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Developing Elderly / Dementia Friendly Remote from URC1280
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marcel jacques



Joined: 09 May 2020
Posts: 46
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:06 am    Post subject: Re: Developing Elderly / Dementia Friendly Remote from URC12 Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
marcel jacques wrote:
This remote has a "TV/DTV" button which she relatively often presses unvoluntarily, which gives a snowy screen (no analog channel anymore) and she does not know how to get out of it ...
I guess you could disable that button physically? At least it would solve that particular problem.
Hi,
Of course that could be done for example by cutting the rubber button on the KB of the remote, but this a bit too "definitive".
And if for some reason the TV goes back to analog by itself, il will be more difficult to go back to digital ...
What I dont understand is that this button is still operating when no analog station is stored.
A stupidity of the Samsung firmware which shoul rather display "no analog channel" than executing the command.


Last edited by marcel jacques on Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marcel jacques wrote:
If this IDC connector is intended to be connected to a DB9 connector, then it is a standard +/-12 V RS232 port, so don't connect it to your remote as it can be destroyed by 12V and negative voltages !

Yep! My mobo connector is running at +/-11V. I could knock up a level shifter, but I might as well wait for the USB adapter to turn up (and that will let me use my Win7 notebook instead of relying on my Linux tower).

Grist to the mill!
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ckeays



Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Posts: 97
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
What I propose to do is assign RC buttons to specific services. EG: the BBC NEWS channel is 231. This would normally require three button presses "2" "3"
"1" and then an optional "OK" (or wait).

I got a few of these remotes. I use one for my elderly (85 +) parents. It has the button you mentioned. e.g. news. I have the news button set up to select the news channel they watch as well as some of the other buttons, music, movies, sports, etc.

The remote has a huge 40 pin micro controller. I was able to remove it and fit a small atmega328p (a pro mini board) inside. I have since designed my own board so it just fits right in in place of the 40 pin mcu)

I wrote the code back in November. It only runs 2 out of 4 devices. I use NEC2 (for the Samsung TV and Panasonic Old for their cable box)I disabled the buttons that will cause input changes on the TV (or any other potential disaster).

Now there are never any problems with my parents doing something to the TV they don't know they are doing.
(It also helps that the Samsung TV has hotel mode)
The TV input can be set to default when powered up just like the barker channel on a Hotel TV.
I set it up to go into HDMI1 which is where their cable box is connected.
If they have a problem they just turn off the TV and turn it back on which will bring them back to HDMI1.

It works great. Same batteries since November. The atmega is put to sleep so it uses virtually no power at all. There are pin change interrupts on almost every pin, so when a key is pressed, the atmega wakes up, does its thing, and goes back to sleep.
It works so good that I got some drop in boards made, so there is no wiring needed. I just replaced the original mcu with the new board containing the atmega328pb.

It seems like a big deal but the circuit board company only charges $2 for 5 boards. It was well worth it.
I have three of these. I can part with another one if anyone is interested.
Here is the remote:


Inside the remote is a 40 pin UEI controller:


Here is the board I installed:


Programming access:
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, but if I had to develop code the job would take forever.

.
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
I might as well wait for the USB adapter to turn up (and that will let me use my Win7 notebook instead of relying on my Linux tower).

The cable has been here about a week, and I just got around to looking into it today (notes here: http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=140050#140050). Now I have established I can communicate with the URC-1280, it's time to explore inside to see what the connection to the button array is.

Anybody got any tips for getting this thing apart? Is it just clipped, or welded??

...never mind, it succumbed in the end (just had to find which way to lever):



Now to figure out how to connect to the button array (it's gonna be tough)!

.
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ckeays



Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Posts: 97
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
Now to figure out how to connect to the button array (it's gonna be tough)!

NEVER. The tracks routed from the keypad are connected to the very small micro controller under the black epoxy.

If you can't use the JP1 interface to program the remote, then find an older remote that has a large micro controller like the one I found.

I do have the code for the one I modified, however the extra remote I had was spoken for within a day after my initial post, sorry I cannot help you there.
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ckeays wrote:
NEVER.

Never say never. You don't know me, you don't know what my experience is, nor how motivated I am. As a hardware engineer, hardware is easier for me than software.

ckeays wrote:
The tracks routed from the keypad are connected to the very small micro controller under the black epoxy.

So I see, hence my comment "it will be tough"... but not impossible.

ckeays wrote:
If you can't use the JP1 interface to program the remote, then find an older remote that has a large micro controller like the one I found.

Programming the remote through the JP1 is not the "issue". I explained earlier my project is to replace the button array with something more user friendly. I want to keep the (programmable) functionality, with different buttons.

It would have been more appropriate to say "good luck with that" than "NEVER".

.
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ckeays



Joined: 12 Jan 2015
Posts: 97
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
Never say never. You don't know me, you don't know what my experience is, nor how motivated I am. As a hardware engineer, hardware is easier for me than software.

OK, my apologies. I should have said it would be 99% impossible.
Parrot wrote:
So I see, hence my comment "it will be tough"... but not impossible.

To replace the keypad, you would have to run several wires for the columns and several wires for the rows. I am guessing that being a 48 key remote, there are 7 or 8 rows and 7 or 8 columns. If you are replacing the keypad with one that has fewer keys, you would still need several wires. If you manage to solder some of these wires where would you mount the new keypad? How reliable would it be with an elderly person, they will probably drop the remote at least once a day.
I just found this:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32978215290.html

for $4, it's a learning remote and backlit as well. I do realize it's not a JP1 compatible remote but it is a learning remote, so you can disable the keys you don't want to use.
I do understand the motivation which is why I did what I did above. I merely stated that there are many other options for what you want to achieve.
I have never found a JP1 compatible remote that has large keys or is easy to use for an elderly person.
Maybe they did exist at one time, but not now so I get where you are coming from wanting to modify the remote you have.
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The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 19719
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only skimmed through this, so apologies if I've missed something, but if the goal is to take the innards of an existing remote and re-package it in a new casing with larger buttons, wouldn't the way to do it be to create a new pad for the new buttons and then run wires to the button connects on the old PCB?
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www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ckeays wrote:

To replace the keypad, you would have to run several wires for the columns and several wires for the rows.

Yup, well aware of that. Don't waste your time teaching me electronics, there are questions I might have about using JP1 (which is why I'm here), but I'm across everything else. This is more of a blog for others to follow progress and possibly re-use.

ckeays wrote:
If you manage to solder some of these wires where would you mount the new keypad?

Completely new enclosure, with the 1280 PCB (or part of it) within, well on the way to manufacture.

ckeays wrote:
How reliable would it be with an elderly person, they will probably drop the remote at least once a day.

I'm not too concerned about that, but my enclosure isn't too fragile (so long as there's a carpet - which there is).

ckeays wrote:
I have never found a JP1 compatible remote that has large keys or is easy to use for an elderly person. Maybe they did exist at one time, but not now so I get where you are coming from wanting to modify the remote you have.

Exactly. A suitable starting point would be buttons large enough to re-label legibly.

I'll update with photos as soon as I have something to photograph.

The Robman wrote:
I've only skimmed through this, so apologies if I've missed something, but if the goal is to take the innards of an existing remote and re-package it in a new casing with larger buttons, wouldn't the way to do it be to create a new pad for the new buttons and then run wires to the button connects on the old PCB?

Take a look at the photo 6 posts up. The button contacts are some kind of conductive paint silk-screened over the PCB tracks, after a silk-screened insulation layer has been applied.

The options for connecting my wires seem to be conductive glue to the button contacts, exposing the test points and soldering to those, or scraping through to the tracks and fine soldering (which risks lifting such fine tracks with the heat). Or use an array of spring contacts to press down onto the button pads without any actual fixing. At the moment, I prefer the latter.

.
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The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 19719
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parrot wrote:
Never say never. You don't know me, you don't know what my experience is, nor how motivated I am. As a hardware engineer, hardware is easier for me than software.

Parrot wrote:
Don't waste your time teaching me electronics

Dude, please take this as friendly constructive criticism, but some of your posts come across as a bit "know it all". We're a very friendly group here and my hunch is, if folks think you know it all, they'll figure you can get it done without their help. Just saying.

Parrot wrote:
Take a look at the photo 6 posts up. The button contacts are some kind of conductive paint silk-screened over the PCB tracks, after a silk-screened insulation layer has been applied.

The options for connecting my wires seem to be conductive glue to the button contacts, exposing the test points and soldering to those, or scraping through to the tracks and fine soldering (which risks lifting such fine tracks with the heat). Or use an array of spring contacts to press down onto the button pads without any actual fixing. At the moment, I prefer the latter.

I would recommend scraping the traces and soldering to them, I've done it before and not had any issues.
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www.hifi-remote.com
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Parrot



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 14
Location: Wales, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:

Dude, please take this as friendly constructive criticism, but some of your posts come across as a bit "know it all". We're a very friendly group here and my hunch is, if folks think you know it all, they'll figure you can get it done without their help. Just saying.

Fair comment, but look at it from my perspective: advising me not to do what I'm doing (not constructive, not friendly), and then being lectured about what's in a remote. I only wanted to save somebody's time and effort where it isn't needed, and I had already commented that it was going to be difficult.

I have a lifetime of experience with electronics, I have no experience of JP1... which is where I hope to pick the brains of those who have the experience I lack.

I spend a lot of time on various forums, I am very happy to help out where I can, and that is "pay forward". Just as I hope for guidance on JP1, blogging my progress might help somebody else. If you prefer, or if you think nobody's interested, I could keep it to myself.

Let me reiterate in case I haven't made it clear: I am a newbie with JP1, and I bow to the knowledge on this forum, but (so far as this project is concerned) I am by no means a newbie at anything else.

As it happens, I do have a specific question if anybody is willing to advise: are all the buttons equal, or are some of them "special" - and if so, which?

My guess is that the power, setup, and eight device selection buttons might be special and not suitable for arbitrary programming. I have seen mention of a shift button, but can't identify one on the 1280 which might correspond with shift.

Identifying any special buttons will guide how I allocate buttons to my own button layout, and whether I need to accommodate any of them. TIA
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 19719
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get that you're an expert in your field, but you've been here less than a month, so people don't know you, so if you propose doing something which would be near impossible for just about everybody else on the planet except you, you might understand why someone would suggest not doing it.

Anyway...

You are correct that not all buttons are created equal. Most remotes have a SETUP button, and that one is very special and should not be used for anything else, and this one also doubles as the SHIFT button, just FYI. The device buttons are special in that they don't typically send a signal, they just select a device mode. Often buttons like FAV and SLEEP also have special programming on them and should be avoided for general use. The only other buttons that have any special consideration are the numbers, volume and channel buttons. The numbers come in a group of 10, so from a JP1 programming perspective, you either get them all or none. Likewise the 3 volume buttons come as a group as do the 2 channel buttons.

Looking at your remote, I don't expect any of the other buttons have any special handling programmed for them, so your only concern should be, which ones are in each device mode, the point being that if you intend to create a single upgrade to work your device, you'll want to pick a set of buttons that are all covered by a single device mode (ie, TV mode, VCR mode, etc)
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