The second step is “Devices & Routing”, where each device is assigned to a particular MSC-400 unit and IR port – ensure that this matches exactly how the remote control is (or will be) configured. The third step has you assign a name and RF ID value to the MSC-400 and configure the type of sensors hooked up to the ports, as well as enter any communication specifics needed for serial devices. It’s a good idea here to use the memo fields to note what each sensor is connected to.
The fourth and fifth steps involve assigning IR and serial preprogrammed database codes to empty devices – which isn’t necessary for IR devices if they were imported from other configuration files. It should also be noted that the only commands that must be stored directly on the MSC-400 are those used by its Smart Macros; all other functions are still contained on the remote. Considering that this is URC’s first foray into RS232 control, their serial database is respectably well along into development and includes a surprisingly large number of preconfigured devices.
Speaking of code databases, one useful feature in MSC Editor is the “My DB” button which allows custom installers to create a separate database list of commonly used devices. With thousands of devices and models otherwise available in URC’s database, being able to pull out specific codes this way should certainly expedite programming. Once again, however, a lack of integration between different software is revealed: there is no similar “My DB” feature currently available in MX-900 Editor. So far only MX-3000 Editor also has this capability, and even then the convenience list is inconveniently not shared between the two applications.
The sixth programming step is where the MSC-400’s specialized macros begin to take form. Much like the MX-900 Editor’s hierarchal device-and-page layout, MSC-400 Editor uses Smart Macro Groups which will in turn contain the actual Smart Macros. So, for example, you could create a group of macros for “Power”, another for “Source Switching”, one for “Favorite Channels”, or one to deal with different “Users”. Categorizing macros like this doesn’t add or subtract any functionality, but does make them easier to manage in a complex system. And with over 32,000 potential macros, a little organization can be a good thing.
Macro building blocks.
After creating a series of macro groups and populating them with a few blank macros, it’s time to take a look at what sort of sequence building blocks are offered by the MSC-400. The main macro editing window is similar to the one offered in MX-900 Editor, but with a greater number of toolbar buttons arranged along the top.
Adding a manual command.
The seventh and final step on the Programming menu is to add the commands you’ll want associated with a particular macro using the familiar [Record] and [Stop] buttons. Double-clicking on any of the devices in the Connected Devices section will pop up a rather plain chart of the functions associated with that component, hard buttons on the left and LCD-based keys on the right. Clicking on any function name will append the command to the macro editing window’s list – the order they’re added isn’t overly important since steps can be easily rearranged. Commands can also be pulled directly out of the preprogrammed database, or learned manually using the “IR Data Setting” button (more on this later). Finally, if you need a few extra billable hours, the “Connected Data” button will bring up a screen where it’s possible to manually (and laboriously) add a command associated with any Connected Device. But with the [Record] button offering a far more efficient way to add even single commands, why this particular method exists is a mystery.