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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Logitech Harmony remotes for Windows control (Part 2: Command Teaching)

So, by now you've got your Logitech Harmony remote, as well as the remote you'll be using to teach the Harmony how to control your PC.

(See Part 1 if you're lost)

2) Add a new Device in the Harmony Remote Software. Give it the following information:

Device: Computer > Media Center PC

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Model: A90-00007

This is the model number of a generic Microsoft Media Center Edition remote control. For our purposes, it doesn't matter what you put in here, but loading in the profile of a Media Center remote control requires the least amount of clean-up later, and makes it simple to keep the mapping of the functions between the DealExtreme (DE) remote and the Harmony logical.

If you purchased an actual Windows Media Center remote, you'll want to put in your remote's actual model number. If you're having trouble with that, call Logitech for support. You will probably also not need to follow the rest of this guide.

3) Chose 'Learn IR' under the Media Center PC

Plug the Harmony in to the computer running the Harmony software via USB. You can program ANY button on the DE remote to ANY command listed here. You can even create additional commands if you want to use one that's not listed here (we will do that, too).

You don't have to do them all, in fact for my purposes, I only mapped the following commands:

DirectionRight (6 on the DE Remote)
DirectionLeft (4 on the DE Remote)
DirectionUp (2 on the DE Remote)
DirectionDown (8 on the DE Remote)
Back (Backspace on the DE Remote)
Enter (5 on the DE Remote)

Now for the custom commands, I made 5 of them (Why? Because these Ctl+Alt key commands are great for launching applications!) :

Name: Ctrl+Alt+A
Map to: Blue-green 'A/Music' button on DE Remote

Name: Ctrl+Alt+B
Map to: Orange 'B/Movie' button on DE Remote

Name: Ctrl+Alt+C
Map to: Blue 'C/Photo' button on DE Remote

Name: Ctrl+Alt+D
Map to: Yellow 'D/TV' button on DE Remote

Name: Left Click
Map to: 'L' button on DE Remote

Note: The reason for these names is because these are the key combinations that those buttons on the DE remote are permanently mapped to.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can try to capture the mouse movements from the DE Remote. However, the DE Remote's mouse controlling feature is the worst part about the remote, as it's very difficult to capture absolute directions from it. Even still, using a digital remote to control a mouse is frustrating and slow--even when it works perfectly.

Keep in mind that the command's name is what the Harmony software will use to reference that command, it has no bearing on what the command actually does. For the sake of simplicity, you'll want to map them as directly as you can (DE Power button to the PowerToggle command, DE 0 button to 0 command, etc).

Also, it's a good idea to not have the USB IR receiver plugged in during this process. You don't want the DE remote accidentally telling your computer to shut down while you're teaching the Logitech its commands.

Now that the commands have been taught to the Harmony, we'll have to move on to configuring the Harmony's "Activities", which we'll continue in Part 3.

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