Your Universal Remote Control Center
UCommand 525 Remote Control Review
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Crisp Solutions UCommand 525
Click to enlarge. (33kb)
Three, two, one...
What's a remote without macros? Well, more work for one. Not only should a universal remote consolidate your collection of original remotes into one compact device, but it should also be able to make your system that much easier to use.

Macros are basically a string of commands that "play back" from a button. Imagine anything done in sequence, multiple times: powering on the system, playing a DVD movie, recording a program. What the UC-525 allows you to do is program a single button (any hard button or LCD square will do) that stores up to 25 commands from any of the remote's devices and plays them back in sequence. As expected, recording a macro is so simple you just may want to try it several times. Enter "Macro" mode, select the device, select the button to place the macro on, enter in the desired commands, press the [LEARN] button to save then again to exit. For situations where the remotes' default three-quarters of a second break isn't enough and a more substantial pause is needed, pressing the [MACRO] button while recording inserts a 2, 5 or 10 second delay.

Macros are definitely the UCommand's forte... if only there were enough buttons around to use them on. With an already minimalist 28 commands per device, there's precious little space left to stick macros. One significant omission: the eight device buttons at the bottom of the remote cannot hold a learned signal or macro - so there's no way to run automatic commands whenever a device is selected.

Final tweak.
Another setup mode is accessed from the [DELETE] button and is used to remove the learned signal or macro from a button. This doesn't remove the button from view - that's done elsewhere - it only eliminates the associated function. More hazardous forms of this function include the ability to delete all buttons for a single device, all devices at once, or resetting the entire remote back to the factory default configuration. Finally, the [TRANS] button (and its accompanying serial port) is used to duplicate one remote to another, although this function is only for use by dealers programming a number of identical remotes all at once.

Crisp Solutions UCommand 525
Click to enlarge. (33kb)
As described earlier, the backlight is activated by an automatic light sensor. Not only is the length of time it remains on adjustable to 10, 20 or 30 seconds, but the sensor's sensitivity is also adjustable between four different levels. For example, I found that the light remained off even though the room had gotten quite dark. By adjusting the level from the default of "7" (second least sensitive) to "1" (most sensitive), this problem was quickly remedied.

However, the mere fact that a light sensor exists begs the question of whether a manual [BACKLIGHT] button is needed. It may be nice to light up the remote without needing to tap the screen (though doing so does not immediately send out a command), but there are two caveats to manual operation. First, the backlight will only remain on for as long as you hold the button down. If you press it for just a second, that's the entire length of time it'll stay lit. Not all is lost though, since it's possible to hold it down and press another button at the same time. Second, pressing the backlight button will not reactivate the remote if it has gone into sleep mode - you'll merely illuminate a blank screen. The LCD (or another hard button) must always be tapped before sending out a command.

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