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The “Code” menu includes several options for tracking down the perfect code number: by entering in a number from the booklet, by manual code browsing, or by fully automatic searching. If you just feel like surfing through all applicable options, two LCD buttons move forwards and backwards through the four-digit numbers; press [POWER] to actually test the code. If you prefer a hands-free approach, the “Auto” button will automatically step through and test each code number at the brisk rate of about two a second. Pressing “Auto” a second time stops the search. The active code number is always displayed on-screen.
Unfortunately, the remote doesn’t automatically hide soft buttons lacking a preprogrammed function under the chosen code number. You’ll need to test each device and look for buttons that flash “Error” instead of “OK”, then either learn an appropriate code or hide the button from view.
Speaking of learning...
The iR800 includes a rather large amount of user memory – 256kb, more than most non-graphical remote controls. Since preprogrammed databases are hit-and-miss at best, this extra space will come in extremely handy when it comes time to teach the remote those missing buttons! The iRemote can contain up to 46 learned or preprogrammed functions per device, and is capable of learning signal frequencies from 10kHz to 125kHz, plus 455kHz.
As the iR800’s learning eye is located in the bottom of the remote, it’s possible to line up both it and a factory remote and still read the button labels on each. Situated under the “Code” menu, the “Learn” option doesn’t proffer any pleasantries – it jumps immediately into learn mode, waiting for the first code to be sent. As soon as you’ve pressed the source button on your equipment’s original remote, the iRemote automatically moves on to the next available button, flashing its label on-screen. Now this is automated learning at its best!
For the most part learning performed reliably and quickly. “OK” typically flashed up instantly, but when the two remotes were too close or too far apart the iRemote instead flashed “Error” and waited for me to press the button again. The remote took practically no time figuring out if the code was repeating or one-time only, but in a few cases it claimed to have successfully learned a code that later didn’t work.
Thanks to the automatic button advancement, learning an entire device should take mere minutes. One caveat: the remote will not automatically step over buttons with preprogrammed commands or pre-existing learned codes, so some manual intervention may be necessary.
One nice touch is that the 5 component buttons can also be taught an infrared signal. Using the [Setup/Page] key to advance through the two normal pages of LCD-based soft buttons, a mysterious third page appears with only a single blank box on it. This corresponds to that component’s device key. The remote will send the signal taught to this button every time the component is selected. It’s also possible to avoid sending the assigned signal by pressing the device key quickly – the iRemote requires the key be held down for a quarter of a second before it sends the attached code.
It gets a little tricky using this feature with a bank of devices, since it’s only possible to send the command when the device is first selected – not after it’s active. That means that you need to know, in advance, the order of devices and plan just how long you’re going to hold the button down.