...Continued from Page 11.|
This isn’t because Universal Remote is doing something wrong, but because it’s simply impossible to come up with a database that will control absolutely everything for all makes and models. Even if the codes for basic function are the same between related models, as is normally the case, every model doesn’t have the same features. Sometimes a database will have two or three preset codes that operate at least partially with your equipment – each one with a few needed commands – but multiple preprogrammed codes cannot be merged together. Frequently, functions will be placed on buttons with improper labels. As the Automator and Customizer cannot move commands from one button to another, the only solution is to learn those keys from scratch.
Of course, learning isn’t possible when the original remote is lost or broken, so fortunately the URC-200 and URC-300 cover the best of both worlds.
DoubleTapping your way...
After choosing the Setup Menu’s “Learn” option, select the device and button to learn on. “READY” flashes on-screen. Press the original remote’s button and the screen changes to a horizontal line, then “RETRY”. Release the source button, press it again, and the LCD should display “GOOD”. If a code was not captured correctly it will flash “FAILD”.
You’ll notice that the source button had to be pressed twice. This odd double-learning technique was used by Universal Remote Control some years ago on the SL-9000 and MX-1000 (along with earlier models), but had been dropped in favor of the more user-friendly single-tap system ever since the MX-500 first came out. Although code learning is still fast and rarely takes more than a split second for either push, double-pressing still involves at least one-third more button pushes. The manual claims that the “unique DoubleTap learning technology ensures compatibility with the widest variety of remote controls ever,” but I don’t recall many problems with the high-end MX-800...
Each of the URC-200’s 10 devices can have 34 hard buttons along with 8 LCD-based pages of 5 buttons each. This works out to a total of 74 possible functions per device, an unusually high number. The URC-300’s 15 devices have the same 34 hard buttons, but use 5 LCD-based pages with 8 buttons on each – which again boils down to an identical total of 74 possible functions per device. That’s 40% more commands than the MX-500 and equal to the MX-700 – powerful little remotes indeed!
In terms of raw learning capacity, by the time you add ancillary learnable spots such as the 34 hard buttons on “Main” and 74 buttons on “Fav”, I come up with 848 learning positions for the URC-200 and 1218 for the URC-300. Impressive numbers indeed, but the URC-200’s manual curiously lists a maximum of 720 learned commands while the URC-300 claims 1194... so I suppose the clause “up to” would apply here.
For power users who traditionally prefer to configure their remote from a blank slate by learning all codes from scratch, the old “AUX 155” trick first reported about in our MX-500 review still works with the URC-200 and URC-300. Since there’s no way to actually delete preprogrammed functions from keys, what this does is assign a code with an absolute minimum number of commands: only the [Off] and [On] buttons are occupied, and by non-repeating codes at that. This wipes out all other keys and restores proper function to the transmitting icon, so it only activates when a bona fide command is being sent.