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The Remarkable DirecTV Remote Control
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Tommy Tyler
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: The Remarkable DirecTV Remote Control Reply with quote

THE REMARKABLE DIRECTV REMOTE CONTROL

I recently cancelled my DishNetwork service and signed up with DirectTV. While looking over the various remotes DTV has I was astonished at the quality and value offered, particularly by the two upper end models that are used with their DVR and HD-DVR receivers. First the top-of-the-line model RC65RB. The "R" means it transmits RF as well as IR, and the "B" means it is backlit. It's about the size of a 6131n (a little shorter) and the bottom of the case has that rubberized, velvety feel like the old 15-1994. I have seen a lot of backlit keypads but this one is in a class all by itself in my opinion. The keys are mostly translucent with black legends. The brightness and uniformity of illumination is incredible. I don't know of any remote that has keys as large and easily readible as this one (not counting the big button models for Grandpa). But the nicest thing about the backlighting is that instead of turning it on when you press a key (which is AFTER you need it) or using a hokey tilt switch to turn it on when you pick up the remote, there's a neat little pushbutton on the side of the case that turns it on when you want it. Very convenient, and in a comfortable, logical location where you can feel it. It times out about five seconds after the last key press. Good for battery life.

It is only a four-device remote: the DirecTV receiver, a TV, and two other devices. But you can buy it from DirecTV for just $25 plus tax, and that includes Fedex shipping. How often can you find a backlit remote with built-in RF for that? The non-backlit version sells all over the internet for $5 to $15.

The big problem is, of course, could we figure out a way to program it. It's made by URC, not UEI Audiovox. I've got some spares on order and plan to go inside to see what we're dealing with. For example, some of the inside pictures on file at FCC showed a 6-pad JP1-like pattern on the board. Coincidentally, they use a "981" code to reset factory defaults. They have a ton of device setup codes in the owners' manual, all five digits. It would be interesting if they used a Samsung chip and we could replace it's entire program with one of our own. Many remotes that have an epoxy blob over a chip that is bonded directly to the board also have a square 44-pin pattern for alternatively assembling with a 44-pin chip. It is conceivable that the epoxy could be disolved and the entire chip replaced.

I'm intrigued by the high quality, long range RF transmitter. If we could develop a receiver for it with IR LED outputs it might provide a nice alternative to the URC-9910.

All this got me wondering why we shouldn't look into the possibility of working with some URC remotes now that UEI (Audiovox) has cut back on new developments. Particularly if the DirecTV remote is indicative of their attention to good design and ability to provide quality at a reasonable price. I don't expect we would find JP1.x connectors just waiting for us, but we've dealt with that before. Am I just smoking bananas here, or is this something we should think about?

Tommy
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mdavej
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tommy,

Don't let the model numbers fool you. As far as I know, DirecTV remotes are really UEI. The UEI made One-For-All Xsight also uses the same RF as DirecTV. I think we've tried and failed to hack DirecTV remotes before. I don't remember if it was completely hopeless or if it would be worth another try. Maybe Rob or binky remembers the details.
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you checked the setup codes to see if they're really UEI setup codes (maybe with an offset)? At least one of the current DTV remotes is made by UEI, and the fact that they used 981 for a reset makes it quite likely that this is a UEI remote too.
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tommy sent me a sample page of setup codes from the user manual and they are definitely UEI setup codes.
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Kevin Timmerman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DirecTV remotes have been UEIC for quite a while. Here are some pics of older models. From left to right, RC1704704/00, URC2081BG3-0, URC2081BG4-0. They all have 24C02 EE (256 byte). 8 MHz resonator. I suspect Samsung mask ROM, but have not confirmed. There are three screws under the grey trim and two in the battery compartment.

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Kevin Timmerman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DirecTV RC-64RB JP1.3 Very Happy

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Kevin Timmerman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:16 am    Post subject: Re: The Remarkable DirecTV Remote Control Reply with quote

Tommy Tyler wrote:
For example, some of the inside pictures on file at FCC showed a 6-pad JP1-like pattern on the board.


What is the FCC ID # ?
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Tommy Tyler
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin wrote:
What is the FCC ID # ?

I've seen two. One is RCSRC1984751 and the other is MG32481. There are files for both.
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Kevin Timmerman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCSRC1984751 is the old RC-24 RF.

MG32481 appears to be used for both the RC-64RB and the RC-65RB.
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Tommy Tyler
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure you're right, but a sticker with ID RCSRC1984751 was on the back of a unit marked RC65R on the front. FCC has so many ways to file addendums and things it probably doesn't make any difference.
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Kevin Timmerman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I'm right - but I am confused.

It looks like some DirecTV remotes are UEI and some are Philips and the model designation does not specify who made it.

And the FCC ID may be the same for different models (RC64RB same as RC65RB, etc...).

DirecTV remotes are like a box of chocolates!
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Tommy Tyler
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've examined three different models of DirecTV remote: a low-end Model RC64 without UHF, a mid-level Model RC64R with UHF, and a hi-end Model RC65RB with UHF and backlit keyboard. There are also Models RC65 and RC65R. I believe 65 models differ from 64 only by supporting more devices. The outer package of all units is identical except for the tiny Model Number printed on the upper left corner of the top case, and of course the little pushbutton on the right side of backlit models. The street price of the RC64 is about $7, the RC64R about $15, and the RC65RB about $25, all including shipping.

All three are JP1.3 models with Samsung S3F8 chips.

RC64 Signature is 30863086, Memory address is $0600, Memory size is $0600 (1536)
RC64R Signature is 30863086, Memory address is $0600, Memory size is $0600 (1536)
RC65RB Signature is 32153215, Memory address is $0600, Memory size is $0480 (1152)

The PCB of each model is unique. The RC64 has a single-sided phenolic board with conductor cross-overs and switch contacts silkscreened in conductive black ink, similar to most UEI remotes. The JP1.3 pad pattern is located about a quarter of the way from the bottom end, and the pads are nickel or solder plated without holes. The RC64R is similar except for a few more components and the UHF transmitter board attached by a short flexible 4-conductor cable, as shown in Kevin's picture. The RC65RB board is from another planet. It is a full double-sided, glass epoxy board with all exposed metal being gold plated, including switch contact fingers, test pads, and a JP1.3 pad pattern (no holes) about a quarter of the way from the upper end. No silkscreened conductive ink on this baby. I've never seen such a high quality circuit board in any remote. It uses the same UHF board as the R model, except soldered with a 4-pin board-to-board connector.

The biggest surprise in the RC65RB was the method of backlighting. I was curious how they could light up white LEDs whose normal voltage is around 3.6 volts, with just 3 volts of batteries. It uses an Electro Luminescent (EL) panel like that in the Kameleons. That also explains the brightness and uniform illumination. And the high voltage demanded by EL panels may be the reason why the main PCB is flame-retardant (FR4) fiberglas instead of flamable phenolic.

But the biggest disappointment is the prospect for adding JP1.3 capability, which is grim from a mechanical standpoint. Soldering a header to the board is impossible. And the entire opening in the battery compartment is just the width and less than the length of one AA battery, leaving no place for a connector. The best chances in the two low end models are four wires soldered from the JP1.3 pads to a miniature connector at a hole poked into the lower case. But the B model has the JP1.3 pad pattern tucked half under the UHF board where it is almost impossible to solder wires to. And removing the UHF board for temporary access is very difficult and dangerous because of the rigid 4-pin connector only about 1/4 inch long, soldered at both ends. I lifted one of the pads trying to do it with a standard soldering iron rather than using special equipment that I know none of the members has. This matter needs further study.

I ran a dump of the memory contents of each model, but I don't know what to do with the files. I also have good board pics if anyone has any interest in looking at them. I've gone as far as I can until someone decides if we want to support these remotes (assuming a practical method of interconnection can be devised). It's kind of a chicken-and -egg deal. If I had RDFs I could give you IR analyzed files. As it is, the only thing I have in the IR download is raw data.

What's our next move, guys?
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xnappo
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone know what that really really thin multi-wire stuff they sometimes use inside electronics to connect from like a board to a drive is called?

Like this stuff:
http://www.modd3d.com/articles/media/2/20081008-disconnect-wing-screen-connector-1.jpg

Seems like it would be useful for this kind of thing if we could find a generic 6-wire version.

xnappo
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xnappo
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xnappo wrote:
Anyone know what that really really thin multi-wire stuff they sometimes use inside electronics to connect from like a board to a drive is called?

Like this stuff:
http://www.modd3d.com/articles/media/2/20081008-disconnect-wing-screen-connector-1.jpg

Seems like it would be useful for this kind of thing if we could find a generic 6-wire version.

xnappo


Found it - it is called FFC - Flat Flex Cable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Flex_Cable

xnappo
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mr_d_p_gumby
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Protocols section of RDF for DirectTV RC64 ( 30863086 )
Code:
[Protocols]
0000, 0007, 000A, 000B, 000C, 000D, 000E, 0010, 0011, 0013, 0014,
0015, 0016, 0018, 001A, 001B, 001C, 001F:8, 0022, 0024, 0026, 0027:new,
002A, 002C, 002D, 002E, 002F, 0032, 0034, 0035, 0037, 0039, 003A,
003B, 003D, 0042, 0043, 0045, 0046, 0051, 0052, 0053, 0056, 0057,
0058:2, 005A, 005B, 005C, 005D, 005E:2, 005F, 0064, 0065:2, 0067,
006A, 006E, 0071, 0072, 0073, 0074, 0075, 007E:4, 0083, 0087, 008A,
0090, 0091, 0092:3, 0093, 0098:2, 009C, 009D, 009E, 00A1, 00A4,
00A5, 00AF, 00B6, 00BB, 00BE, 00C2, 00C5, 00C7, 00C8, 00C9, 00CA,
00CB, 00CD:2, 00D5, 00DB, 00DE, 00E1, 00E2, 00E8, 00EB, 00EF, 00F2,
00F5, 00F8:3, 00FD, 00FF, 0108, 0109, 010C, 0111, 0114:2, 0115,
0117, 0118, 0119, 011A:2, 011B, 011E, 012A:2, 0160, 0162, 017E, 0184:2,
018A, 0194, 019A, 019B, 019D, 01A4, 01A5, 01A7, 01B4, 01B5, 01C4,
01D6

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