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Topic:
Currently-available, reasonably-priced learning remote that will learn IR keyboard commands?
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Post 1 made on Sunday July 1, 2012 at 15:12
gstewtoo
Lurking Member
Joined:
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July 2012
1
Like the Nevo software on my old HP IPAQ H2210 handheld?

I have a high-end computer music player that is based on a stripped-down installation of Window XP. The latest super-stripped-down configuration has the Windows XP & player down to about 15 Mb.

In earlier versions of this setup, one used AutoHotKey to map mouse commands into keyboard commands to generate both Windows navigation commands and control commands (Play, Skip, Volume Up, etc) for the player software. The latest super-stripped version has AutoHotKey (and the Windows DLL's needed to run it) removed.

What I've done to provide some level of remote-control is to use an IR-connected wireless keyboard/mouse. The one I'm using is here ( [Link: dsi-keyboards.com] ), but I've tried another couple ones and they work just as well.

I got a tip that you could use a learning, macro-capable remote to learn the IR commands that the keyboard transmits and use that to replace the keyboard. That'd be great as there are less than 20 key commands (with a few of them multi-key combos that require assembly using macros, like Alt-Space-N to minimize the window). Then also a remote with dedicated keys is a lot easier to use than a keyboard where you have to remember what the keystrokes do.

So I went on a quest to find a learning remote that worked. Since I've been a long-time handheld user and have kept several older models around, I started with some of my old IPAQs and the Griffin Software Total Remote & it's associated IR dongle from back in the mid-2000's. While it appeared to learn the IR transmissions from the keyboard, it would not transmit them such that the keyboard's dongle would respond. This was true across three different old handheld models. Also, I tried the software with the Griffin IR dongle, the built-in IRDA device in the handhelds, and with the CIR output available in one of the handhelds, an HP H2210.

Then I tried the Nevo software that came installed on the H2210. PAYDIRT! This setup DID both memorize the commands and control the computer through the keyboard dongle. Note that this model, unlike the others I have, includes a

Heartened by this success, I went out & bought several consumer remotes… a couple of currently-available lower-end RCA models, a low-end and a mid-level Logitech, and an older used Sony RM VL600 off Ebay. So far, none have been successful… one of the RCA remotes DID learn some keys after multiple tries, but not consistently. And to confirm I wasn't doing it wrong or that there was something wrong with any of the remotes (and handheld software), I did cross-check them by learning various TV & DVD commands.

After this experience, I thought I'd ask for recommendations before I got anymore remotes to try.

Why am I dissatisfied with the IPAQ H2210. First and foremost, I am trying to find an alternative I can recommend to others using this setup. Telling them to go on Ebay & spend $40-$80 for an obsolete, unsupported handheld (Oh, and make sure it actually has the Nevo software on it, some of the ROM upgrades erased it!) does not seem like a good option.

Second, the HW/SW combo is slow in transmitting multiple commands, such as when you want to increase or decrease volume (the command provides one step up or down). With the keyboard, you can send sequential commands as fast as you can punch the keys, so going down from full to background level takes 3-5 seconds. Using Nevo on the 2215, it takes 10-20 seconds for the device to transmit that many commands.

And third, a HW remote with keys is just easier to use than tapping spots on the touchscreen.

So after all of that explanation, can anyone recommend other remotes they know or at least believe will learn and transmit these keyboard commands? If anyone is willing to try, I purchased a couple spares of the IR wireless keyboards and I'd be happy to ship one to anyone who has a few learning remotes to try and have them see if those remotes work.

And I'd really like to find a low-to-mid range remote that does this… up to $100 USD or so. But I'm interested in knowing what other ones might.

Any suggestions or takers?

And due to the stripped-down nature of the operating system & player, solutions that require added software or use of the USB ports are not viable.

THANKS!

Greg in Mississippi
Post 2 made on Wednesday July 4, 2012 at 18:38
Daniel Tonks
Wrangler of Remotes
Joined:
Posts:
October 1998
28,536
Most IR keyboards and media remotes for Windows use the stock RC6 code protocol, which is pretty standard but involves toggle bits. This means that each time you press a key, the code is slightly different.

What happens if you learn a button, is the remote learns just one of these codes. And when you send it twice - ie. channel 55 - Windows just senses it as a single "5".

The solution to this is a registry change to "enable debounce", which makes Windows ignore toggle bits. Or, finding a remote that can either replicate the toggle bits, or has appropriate codes already built-in.

Now... I would expect most of the remotes you listed to be able to control the PC, at least properly after the registry change. So I'm wondering if you simply need to change how you're learning.

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