JP1 Still Kicking

Five years ago, I got a JP1 cable to connect my computer and JP1-compatible remote control. That remote stopped working (some of the buttons wore out, but I was able to remap those functions to other buttons for a while). I was at Mom’s house recently and wanted to help her JP1 remote learn to run her new iPod boom box. The easiest way is just to learn the signals from the device’s remote into the universal remote by pointing them at each other and pressing some buttons. But because I had done this to learn everything for her HDTV to analog converter box, there wasn’t any memory left for the boom box.


So I knew the best solution was to program an upgrade from scratch. It was nice having my instructions, but I also used the instructions at the JP1 Forums. I took her HDTV box and remote home along with the boom box and its remote. Unfortunately I forgot her universal remote, but I was able to come up with an upgrade using my remote at my house, test it out on the HDTV box and boom box and then bring the software and cable over to her house to install the upgrade.

Doing the upgrades is like figuring out a puzzle. You read the original remote and then download those learned signals which should all fit into a pattern. If they don’t then the remote probably didn’t read the original correctly and you do it again until you get all of the buttons. You don’t have to get all the functions at once (in fact you can’t because of the limited learning memory), so it takes a few iterations.

Sadly, the days of the cheap and simple JP1 remote is over. The company changed the design and now a differnt cable is required ($29), but the newer remotes can still be found for less than $20. Because I don’t need another remote yet, I haven’t looked into it much, but one of the remotes all these JP1 people are using now is a cable set-top box remote called Atlas made by UEI, the same company that makes all of the JP1 remotes. These can be bought on eBay, but aren’t available in stores since they are distributed through cable companies. They control 5 devices.

Anyway, the upgrades worked great except for the volume on the boom box. So I had the remote learn those functions into those buttons. Then I had it learn the fan functions, so Mom is now controlling all of these things with one remote: TV, HDTV converter, DVD player, VCR, boom box, and fan.

3 thoughts on “JP1 Still Kicking

  1. This one is less than $18 at Amazon. It has the newer data port that I can’t make use of, but it should control most things out of the box and can learn functions that aren’t covered. It controls up to 10 devices.

    URC 10820

    This one controls 8 devices and maybe is simpler because it has fewer buttons. It is a little smaller (both are pretty big) and only uses 2 AAA batteries instead of 4.

    URC 8820

    You might be able to find these at Walmart, but make sure you write down the model number or you might not end up with what you really need. Not all One For All remotes have all of the features of these two.

  2. After getting a new satellite receiver the macro I had for turning on closed captions had stopped working. The simple commands were the same, but the menus are different now. If I can’t catch some dialog, but I want to know what they are saying, I will turn on closed captioning briefly until I get it (this was very helpful with Lost and also West Wing where they would talk faster than I can hear). With the new receiver, it was an 11-step process. So I wrote down the steps and programmed that in. Or thought I did, but it didn’t work and it turned out the remote was out of macro memory. What was worse was that there was another 11-step sequence to turn the captions back off, so I would need to program two buttons with all those steps. So I did some research and found that you can install some software on the remote that will re-allocate the memory. Also the JP1 site now runs a Wiki, which is very nice since all of this stuff is pretty complicated. So I was about to embark on that when I decided to just plug the remote in to my computer and erase the old macros and see if that would free up enough memory. It seemed to work. And also I had done something wrong the first go around because I can use the same macro sequence to turn off captioning that I use to turn it on. Yay!

    Here’s the sequence:

    Menu

    8 (Preferences)

    7 (Closed Caption)

    1 (Caption On/Off)

    Left Arrow

    Select

    Right Arrow

    Select (CC is on)

    Left Arrow

    Select (Done)

    0 (Cancel)

    0 (Cancel)

    0 (Cancel)

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