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IR Strength/Direction - Harmony 650 (Coming from 676)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have had 3 Harmony 676 remotes in my home for about 4 years, and I really love them. However, some of the buttons have worn and are not as sensitive any longer, so I decided to replace all 3.

I bought Harmony 650s, and programmed them tonight. I am pretty disappointed with the signal strength. It seems that I really need to have the remote nearly directly pointed to the equipment for my signal to be received.

This is most troubling in my basement theater, where the AV equipment is actually at about the 5 o'clock position from where I am seated, and the projector is directly above my head. With the 676 I am able to point forward toward my screen, issue a command, and the system responds perfectly.

With the 650, simple things like adjusting volume on the AVR or turning the projector off don't work. I have to directly aim the remote at the equipment.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks, John
post #2 of 12

I googled this problem and found your post here. Not sure if you are still monitoring this thread, but I am having the same issue. It seems to be intermittent though. Sometimes for a few minutes my 650 will have massive IR strength where I can point it in any direction and it works flawlessly, then after a few minutes of that it's like the signal becomes weaker and it needs to be pointed directly. One time I rebooted the remote and it became strong again. Something is not right with this design. Perhaps it is a battery limitation of some sort. Maybe if you press too many buttons for too long, the battery becomes "drained" and the signal goes weaker. Then if you leave it for a while it charges back up and you have a few minutes of high strength signal? I don't really know. I'm going to try turning the screen backlight to minimum and see if that helps.
post #3 of 12
Well I found what is causing the weak IR signal from my harmony 650, it is my Samsung plasma TV. If the scene is bright , I get a weak IR signal, and the 650 must be pointed directly at the TV's IR receiver. If the scene is dark (eg. lots of black on screen, or just a blank input screen) the signal is very strong and I can point it anywhere in the room.

So, something about this damn plasma TV is emitting something that interferes with IR signals. I'm guessing it is some kind of EM noise that increases as the picture level increases.

edit: having said that, my old harmony 525 is still able to send an IR signal through when the TV is displaying the same bright image, so it seems the 650's IR emitter is still weaker compared to the old model (or more prone to interference). This is most disappointing. Boo Logitech!
Edited by assm0de - 12/5/12 at 10:05pm
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a projector and 100" screen, with my equipment at about the 5 o'clock position. With the 676 I was able to point at the screen and everything worked. With the 650, I have to point at about the 3 o'clock direction, and then still have about 50% luck. It apparently is a lower emitting strength, so I am guessing that there's nothing I can do about it (other then adding those little IR receivers that then are wired back to the equipment. I am not interested in doing that at all.).
post #5 of 12
Well it looks like my Harmony 650 is basically a useless piece of junk because of this issue. It is just too annoying and tiresome to have to point the remote directly at the TV's IR receiver every time I want to adjust the volume.
post #6 of 12
I found the same thing as you 2...the newer Harmony's dont have the IR strength of the 676/620 type remotes.
When I had my 676 I could aim it anywhere it happened to be pointed...with newer Harmony's I have to
purposely lift it so my coffee table doesnt block the line of sight.
The 650/700 and even the Harmony One have all fallen short of the 676 for signal strength and IMO ease of use.

I have used and still use many Harmony's...and would say best to worse have been:
1. 676/620
2. Harmony One
3. 880
4. 650/700
5. 525

Next I will try the new Harmony Touch.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I wish I could get my hands on some more 676s
post #8 of 12
I must be the only one that prefers the 650 over the One. I find the signal strength more than adequate. I find the One slower to respond.
post #9 of 12
I have a 700 I wouldn't trade for a One. I like the hard buttons.
post #10 of 12

There seems to be an easy solution to this problem with an IR to RF extender such as this one:


Apparently the RF transmitter sits inside the battery shell inside the remote which it somehow picks up the IR signal from (how the hell is it doing this?? reading the patterns of discharge on the battery?) and then transmits it to the receiver via RF which then converts it back to IR from the receiver unit.

Plus, with the stupid 5 device limit on the harmony 650, you can get around that by learning IR codes manually and just add them as commands for any activity. So there is virtually no device limit either.

So, its looking like the harmony 650 could be a winner after all cool.gif
Edited by assm0de - 2/16/13 at 2:52am
post #11 of 12
Well I tried the IR to RF converter, but it doesn't work very well at all. Half the time my equipment does not respond. It is receiving the RF signal from the battery shell just fine, as indicated by the light on the front of the base receiver which flashes every time I press a button. However I suspect the failure lies in its conversion from RF back to IR. Even with the remote right next to the receiver base it still doesn't respond half the time.

I think there are too many conversions of the signal going on: original IR signal -> Harmony 650's version of it -> RF conversion -> reconversion back to IR.

Perhaps all of these conversions are making the signal dirty and therefore not responding as well. I tried increasing the number of repeats and delays in the harmony software, but it didn't help.
post #12 of 12
A google search reveals that "IR flooding" is a common issue with plasma and even some LCD tv's, where the panel itself emits interference that prevents remotes from working properly or having reduced signal strength. It seems there is such a thing as a "plasma friendly" IR receiver:


Could be the ticket to solving this issue.
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