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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need your help with an RF remote recommendation. Here's my setup and dilemma:

Recently moved my gear to a media closet on a relay rack. I bought the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home so that I could control the gear in my closet over RF as well as control my TV over IR. I've had nothing but issues with the remote not being able to reach the hub (~35-40 ft away), the remote not being able to turn on the TV at times (have to be about 5-6 ft away for IR to work), the Hub constantly disconnecting, rebooting, firmware updates, etc.

Needless to say, screw Logitech, I'm done with their products.

I've thought about using a NextGen with the remote that came with my DVR, but would like to use a remote that's a bit more fancy. I've looked at URC, but heard you need to be a pro installer to set them up. I don't want to just do IP based control, as I want a physical remote and to not use my phone/tablet. With that said, any suggestions? Any URC remotes that are easy to program? Any other remotes you suggest? Thanks!
 

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40 ft is pushing it for any RF remote. Since IP is off the table, I don't know what to tell you. A system of multiple IR repeaters I guess. Or you could put the hub in a more central location and run longer blaster cables. You'd probably have to do that with any RF remote you got.

If you have to be close for IR to work, then you have other issues, like interference or noise that need to be addressed.
 

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With a URC Pro solution (such as the MRF-350) your RF receiver can be relocated from the base station with a simple cable run. You would put the RF antenna in a central location to split the 40' difference.

Maybe you should reconsider IP.
 

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The harmony 890 uses z-wave tech for its RF so the range is excellent. I have two of them and AV gear is on the first floor in a cabinet and the RF works at the other end of the house on the second floor with no issues. The bad part is they have a very poor button layout and are only available used (Or leftover new big bucks). Volume buttons tend to wear out and other highly used buttons. If you can put up with their other faults their range is great. I tried the 900 but its range is dismal in comparison.
 

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I know you don't want TCP and want a hard remote, why not consider both, that way you can buy a much cheaper hard remote just for basic functions.

I have been using 2 URC MX850s with RF 250s for 10 years, they work fine and go more than 40 feet. But..... I got tired of begging for software updates and... I don't use Windows but that's what the software runs on, really old style stuff.

Soooo.. Since I have iPads in the living room and bedroom I installed and setup Roomie Remote on them. The 2 DirecTV DVRs, AppleTV and Sony BluRay are controlled directly via TCP. I use Global Cache TCP to serial for my Krell processor and TCP to IR for everything else (TV and video processors). The really big bonus is that you can design your own remotes, I did that for the Krell since it has over a hundred directly controlled functions.

Anyway.. I still use the MX850s for basic hard button remotes but when they go out I will not replace them, will use something a lot cheaper. Another bonus, the iPads are a lot cheaper than dedicated high end remotes. And we use them for light control and they replaced our cordless phones, etc.

As for range TCP has no limits, I can turn the heat, AC, lights, etc. remotely from our iPhones. Forget about RF.
Something you may want to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I went ahead and did some research on my own and ended up obtaining a copy of the URC CCP software. It's actually pretty simple to use, as long as you have some basic programming knowledge. I'm a Cyber Security engineer and have done object oriented programming for many years, so setting up Macro's and variables wasn't difficult at all (especially since it's a GUI).

I bought a MX-980 with an MRF-260 and got it all setup. Works PERFECTLY! The IR range on the remote for turning on the TV is impressive and the RF works flawlessly. I even took several hours of URC's CCP training video's and found that their products are outstanding. Now I'm thinking about how creative I can get with this remote and what else I can program in it.

The Logitech setup was crap compared to this. I had issues with the remote freezing, hub going offline, and the range was horrible.
 

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The harmony 890 uses z-wave tech for its RF so the range is excellent. I have two of them and AV gear is on the first floor in a cabinet and the RF works at the other end of the house on the second floor with no issues. The bad part is they have a very poor button layout and are only available used (Or leftover new big bucks). Volume buttons tend to wear out and other highly used buttons. If you can put up with their other faults their range is great. I tried the 900 but its range is dismal in comparison.
FYI, the Harmony 890 does not use Z-wave for its RF. It uses RF like the Harmony 1000 and 1100 to communicate with the base station, but in addition has a Z-wave chip to communicate with Z-wave devices. The RF base station is not Z-wave compatible.

Anyway, the OP went the URC route. IIRC the MRF-260 does not use a separate antenna module. If you do have problems with your setup you can swap out the MRF-260 for the MRF-350 and play with antenna placement. Happy programming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Anyway, the OP went the URC route. IIRC the MRF-260 does not use a separate antenna module. If you do have problems with your setup you can swap out the MRF-260 for the MRF-350 and play with antenna placement. Happy programming.
Thanks for the info. I setup the MRF-260 using the video guide from URC's training site. I checked with the RFID dial at 0 and didn't have any interference, so I set it up in the media closet and my remote works perfectly, even from outside the house! I have it set right now where all the IR devices are receiving their code via the main blaster, but after I get my HTPC finished and add an IR solution for it and an IR solution for my PS3 I intend on running separate ports for each device. This remote blows away any Harmony, and unlike the stupid hub it doesnt freeze and lock up, it just WORKS!

I will say that it helps to have a programming background (have a degree in IT and work in the field). Programming the remote is fairly simple, just about getting the right codes, good macros, and setting variables with the right IF/THEN/ELSE statements. Solid product!
 

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Thanks for the info. I setup the MRF-260 using the video guide from URC's training site. I checked with the RFID dial at 0 and didn't have any interference, so I set it up in the media closet and my remote works perfectly, even from outside the house! I have it set right now where all the IR devices are receiving their code via the main blaster, but after I get my HTPC finished and add an IR solution for it and an IR solution for my PS3 I intend on running separate ports for each device. This remote blows away any Harmony, and unlike the stupid hub it doesnt freeze and lock up, it just WORKS!

I will say that it helps to have a programming background (have a degree in IT and work in the field). Programming the remote is fairly simple, just about getting the right codes, good macros, and setting variables with the right IF/THEN/ELSE statements. Solid product!
I know the new Roku uses TCP/IP. It works great, They probably have a cloud environment to run their programs. I'm not a TCP/IP programmer. I possibly can learn RS232 and IR programing. iRule have some neat programs that are free, but I would have to learn them for modification. I'll be getting an Marantz AV8805 soon, placed in another room. So I better have some kind of remote working real soon. Global Cache Itach have devices to change different protocols so you can use a tablet as a remote. I really don't no where to go first. I'm planning on getting some Remote-Control Extenders. Your advise would be appreciated.
 

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@videoray have you looked at simple control? That is if you use iPhone etc. Or a tcp based solution but SC is the easiest to get going. They have their own ir repeaters made by global cache. There are a lot of cool automation type things you can add if you desire, lights, garage doors etc but tcp based situation for a start.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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This would be a simple solution, but I am wondering if Simple Control 5 will have any problems with the past like Alexa, and flexibility. I don't mind spending $24.00 for the software a year but, being a programmer for 24 yrs I'm just scared of closed shops.

I haven't even started with preparing my two Dirac DDRC-88BM MiniDSP for REW yet. I have installed 16 speakers, but I'm still waiting for the AV8805 to arrive from Crutchfield.

I envision using RS232 and IR with Global Cache. I suspect I will have a lot of work involved to accomplish what I need to do.

Your advice will be very helpful.
 
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