geffens were very temperamental and it was nice to have an extra pair of CAT5s and we were trouble shooting. Also if i remember correctly we had a few cables that did not work with the Geffens but worked find for internet access. why, i have no idea, like i said they were temperamental. our Geffens only worked as matching pairs as well (same models, but one set did not like being switched with anything other than it's partner it was shipped with). i think using KVM extenders is awesome, and central machine rooms rock, but they are kind of a bitch to get setup correctly and flawlessly. and yes, it is super helpful to have someone around that has done it before.


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JeremyG
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 19, 2007 at 5:39:48 pm

Thanks, Sam.

Jeremy




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CharlieX
Re: OT-KVM Extension
on Nov 19, 2007 at 6:48:10 pm

[JeremyG] "Actually, we are a a team of mechanics that specialize in foreign cars. We just like AJA products so much that we decided to give editing a whirl."

Oh, that's a good laugh. We decided to give editing a whirl!



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