1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

For those that like pain and suffering - get a Harmony Remote!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Control & Remote Controls' started by russraff, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,313
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    Honestly, I have never found setting up a remote so convoluted and frustrating than with the Harmony 655 - even the god awful pronto edit is miles better than this! Not one single thing has worked correctly, no matter how I use the refreshingly unfriendly on-line setup routines:

    1) Watch satellite TV works kinda okay, but my Lexicon Processor's Zone2 and Record lights come on, even though I have manually learnt all commands from my original remote so no spurious commands should exist.
    2) watch a movie turns my Lexicon to the wrong input and does not switch either the TV or DVD player on (despite exactly this procedure being defined in the activity page). Pressing the "help" button switches sky on (why?) and eventually the TV, but never the DVD player, something I would have thought rather obvious since I want to watch a movie! Redoing the activity thing on-line so that the TV switches on etc does nothing, and the remote functions exactly the same way,no matter what I do. And how do you get the TV to switch to EXT4 when you have to repeatedly press EXT button on the original TV remote? I have set up 3 presses of EXT (I always have the TV on EXT1) but the Harmony doesn't take any notice.
    3) Listen to CD's does not switch DVD player on.

    So, if you have a few hours to spend (this is my third) trying to get what should be a great piece of kit to work, then I can heartily recommend the Harmony 655. Otherwise, choose another make or just stick with your original remotes, as the hassle of swapping them around in nothing to setting up a Harmony.

    Russell- still trying to get his remote to work
     
  2. mepsipax

    mepsipax
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    181
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +8
    Hi

    I couldn't agree more with the above post.

    I too have just purchased a Harmony 655, following the advise on these forums.

    It is so difficult to setup. For instance I have a
    Toshiba 36zd26
    E55 DVD recorder.
    Panasonic Digibox
    Yamaha 750se amp

    Now at present using my original remotes, I watch DVDs via EXT2 on the TV or EXT4 via component leads.

    I just can't get the Harmony to do this however I set it up on their website. In fact all the commands to the amp seem to be wrong, and this is after spending hours setting and re-setting the remote via Harmonys website.

    I thought this was going to be straightforward, but I have found like russraff, it is anything but!

    Anyway guess I'll keep trying...
     
  3. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,313
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    The only reason that I am still fighting with this remote is because someone foolishly threw out the packaging! Otherwise I would have replaced this with a Kameleon 6 in 1.

    Russell
     
  4. hao

    hao
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I had one from Currys spent two days going through the learning setup. Even after putting the various remotes up its chuff it still wouldn't control the set I wanted. Took it back pointed out that the statment on the box "Easy to set up" was misleading and got my £99 back.
     
  5. dUnKle

    dUnKle
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Messages:
    13,495
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,411
    Found mine as simple as simple can get

    One touch button makes it so simple and the softawre picked all my gear up with no problem

    The "watch a movie" button

    Makes sure the equipment is on and turns off what is not needed
    Selects correct input on my amp and plasma
    Starts the DVD spinning

    its all so simple and easy to do

    Within 20 minutes all gear was set-up fine - just few tweaks needed for timing
     
  6. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,313
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    Duncan,

    I am glad that the remote worked for you. For me, however, things are only getting worse. I have managed to get the DVD player to switch on, and the Lexicon to swap inputs, both timing issues.
    Now the TV switches off if I change activities, even though the H655 is supposed to keep track of these things. If I go through the help button in this case, the H655 eventually asks if the TV is on. I say no, the remote does nothing and states that I should make sure my xbox is turned on! Where the hell did that come from; the xbox isn't even in the action list as required hardware! And why does the H655 not switch on the TV after I have said it is off using the help function - I mean the activity is "Watch TV" so you'd think that having the TV on is a prerequisite?
    The TV still can't be changed to the correct input and the on/off buttons for sky don't work (I have to use these as Sky will not switch on using the Watch Satellite" action).
    I am fed up and have swapped the Harmony for a Kameleon 6 in 1, the one with hard buttons for cursor and vol+/-etc. Much better, and a lot less hassle to set up. The only glitch was the Lexicon, but I got the code from the net and all is well. I can, as with most good remotes, set up some macro's to do what the Harmony could do, too. This is a shame as the Harmony is more ergonomic and could have been really good.

    Russell
     
  7. Ikki

    Ikki
    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,173
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    67
    Location:
    Lancs
    Ratings:
    +97
    Aww someone needs a hug :hiya:

    I agree that some equipment can be a complete pain to set up properly, but I never expected setting up six pieces of kit (some with freaky IR behaviour) to work on one remote, to my satisfaction to be an easy task. Once set up the Harmony is nothing short of marvellous.

    I had a Kameleon and it drove me up the wall, despite a lot of perseverence - a very flawed design.
     
  8. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,313
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    No, just a decent remote! :D

    Well, actually since it has "easy to use" and "easy to setup" written on the back, you will excuse me if that is exactly what I expect. I also expect that a learning remote actually learns commands. I also expect that one of the many reasons that the Harmony has for existing, such as tracking which components are on, actually work.

    Compare this, if you will, to the Kameleon, or receiver remotes or some Cambridge Audio remotes. These remotes do such wonderful things as: learn commands from other remotes; learn macros that, when you alter the sequence of items, actually alters the sequence of items; operate equipment correctly and do not use needlessly confusing workarounds for setup software that, in an effort to make things easy, achieve quite the opposite.

    To be frank, and I am aware of your various postings about the H655 (your posts were one of the reasons I decided to buy one), I seriously cannot see how the H655 can be recommended. Clearly some people have met with success, but the fact that you have had to post some fairly in depth workarounds for some fellow H655 owners at all points to a flawed design in itself?

    And if I seem in need of a hug, it is because I spent £100 on a remote that did nothing right, wasted five hours trying to get it to work, and another three getting in and out of the MetroCentre whilst exchanging the H655 for the Kameleon which I nearly bought in the first place.

    Never mind. I suspect that we will agree to disagree on this one?

    Russell
     
  9. Ikki

    Ikki
    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,173
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    67
    Location:
    Lancs
    Ratings:
    +97
    I'm cool with that. :cool:

    Nothing is perfect, the Harmony certainly is not, and I have long ago abandoned all trust in claims made by manufacturers. For me it's the end result that counts and the Harmony has produced the goods whereas, the Kameleon and the Cambridge remote that I tried certainly did not.

    One of the major functions of forums such as these is that they are a place to get help. If I can help someone get their kit working, then great. Instructions may seem a bit long winded but are means of getting the desired result for someone who is stuck and may not have my knowledge or skills (just as I readily accept advice from individuals who can help me solve a problem). I would never say that they are a workaround just a means to an end.

    I still say that it's the best universal remote that I have used, by a distance.

    As long as you are happy, that's what counts. :)
     
  10. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,469
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Newbury
    Ratings:
    +160
    I have pretty much settled on the Harmony.. and you are right. It is not perfect. These are the following issues I have with it (most of which I have raised with their tech team):

    - Backlight doesn't light up the main activity buttons. So in a dark room you have to know which are which. Of course you can scroll thru the other activities but this seems like a bit of an oversight. Also the red/green/yellow/blue buttons are not backlit.
    - You cannot specify the order in which buttons appear on the LCD screen. I have asked for this to be fixed
    - It will not learn Barco remote controls. My yamaha A3090 remote did.
    - If you toggle the power of a device outside of an activity, the Harmony doesn't register the toggle and that screws up activities. You might do this if you want to listen to music, but turn on the TV for teletext or something.
    - The website setup is painfully slow. To make one change requires you to goes thru the pages, make the change and then upload the config in its entirity. Whilst I understand the need to upload the config completely, I want client software rather than the website. Not everyone has broadband! Also that would give us a bit of piece of mind.

    That said, the activity based system is good and works for the most part. My Yam A3090 remote could do most of what I needed, but it wasn't backlit and didn't have enough memory to learn all my day to day button presses. But I do agree that it is a bit tricky to setup - its a mindset you have to take a bit of time to get in to.
     
  11. dvdsubtitles

    dvdsubtitles
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I bought a Harmony 655 on recommendation from someone in this forum.

    It is a major pain in the arse to set up - you have to do it online - and it seems to take about half an hour to download any new settings to the rmote.

    However, with a bit of playing around with the settings, I have managed to get it to work quite well. The main thing is setting up the signal timings for each piece of equipment. My Pioneer 504 screen is very slow to respond to remote signals, especially switching inputs. Without setting longer timings for the TV in the Harmony set-up, switching inputs is very unreliable. I set all the timings quite high and then once everything was working, reduced the timings as much as possible. Took a damn long time, going back and forth to the PC to download new settings.

    The other problem I had was that it insists on turning on the freeview box before the TV. For some reason this causes the TV to shut down (A fault with the 504 screen, not the remote). There seems to be no option to change the order of switching on the equipment. So, for a temporary hack I have added extra actions to turn the freeview box off, wait 3 seconds, and then turn it back on again after the TV has settled down. Horrible workaround but it does solve the problem.

    Despite its faults, it does mean that the missus can now switch on the TV without getting confused - and also it costs a damn sight less than other programmable remote controls.

    Cheers,
    Mat
     
  12. Ikki

    Ikki
    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,173
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    67
    Location:
    Lancs
    Ratings:
    +97
    Chrisgeary,

    I agree about the backlighting, a bit of an oversight, and also the power toggling.

    Have you checked out RemoteCentral for advice about the Barco. Try these threads:Barco search

    You can change the order that the commands appear on the LCD screen.

    If you go to the 'more options' then 'customize, sound and picture commands for this device', then alter the order of the custom button labels and their appropriate commands. Return to the main screen and update the remote and the commands will be in the order that you just set.

    dvdsubtitles

    Apologies if you have already done this, but have you tried adjusting the startup delay in the tv timings section to give it long enough to be fully started up before commands are sent to the freeview box. It may just appear that the box starts before the tv because the tv takes a while to start up.

    The other altermative is just to leave the freeview box on all the time, I do this with my OnD Pace box because it takes ages to start and never goes to the correct channel, I don't think there is a great difference in power consumption for a box like this.
     
  13. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,469
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Newbury
    Ratings:
    +160
    I will try that tonight! thanks =)

    That I have already tried. Harmony customer services told me that at present the website software (not the remote) puts things in what they consider to be in order of priority. When I try to change the order, I commit those changes, go back into the config page and they have flipped back! They have told me to expect a fix shortly. My guess is that if you have two devices with the same priority you can change their order but if the website deems one to be higher than the other then you are unable to override it at present.
     
  14. dvdsubtitles

    dvdsubtitles
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Actually, its the other way around - I want to delay startup of the freeview box, not the TV. Due to some fault/bug/feature with my screen, the freeview box must come on well AFTER the screen - ie. it MUST be switched off when the screen is switched on.

    Perhaps you can delay startup of the freeview box in the same way. I'll check it out. Ta!

    Mat

    Cheers
     
  15. hao

    hao
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thankfully the freeview decoder is in my Viera and I have got a code to work with that and Sky from the Sky remote which will switch them on or off and toggle between them. Anything more complex I can do with the TV or DVDR remotes.
     
  16. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,469
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Newbury
    Ratings:
    +160
    ikki: i tried the tips on remotecentral but the website won't take the 0100 prefixed IR sequence. no big deal, just would be nice to have barco control.

    i've had a response from harmony about my issues:

    "Changing the order of the order of the menu items on the LCD is being considered. We currently don't have a timeframe for when this feature will be available. It is still under consideration.

    The Harmony Remote is an activity based remote. When you send a Power from device mode, the Harmony will not keep track of the state. You will need to switch activities if you would like to control a device that is not part of the current activity.

    We have no plans to develop a stand alone Harmony configuration application at this time.

    While it may seem to be a disadvantage for the Harmony to be web configurable, it is in fact a major advantage in many ways including:

    a) Support - We can see the same configuration as you see and make changes to your configuration which are instantly available to you.

    b) Data Backup - Your configuration is safe on our servers and you can access it from any PC with internet access. If your computer fails then your remote configuration is still safe. Also, if your Harmony Remote ever gets damaged, it is simple to download the same configuration to a new unit.

    c) Evolving Database - With the constantly evolving database of devices and features, the only way to really keep current is by accessing our servers directly. If we put all of our data onto CDs then it would be out of date before it ever reached a customer.

    d) Product Enhancements - With the constantly developing feature set, the only way to really keep current is via the website. If we put all of our features onto CDs then it would be out of date before it ever reached a customer.

    We appreciate you taking the time to write to us and I will forward your suggestions to the appropriate departments."

    I hope that they do allow us to modify the order of the LCD screen buttons.

    I wish they would consider client software, I really can't understand their resistance to it. Although I do see the advantages of a web front end, I really think that they should give us the choice of both web and client GUIs.

    I guess I'm somewhat confused that they don't see the need to maintain state in device mode. Ho hum.
     
  17. icurnow

    icurnow
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Just in support of Harmony - had mine since xmas, all set up to run;
    Humax pvr-8000
    Old Pani TV (long on press)
    Tosh DVD
    Denon 5.1 .... and it works the lot a treat.

    One problem with Humax wide which was fixed by Harmony who put it on my config (thanks to Ikki also for info), and I have the remote solution the family always needed.

    Its great, sorry to hear of others struggling...
    Ian
     
  18. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,469
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Newbury
    Ratings:
    +160
    the chaps at harmony support are really good.. always answer my emails within a day or so.

    they have found a problem with device mode and customisations, so they are working on a fix for the power toggle problem! :)
     
  19. osmyth

    osmyth
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    Messages:
    278
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    York
    Ratings:
    +1
    Was just searching for an LCD order solution but stumbled across your problem.

    Mat, you can ask Harmony CS to delay the Power on of your freeview box by a view seconds. They do this behind the scenes, it's not something you can set on the website. Try and get them to just set the Power on rather than the off as well, if that's what you need.
    I had a similar problem with my Sky box, (although it was an input select problem really, but this was the easiest fix). Normally if I switched the Sky box on a few seconds after the TV, the TV would do its own input switching (via Scart) and switch to AV1. If I switched them on at the same time then the TV would stay in TV input mode and I'd have to switch manually to AV1. So now with the Sky box power on delay it mirrors the manual procedure.
    Owen.
     
  20. gerbilly

    gerbilly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,182
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Hamilton
    Ratings:
    +94
    Really cant believe this thread

    I have my Harmony working my JVC TV, My Yamaha AV Amp, Panasonic E55 DVD recorder, SKy+ Box, Cambridge Audio DAB300 Tuner, My X Box, Marantz Amplifier and Marantz CD player.
    Each one of these I have set up in various activities, if nothing works the help button always sorts it.
    Does take a bit of tweaking to get every little thing sorted on the net but well worth it.

    Even the wife can work it and she is hopeless with stuff like this.
     
  21. Artie Fufkin

    Artie Fufkin
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Aberdeenshire
    Ratings:
    +182
    I can empathise [sympathise?] with those who have trouble with this device.

    The Harmony has been in my house for a couple of months now and has been tweaked constantly. I spent nearly 2 hours on the phone one day getting devices set up and it still wouldn't change TV inputs correctly. I have given up on the "activity" aspect and am just using the device buttons to control individual devices a la One For All.

    To be fair on the Harmony, the reason the "activity" buttons didn't suit is probably more to do with the way our houshold uses it's entertainment equipment - one of us will have the receiver set to the kitchen for the radio while another will be watching freeview TV, and then I come in to set the DVD recorder for later in the day, while someone else comes in and rewinds a video cassette to play in the bedroom.
    Nothing could work around our mess !!!

    It is not the fantastic piece of gadgetry I had hoped for [I miss my OFA's clock and alarm for one] but it has [after an email update from CS] managed to learn EVERY command I need which my OFA couldn't. Finally I have only one remote in my living room.

    My main gripe is that 2 week after I bought it, they dropped the price by £30. Bugggers.
     
  22. russraff

    russraff
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,313
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +51
    It's not the fact that the remote can't work a wide range of devices, but that you cannot get the thing to work a TV properly. I know of loads of TV's that use the same button to cycle through different inputs but the Harmony just can't do it. I spent some considerable time trawling this forum and remotecentral.com and could not find a suitable solution that was guaranteed to work. I was also dissapointed in that the reson d'etre this remote exists, tracking status of other devices, easily setup activities, wound up being a complete mess. All of this on top of the fact the remote didn't seem to actually learn commands!

    Now, it's been a while since I had the remote, so perhaps the software has been fixed. I dearly hope so as the remote was actually quite good, ergonomically, and some of the ideas behind it were also laudable.

    Russell
     
  23. gerbilly

    gerbilly
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,182
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Hamilton
    Ratings:
    +94
    Every TV i have had the 0 button seems to take you through the outputs and it works that way with my Harmony remote as well.
     
  24. Artie Fufkin

    Artie Fufkin
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Aberdeenshire
    Ratings:
    +182
    That's fine if all you want is for it to switch to the correct input from start up - mine goes to Ext1 for the freeview which is what I want. But if I then want to go to ext2 for DVD or ext3 for video, and back and forth, then it isn't capable of knowing at what input it was at. The only way I can do this is by using the device button, not activities.
    The one thing I have found the activities useful for is for volume punch-through [eg. I can control my DVD and adjust the volume of the amp with the "watch DVD" activity]
     
  25. £note

    £note
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Messages:
    145
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Isle of Skye
    Ratings:
    +13
    I am delighted with my 628 and everything works the way I want it to.
    However, I did have a problem initially setting up the TV to recognise EXT1 EXT2 etc and when I realised how the logic works together with getting the remotes to talk to each other it is a doddle.

    For example. when I switch TV on it always defaults to TV (EXT1/1 , so when the remote has learnt the code from my Toshiba remote you can see the screen change to EXT2, EXT4 or whatever.

    Regards
    £note
     
  26. osmyth

    osmyth
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    Messages:
    278
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    York
    Ratings:
    +1
    You can get Harmony CS to program you AV switching based on your TV if they haven't got a default one.
    The Panasonic Pe30 has a TV/AV button which toggles between Tv and AV mode, once in AV mode you use the colour buttons to switch between AV devices. When I rang them they said they could do some specific programming to get round it.
    In the end I decided to get them to change the TV inputs to just 1 and let the TV itself do the AV switching (scart recognises the signal from the AV device and switches the TV to the correct AV mode). This means though that I have to switch the TV on (TV activity) before pressing the DVD activity as the TV takes a few seconds to accept an AV switch command.
    Owen.
     
  27. hornydragon

    hornydragon
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    28,293
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Somewhere near the M4 most of the time......
    Ratings:
    +1,215
    OK sorry i havent seen this thread before but i can understand your frustration, Setting up a harmony is easy (if you have never programmed a remote before) to anyone who programmed, learnt codes etc its is freakishly odd and backwards....Remember it does not use MARCOS it will not follow a sequence... it will do everything a macro based remote will but it does it differently........so you have to teach it differently (try and "macro" it up and you will fail) anyone who has is still ahving issues i suggest you contact Harmony CS, I will help if possible but just for the record i have had H655 running in various combos:
    HK DVD22
    HK DVD25
    HK DVD30
    HK TU 970
    HK FL8380
    Pio DV444
    Pio DV575
    Panny E55, E65, E50, HS2 (ok the HS2 was a bugger)
    Bose 3-2-1 (not mine)
    Marantz "Hollywood" (Crap build)
    HK AVR 4500
    HK AVR 605 (EZ set is useless)
    Sky+
    Pace Twin
    Panny TUCT20 and 30
    Panny PW5 (42, 50) (with and without media box)
    Panny PW6 (42, 50)
    Panny PW7 (37, 42, 50)
    Fujitsu VHA30
    Fujitsu HHA30
    Fujitsu HHA10
    JVC 35" and 42" Plasma (B50 IIRC)
    Sharp LC37HV4E
    Sharp LC30AD1E
    Ivison HD
    Optoma H30 ??? (cant be sure of model number)
    Screenplay 5700
    Sanyo Z1
    Philips LCD PJ (no oem remote present that was fun.... but what other learning remote would work for some one who lost the PJ remote?)
    OWL othello IR screen
    Lutron Graffic eye

    And more stuff.........................Normally takes an hour or two to start then give it a week noting down every time you have to press "Help" and whats at fault then an hour to adjust.
    For £70 they are now they cant be beat!
     

Share This Page

Loading...