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VideoBob



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Laguna Woods, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Introduction... Reply with quote

Greetings!

My name is Bob Faw and I was referred here by a post on the YahooGroups [RCA-PVR] discussion list.

I have the following PVRs:

    Panasonic DMR-E85HS and DMR-E95HS (Free 7-day Guide+)
    ReplayTV 5504 (Monthly ReplayTV @ Discount)
    Panasonic Showstopper HS1000 (Free ReplayTV 2000--Qualifies the 5504 for discount)
    RCA 7000N (Free 3-day Guide+)
    2x Sony SVR-2000 (TiVo Basic--but not yet plugged in)

All but the Sonys are on-line getting constant use. I simply haven't had the time or the space to mess with them yet. I already have a couple of hundred DVD's and nearly a hundred DVD-RAM's full of content off-loaded from the Panasonic DMR's.

I got sick of fumbling through remotes for these, plus two TVs (35" RCA and a Megavison multi-media LCD screen), two VCRs (Zenith and Daewoo) and a Terrapin DVD player, all on the same wall as the PVRs, so I started experimenting with universal remotes.

I have five devices manually programmed into the Panasonic Replay Remote, and by having one on and one off, I can switch between them using the power button (except when dubbing), making it a six-device remote. I've also programmed the RCA /Gemstar remote for overlapping devices, manually.

I have a Radio Shack 4-device auto/manual video switch that I use in conjunction with my VCRs for complete remote monitoring capabilities, but would eventually like to buy or build a multi-in/multi-out, remote-operated video switch, so if anyone knows of one on the market, please let me know.

I'm also planning to start building a computer-based Monster PVR in the near future--probably to run on Linux.

I recently bought a USB JP1 cable on eBay and it turns out the serial chip was on recall, so that is back getting exchanged at the moment.

I have a box full of various remotes I want to experiment with, when I get my cable back.

I see that you have a *lot*to look through in your files section, so I expect to do a lot of reading before getting into any specific questions, but if anyone has any suggestions of what might be of particular interest to me, I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks!

bob Very Happy
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Panasonic DMR-E85HS and DMR-E95HS (Free 7-day Guide+)
ReplayTV 5504 (Monthly ReplayTV @ Discount)
Panasonic Showstopper HS1000 (ReplayTV 2000 w/Free 7-day Programming--Qualifies 5504 for discount)
RCA 7000N (Free 3-day Guide+--almost worthless)
2x Sony SVR-2000 (TiVo Basic--but not yet plugged in)
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18837
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you're a PVR user, I would recommend the URC-6131 "PVR" remote for you, but you would need the modified version in order to program it with JP1. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you could modify it yourself (by soldering in a 6-pin header and an EEPROM) or you can buy one ready made from http://www.surfremotecontrol.com or http://www.replaytv.us

Personally, I would recommend the older version (as sold on those 2 sites) to the newer URC-6131nw version.

You should also get yourself a JP1 learning remote, such as the URC-8811, so you can use it to build upgrades for any unsupported devices that you might have.

I have worked out a pretty ingenious way to stack many different devices onto a single device button using a remote like the URC-6131, so you could stack all of your PVRs under the PVR device button, then you could stack all of your DVD players/recorders under the DVD button, etc.

The way it would work is like this. You would select a button to be your "device select" button, such as the PIP button, then when you press PVR the remote would control the PVR that you were last using. To change the PVR that it controls, you would press PIP followed by a number, and the remote would now control the PVR that was assigned to that number button.

For example, you could have:

1 = Panasonic DMR-E85HS
2 = Panasonic DMR-E95HS
3 = ReplayTV 5504
4 = Panasonic Showstopper HS1000
5 = RCA 7000N
6 = Sony Tivo SVR-2000 #1
7 = Sony Tivo SVR-2000 #2

NOTE: Using JP1 you can program the remote to work the two Replays and the two Tivos seperately, without needing to use the power toggle method.
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bevhoward



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 245

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To reenforce Rob's cable comment, the parallel's need to transfer so little content, that it normally takes longer to plug or unplug the remote than up or downloading... very few bytes are transferred to and from the remotes even though each transfer is a complete writable memory content transfer.

Would recommend buying, but it's easy to build one if you have the solder skills along with the ability to keep the pinouts in order.

Related question though... do the parallel cables work with usb parallel port dongles?
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gjarboni
Expert


Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Posts: 294
Location: Columbia, MD

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bevhoward wrote:
Related question though... do the parallel cables work with usb parallel port dongles?

Nope, the "bit banging" that JP1 does (raising and lowering the voltage on the individual pins on the parallel port) can't handle the delays added by the USB port dongle and the USB bus.
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VideoBob



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Laguna Woods, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. In particular:

The Robman wrote:
As you're a PVR user, I would recommend the URC-6131 "PVR" remote for you, but you would need the modified version in order to program it with JP1. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you could modify it yourself (by soldering in a 6-pin header and an EEPROM) or you can buy one ready made from http://www.surfremotecontrol.com or http://www.replaytv.us

Personally, I would recommend the older version (as sold on those 2 sites) to the newer URC-6131nw version.

You should also get yourself a JP1 learning remote, such as the URC-8811, so you can use it to build upgrades for any unsupported devices that you might have.


I have three new URC-6131-B00's and 5 RCU-810's (Learning w/LCD) I picked up at an on-line Best Buy clearance (free shipping, hence the quantities), plus a collection of various cheapies laying around that I've collected over the last year.

The 6131's are stock, but soldering headers is no problem--I made a good living as a working embedded controller engineer (hardware and software) for quite a while. Etching boards and soldering components was the only way I could get a new design to market ahead of the competition even *knowing* about it.

I often designed my own test equipment and programs. I just didn't feel like the few dollars I paid for a complete USB setup ($39.99 tested and delivered) was worth the effort to buy, build, and debug my own.

Is the RCU-810 as good as the URC-8811 (or at least acceptable)?

Quote:
I have worked out a pretty ingenious way to stack many different devices onto a single device button using a remote like the URC-6131, so you could stack all of your PVRs under the PVR device button, then you could stack all of your DVD players/recorders under the DVD button, etc.

The way it would work is like this. You would select a button to be your "device select" button, such as the PIP button, then when you press PVR the remote would control the PVR that you were last using. To change the PVR that it controls, you would press PIP followed by a number, and the remote would now control the PVR that was assigned to that number button.


Excellent headwork! Pardon what may be an obvious question from a neophyte that hasn't tried his new JP-1 setup yet (my cable was recalled for defective chips before I got around to it), but what code did you use for "device select" that both allows another key input, and selects a PVR device?

If this is a standard (documented) feature, just point to the reference doc--but I kind of think it may be a bit more original than that. Wink

bevhoward:

As I mentioned above, I have a cable (with the USB I/F integrated into the hardware/software)--but it has been out on recall. I just now got an e-mail saying that my replacement cable has shipped.

Thanks again!

bob
_________________
Panasonic DMR-E85HS and DMR-E95HS (Free 7-day Guide+)
ReplayTV 5504 (Monthly ReplayTV @ Discount)
Panasonic Showstopper HS1000 (ReplayTV 2000 w/Free 7-day Programming--Qualifies 5504 for discount)
RCA 7000N (Free 3-day Guide+--almost worthless)
2x Sony SVR-2000 (TiVo Basic--but not yet plugged in)
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johnsfine
Site Admin


Joined: 10 Aug 2003
Posts: 4766
Location: Bedford, MA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VideoBob wrote:

The 6131's are stock, but soldering headers is no problem


I hope you realized that the 6131's need an eeprom as well as a header. I assume you'd have no trouble soldering those either, if you have the eeproms to solder.

I hope you realize the RCU810 needs its header soldered or cut quite flush to the PCB on the side opposite the connector, to avoid damaging, shorting or otherwise interfering with the membrane that assembles against it. That's also easy to do, if you know you need to.

VideoBob wrote:

Is the RCU-810 as good as the URC-8811 (or at least acceptable)?


Without the extender software, I think the RCU810 is a total turkey. It has a bunch of stupid behaviors and restrictions making it worse than ordinary JP1 remotes. With the extender software, it is pretty much the same as other JP1 remotes with extender. I'd still pick an 8811 with extender over and RCU810 with extender, but that's getting into personal preference rather than fundamental differences.
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18837
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VideoBob wrote:
Is the RCU810 as good as the URC-8811 (or at least acceptable)?

Absolutely, for the purpose of capturing signals to create new upgrades, any JP1 remote will do. As John mentioned, soldering in the 6-pin header requires a little bit of extra care and attention. Personally, I but a blob of hot glue to buffer the 6-pin to prevent it from punching through to the keypad. Extra details are here:

http://www.hifi-remote.com/jp1/RCU810/

VideoBob wrote:
Excellent headwork! Pardon what may be an obvious question from a neophyte that hasn't tried his new JP-1 setup yet (my cable was recalled for defective chips before I got around to it), but what code did you use for "device select" that both allows another key input, and selects a PVR device?

If this is a standard (documented) feature, just point to the reference doc--but I kind of think it may be a bit more original than that. Wink

It's not an obvious question at all, and this feature isn't documented anywhere either! I'll describe it now as clearly as I can, but it's a complicated process so the description may get a little complicated too.

We have a special protocol available called the "Device Multiplexor" that allows you to program keymoves that change which setup code is assigned to the current device button. Normally, you access the DM using keymoves, but this is not possible with the unextended URC-6131 because the DM uses 2-byte keymoves and the URC-6131 only accepts 1-byte keymoves. The URC-6131 actually accepts 2 types of keymoves, the first is a variation of the traditional keymove where the EFC is encoded into the keymove itself, and the second is a new format where the data encoded is the keycode of the button being copied. From a user POV, the first format is used when you manually program a button using an advanced code (EFC), and the second format is used when you literally copy a button from one location to another.

So, what I did was this. First I created upgrades for each of the 10 unit codes. Then I created an upgrade that uses the Device Multiplexor (as you can use 2-byte commands in upgrades, just not keymoves). In this upgrade, the numeric buttons are programmed with the appropiate hex codes to assign the corresponding upgrade to the current device button. I also programmed a spare button with the appropiate hex code to assign itself to the current device button. I then did a keymove from this button to the PIP button in PVR mode.

So, when you're in PVR mode and you press the PIP button, the DM will change the setup code assigned to the PVR button to the DM upgrade that I created. Then, when you press a numeric button, it will again change the assigned setup code, this time changing it to the desired "unit code specific" upgrade.

I've never published the IR image file because I've actually used it to make a few bucks selling modified URC-6131 remotes on ebay from time to time, and whenever I do publish something cool like this, you'll quickly see other people exploiting it on ebay. Just take a look at how many people are making money from my "3 minute skip" button for ReplayTV on ebay. But that being said, if you'd like a copy, I'd be happy to obligue.
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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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VideoBob



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Laguna Woods, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:
I hope you realized that the 6131's need an eeprom as well as a header. I assume you'd have no trouble soldering those either, if you have the eeproms to solder.


I didn't--but now see I need a 24C16 chip. I've found the procedure for adding that here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jp1/files/Hardware/urc-6012w-eeprom.txt

johnsfine wrote:
I hope you realize the RCU810 needs its header soldered or cut quite flush to the PCB on the side opposite the connector, to avoid damaging, shorting or otherwise interfering with the membrane that assembles against it. That's also easy to do, if you know you need to.


Again, I didn't--but now do. Thanks for both tips and thanks to The Robman for his great illustrated detail on how to do this.

johnsfine wrote:
Without the extender software, I think the RCU810 is a total turkey. It has a bunch of stupid behaviors and restrictions making it worse than ordinary JP1 remotes. With the extender software, it is pretty much the same as other JP1 remotes with extender. I'd still pick an 8811 with extender over and RCU810 with extender, but that's getting into personal preference rather than fundamental differences.


Ah-Ha! Thanks to you and The Robman, I have now located the Extender Forum and have a whole *new* plethora of information to absorb. Wink

Thanks again, both of you!

bob
_________________
Panasonic DMR-E85HS and DMR-E95HS (Free 7-day Guide+)
ReplayTV 5504 (Monthly ReplayTV @ Discount)
Panasonic Showstopper HS1000 (ReplayTV 2000 w/Free 7-day Programming--Qualifies 5504 for discount)
RCA 7000N (Free 3-day Guide+--almost worthless)
2x Sony SVR-2000 (TiVo Basic--but not yet plugged in)
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VideoBob



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Laguna Woods, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
As John mentioned, soldering in the 6-pin header requires a little bit of extra care and attention. Personally, I but a blob of hot glue to buffer the 6-pin to prevent it from punching through to the keypad. Extra details are here:

http://www.hifi-remote.com/jp1/RCU810/

Thanks! That's very helpful. Any reason not to just push the header through and clip the leads flush before soldering?

VideoBob wrote:
If this is a standard (documented) feature, just point to the reference doc--but I kind of think it may be a bit more original than that. Wink
The Robman wrote:
It's not an obvious question at all, and this feature isn't documented anywhere either! I'll describe it now as clearly as I can, but it's a complicated process so the description may get a little complicated too.

Thanks again. I think I understand it, but will need to try hands-on, once I get up to speed on the normal JP1 usage.

The Robman wrote:
I've never published the IR image file because I've actually used it to make a few bucks selling modified URC-6131 remotes on ebay from time to time, and whenever I do publish something cool like this, you'll quickly see other people exploiting it on ebay. Just take a look at how many people are making money from my "3 minute skip" button for ReplayTV on ebay. But that being said, if you'd like a copy, I'd be happy to obligue.

Thanks, again, Rob. I certainly don't want to take bread out of a benefactor's mouth and fully understand your reluctance to post such information on a public forum. However, I would, indeed, appreciate a copy. My e-mail is VideoBob AT BobFaw DOT com.

I appreciate all the help you've been to me and the others on this website.

Bob
_________________
Panasonic DMR-E85HS and DMR-E95HS (Free 7-day Guide+)
ReplayTV 5504 (Monthly ReplayTV @ Discount)
Panasonic Showstopper HS1000 (ReplayTV 2000 w/Free 7-day Programming--Qualifies 5504 for discount)
RCA 7000N (Free 3-day Guide+--almost worthless)
2x Sony SVR-2000 (TiVo Basic--but not yet plugged in)
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hagmanti



Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VideoBob wrote:

Thanks! That's very helpful. Any reason not to just push the header through and clip the leads flush before soldering?


I never saw an answer to this-- anyone? Anyone?

Me
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18837
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagmanti wrote:
VideoBob wrote:

Thanks! That's very helpful. Any reason not to just push the header through and clip the leads flush before soldering?


I never saw an answer to this-- anyone? Anyone?

Me

The reason why I've never considered this is because it seems like it's alot of work to avoid doing something that's really easy to do. But that being said, as long as the pins don't pertrude pass the surface of the PCB, I don't see a problem with it.
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hagmanti



Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mean to argue w/ a man who's done as much personally for me, and as much for the community as you have-- please take this as the confused ramblings of a noob who's in deeper than he should be and is just trying to fight his way to the top:

(From the link above)
Quote:

Now you are ready to attach the 6-pin connector. Normally, you would position the 6-pin in the holes and solder, but there's not enough room on the buttons side of the PCB to have the short end of the pins sticking all the way through, so what I recommend you do is use a hot glue gun. Place some hot glue on the short end of the pins and then position the 6-pin connector in place, but keep the pins flush with the PCB, don't let them poke through. This glue will not only help keep the 6-pin connector in place, but it will also serve as a cushion to stop the 6-pin from being pushed through when the cable is connected.

Then, using as little solder as possible, solder the ends of the pins to the PCB pads. Put some flux on the pads before you solder. Then, when the solder is dry, wipe up any flux that's still present and put a small piece of electrical tape over the pin ends.

Now, use the hot glue gun again to add more glue around the edge of the 6-pin connector to make sure it stays in place.


How is that easier than

"Push the connector through; take your diagonal cutters and snip off the ends; then solder"?

Actually, in the vein of answering my own question, I suppose that it might be hard not to leave little jagged edges when snipping off the ends, and the above method doesn't have that drawback.

Hmmm..

Gonna have to try it and see which is easier.

Me
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't measure the level of difficulty by the number of words used to describe the process. Experience has taught me that if you use too few words to describe something in JP1, even though that is sufficient for 90% of the audience, you'll spend all of your free time trying to explain it to the 10%, so I always strive to write articles that will be understood by 99% of the audience.

Let's compare the step by step..

Method 1
a. Put blob of hot glue on pins
b. Push pins into holes (without going all the way through)
c. Solder ends
d. Put electrical tape over ends

Method 2.
a. Push pins into holes
b. Trim ends
c. Solder ends
d. Put electrical tape over ends

Step 1a does require that you have a hot glue gun, which I'm guessing that alot of people do. I got mine for $1 at a thrift store, but I believe you can pick them up for about $7 or so at Walgreens

Step 2b requires that you have some fancy cutting tool, which I certainly don't.
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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 529
Location: Peoria Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an electronic repairman I have the micro end nippers that would give the best cut and can assure that you will still get a sharp edge which can even cut through the electrical tape. (solder will usually not bridge over the sharp peak)

If you want to use the clipping method, I would suggest pushing the connector in; cut it off before soldering; pull it out and round off the end with a small file (nail file?); put it back in and solder it. This will give you a smooth end and filing the copper will give you an oxide free joint. (bare copper oxidizes quickly - that's why solder has a flux in it)......and method 2 just got a whole lot more complicated......I just spent 2 days, several posts, and 500 words explaining how to use a "Y" connector on a tuner card input connection. I didn't mind doing it but it demonstrates how difficult explaining simple things can be.
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hagmanti



Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay.

I really apologize for wasting people's time w/o having tried it myself. Being up late worrying about my plumbing is my only excuse.

Take care,

Me
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