Custom Dedicated Remote...

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Brett Sw, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Brett Sw

    Brett Sw Agent

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    I have a bar I made for my basement that I'd like to add a small controll panel to. Ie...The Volume Control from the receiver and the Disc & Track Skip features from the DVD player. Would it be easier to canibalize a spare univeral remote? Or...If I took my remotes to an electronics guru, say, at Radio Shack, would they be able to get the I/R frequencies from those particular buttons and custom make a transmitter for me with separate buttons? I think it would be a cleaner install if I didn't have to use the canabalized remote. This isn't something I want to spend a bunch of money doing. I just thought it would be handy when we are bellied up to the bar to have those features right there instead of dragging remotes around. Any have any experience with something like this?
     
  2. Joe L.

    Joe L. Stunt Coordinator

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    Brett,

    Your best bet for this project is to use a "Universal Remote" and train it for the few functions you desire.

    Once you have it working, you can build (or have built) your control panel. It would have buttons for the few functions you desire. These should be momentary contact, normally open, S.P.S.T. (single pole single throw) pushbuttons. You can use just about any buttons that you like and mount and label them in your custom enclosure. On yes, make the enclosure large enough to hold the guts of your "universal remote" and a set of batteries.

    Then, remove the outer plastic housing on the universal remote and under each of its buttons you will find pads on the circuit board they contacted when pressed. Solder two wires to the pad for one of specific buttons you programmed (and have already tested) to a pushbutton in your enclosure. Test it. Now do he same for each of the remaining buttons.

    Lastly, you may need to extend (use longer wires) on the remote's infrared LED so it is located in a spot able to control your equipment. Be aware that it is polarity sensitive, so if you unsolder it from the remote circuit board and extend it with two wires it will not function if you get the two wires transposed. (it won't get damaged, it just will not light up and control anything) If it does not work, transpose the two wires and try again.

    This is not an expensive DIY project, but it will take a bit of time to find a set of pushbuttons you like and to make an enclosure to hold them. Don't forget the labels so your guests will know how to advance tracks, etc.

    One last thing, unless your Radio Shack is very different than mine, you are unlikely to find a "Guru" to help you in this project. In fact, they might not even know what a SPST, normally open, momentary contact pushbutton is, even if one is hanging on their parts wall. You are far more likely to find someone who will be happy to sell you a new Cell-telephone. The days when the Radio Shack salesperson knew basic electronics are in the past. (On the other hand, they don't pester you for your phone number any more, so go for it, who knows, perhaps you need a new Cell phone anyway. [​IMG])

    Unfortunately, I do not know of anything (inexpensive) you could use to train the IR codes other than a "universal remote" You might want to use a "learning" remote so you can teach it the basic functions from the existing remotes. This would be far better, in my opinion, since you will eventually need to teach it different codes when you upgrade your DVD player, etc some day.

    Good luck with your project.

    Joe L.
    PS.
    If you do find a guru, try this link for tons of info: www.epanorama.net/links/irremote.html
     
  3. Brett Sw

    Brett Sw Agent

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    Great info Joe...!!! Building and soldering won't be a problem. I just don't know enough about electronics to know if a particular button will work (ie...resistance, current rating, etc). A guy could probably write a book on this, but is there a simple way to figure it out? There's a "Series 57" pushbutton switch at itwswitches.com (it wouldn't let me add a Hyperlink), but if it will work, is out of my league. Any chance you could take a look? Thanks...
     
  4. Joe L.

    Joe L. Stunt Coordinator

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    You must have a rough crowd at your house.... The series 57 switches are listed as Vandal Resistant Switches [​IMG]

    They would work, but probably are not "inexpensive"

    Since the current is very low, just about ANY switch will work as long as it is a momentary contact, normally open, switch.

    Joe L.
     
  5. Joe L.

    Joe L. Stunt Coordinator

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    True, a philips pronto would work well... but it is not really an inexpensive solution ($200 - $300), and depending on the programming, not one a guest might use as easily as the few buttons originally described by Brett.

    I personally have an ADI Leopard touchscreen controller I plan to incorporate when I get around to automating my theater. Unfortunately, it is not inexpensive either, so I did not offer it as a suggestion. It is even more expensive ($600) than the pronto, although much more flexible.

    Since Brett said he did not want to spend a bunch of money, the $20 universal remote with external buttons seemed to be as good an approach to his needs as any.

    Joe L.
     
  6. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Joe,

    I agree about the money issue but from an ease of use issue
    if you get a Pronto or in my case a Pronto Pro once it's
    all set up it's so easy for anybody to use.

    I would add a caveat to that however. I wouldn't dare let
    anyone handle my Pronto Pro in fear of them dropping in!

    So the universal remote built into the wall may be a better
    idea as far as if it was to get broken somehow you aren't
    out for a lot of money [​IMG]

    But now that the I-Pronto is out.. Geez I am feeling Upgradeitis again! [​IMG]
     
  7. Brett Sw

    Brett Sw Agent

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    Joe...You wouldn't believe what we can break watching a Mizzou game or other sporting event. Probably ought to put one of those country bar-type "chicken wire" cages around the HTS when the boys come over...!!!

    The Step-Father has 2 Sima SUR-20s that they no longer use for one reason or another. I thought about cracking one in half and embedding it in the bar top. But, 1...I'd put a hole in my Bar Top and 2...I'd be getting away from ease of use aspect. So, I'm thinking Volume control and Disc/Track buttons only would be easy enough for MOST of my buddies to operate and would not allow them to change and settings or media other than those dedicated buttons.

    Brett D...I noticed you have a Sima 20. How do you like it? I may just pick them up from the old man anyway.
     
  8. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Brett,

    I had an SUR-20 I now have a Phillips Pronto Pro TSU6000.
    The SUR-20 was a great remote for the money! But the fact
    that I couldn't custom label buttons meant that I soon out
    grew the remote which is a shame really because I really
    loved the "look" and "feel" of it plus the fact that it
    only cost me $50.00 vs $600.00 for the Phillips was a plus.

    But since I have gone to the color Pronto I could never go
    back.. The customization level of the Pronto remote is just
    unmatchable IMHO if you can figure out how to make your own
    custom CCF files and make all your own graphics it's just
    limitless what you can come up with [​IMG]

    But for your needs the SUR would work fine and would be
    cheap enough that you wouldn't loose sleep tearing one
    apart!
     

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