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Topic:
Should I just return my MRF-300?
This thread has 17 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 04:24
JonW747
Active Member
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621
I've spent days on this thing. Read every hint about checking for RF interference and dealing with oversensitive IR inputs, and I'm getting fed up.

I had been using an MRF-200 (250) without any emitters, and just bounced it off the back wall of my family room in to my equipment rack on the other side. It'd been working pretty darn well as long as noone blocked it or knocked it over.

I thought it'd be nice to eliminate that possibility, and allow for buried gear, so to that end I purchased an MRF-300 to place in my rack and hook up to all my components.

It's been hit and miss.

My Panasonic DVD recorder and DVD players both seem to deal with the output of the emitters fine. So does my Sony receiver, and even my video switch.

My Directv HR20-700 and my Pinnacle Showcenter 200 on the other hand are another matter. I thought I had the HR20 tamed by adding a piece of paper between the emitter and the led, but it's been missing some clicks when I use my remote in another room. I turned up the gain on the antenna. Hopefully that'll help.

The SC200 is quite another matter. I've placed the emitter off to the side, I've tried a piece of paper in front of it, a piece of black tape in front of it, black tape with a teeny hole in it. I've masked off the other LEDs. I've opened the case and tried endless positions. And in the end, the control of the device is not reliable - and since this device uses toggle codes - any problem in reception causes the IR to get out of sync.

I bought the MRF-300 because I thought it solved all the IR and RF interfacing problems the other products had. If the only way to reliably use this device is to get lucky and find a sweet spot, how reliably truely is that?

If the remote works from across the room, and the MRF-200 can work from across the room, there has to be some way that output level can be simulated with an emitter.

This shouldn't be so hard... :(
Post 2 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 06:56
kep1a
Long Time Member
Joined:
Posts:
December 2005
145
I did not write this but it helped me so I thought I would share it.

[Quote]

Universal Remote Control had provided me with this RF troubleshooting tip sheet after speaking with their tech support. Thinking I had already tried EVERYTHING, I followed this tip sheet exactly as it was written (the support agent was very convinging to do so)...bottom line...IT WORKED! This saved my butt and it could save yours too!

Enjoy! Here it is:

= = = = = = =
Trouble Shooting the MRF200 and MX800
The three steps for troubleshooting are:

1) Does the MX-800 work the system with the MRF-200 Base Station UNPLUGGED with all the devices set to IR line of sight operation (from the Program Menu, Step 9 RF Control)?

a. If learned codes are not working line of sight, try learning disconnected from the PC (see Stand Alone Learning in the manual)

or

b. Use the pre-programmed code sets in the database (many users ignore the generic code sets, try them).
Once ALL of your commands and macros work perfectly line of sight it is time to move to step 2. Donít skip step 1.

2) Plug in the power supply to the MRF-200 base station and test the RF

a. DO NOT plug it into a surge suppressor strip with other A/V components.

b. DO NOT plug in any FLASHERS.

c. From the Program Menu, select step #9 RF Control

d. Set each device to RF Only operation

e. Select a specific flasher output for the most troublesome 6 devices. If you are planning to use the front blaster for some of your components, we will troubleshoot those later. Leave those devices set to all.
f. Save the file and download to the MX-800.

g. Turn on all of your A/V components.

h. Observe the MRF-200 base station, not the A/V components, and press a button with a command not a macro. Hold it down. The right hand status LED of the base station should stay lit while you press it. Release the button, the LED should immediately go out. If it stays lit or flickers, move the base station farther away from the components. Typically, 3 feet away is fine. The flasher cables are ten feet long for this reason. In some extreme cases, if the base station has to be moved farther away, you can extend the cables with any 24-gauge or better two conductor wire later.

i. Concentrate on getting the status LED to light with a press and go out with a release even if you have to move the base station outside the cabinet/closet with the gear.
Once this is working correctly, go on to step 3.

3) Test the MRF flashers with a component

a. Hook up one emitter to the base station (extend the wire if necessary). Make sure you plug it into the correct jack for the component you are going to test.

b. Test that with the emitter wire stretched out and connected, there is still clean RF.

c. If the emitter is acting as an antenna to increase RF interference, go back to step 2 and repeat the positioning until RF is clean.

d. Test commands for that particular component while moving the flasher to different test positions. Start with the flasher about 3í away from the front panel. When a position gives 10 out of 10 commands good operation, note the spot and repeat the process with the same emitter (plugged into the correct jack) until you have noted the correct front panel spot for flashers on each component.

e. Route all of the flasher cables to the base station, labelling the plugs for the correct jack #. Reconnect and test.

The key elements are:
A) You must have reliable RF, before you test Flasher Positioning.

B) Engaging the IR routing of a device to a specific flasher eliminates the possibility of IR saturation from too many flashers doing the same thing. When operation is buggy, engage IR routing.

C) Even when only one flasher is outputting IR, the flasher can over power or saturate a componentís front panel sensor. Sometimes, the flasher has to be mounted an inch or more away from the front panel IR sensor.


Trouble Shooting the MRF100 and MX600
The steps for troubleshooting are:

1) Does the MX-600 work the system with the MRF-100 Base Station UNPLUGGED?
a. If learned codes are not working line of sight, try the pre-programmed code sets in the database (many users ignore the generic code sets, try them).
Once ALL of your commands and macros work perfectly line of sight it is time to move to step 2. Donít skip step 1!

2) Plug in the power supply to the MRF-100 base station and test the RF

a. DO NOT plug it into a surge suppressor strip with other A/V components.

b. DO NOT plug in any FLASHERS.

c. Turn on all of your A/V components.

d. Observe the MRF-100 base station, not the A/V components. If the status light flickers, move the base station farther away from your components. Typically, 3 feet away is fine. The flasher cables are ten feet long for this reason. In some extreme cases, if the base station has to be moved farther away, you can extend the cables with any 24-gauge or better two conductor wire later.

e. Concentrate on getting the status LED to light with a button press and go out with a release, even if you have to move the base station outside the cabinet/closet with the gear.

Once this is working correctly, go on to step 3.

3) Hook up all of the emitters to the base station (extend the wire if necessary).
a. First test that with the emitter wire stretched out and connected, there is still clean RF.

b. If the emitter wires are acting as an antenna to increase RF interference, go back to step 2 and repeat the positioning until RF is clean.

c. Now, test commands for each component while moving the flasher to different test positions. Start with the flasher about 3í away from the front panel. When a position gives 10 out of 10 commands good operation, note the spot and repeat the process with the next emitter until you have noted the correct front panel spot for flashers on each component.

d. If a component still acts buggy, try masking the flashers (or if it is close - the front panel blaster) on nearby components with IR opaque blocking covers to prevent over saturation from too many flashers in one cabinet. If you are using black electrical tape, test it on the front of the MX600 to see how many layers are necessary before using it. Often black electrical tape is very inefficient at blocking IR. REMEMBER, each flasher is as powerful as the flasher on the MX600 remote control!!!

The key elements are:

A) You must have reliable RF, before you test Flasher Positioning.

B) Even when only one flasher is outputting IR, the flasher can over power or saturate a componentís front panel sensor. Sometimes, the flasher has to be mounted a long way away from the front panel IR sensor. I have personally installed systems that required that a flasher be placed on the side of the component not the front panel.



TeknoGuy

[quote]
OP | Post 3 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 11:48
JonW747
Active Member
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September 2006
621
Thanks.

There are a couple of ideas in that list I can try. I've been thinking the problem is with the IR emitter, but I guess there could be occasional RF interference sneaking in. I should be able to temporarily isolate the MRF-300 better to rule that out.

I'm also going to go back to the MRF-200 unit and try it again the way I had it before, and see if it really is working flawless when examined with the same scrutiny.

Scrolling up and down in lists seems to be what upsets my SC200 the most, whereas playing FAV channel macros is usually what the HR20 will glitch on. Everything is working, I just want it working 100% or the MRF-300 just won't be worth the $$$.
Post 4 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 21:31
SOUND.SD
Loyal Member
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Posts:
April 2006
5,523
Not to be rude but this just sums up why it should be programmed professionaly.

I am all about assisting people but not after they complain about the same CI's they are asking for help.
Bulldog AV - San Diego, CA
www.bulldog-av.com
[Link: facebook.com]
Post 5 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 23:36
foneguy2
Lurking Member
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Posts:
September 2006
9
Not everyone has access to a 'CI'.
My nearest CI is 3 hours away in another state.
Post 6 made on Thursday September 21, 2006 at 23:54
pilgram
Loyal Member
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Posts:
November 2004
5,684
On September 21, 2006 at 21:31, SOUND.SD said...

I am all about assisting people but not after they complain
about the same CI's they are asking for help.

Funny how that works.

If you burn a bridge, it takes a while to rebuild it.

Your problem is not that uncommon. Solutions exist.

At this time, I would reccomend that you ask Rich_Guy!

Sorry.

He is the pro, after all.
Every day is a good day.......some are just better than others!

Proud to say that my property is protected by a high speed wireless device!
OP | Post 7 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 03:36
JonW747
Active Member
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September 2006
621
Back to my problem for those who care or are experiencing similiar issues:

Funny thing about my problem, I swapped back in my MRF-200 drop in for the MRF-300 and it worked PERFECTLY.

What's going on is that the MRF-300 is dropping data. I can see it when I hold down a button for about 5 seconds at a time. The RF lite on the antenna is still blinking away, but the activity light on the MRF itself has gone out. It's quite a bit better when set to address 0. Why? Probably because it got confused and thought the remote was addressing another unit.

So I think it's pretty clear the RF is not reliable.

So based on the suggestions, I tried:

1) Connecting the power supply directly to a wall socket not used by my equipment.

2) Moving the MRF-300 out of the equipment rack.

3) Unwinding the antenna and relocating it across the room.

4) Trying various settings of gain on the antenna.

5) Replacing the long cord to the antenna with a short cord.

And in the end nothing helped. Perhaps I have a defective product?

I suppose it doesn't matter. In the process of doing this I discovered my old MRF-200 can do what I want a lot easier and more reliably. There wasn't ever a need to adjust emitter output, fiddle the antenna gain, or relocate the antenna away from the rack. The MRF-200 defaults the settings just fine. I just need to buy some emitters for it.

Oh, and SOUND, you've been nothing but rude. You accuse me of flaming CI's and that IS A LIE. I do not want your help and would prefer you stop spreading more slander.
Post 8 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 03:46
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
Joined:
Posts:
December 1999
9,801
The MRF-300 should work at least as reliably as your MRF-200. I suggest that you have a defective unit.

And it should work BETTER when not set to address 0, as has been mentioned in a few other threads.

At least you have a setup that is working well for you. That's the bottom line.

So, in answer to your original post, yes, I would return the MRF-300 and if you don't need the increased functionality, then don't get a replacement unit.
When ignorance is bliss, Ďtis folly to be wise.
Post 9 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 04:02
SOUND.SD
Loyal Member
Joined:
Posts:
April 2006
5,523
On 1158825482, JonW747 said...
Amaze yourself and your friends by Froogle searching for
"CompUPlus MX850".

It's slightly more obtuse, but slightly more convenient
then Surf Remote's ... email us and we'll give you a discount
policy.
Bulldog AV - San Diego, CA
www.bulldog-av.com
[Link: facebook.com]
OP | Post 10 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 04:11
JonW747
Active Member
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September 2006
621
Yes, that was my expectation that the MRF-300 would be an upgrade. Thanks for the sanity check.

The fact that address 0 is behaving better is probably an indication that there isn't RF interference, but something wrong inside the MRF-300 box itself. RF interference that occurs every 5 seconds or so should be readily apparent on either the antenna or the 300. But if the MRF itself is dropping or corrupting the data internally, it could randomly decide the data is meant for a different unit and cut off the flasher.

I suppose it's possible the unit might even be interferring with itself, such that when a lot of data is received is when it's most likely to corrupt or drop data.
OP | Post 11 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 04:21
JonW747
Active Member
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September 2006
621
Sound- How exactly is that statement an insult? It's a fact. Mike doesn't list his bottom line prices on his web site. He does advertise that he has lower prices and requires his potential customers to request an email message that list his discounts.

Personally, I feel inconvenienced, but then again I feel inconvenienced when I have to add something to my shopping cart before I can see a price.

Do you somehow feel "protected" because Mike's customers have to jump through this hoop before they can purchase his remotes for 45% off MSRP?
Post 12 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 11:46
diesel
Senior Member
Joined:
Posts:
April 2004
1,177
The problem isn't with the 300, it's with the IR sensitivity of the two units your having a problem with. Move the flashers around and put the IR to the lowest setting on those devices. If that doesn't work, you could always put multiple flashers in parallel and the strength will be reduced even more.

And before you bash CIs anymore, realize you are now posting in a CI area of Remote Central and Rich_Guy hates URC and has done everything in his power to let everyone know that for the last month. I think I can safely say that most of us CIs are a little tired of hearing that, plus the fact a lot of DIYs keep reminding us that they don't need us. So if CIs haven't been as helpful in the last month, now you know why. If you don't believe me, please feel free to read all the posts for the last month.
Post 13 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 12:44
GregoriusM
RC Consultant
Joined:
Posts:
December 1999
9,801
From what he's said, diesel, I do think it is with the 300. The signalling from the 300 shouldn't be what it is. I would, however, Jon, give diesel's ideas a try if you need the extra functionality of the 300. It never hurts to get to the root cause, even just to know for the future if you do need to upgrade, and also it would be great if you passed the information along to the rest of us.

---------------

As for the other stuff, I was at a "CI bash" one time and it was great! Beer. Pizza. Lots of good fun! ;-)

/tongue-in-cheek
When ignorance is bliss, Ďtis folly to be wise.
OP | Post 14 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 12:55
JonW747
Active Member
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September 2006
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diesel- I don't think you read my latest post. My problem is the MRF-300 is turning off the emitter. I thought it was a sensitivity issue but that played only a very minor part. The HR20-700 was reliable with the emitter moved just slightly to the side of the sensor just like other people have suggested. The SC200 actually works great with the emitter right on the sensor. It acted like a sensitivity issue, but it's clearly not.

Furthermore I have not and am not "bashing CI's". If agreeing with "Rich Guy" makes me a pariah around here with certain CI's? Oh well. Personally, I don't think he hates URC. I think he loves their remotes and simply hates their new policy. After having to deal with the ramifications of their new policy even when I did everything I could to try to insure I'd get what I needed, I agree 100%.

Remote Central is not a web site run by URC. It's not a web site for CI's. If you don't want to help someone that's your choice. But what goes around comes around, you know? I'm an engineer by occupation. I design and program embedded equipment far more complex then these remotes. It's possible in the long-run I could help you a lot more then you can help me. So spare me your threats and try to get back to what these forums are all about: users of the equipment helping other users of the equipment.
Post 15 made on Friday September 22, 2006 at 14:02
Surf Remote
Loyal Member
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5,958
On September 22, 2006 at 03:46, GregoriusM said...
The MRF-300 should work at least as reliably as your MRF-200.
I suggest that you have a defective unit.

And it should work BETTER when not set to address 0, as
has been mentioned in a few other threads.

Yes, the MRF-300 should provide you with more reliable performance than the 200. I haven't had any problems with it and a HR10-250 (even worse than the 20-700) and also an HR20-700, both with the output level for those emitters turned all the way down.
www.SurfRemoteControl.com

THX-certified video calibrator and contributing writer, ProjectorReviews.com
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