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Extended Macros in the URCs 7980, 7880 and 7955
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mathdon
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:44 pm    Post subject: Extended Macros in the URCs 7980, 7880 and 7955 Reply with quote

I have discovered that the URC7980, URC7880 and URC7955 have undocumented support for macros with features beyond those of standard macros. There are in fact two separate extensions to standard macro features, one quite common extension and one surprising one. Neither extension is programmable on the remote itself, but I have issued RMIR v2.13.2 which makes both extensions available through RMIR.

The first extension is that they support Device-specific Macros (DSMs). This is a fairly common undocumented feature but I was not previously aware of it in these remotes. In RMIR these remotes now display a Special Functions tab with DSM as the only available Special Function.

The second extension is that they support a type of macro that has previously only been seen in XSight remotes and their equivalents. These macros enable you to specify both the duration for which each keypress in the macro is held and the delay before the next keypress, both in units of 100ms. In XSight remotes these are the only type of macro available, and outside of RMIR they could only be set up through the EZ-RC website which is now discontinued. This level of flexibility in a macro needs a screen display to allow the parameters to be entered and edited, which is what EZ-RC provided. These three remotes are the ones with a Bluetooth capability to connect to a UEI smartphone app, which does indeed provide a screen interface to the remote, but as far as I am aware, that app does not enable these extended macros to be set up. There is other evidence beyond this that the UEI app was planned to have future extensions that never materialized, so perhaps this is one. Despite this lack, RMIR v2.13.2 now gives access to these macros.

Because these remotes support both normal macros and these extended ones, a new name is needed to distinguish between the two. I have called them Controlled Macros to indicate the additional control that they provide over their timings. This enables you not only to increase the hold and delay times from those of a standard macro but also to decrease them from the values for a normal macro, which are 260ms hold time and 300ms delay. One of the features of many extenders is that they speed macros up, and these fast macros are prized by many users. There are no extenders available for these remotes but Controlled Macros allow zero (0.0 secs) to be given as either or both of hold and delay times and setting both to zero gives fast macros equivalent to those of extenders with that feature.

Controlled Macros are supported both in Global and Device-specific forms. If you press the New button in the Macros tab of RMIR, you are asked whether you want to create a Normal or Controlled Macro. If you edit an existing macro, the editor preserves the form of the existing macro, so if you want to replace a Normal Macro by a Controlled one, or the other way round, you need to delete the existing macro and create a new one. If you press the New button in the Special Functions tab, you are asked whether you want to create a Controlled DSM or some other Special Function. If you select Controlled DSM you are taken directly into the editor to create one. If you select Other Function, you are taken to the general Special Function editor with DSM available a the only function type. Again, editing an existing special function preserves the type, so delete and use New to change between Normal and Controlled DSM.

There are a few points to be made that are specific to the URC7955. The first is that there appears to be a bug in the Controlled Macro timings. The Hold time appears to be ignored on all except the last button in the macro sequence. The delay times all work but the hold times seem to be taken as zero except for the last button. So fast macros can be created and work as intended, but you may need to use Normal Macros to get hold times other than zero on buttons other than the last. The second point is that the NetTV button is special. You can put a normal macro on the NetTV button but not a Controlled Macro. Instead, as documented in the instruction manual, the NetTV button supports a Real-time Macro. You cannot create a Real-time Macro in RMIR, you must create it on the remote itself. The setup procedure is the same as creating a normal macro on the remote, except that you use the NetTV button where you would otherwise use the Magic button in the first and last steps of the setup procedure. A Real-time macro records the hold time of each button and the delay between them and reproduces these when the macro is sent. In this way its effect is similar to that of a Controlled Macro, but instead of manually specifying the hold and delay times, they are recorded from the button presses made to create the macro. Although you cannot create a Real-time Macro in RMIR, you can edit one and adjust the timings, or even change the buttons involved. Note that although the delay time is still a multiple of 100ms, the hold time shows to two decimal places and allows multiples of 10ms.
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Graham
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Ed



Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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Location: Ft. Worth, TX

                    
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are very interesting findings, Graham. They make me think I might be able to use the 7880 as a replacement for my aging OARUSB04G remotes, should they ever fail. I don't see any "new" JP1 remotes that are comparable.

You'll recall we worked for awhile getting the Bluetooth functionality working on the 7880 for my daughter (I still have a couple open items to finish up on that project but the real-world intrudes). I came to like the remote but was hesitant to buy one for myself due to the lack of an extender and the quirky (to me) power button behavior. Your findings here prompt me to think more about how to overcome what I saw as disadvantages.

I checked just now and the 7880 is still available at WalMart for just over $30.
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed wrote:
These are very interesting findings, Graham. They make me think I might be able to use the 7880 as a replacement for my aging OARUSB04G remotes, should they ever fail.

LOL at the OARUSB04G being considered "aging", I'm still using a 1999 vintage 15-1994 remote.

Ed wrote:
I checked just now and the 7880 is still available at WalMart for just over $30.

Here's the link for anyone interested:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/One-For-All-URC7880-Smart-Control-8-Universal-Remote/200373030
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Ed



Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:

LOL at the OARUSB04G being considered "aging", I'm still using a 1999 vintage 15-1994 remote.



LOL, I figured you might have something to say about my aging OARUSB04G! I don't have anything as vintage as the 15-1994 but I do have several old JP1 remotes that I no longer use because it takes me too long to fire up my XP computer to handle the old style parallel interface and I'm too cheap to buy one of the USB adapters.

I came close to bricking my OAR a few months back and I was really scratching my head about what to do if I had to toss it. Luckily, I was able to bring it back to life!
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then maybe you wanna try using Arduino as a JP1 EEPROM adapter:
http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=102890
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jeajea



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:34 am    Post subject: $22.50 on ebay Reply with quote

$22.50 on ebay

https://www.ebay.com/itm/203650639799
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Jim Anderson
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Ed



Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: $22.50 on ebay Reply with quote

jeajea wrote:
$22.50 on ebay

https://www.ebay.com/itm/203650639799


Good find! Thanks! I just bought two of them.
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eah123



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:29 pm    Post subject: URC7880 - Edit Activity Group Assignments/Buttoon Groups? Reply with quote

I just got one a URC7880 to replace my aging Nevo C2 copy from China. That was my 3rd Nevo C2 which started to develop button sensitivity problems, and I was disappointed that these remotes were no longer being sold cheaply on ebay.

The URC7880 is greatly reduced functionally compared to the Nevo C2. Obviously, the lack of programmable buttons and custom on-screen lables.

The other major shortcoming is the very limited combination of device controls that allowed in Activity Functions. It does not appear that the Activity Group Assignments/Button Groups are editable in RMIR. For example, the Input button must come from TV in "WatchTV", whereas in my system, I'd like the Input button to come from the AV Receiver (labeled AUD for Audio). I wonder if this is something that just needs to be updated in RMIR specific to the URC7880?

The solution I've found is to use the Key Moves tab to re-assign device buttons to other device types, and then selecting a key if its available or using an EFC-5 code discovered through Learned Signals. Of course, this results in a loss of the original device-specific key, but I'm willing to live with that.
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mathdon
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eah123 wrote:
I'd like the Input button to come from the AV Receiver (labeled AUD for Audio). I wonder if this is something that just needs to be updated in RMIR specific to the URC7880?

No, those groupings are hard-coded in the firmware of the URC7880 and the RDF simply reflects that coding so that RMIR can display it.
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eah123



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mathdon wrote:
eah123 wrote:
I'd like the Input button to come from the AV Receiver (labeled AUD for Audio). I wonder if this is something that just needs to be updated in RMIR specific to the URC7880?

No, those groupings are hard-coded in the firmware of the URC7880 and the RDF simply reflects that coding so that RMIR can display it.


Thanks. It's too bad the button groupings are not programmable.

The URC7880 is definitely the best available JP1/RMIR programmable universal remote right now!
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Ed



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eah123 wrote:
mathdon wrote:
eah123 wrote:
I'd like the Input button to come from the AV Receiver (labeled AUD for Audio). I wonder if this is something that just needs to be updated in RMIR specific to the URC7880?

No, those groupings are hard-coded in the firmware of the URC7880 and the RDF simply reflects that coding so that RMIR can display it.


Thanks. It's too bad the button groupings are not programmable.

The URC7880 is definitely the best available JP1/RMIR programmable universal remote right now!


If you haven't already, have a look at this thread. I'm particularly interested if you found a way to work around the quirky way the power button works (in my opinion) in activity mode.
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eah123



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you haven't already, have a look at this thread. I'm particularly interested if you found a way to work around the quirky way the power button works (in my opinion) in activity mode.


This is what I think is the issue with the Power Button in activity mode, and the solution I would suggest.

In an Activity, the Power Button is not assigned to any of the Button Groups. Instead, what it does is get assigned to a hardcoded Macro that toggles the Power in all of the Devices listed in the Activity Group assignments. For example, under WatchTV, I have Activity Function assigned to #2, and my Devices are TV, AUD and STB. So if I press and hold Power button, it will toggle power on TV, AUD and STB.

It sounds to me like the problem with your daughter's setup is that the Vizio TV gets confused or ignores its Power toggle IR signal if there is not a long enough delay after the previous IR signal.

What I would recommend is that you program a Device Specific Macro for the main Device in the Activity and it assign it to the "Red" button that toggles the Power for all of the Devices used in the Activity. This will give you precise control of the order, length, and delay of the Power signal. In addition, Program the other Color buttons to Power toggle the individual Devices in the Activity using Key Moves or Learned Signals. That way you can Power toggle any Devices that get "out of sync" in an Activity without needing to select a Device (and exiting the Activity).
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jeajea



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2021 4:51 pm    Post subject: My 7880 arrived yesterday (Oct. 30). Reply with quote

My 7880 arrived yesterday (Oct. 30).
Plus
It looks nice

It has reasonable size buttons and spacing between buttons.

It has 8 device slots.

Minus
No physical device buttons. Takes an average of over 4 press of device button to switch devices if all 8 are setup. I can't see any practical way to use macros on the "internal" device button.

No physical activity buttons. Same issue with activity macros. My partial workaround is to select and activity and the use a DSM on a separate button.

Activity power button quirks. My partial workaround is to use a different button for TV power and mostly use discrete on/discrete off in macros to control TV power. The two second delay is still very annoying.

Battery compartment difficult to open - has got better after prying it open a few times.

I prefer the 1056003 remotes with the mini extender.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/174244907755

http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14035

8 device slots and five physical device buttons. I use macro1, macro2 and on demand for the other three device "activity" macros.

I use the picture in picture buttons for special cases.

I find it easier to use and program.
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Ed



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eah123 wrote:

This is what I think is the issue with the Power Button in activity mode, and the solution I would suggest.

In an Activity, the Power Button is not assigned to any of the Button Groups. Instead, what it does is get assigned to a hardcoded Macro that toggles the Power in all of the Devices listed in the Activity Group assignments. For example, under WatchTV, I have Activity Function assigned to #2, and my Devices are TV, AUD and STB. So if I press and hold Power button, it will toggle power on TV, AUD and STB.

It sounds to me like the problem with your daughter's setup is that the Vizio TV gets confused or ignores its Power toggle IR signal if there is not a long enough delay after the previous IR signal.


If I recall my previous experience correctly, the problem with the Power button is that, if you hold it for too long, it issues another Power command, and this was problematic if you have multiple devices inside an activity. In my daughter's case, I had both a cable box and the TV associated with the "Watch TV" activity, and if I held the Power button for too long, the cable box would turn off, the TV would turn off, and the cable box would come back on again. Then it would be out of sync with the TV. If I didn't hold the Power button long enough, neither device would turn off. The solution I had planned to implement was to not assign a function to Power for the cable box device and just leave it on all the time. That way, only the TV would shut off (or turn on) with the Power button when in WatchTV mode. I haven't had a chance to try this though, and my daughter seems happy enough with how the remote is working for her.

eah123 wrote:
What I would recommend is that you program a Device Specific Macro for the main Device in the Activity and it assign it to the "Red" button that toggles the Power for all of the Devices used in the Activity. This will give you precise control of the order, length, and delay of the Power signal. In addition, Program the other Color buttons to Power toggle the individual Devices in the Activity using Key Moves or Learned Signals. That way you can Power toggle any Devices that get "out of sync" in an Activity without needing to select a Device (and exiting the Activity).


I like this approach and will try it when I get around to programming the remote for my setup.
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Ed



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeajea wrote:
I can't see any practical way to use macros on the "internal" device button


I may be missing your point, and apologies if I am. I managed to put macros on the "internal" device button and get them to execute by pressing the "Device" button until the appropriate device was highlighted. My biggest issue with that was that I couldn't switch devices inside of the macro if I had a macro defined on the "switch to" device. That led me to think about putting macros on shifted device buttons (press "Magic" then "Device" until the appropriate device is highlighted), and switching devices by choosing the appropriate unshifted device button in the macro. I abandoned this approach because I don't think it was practical for my daughter or my granddaughter to use shifted buttons. I also never tried it, so I don't know if it will work.

jeajea wrote:
Battery compartment difficult to open - has got better after prying it open a few times.


If you look back at the thread I referenced earlier, you'll see that another user used sand paper to file a bit of plastic off the hook that holds the battery cover on. It works well.

jeajea wrote:
I prefer the 1056003 remotes with the mini extender.


I have one of these and I like it. I had some trouble finding a version of the extender that worked for me, but eventually I did. I also think it has too many buttons and sometimes I can't remember which one performs which function. Smile

One key feature in the 7880s favor is the Bluetooth connectivity. It completely eliminates the cable and it's very convenient to use once you get it set up. The 1056003 requires a JP 1.3-style cable. I've noticed here that these are sometimes troublesome to make or buy.
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