This leads to another issue with Universal Remoteís decision to completely separate MSC-400 Editor from the remote editors: it results in two completely unlinked files, with changes to one configuration not reflected by the other. If, for example, a few of a Connected Deviceís learned input codes turn out to be bad, updating them for the MX-900 wonít fix its entry in the MSC-400ís file. And since a Connected Device canít be modified and only imported anew, all Smart Macros making use of that device would have to be corrected. I suppose this is why thereís the Universal Browser and also why any sort of code learning is allowed in the first place, but using these options as emergency workarounds can quickly result in a disarrayed configuration thatís hard to edit and wonít be useful as a base for future jobs.
A few years ago at a trade show Universal Remote Control staff were wearing buttons that read ďask me about simpleĒ...
Combining the two systems.
Once the MSC-400 is fully configured Ė or at least templates created for all of the base macros, they can be tweaked later without directly impacting the MX-900 Ė itís time to jump back to MX-900 Editor and start integrating the two devices.
To add triggers for the MSC-400 to an MX-900 layout, the saved MSC-400 file must be opened using the Universal Browser. Then, drag-and-drop the desired macro onto any buttonís macro editing window. It will appear as a preprogrammed code with the original Smart Macroís name. Donít drop the trigger directly onto a button (which will show up as a small red dot) as this wonít work right Ė when done correctly the button should display the ďMĒ icon, even if no other macro steps are desired.
One item to keep in mind is that the MX-900 only sends out a short digital trigger for the macro, and doesnít know how many seconds it will take the MSC-400 to actually finish. So, itís a good idea to time how long it takes your MSC macros to run and then add a delay to the MX-900 of an appropriate length before the final page jump. This will prevent users from trying to control devices before theyíre ready.
Do you USB?
With home theater PCs so commonplace, itís nice to see that Universal Remote took the initiative to place a USB port on the back of the MSC-400 specifically to emulate a keyboard. Itís not obvious in either software program exactly how to make use of this port, but the answer lies in MX-900 Editorís IR Database Navigator.
AUX database codes 501 and 502 feature commands that, when set to a device with an RF ID that targets the MSC-400, will be automatically routed through the USB port. No further setup is necessary in MSC-400 Editor. Basic commands from a 101-key keyboard are available, including modifiers such as CONTROL, ALT and SHIFT. Notably absent are the numeric keypad (which is often treated distinct from regular digits by media programs), the Windows key, the Context Menu key, ACPI functions and any popular multimedia keys.
While the MX-900 with its 6 custom-labeled buttons isnít exactly an ideal replacement for an entire keyboard, this capability is invaluable for reliably sending non-standard commands to multimedia applications, or dealing with PCs that donít have a CIR receiver. And when the MSC-400 is combined with a remote control that has a fully customizable display, such as the MX-3000 touchscreen, this feature really comes into its own.