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Homeowner Offers Crestron System on Craigslist for $8,000

Over-sold Massachusetts homeowner says he can install a DIY system with the same multiroom audio capabilities as his $30,000 Crestron system.

It’s not often you see a high-end Crestron system pop up for resale online.

But that’s exactly what a homeowner in Charlton, Mass. is doing by posting his seven-year-old, 16-zone multiroom audio control system on Craigslist, a popular trading Web site, for $8,000.

Is this a sign of the times? That might be your first reaction.

Is it a homeowner who is literally ripping a system out of his home because he needs the money? No, it’s much worse — the sale is perhaps an indictment of our industry from an over-sold customer with an under-utilized system.

The post says: “I have a Crestron system currently installed in my house that I would like to sell. All components are in excellent working condition. One Amplifier has two small cosmetic scratches as seen in the first image.”

The system “on the block” includes:
  • A Crestron processor
  • Multiple touchpanels and keypads
  • An amplifier
  • A power supply
  • UStec structured wiring and fiber optic infrastructure
When contacted by CE Pro, the homeowner said the system is currently configured to just distribute audio throughout the house.

“While I recognize that it can do so much more, I don’t have the skillset to implement these features and don’t want to spend the money to have somebody implement them.”

The homeowner, who is a software engineer, paid about $30,000 for the system in 2001.

His solution is to unload the system and install his own DIY system that will “enable me, with my skillset, to implement some of the more advanced features that I would like in a home automation system.”

Sadly, I suspect that if the stock market crashes any further, you might see some other homeowners tearing out their systems and putting them up for sale to get some cash.

By the way ... there are no offers for the system yet.

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Article Topics

News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Distributed Audio · Home Automation · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

39 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by kevinmikelonis  on  10/09  at  09:46 AM

There is a HUGE Opportunity in our industry for what we refer to as ‘Rescue Work’ related to just this sort of situation.  Many (not all) of the so called high end control systems designs for homeowners that I have reviewed for SI Companies across the country do not cite any specific deliverable features, only parts, like -15” color matrix touch screen with web browser $15,000 (programming not included)- No defined features to justify the $13,500 premium over what a 15” laptop can do.

So how to market to this growing demographic?



-How about a full page ad in Robb Report or your local high society magazine with a system that looks like one of the CEPro NEAT-O!submissions ‘before’ photos with a headline ‘GOT THIS? - GET RIGHT’

-Buy a nice fully self contained RV out of a Mcmansion distress sale and outfit it for your technical Strike-Team to travel to sites for complete reinstall of systems with fully defined features already built-in.

TONS of opportunity out there with TONS of great products that have easy to deploy features that users want and will use.

No code required!

Go For It!

Posted by Jarret  on  10/10  at  11:37 AM

Sounds like the homeowner got taken for an expensive ride for an audio distribution system and nothing else. Also not the first time I have seen someone unloading a bunch of creston along with other high end equipment on craigslist.
Find it interesting though that a software engineer cannot figure out how to reconfigure his creston system to work for what his needs.

Posted by Ross Heitkamp  on  10/10  at  11:55 AM

This is indicative, to me, of the long protectionist strategy of our industry.  Obviously the dissatisfaction with the Crestron system has to do with being over-sold and under-utilized.  But, the homeowners next move, into a DIY system, is what should be the wake-up call for us all. 

For years, we have traded on “intellectual property” of being the only ones who could piece together and install home audio and automation systems.  But, with the multitude of technology advances, this wears a little thin.  There is still plenty of room for us vendors/installers to operate, though.  The majority of people don’t want to do-it-themselves, even if they can.  By blocking out the DIYers, the industry loses the “early adopters” that drive technology revolutions.  Those are the people that “ordinary” people (95% of the population) look to.  Ordinary people say, if our geek friend isn’t doing it, we shouldn’t even consider it.

But, the equipment manufacturers keep protecting we installers/vendors from the DIYers.  We try to keep pulling revenue from existing customers who have already paid us plenty.  And then we wonder why the industry continues to languish with market penetration of less than 1%.

Enable the DIYers!  They will still call you to help them, but only for the interesting work.  They just won’t call you, mad at the inconvenience of needing someone else to add a channel to their remote control favorites.

Posted by TheOldMan  on  10/10  at  12:03 PM

“Find it interesting though that a software engineer cannot figure out how to reconfigure his creston system to work for what his needs”

Crestron does not make its programming s/w available to end users. You have to be a CAIP or dealer or be friends with a CAIP/dealer to have access. This issue was hotly debated on the Crestron Yahoo group a couple of years ago when Crestron closed its s/w downloads. Even when you could “freely” download, you had to click on a license agreement certifying that you were a dealer/CAIP; folks just ignored it.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  10/10  at  12:32 PM

Ross, right on.

Can you please shoot me an email with your contact info?

juliejacobson (at) comcast (dot) net.


Posted by Jarret  on  10/10  at  12:54 PM

Well stated Oldman. “Friends with a CAIP/dealer to have access”.

As a newbie into the business side of this industry and getting my start as a DIY, i have had to come to terms that some manufacturers are out of my reach and i have to contact friends in the industry to get help with products.

I also believe that the reason people are realizing that they can do it themselves is because they can and at half the price as longs as they have friends in the industry and are willing to get a little dirty. We are entering a time where the youth of today are passing some of us by and finding more creative ways to automate their homes with of the shelf products. Lost a sale on an integrated remote to the iphone. Still got the programming but not the hardware. It is up to us to offer the full package and not just a partial package to the customer. It is up to the customer to decide what they want.

Which is maybe all the guy wanted. But if that is it I dont think I would have given him a crestron unless i was just after the money.

Posted by lunarteq  on  10/10  at  12:56 PM

Ross is right:

Empowered DIYers will drive the technology much farther and drive the general cost down

True professionals will flourish while the trunk slammers that have been giving us a bad name for a long time will only experience brief moments of success

This industry is standing on the brink of a major change, those that do not embrace it will be left in the dust

Cool idea kevinmikelonis, you should do that

Posted by Charlton Crestron Owner  on  10/10  at  01:01 PM

I am the owner of the Crestron system in Charlton.

Jarret:  While I understand the Crestron system is capable of a lot more, I don’t have the time to invest in learning SIMPL.  With the software available today, I can automate my home with a small investment in hardware using the skills I already have.

Looking back, I am sure I was oversold the Crestron system.  A basic Russound audio distribution package, would have met my needs.

Posted by Jason Knott  on  10/10  at  01:06 PM

Editor’s Note: I received this note from a reader.

I just made a purchase on a 1 time used Niveus Rainier 750HD. This machine has HD DVD, and all the passive cooling features that Niveus Entertainment offers. I can upgrade the machine for $1500 so its blu-ray friendly. I get all the tech support from Niveus. This machine is great, the original purchaser was happier with a Tivo.

They paid over $6000 for the machine, something was wrong with the setup the customer had, but just to make sure the dealer sent it back to Niveus. I know this because before I made the purchase, I called and spoke to Niveus to make sure it was a real machine. I bought it from the couple for $2000. Literally in a factory sealed box. So it was like getting a new machine, for a savings of $4000-$5000, depending what the dealer sells it for.

Did I mention, the machine is amazing? 

Especially at that price. I don’t know many HTPCs built like this, that come even close.

The last line of my email, is not meant as a sales pitch. Honestly though, I would take the deal. Justin Wright (661-609-0645)

Oh yeah. I bought it off e-bay. Just did a search for Niveus. You can see completed listings for yourself.

If anyone’s interested, I’m willing to take $3,000. You could upgrade it and still get a machine below dealer cost.

Posted by kevinmikelonis  on  10/10  at  01:15 PM

And there you have it!  Thanks Charlton!  As you state…“With the software available today, I can automate my home with a small investment in hardware using the skills I already have.”
The dominant automation systems embraced by industry members have just seemed to me to be so far behind in their software platforms simply because it takes far too much effort to just get the products to work at all.

Software is vitally important, but so are simple things (which are rapidly disappearing) like DIP Switches for quick servcing of systems with failed components.

More intelligent products exist that require far less effort to deploy.  I just have to believe that the predominant players are moving in a direction that simplifies setup.  This may enable the DIY community, but that is not a threat.

I can detail my own car, but I choose to hire a PRO to do it.

Posted by Jarret  on  10/10  at  01:57 PM

I understand and I hope you can find someone to invest in your creston system. I would if I could but i am not a creston dealer and as with you do not have the time to invest nor do I have the money. 

There is a company in my area that maybe interested and I will forward your craiglist info to them. Will you ship out of state?

Posted by Charlton Crestron Owner  on  10/10  at  02:07 PM

Sure Jarret, I would consider shipping out of state.  Understand though the two amplifiers are quite heavy.

Posted by drew  on  10/10  at  05:18 PM

good luck getting $8k for that crappy old system. Crestron is the McCain of automation systems at this point, you can take from that what you want.

we take out Crestron systems all the time, put the stuff on eBay for 1/8 cost retail and it barely sells.

meanwhile we set them up with Control4 and the home programming software to let them go to town with scheduling, lighting scenes, etc.

the time has come for Crestron to close up shop - particularly in this economy.

Posted by Michael Scarvelis  on  10/13  at  11:55 AM

Well, if the Russound system would have worked for you why didn’t you buy one? Maybe you misquoted your needs to the dealer who then sold you an upgradeable and modular system with your best interest in mind. I am a Crestron dealer AND a Russound dealer and there are applications for both systems, but I’ll tell you a lot of clients pay more to jump on the Crestron train so that they later on upgrade the system. What advanced features to you want to implement? You know Crestron plays well with others… even Russound, so you could take the smart move and keep your gear which is extensible and powerful. You know, those amps are made by ATI… they are pretty killer. Did you think about quality? What speakers do you have? Those are not for sale. Did you buy them from the same dealer that sold you the Crestron equipment too? I think maybe before you claim the fault is the dealers for over selling to you, you should consider the fact that YOU over purchased. You had to pull the checkbook out yourself… and, if you were so unhappy why did it take you seven years to complain about it?

Posted by Ross Heitkamp  on  10/13  at  12:46 PM

Michael, what happened to “The customer is always right”?
You do make some good points, but to lay blame on the customer is to presume they are knowledgeable and informed at the start of the purchase cycle.  I suspect that in owning the equipment for 7 years, this customer has learned a great deal. 

Customers count on the dealer to be the informed part of the team.  When that is not the case, then what value does the dealer really bring?  Oh yeah, the manufacturers won’t give the end users the tools or equipment, so you have to have a dealer.

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