Luxury coaches are known for their amenities and high-end technology, including AV and lighting. At Donnie Myers Luxury Coach in Sanford, FL, the company is dedicated to complete customer satisfaction, offering the best quality, and taking great care to ensure even the smallest tech detail is never overlooked. The result is a coach renovated to the customer’s exact specifications. For one recent coach renovation—a 45-foot-long Prevost coach—custom programming enabled a seamless control experience, whether the coach is on or off the road.
Control and Automation Puts the Lux in Luxury Coaches
“A lot of our customers come to us because their coaches are outdated, not just from an aesthetic standpoint, but from a technology one as well,” Myers said. “Through the power of control and automation solutions, we can make older coach models operate like a brand-new coach. For this coach owner, we spent a lot time going through and understanding what the customer wanted and how to bring that to him. A lot of it was unique and required a control system that was flexible and scalable enough to handle anything we threw at it.”
That meant selecting and programming a control system that would seamlessly interact with and monitor the myriad AV equipment and complex environmental systems onboard the coach while simplifying the experience for the owners. Myers turned to the RTI XP-8s control processor, which enables all connected electronic systems to be dynamically controlled via two-way RS-232, routable IR, Ethernet, or relay control.
With more than a decade in the luxury coach industry, Craig Brayman, owner of the residential installation company Future Home Integration, provided programming support on the project. Myers and Brayman have worked together, developing and integrating RTI systems in their customers’ coaches for five years. Utilizing RTI's Integration Designerprogramming software, Brayman and Myers were able to execute the custom programming to achieve some of the client’s very specific requests.
High on his priority list was being able to switch between the coach’s DISH Network in-motion and stationary satellites and watching 4K HD-quality video from the DISH 4k Joey receiver and the DISH Hooper 3 DVR without physically connecting and disconnecting the systems each time. With the software, they programmed the system to seamlessly handle the changeover between the two satellites once they’re switched. With just a push of a customized button on one of the two Apple iPads running the RTiPanel app, the RTI control processor sets the appropriate satellite and streams video to several Sony flat panels installed throughout the custom coach; including one in the stateroom, one in the salon, one in the rear bay and one in the front bay—which has a custom lift that can be raised or lowered from a button on the iPad. Other video sources integrated into the RTI control system include a Blu-ray player and an Apple TV. A Sonos Playbar was added to the existing Bose lifestyle speaker system for audio playback and streaming.
The RTI Integration Designer software also allows all of the audio, video, and other system components within the coach to be efficiently integrated and programmed through a library of two-way drivers and further customized with drag-and-drop simplicity. This included a custom RTI two-way driver, the Simple Logic XP Series Driver, which is specifically programmed to bring temperature control and intelligence to the coach’s Aprilaire AC system. It intelligently tests the temperature of the coach and heats and cools the coach per the parameters programmed into the RTI system.
For the owner, Integration Designer enabled a customized look and feel that keeps the interface simple and intuitive. From any iPad, he can also get a real-time gauge of all his systems and equipment levels, including the two onboard inverters, house battery, generator and power, door locks, and water pump. This provides an informative look of the systems and a more enjoyable, relaxing experience while on the road and possibly miles away from a qualified repair shop.
Within in the utility bay, there is also a KX7 in-wall touchpanel, which provides complete, customized control over all the coach’s systems. Sporting a 7-inch, 800x480 WVGA LCD with a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, the unit’s control interface was customized via the Integration Designer software to the owner’s exact specifications. Three RTI T3-V+ color touchscreen remote controls also provided control.
“Through the efficiency and flexibility of the RTI system, we provided a unique control experience that is the crowning touch of this luxury coach,” Myers said. “The owners were so used to their coach not operating seamlessly that it was surprising to them that we were able to deliver capabilities that no one thought could be done. That’s the power of RTI. It’s the ideal and trusted system for our luxury coach customers.”