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Topic:
ANOTHER #(QW* RF problem.
This thread has 22 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 06:38
vbova
Long Time Member
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July 2006
384
This time home theater in CT. Had interference with MRF-250, so went with MRF-350/RFX-250. Strange, the system worked ifine the first half hour. But like clockwork, the light turned RF red light went steady and channel 0 showed interference. We walked around the perimeter of the house plugging the unit it both inside AND outside with the same luck. And this house was s semi-castle.

I really, really tried to give this compnany a chance. In all honesty, I have their products at home and have no problems at all. But I am getting sick of all these RF issues. I just believe you can't buy RF for $100. I treid everything to get this to work, from adjusting frequency to shutting off equimpement, from seperating each emitter wire and NOTIHING. We had no choice but to switch to RTI and I hope that works this weekend. I am at wit's end. RTI is a price point issue for most clients, but in all honsesty we are losing money spending 4 hours at a site trying to troubleshoot RF.

We are (were) using an MX-3000 with the MRF-350/RFX250. Equipment rack contained DVD,Sherbourn RCVR, AMP, APX power station and SCI ATL 4200HD box. Work was done in a basement, but it was a walkout with fair amount of sunlight outsied of the theater room.
Vincent
Post 2 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 08:50
BobL
Founding Member
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1,353
VB,

We have a couple of area near us that have bad RF. They are new Mcmansions built on the both sides of this ridgeline. On top of the mountain is every conceivable broadcast antenna you can imagine. Did the same thing you did, walked around the house and up to 150ft away from the house and the RF light was as bright as can be. Here are some suggestions with number 3 probably your best chance.

First you might try an MX-900 and see if that has any better chance but if you are having that much interference probably not. Some of the 3000's have the old transmitter and might not work with the MRF350/RFX250.

Second, try plugging in the MRF-350 into a different outlet on a different circuit and don't use any type of surger protector. Sometime there has been problems with this. Although, I think it has been corrected with the MRF-350 but worth a shot.

Third call URC and try to talk to Joe Spinelli or Eric Johnson. Both of them came out to our sight to help solve the problem and since then we became a beta test for their RF and they are always helpful. You are not far from them if you are in CT. We are in western, MA right on the CT border and they came up to test the RF in our area.

Fourth, you can definitely try RTI as they make great remotes as well and it might work if the interference is closer to 418mhz than 433mhz. In our area the interference was more wide spread and RTI didn't work either, since the frequencies are relatively close I wouldn't expect a miracle.

Hope this helps.

Bob
Post 3 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 10:52
Mitch57
Active Member
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722
Perhaps it's time someone start a dedicated thread on RF issues in general. There are at least three seperate threads on the same topic of RF problems.

I am also experiencing the same inconsistent RF problems. I set everything up on channel "0" until there is no RF interference on either the RFX-250 or MRF-350. I then switch the 350 to channel "1". Everything works fine about 75% of the time. But 25% of the time I get major RF interference and none of my equipment will respond to the remote. All the IR emitters glow bright red for more then 15 - 30 seconds and both the RFX-250 and the MRF-350 are glowing bright red.

When I setup the base unit I turned on every electrical device in my entire house. Every light, ceiling fan, dimmers, computers, refrigerators, plasma tv, DVD player, cable box, microwave... you name it, I turned it on. I was hoping this would introduce RF which I could then track down by turning off/on devices to see which ones were causing the interference.

The problem is that there is no interference when I set it up. It comes and goes. I suspect an outside source of RF but I live in Rural area on several acres and can't imagine what might be causing the interference. There are no antenas, cell towers, or any other interference producing devices that I can think of that would be causing this.

RF is great when it works but it seems to be far from bullet proof. To bad IR can't blast through walls and cover long distances. It's time to start migrating to WiFi in my opinion.
Post 4 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 20:53
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
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I suggested to URC that they go to WiFi about 3 years ago.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
Post 5 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 21:52
Mitch57
Active Member
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722
Obviously they haven't taken you up on your suggestion. I believe it is going to be forthcoming though. I'm just not sure when and what the products will look like. I believe the MX-3500 is going to be WiFi.
Post 6 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 23:01
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
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I doubt the 3500 is going to be WiFi. I think it is just going to be the MX-3000/MSC-400 combo, only upgraded so that the MX-400 (MX-500?) can send back information and the MX-3500 can receive it. It will probably be using the same RF as before.

However, I have nothing with which to substantiate it except a thread from a few months ago that someone posted saying they saw a reference to the MX-500 somewhere deep in the MX-400 Editor. That leads me to believe that the MX-500 is the 2-way RF box that will work with the MX-3500, but that also leads me to believe that it will be based on the MX-400 which is RF.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
Post 7 made on Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 23:02
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
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That being said, the MRF-350 and the RFX-250 were supposed to be the cure for most if not all of the RF woes. It seems to me that most people are having great success with the combination. I wonder why some aren't.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
Post 8 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 01:23
Mitch57
Active Member
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722
I would say because "RF" is "RF". It's bound to be wrought with problems due to the nature of the beast. I don't think it's possible to totally eliminate RF interference unless every device is at a specific RF frequency which is unique to that device only.

Unless you shield it from every possible RF interference I don't think RF technology will ever be a bullet proof and consistently reliable technology.

I say "Sh#* Can" it and go with WiFi.
Post 9 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 13:14
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
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You are so right. RF is RF is RF. I just don't think that the RF problems that URC is having is anywhere near what they used to. Their products from the MRF-300 and up are doing quite well, as are their latest remotes.

I do hope that WiFi at least makes it into the MX-3000 and MX-950's eventual upgrades, since they are the ones that run on Windows CE and adding WiFi wouldn't be as difficult as with the other remotes.

Or, just a whole new remote(s) that use WiFi, period. There is so much more that could be done with the remote and its interface with other equipment.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
Post 10 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 13:48
Richly
Lurking Member
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November 2006
2
I see by the 58 read and no replys that no one has any type of solution to my RF problems either! In my own theatre using the new MSC400 and RFX250 and a MX950, i lost all RF control for 2 days, then all of a sudden sometime yesturday the RF light went out and i regained control. Go figure! how do you deal with that? i can deal with it in own place but i have a job 1000 km from my location that is having the same issues so I'm going to be forced to fly out there next week and take Eric Johnsons suggestion and switch the system to I/R. Some solution, $1000.00 service call and and I/R system, the clients going to be thrilled!

Rich
Post 11 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 14:24
Tom Ciaramitaro
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On November 23, 2006 at 01:23, Mitch57 said...
I would say because "RF" is "RF". It's bound to be wrought
with problems due to the nature of the beast. I don't
think it's possible to totally eliminate RF interference
unless every device is at a specific RF frequency which
is unique to that device only.

Unless you shield it from every possible RF interference
I don't think RF technology will ever be a bullet proof
and consistently reliable technology.

I say "Sh#* Can" it and go with WiFi.

Sorry for the dumb question, but since WiFi uses RF, why is it going to work better than existing RF when you are in an RF hot spot?
Post 12 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 16:02
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
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I'm no wireless expert, but doesn't WiFi have more error managing protocols along with a difference in the frequency it runs at?

In an RF hotspot, I don't think there is much you can do other than experiment with the equipment with different antenna in different places, possibly even farther away with cat5, and having the entire unit even farther away and longer cables.

It can be a real beggar, but I've seen some pretty interesting stuff done to alleviate horrible RF interference with the same equipment moved into different places with different configurations, wiring, etc.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
Post 13 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 16:57
vbova27
Super Member
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July 2006
2,987
Bottom line - you can't buy good RF for $100. It's not the signal, it's the techology. I have been way to loyal to this company and have received nothing but service calls in return. It's not that the signal doesn't work well - it;s that it works when it wants to. I have installed systems rin close quarters right on top of everything in a 2 by 4 closet and had better luck when installing on a huge open theater in a house with no furniture in it right in the middle of the woods. You play peanuts for the URC line, and you get what you pay for. The RTI systems seem to have much more reliability, and yes, there is a prce point issue, but then again, think about how much these service calls cost and overall enjoyment of the system.
Post 14 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 17:17
JonW747
Active Member
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621
On November 23, 2006 at 16:02, GregoriusM said...
I'm no wireless expert, but doesn't WiFi have more error
managing protocols along with a difference in the frequency
it runs at?

Yep. WiFi has multiple frequencies you can choose from and it also supports error detection and rebroadcast.

There are also spread spectrum technologies that frequency hop to avoid collisions.

The thing is the the current remotes only have RF transmitters. Without a receiver they cannot tell whether a message got through successfully. I'm not sure how low power you can go with these other technologies. What URC is currently doing draws perhaps even less current then IR, which is nice because you can use a MX-850 for months on a pack of batteries. Typically WiFi is left on all the time, and a typical Pocket PC can only operate for a few hours with it active. Maybe there's some way it could be powered-down between keypresses to extend it. It might be fine with the high-end cradled units.

But IMO the biggest issues are the lack of error detection and the lack of multiple frequencies. Either of those issues could be solved with the technology they're using now.
Post 15 made on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 17:36
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
Joined:
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December 1999
9,807
Well, the MRF-350 and the RFX-250 along with the MSC-400 seem to have gone a LONG way to correcting the bulk of the RF problems with URC's remotes, especially the narrow RF bandwith ones.

Yes, you most often get what you pay for, but at least URC has stepped up to the plate and is providing some good solutions at reasonable prices. I think that a lot of installers have stayed with URC due to URC's efforts in the RF area.

Are they up to the level of RTI? Probably not. But they've come a long way.
When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.
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