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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using Pronto's and Replays for some time. They work great by learning codes or using RC6 codes. I have a pretty complex system, many VCR's, Switching Matrix, X-10, Drapes... It all works great via I/R mode on the Pronto. I use one Xantech "dinky-link" receiver and then distribute the I/R to all components.


Now the fun begins. Philips makes a very nice RF module for the Pronto Pro's. The ProntoPro has built-in RF capability. I set the module up in my equipment room and fed it's output to the xantech I/R system. Well the software of the ProntoPro wasn't ready for prime time. Some pages would transmit I/R and some would transmit R/F. So I shelved RF until Philips released new software...


Well, 2 releases later ProntoEdit version 4 is just out, along with new firmware. It works with all models of Pronto. The big news is that all of the RF glitches have been fixed. I just switched modes to RF and now the Pronto works via RF for all devices!


All that is, except the Replays!!!!


I have experimented and found that they will work but here is the wierd part that I'm seeking others experiences on.


I use std Xantech I/R Mouse emitters (look just like std Replay blasters). With I/R, I stuck them right over the I/R window on the Replays. They work flawlessly that way. With the RF Module they don't work at all this way. If you remove the Emitter and set it on the shelf, pointing straight-up, the I/R beam literally shooting at the Replay from a severe side angle, the Replay will work just fine.


I have tried different emitters, and for the life of me can't figure why only the Replays behave this way. Both Replays act exactly the same. I've got like 20 devices and they all work great with RF to I/R without this critical emitter placement.


I checked Remote Central but they suggest re-learning problem codes when in RF mode, but the Replay is using RC6 Codes, so learning is not really an option (especially the discrete On and Off which are not on the stock remote).


RF is very nice, no more cares about where Pronto is pointing. This is great for complex (meaning very long) setup and shutdown macros.


Sorry for the long Post, If anyone else has tried this, please post your experience. Thanks!
 

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You might want to get one of the IR tester strips from Radio Shack. Then compare the RF and Non-RF signals to see if there is any noticable difference. I suppose one possibility is that the RF signal is driving the LED harder than the non-RF. I could see such a situation causing extra "glare" and reflections which could potentially confuse the IR detector ... To really test it properly would require a scope ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will drag out the scope at some point, what is this "test strip" you refer to? The Xantech distribution amp has an LED on it that lights up upon it's inputs received commands. I/R commands via the "dinky-link" receiver cause this "Talley LED" to flash very bright, RF commands from the Philips Module cause it to blink faintly. I have one emitter in my stack that is a also a visible emitter so I can monitor I/R traffic. This emitter LED blinks brightly from both I/R and RF activity which makes me think that the Xantech amp boosts the inputs and gives a normalized output.


I even tried using the emitter directly plugged into the RF Receiver's emitter jacks. (same oddball result).


I also tried the RF module's built-in I/R blaster (I normally have it covered with black tape to prevent it from causing I/R interference). It wouldn't control them reliably.


I tried moving the emitters straight away from the Replays, no good, they only work from a side angle shot.


It must be some kind of ringing or something. Whats's strange is that all these other oddball devices that I have work just fine.


I was just lucky to stumble on this angle thing, I had popped off the emitter and it was laying on the shelf while I was trying other things, then the Replay started working. I would have never had thought to even try this setup.
 

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The IR tester from radio shack is just a small strip of material that is sensitive to IR frequences. You have to "charge" the strip with normal light, then hold the IR source right next to the strip. As the IR signals hit the strip they illuminate it in the visible range. Basically you can see the IR. It shows signal strength and if you know what a normal pulse looks like you can see differences in IR signals. It's very inexpensive and you can always use it to check to see when it's time to change the batteries :)


The only things that I can think of that would cause a "bank" shot to work when a normal one wont are:


The apparent signal strength would be less.


There may be a slight difference in the frequency caused by the signal reflection/refraction. This would depend on the surface you are reflecting/refracting off.


A direct mount is causing some kind of interference. Perhaps something on the surface where it was attached.


Hmm, it just occured to me that there is another possibility. Some of the IR blaster have two IR emitters, one on each side. If one of them was dead you could also see a similar result...


Of course I'm assuming you attached the IR blaster to the correct location on the device you want to control... But that sounds like a safe assumption....


I would try the IR strip(A ccd camera can also be used), then whip out the scope and start looking at signal levels/timings/content ...
 

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I can't help but I have a success story for encouragement: I set up my Philips RF to IR module about 12 feet in front of my equipment, hanging from the bottom of a coffee table. From the next room, shooting the RF signal 20 feet down through a brick pillar and the coffee table, it converts the signals instantly and my Replay works like a charm. Even with macros like the 1 - Instant Replay - Quick Skip I use for a 30 second backwards skip. Good luck!

-****
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input ****, I would be very curious to know if your Replay would work with a emitter plugged into the RF module and stuck on your Replay. I also wonder if you learned the I/R codes from the original remote or setup RC6 codes on the Pronto.


All my macros work as well, 2min QS, 3min QS, Pause-Exit, etc. I just don't feel good with this side-shot setup that I have to use. It seems like it's on the edge of the envelope.


My gut tells me that the RF Module is translating RC6 codes differently to I/R (like different carrier freq etc.) than the Pronto's direct I/R Mode.
 
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