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Revisiting and Renewing the Cinema 7 remote
This thread has 12 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Saturday January 7, 2012 at 13:22
Cico Buff
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Took a trip down memory lane recently, by setting up an old Cinema 7 remote for a friend. (This is a remote I spent a lot of time with years ago). I set it up to control a Marantz cd player, a Sylvania VCR, a recent model Sony DVD player, a fairly recent Sony AV receiver, and a Panasonic Viera LCD tv. I'm pretty sure that at least the tv was produced after the production of the C7, so I really didn't think it would work. Yet it all worked beautifully, after everything was sorted out! Either through learning, or a search of advanced codes (manually, or via EFC lists found on the net), I managed to duplicate all the commands on the original OEM remotes. Which allowed me to put away all 5 original remotes for good.

PLAYING WITH POWER
--------------------------

Though I was fairly surprised the old C7 could accomplish that, I took it even further by programming 5 useful macros. The first macro automatically turned everything on (discretely!) and set everything correctly to view a DVD. The next did the same to watch TV. Then another to watch a Video tape. And another to set the tv to view the computer. I had to do some clever manipulation of the macros, to ensure that no matter what status any of the equipment is at, the macro will *always* function correctly. (example: When the TV was on "DVD" input, the channel button no longer worked. Thus, to program it to set the input display for TV, I had to do some workarounds...). Also, the TV takes a few seconds to boot up before it will accept commands. So I used the old "forced pause" trick of copying the Zenith (0039) record button code to my TV device layout, in order to create a delay in the macro for the Panasonic Viera TV.**

Finally, I programmed an "ALL POWER OFF" macro (to the power button, via Shift-Power). Which discretely shuts off all the home cinema equipment, but only if the units are on. The remote does absolutely everything I needed it to do, and I thought it would run out of memory under all this, but it hasn't.

**(I just read a review on Amazon of the "Digital 5" that gave it one star, because the macros didn't work with his Panasonic Viera TV, due to a lack of delay!)


RENEWING A STICKY REMOTE
------------------------------

Since I've had the remote for perhaps 10 years, it was definitely looking worse for wear. Apart from the crud around the buttons, the buttons themselves all required hard presses to register. Not much fun to operate. At this point, most people throw out their remotes, and thus create bigger landfill sites. Not me, I'm too cheap for that. The problem stems from "silicon oil". A greasy substance that is created as the silicon breaks down over years of time, and interferes with the contacts. Fixed this in 10 minutes time. It's a matter of opening the remote (2 screws in the battery compartment, and you start at the top near the IR emitters, then go around as you pry the two halves open). Then removing the silicon rubber overlay from the remote, and scrubbing it well with a toothbrush soaked in a grease cleaner (I used "Spray Nine"). Then the contact board was cleaned well with rubbing alcohol (not necessary to remove this from the bottom cover). Finally, I cleaned the top cover. Result: buttons are very responsive, the remote looks and functions like new.


ALTERNATIVES
-----------------------

I have since obtained a Logitech Harmony, but yet to try it out, as I'm awaiting delivery of the specialized battery. Despite costing 5 times more, the only significant advantage of the Harmony's over the Cinema 7 that's worth mentioning, is that the display shows advanced keys. It's a bit awkward to have to look at the screen to know which key you're pressing, but at least you're not in the dark and having to guess what key controls what advanced function, as on the OFA's.

I'm also awaiting delivery of an OFA "Digital 5" remote, in a few minutes. It's a lot more comparable to the C7 than the Harmony. (Oop, no. Just got it, and it turns out it's not labelled "One For All". Rather, it's an "Acoustic Research AR5G" that looks exactly like the OFA "Digital 5". I know from having read the manual availale here that it uses the Cinema 900 codes. But I haven't tried it yet to see if it can duplicate all the advanced functions of the C7. But first impressions are very good. I love the feel of this remote in your hand, and the buttons are just the best. They, along with the back, have that luxuriously soft Nextel rubber feel, they provide tactile feedback, they're stable and not hard to press, and the layout is excellent. I already prefer the ergonomics of this model to any other OFA I've seen, or any Logitech Harmony remote, for that matter).

Well, hope this helps.

Cico, out.
Post 2 made on Saturday January 7, 2012 at 15:54
3FG
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Regarding the AR5G, would you mind looking in the battery compartment to see if it has a 6 pin JP1 connector?

And, the Digital 5 comes in 3 different versions URC-7555/7556/7557. Please use the 983 command to check the signature. (It's probably 1075).
OP | Post 3 made on Saturday January 7, 2012 at 20:10
Cico Buff
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Yes, there is a spot with 6 holes for a JP1 type connector (but I don't know if its JP1 or a later version). I was trying to figure out whether this is a clone of the OFA 7556 or 7557, but I did not succeed. In fact, I could not even find any info on what the differences were between these two models, even on the OFA site! All I know is they both look exactly alike. (Mine is glossy black). The 983 blink back code is: 3179. What is this "signature" supposed to indicate?

One thing I'm really disappointed about is no mention of CD players (or their codes) anywhere in the manual or online description. Yet I could have sworn I saw reviewers on Amazon saying they programmed their CD player with (either the 7556 or 7557). It makes no sense to me that they would withdraw programming for CD players, when the older Cinema remotes that this AR is clearly based on, already supported them. I'm trying to figure out if I can get a CD code in there somehow, but no luck so far in getting the AR5G's device keys to accept the Marantz CD code that my Cinema 7 used. I also noticed that not all the codes for the Cinema 7 work on this AR remote. I used "0158" for the Sony receiver code on my C7. On the AR, that code doesn't work, but "1058" does.

Another thing that's really making it worse, is that for some strange reason, I can't reassign the CBL/SAT key. It simply will not take a reassignment from another device. Even though I can reassign the other keys to accept other devices. The manual's instructions say to press ANY device key to accept the reassignment of another device key! So in theory it should work, but I'm stumped as to why it won't. I've tried 980 to clear the key, no go. The CBL/SAT key itself works fine, so it's not a physical defect with the key. Since I have no cable/satellite boxes, this makes it just a 4-in-1 remote! And if I can't program my CD player, it's a 3-in-1!

I've contacted Audiovox (who now distributes these remotes), so I'll have to see what they say. Not holding my breath...




On January 7, 2012 at 15:54, 3FG said...
Regarding the AR5G, would you mind looking in the battery compartment to see if it has a 6 pin JP1 connector?

And, the Digital 5 comes in 3 different versions URC-7555/7556/7557. Please use the 983 command to check the signature. (It's probably 1075).
Post 4 made on Saturday January 7, 2012 at 23:27
mdavej
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In that case it's identical (at least internally) to the RCA RCRP05B according to the signature. So you can look up codes from its manual or THIS site using that model number.
Post 5 made on Sunday January 8, 2012 at 03:11
3FG
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So given that signature (which is UEI's way of identifying the firmware in the remote), we can say that while the external appearance may be similar to a 7556, internally it is completely different. The 7556 is a JP1.2 remote with a Motorola micro, while 3179 is a JP1.3 remote with a Samsung micro.

If you're fiddling with VPT or channel lock, the instructions supplied with the remote may be incorrect. See the 9XX command instructions for a correct explanation. Note that this remote can do device specific macros, which only run in a given device mode.  Program it like a 995 command except use 978.

Anyway, it is true that you can't reassign the cable button to a different device type through the 992 command. It can be done with a JP1.3 cable (Tommy Tyler makes the best cable-by far- and sells it for $30). You can also use the two device 994 keymove command to setup the cable button with any signal that can be sent by another device button. You just have to program each button.

If you have a particular CD component in mind, post the model number, and we can probably suggest a setup code that will operate it.
OP | Post 6 made on Sunday January 8, 2012 at 19:30
Cico Buff
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Well, I finally did it. I managed to program my new Acoustic Research ARRS05G remote, to duplicate all of my 5 different machines, and absolutely every key and macro that I had programmed on the old Cinema 7. (I finished it all before reading any of today's replies in this thread). As I mentioned, I didn't think this would be possible. This 5 in 1 was looking like it would be a 3 in 1 device remote for me. That is because it does not have a CD device key, and does not accept CD codes. Plus the fact that it has some strange defect, where it will not accept reassignment of the CBL/SAT key (yet you can reassign other device keys).

I was able to overcome both issues when I discovered, to my surprise, that the remote will happily learn and accept the Marantz CD player commands on the CBL/SAT key. (I'm pretty lucky, considering I did not have the original Marantz remote, and I can now do things with the AR that the original remote probably couldn't do!). I do not know if the AR5G has more memory than the Cinema 7, but it (after some trial and error) learned all the codes and I did not run out. In the case of the Sony receiver, I did have better results during learning when the remotes were in the air (rather than flat on a table), and ensuring the original remote has strong batteries also made a difference.

I did have to find some different ways of doing things on this remote, because it doesn't operate quite like the C7. For one thing, I could not program the Cinema 7's EFC's (advanced codes) at all, they didn't work. I eventually resolved the problem by figuring out that I had to add two zeros to each code, as this remote uses 5-digit EFC codes. While this worked fine for everything else, none of the Cinema 7 EFC codes worked on my Sony receiver. This may have something to do with the fact that on the C7, the device code is "0158", while on the AR, the code is "1058". So assuming they can work, the EFC codes may be different as well. (In any case, I could not find EFC codes for this remote, or the similar "Digital 5" models from OFA. So I used learned commands for the Sony receiver). Also, even though the device codes were the same, there were differences in the default programming between the Cinema 7 and AR5G remotes. They didn't necessarily have the same functions by default, nor on the same keys.
OP | Post 7 made on Sunday January 8, 2012 at 19:31
Cico Buff
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On January 7, 2012 at 23:27, mdavej said...
In that case it's identical (at least internally) to the RCA RCRP05B according to the signature. So you can look up codes from its manual or THIS site using that model number.

Thanks, but looking at the RCA code list offered here, it appears to be identical to the codes on the AR5G remote. In particular, there is no codes for CD players whatsoever (and it would seem, no device key to put it on, even if there were workable CD device codes). So it does not help resolve my initial problem with the AR not recognizing my CD player.
OP | Post 8 made on Sunday January 8, 2012 at 19:32
Cico Buff
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On January 8, 2012 at 03:11, 3FG said...
So given that signature (which is UEI's way of identifying the firmware in the remote), we can say that while the external appearance may be similar to a 7556, internally it is completely different. The 7556 is a JP1.2 remote with a Motorola micro, while 3179 is a JP1.3 remote with a Samsung micro.

If you're fiddling with VPT or channel lock, the instructions supplied with the remote may be incorrect. See the 9XX command instructions for a correct explanation. Note that this remote can do device specific macros, which only run in a given device mode. Program it like a 995 command except use 978.

Anyway, it is true that you can't reassign the cable button to a different device type through the 992 command. It can be done with a JP1.3 cable (Tommy Tyler makes the best cable-by far- and sells it for $30). You can also use the two device 994 keymove command to setup the cable button with any signal that can be sent by another device button. You just have to program each button.

If you have a particular CD component in mind, post the model number, and we can probably suggest a setup code that will operate it.

RE: CHANNEL LOCK

I tried Channel Locking to a set of devices, from the instructions on that wiki page. It worked. According to the wiki, only the RCA RCRP05B model can do this, and not the Digital 5 models. So I guess that confirms the "Acoustic Research ARRS05G" is a very close cousin of the RCA remote. The AR manual does not appear to contradict what is written of the first two channel locking options on the wiki 9xx COMMANDS page, but completely omits the third option of channel locking to a set of devices. Not unlike the Cinema and RS remotes, that could do all kinds of things they never bothered to mention in the manuals.

RE: OTHER Wiki 900 COMMANDS

Thanks for the wiki link, as I discovered a few things I did not know my remote can do. ie. the Device Power feature (972). I don't think there is anything mentioning this capability in the manual. Unfortunately, it only works with my TV. (I get 4 blinks on deactiving this feature, and 2 blinks after activating it, the reverse of what's written in the wiki). Also, the CBL/SAT key blinks twice when pressing it, while the Device Power feature is activated. I think this double blinking indicates the Device Power feature works on that device, as there are only 2 of the 5 devices that blink twice when I press their keys now; TV and CBL. (I can't confirm if its sending a power command on the CBL device as well, as that is my CD player, which does not power on remotely. Btw, the CD player is a Marantz CD-53. On the Cinema 7 it uses device code: 0157). I can confirm that another undocumented feature, the Device Specific Macro 978 code, also works. So that's just great to know, if I ever need it.

The downside to the wiki page 900 commands is what happened when I tried to see if code 988/977 for Saving and Restoring Configurations would work. It did indeed accept the codes, despite this also being an undocumented feature. I tested the feature by adding an EFC to a button, with the intention of restoring the configuration to see if the EFC would disappear. Indeed it did. However, every other key that I programmed (via EFC or learning) (apart from the device keys) also disappeared. So although the 988 appeared to save the configuration, 977 did not properly restore it (it gave me 4 blinks on the Cable/SAT key). Instead, it destroyed about 2 days worth of time I spent programming this remote in the blink of an eye. Let's just say the Save/Restore Configuration feature is not going to be my favourite function on this remote. At least I wrote down everything I did in a text file, so I have a starting plan....

Last edited by Cico Buff on January 8, 2012 19:44.
Post 9 made on Sunday January 8, 2012 at 22:54
3FG
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Well, I hadn't noticed that. The Wiki is incorrect--986 is the save device configuration command, not 988. I think I can fix that in the Wiki.

Regarding "confirming" that the remote is the same as a RCRP05B: There is little doubt about it-- the 3179 signature tells us that the firmware is identical. The AR5G and RCRP05B need not have the same number of buttons however.

Yes, the RCRP05B only sends TV and Cable power when the 972 command is invoked.

BTW, all of this manual programming is cheap, but investing in a JP1.3 cable is IMO very much worth the $30.  It makes it easy to try multiple configurations.
OP | Post 10 made on Monday January 9, 2012 at 13:48
Cico Buff
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I was having a really hard time finding EFC code lists for this remote. Do they even exist? I searched the net and the JP1 forum file section for quite some time, and never succeeded in finding 5-digit EFC code lists that were compatible with the Acoustic Research/RCA remote and my machines. (Specifically, the Marantz CD-53 CD player, which operates on the 0157 code on the Cinema remote, and the Sony STR-K760P A/V receiver (RM-PP760 remote) which works with the 1058 device code on the AR remote).

OTOH, maybe they're not necessary. I can't recall anymore, but I thought I might have read that EFC's take the same amount of memory as learned codes, and in the same memory bank. In which case, it wouldn't matter how the remote was programmed, if its going to get full just as fast with the EFC method.

RE: JP1. Yeah, I've been aware of the JP1 hack for about 12 years now, but I've never needed it. I've always been able to stuff everything I needed into the OFA remotes. That's even still the case with this $10 5-in-1 AR remote (made by guess who...). Besides investing 3 times the price of the remote for the JP1 hack, JP1 requires a large investment in time to learn the ins and outs of it, so I don't wish to make a hobby out of a remote that is not even mine. I bought the AR for my GF, only because it was dirt cheap, and I thought it looked sexier than the Cinema 7 I already got and programmed for her. She doesn't care, she's fine with either.

Myself, I've got a Harmony 880 waiting for me to learn the ins and outs of. I don't find it practical any more to use remotes where you have to guess where the advanced functions are (or try to find the paper you wrote them on), and live with mislabelled buttons you programmed custom functions to. I want a smarter remote, that people can pick up and work the equipment with it, without having to be a remote control geek (like myself) to use it. So I'm opting for something with a screen, that can show button labels. Hopefully, the Harmony will do everything the well-loved OFA-based remotes can.

If I could build my own JP1 cable out of spare computer parts that I have lying around (I have IDE/USB/parallel/serial cables...), then that might be an option I'd want to try on the AR remote. Just to see if it would work, and be useful. But if it requires special parts I have to order (ie. PCB board, chips or resistors), it'd be more trouble than its worth, for this remote. And it'd be redundant on the Harmony's.



On January 8, 2012 at 22:54, 3FG said...
Well, I hadn't noticed that. The Wiki is incorrect--986 is the save device configuration command, not 988. I think I can fix that in the Wiki.

Regarding "confirming" that the remote is the same as a RCRP05B: There is little doubt about it-- the 3179 signature tells us that the firmware is identical. The AR5G and RCRP05B need not have the same number of buttons however.

Yes, the RCRP05B only sends TV and Cable power when the 972 command is invoked.

BTW, all of this manual programming is cheap, but investing in a JP1.3 cable is IMO very much worth the $30.  It makes it easy to try multiple configurations.
Post 11 made on Monday January 9, 2012 at 23:58
3FG
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Not quite sure what you mean by EFC code lists. You can get a fairly good idea of the EFCs already built into your remote using the LookupTool, which is linked at the top of the page at hifi-remote.com/forums. Use the RCRP05B as the description of your AR remote.

Of course, you may be interested in EFCs which aren't built in. There's lots of upgrade files available and e.g. we see discrete functions posted here all the time in Pronto Hex format. You can convert those to EFCs using RemoteMaster.
OP | Post 12 made on Tuesday January 10, 2012 at 11:35
Cico Buff
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Thanks, the Lookup Tool pages on the hifi-remote.com forum appears to be what I was looking for. (The "EFC code lists" are linked in the extreme right column of the Lookup tables. I just didn't notice that they were links to code lists, when I first looked at these pages two days ago).

Although the Lookup Tool pages don't help in my case, as the device codes listed are limited for the RCA RCRP05B remote (aka AR ARRS05G). The tables do not contain information for the code I am using for the Sony AV receiver (code: 1441, taken from the AR's manual), nor is there any for a Marantz CD player. But the latter is a no-go in any case, as the AR remote will not, as far as I know, accept CD device codes of any brand.




On January 9, 2012 at 23:58, 3FG said...
Not quite sure what you mean by EFC code lists. You can get a fairly good idea of the EFCs already built into your remote using the LookupTool, which is linked at the top of the page at hifi-remote.com/forums. Use the RCRP05B as the description of your AR remote.

Of course, you may be interested in EFCs which aren't built in. There's lots of upgrade files available and e.g. we see discrete functions posted here all the time in Pronto Hex format. You can convert those to EFCs using RemoteMaster.
Post 13 made on Tuesday January 10, 2012 at 15:52
3FG
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The Lookup Tool does list Audio 1441; it is a Sony 12/15/20 executor.

I used this upgrade in conjunction with RemoteMaster to find that Marantz CD players use RC5 IR protocol, device 20.   Audio 1189 looks like it should provide many of the functions, and you can of course supplant the missing ones with EFCs taken from RM.  However, the protocol executor used in the upgrade has been superceded by a RC5/RC5x executor in your new remote, so it is necessary to convert the executor type to obtain functioning EFCs.  It is easy to do, but given your disinterest in learning about this, maybe you should just post a list of the functions you need, and I'll supply any missing EFCs.


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