Official Logitech Harmony 300 thread - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 71 Old 08-16-2012, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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The business end of any current JP1 cable is the USB part with all the electronics that do the serial communications. That chip and associated circuitry is the expensive and complicated part. The $3-$5 Nokia cable has this chip, but the wiring is all wrong for JP1, and there are only 3 wires in the cable, which is fine for a Nokia phone, but not enough for a JP1 remote. So you have to open it up, remove the current cable, solder on your own 4-conductor cable and connect your own 6-pin connector (2 rows of 3 holes). I posted a lot of detail in a big thread on the JP1 site with pin-outs and pictures that was eventually written up in a PDF by Tommy Tyler, our resident JP1 cable guru. Although it's the cheapest solution, it's not the best because it's somewhat hard to find and build, and the drivers are hard to find because it uses a counterfeit chip that won't work with the official Prolific drivers. But if you want the cheapest possible solution, it works.

You're correct that any pair of 3-pin connectors will work. I used the CD cables as an example. I've also used old IDE cables cut to size, and other similar ribbon cables. You can use anything you want, so long as it has 4 wires and fits the JP1 plug.

The $12 FTDI cable is by far the best DIY solution because it has the best chip, requires no driver download (comes with windows), and requires no soldering or new cabling. All it requires is a 2x3 connector. In the procedure I linked earlier, the guy simply cut that long single row connector in half and glued the halves back to back to get the 2 rows he needed. You could just buy the correct connector, but shipping costs usually make that too expensive.

It's complicated because there are so many options. Not long ago, the few people who made these cables had to buy the USB-Serial chips for $20 or more, solder in all the other tiny parts by hand, and connect and terminate the cable and try to make a little profit. Hence, a good cable was at least $30. Enter some of these cheap Chinese cables with all the circuitry already there. Now it's just a matter of making the right connections for JP1. There are lots of different cables and lots of different options.

There's no law that says you have to make a cable. If you spend enough, you can buy one ready-made. But if you're a cheapskate and an electronics hobbyist like me, then making your own cable is kind of rewarding.
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post #62 of 71 Old 08-16-2012, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "mdavej 
There's no law that says you have to make a cable. If you spend enough, you can buy one ready-made. But if you're a cheapskate and an electronics hobbyist like me, then making your own cable is kind of rewarding.

Well, I'm sure I could probably manage, but you did say it comes with tradeoffs other than complexity of build, so.

Now I get everything. I'd neglected to download the pdf files so I wasn't seeing the whole picture. Great trick, and that one link for the cable has it for just $11 and free shipping. I think I can probably manage cutting the connector with my razor blade box cutter by scoring on each side and snapping it though. Only thing I don't get is why he glued it in such a way that the access of the pin retainers is hidden, making it impossible to repair it should it ever need be.

I just realized a way I can probably save money on this, along with a friend of mine who's wheelchair bound that I've been helping with some AV gear. We both want to get a decent uni remote. He's leaning toward a $50 touchscreen type he's seen on sale, but I'm not sure with his CP if would be as easy to hold as a regular size remote, or as functional as the RCA with cable. If we split price on 2 remotes and a cable off eBay, we'd satisfy the $25 min for free shipping and the whole thing would only come to under $20 apiece.

Thanks again mdave.
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post #63 of 71 Old 08-16-2012, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd stick with the exact cables proven to work. Many may look alike or even have the same specs, but if the chip or voltages aren't exactly right, it won't work. Not worth the risk to save a buck. For example, we went through several Nokia cables from different vendors that looked exactly the same, even had the same model number, but turned out to be different internally and did not work.

Hope to see you around the JP1 forums.

Good luck
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post #64 of 71 Old 08-17-2012, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I'd stick with the exact cables proven to work.

There shouldn't be any problem with the one you linked to on eBay though right? The one that has the 6 pin connector that can be modified.
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post #65 of 71 Old 08-17-2012, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, I misunderstood your post. I thought you did your own search and found a different cable, but you didn't. Either of the cables in jgfarrell's post that I linked will work. So go for the $11 one.

BTW, I have tons of spare JP1 remotes. If I have 2 RCA's, you can have the pair for $25 shipped. PM me if you're interested and I'll see what I've got.
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post #66 of 71 Old 08-18-2012, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by "mdavej 
BTW, I have tons of spare JP1 remotes. If I have 2 RCA's, you can have the pair for $25 shipped. PM me if you're interested and I'll see what I've got.

Hmmm, well we can get a pair new with warranty for only a few bucks more because Amazon has free shipping on them. First I told him I'd ask what is the best remote (in an affordable price range) for someone with mobility impairment (Cerebral Palsy in his case)? I figured with 10 years of experience you've probably run across it now and then.

The buttons look fairly spread out on the RCA, less chance of him hitting the wrong one. I tested with my Yamaha remote to see if he could change inputs without a problem and he was able to, and that has closer buttons.

As I said before, originally he wanted a touch screen type he'd seen on sale for $50 (don't know what brand), but I'm worried it might be kinda big for him to hold in one hand depending on the design, Some of those are fairly big. There's also the chance any remote he uses could drop and break (he has tile flooring), so better if it's an inexpensive one.

BTW, is this the forum you were referring to? http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/ If so, what name do you go by over there and what's the best board to talk about this kind of stuff specifically (what we've been discussing and impairment)?
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post #67 of 71 Old 08-18-2012, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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A set up an RCA for a friend with CP, but it didn't work for him. The issue was he needed it to be really flat and steady on a table as he pressed the buttons, which the RCA is not. It has a small flat spot, but is also rounded, so pressing the buttons on the edges would move the remote. So keep that in mind.

Yes, that's the right forum and the best one for JP1 talk. I'm mdavej over there too. Accessibility issues as they relate to remotes come up now and then, but not much. There are probably better places for that.
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post #68 of 71 Old 08-18-2012, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

A set up an RCA for a friend with CP, but it didn't work for him. The issue was he needed it to be really flat and steady on a table as he pressed the buttons, which the RCA is not. It has a small flat spot, but is also rounded, so pressing the buttons on the edges would move the remote. So keep that in mind.

Yeah my friend's CP is not that advanced a stage. He can hold a remote, smart phone, etc, with one hand, and press buttons with the other, it just takes a bit longer than for someone without such impairment. He's also used to touch screens on his smart phone. It would be cool if the JP1 programmers could make a cell phone app to turn your phone into a uni remote, but then it would have to be a special model phone that can transmit the signal to the device.
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post #69 of 71 Old 08-19-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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They have, sort of. It's called iRule. One of iRule's IR signal gurus helped us a lot in the early days of JP1, but the developers themselves aren't ex-JP1. There are lots of iOS/Android remotes that work very well. You should check them out.
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post #70 of 71 Old 08-20-2012, 10:49 AM
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Well he has a Samsung Galaxy (not sure which model), but it looks to me like the remote apps for them only work with Samsung TVs. He'd also want to be able to control his Pioneer HT receiver and Motorola cable box too. Are there RC phone apps that flexible?

As far as what phone he uses, I would like to see him get something better. As mentioned, I'm not sure what model of Galaxy he has, but after reading a little about them, it might be an S3 I'm thinking, because it sounds horrible when playing back a recorded phone message or just listening from the other end of a conversation, which can be very frustrating for anyone with CP.

My friend's mobility is not that bad compared to some, but his speech is getting worse. From what I've read they use a very bad mic on that model, which is exactly what I suspected was causing the problem. As far as internal sound quality, you can do ROM and audio mods to upgrade to Beats Audio, but as far as other people hearing you, you're stuck with the mic they give you.
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post #71 of 71 Old 08-20-2012, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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You're getting beyond my area of expertise, but I've heard touchsquid is a good universal remote app that runs on the galaxy. The phone apps are very flexible as well, and can control any device. Any of those sound like a great solution for your friend.
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