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  • Remote Control with Hidden Value

    posted by Okasional on 08/22/2009
    5 0

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 week to 1 month

    Pros:

    As I expected when I purchased it, the control works fine at 115VAC as well as 220VAC. The reason is that the low voltage for the receiver is obtained by dropping line voltage and then rectifying and filtering it. Voltage is dropped through a 0.56MFD 300V capacitor using it's reactive impedance. At 50 or 60 Hz power line frequency the capacitor "looks" like a few thousand ohms, BUT unlike an ordinary resistor it doesn't generate any heat. This is a time honored way of dropping line voltage for low voltage devices.
    This manufacturer doesn't offer the control in a 115VAC version, but if he did the only change would be to substitute a (typically) 1.0MFD 200V or 250V capacitor. But that's not absolutely necessary, and the unit works fine at voltage as low as about 80VAC.
    There's a switch in the upper left corner (actuated by a toothpick or ball point pen) and an LED in the upper right corner that I "think" indicates when the unit is in learn mode. Instructions on the box indicate that the unit can learn up to 50 different codes from remotes. It's too bad this isn't described better, and provision made for where to get additional remotes. The process of setting the transmitter's code requires internal soldering, and is not something the average user would be able to do.
    There are other DealExtreme controls that perform this function for a few dollars less, some sold in 115VAC and 240VAC versions. Unless you need the learning feature (and are technically skilled enough to figure out how to use it) this control is not the best value.
    And don't be fooled by what appears to be a third grounding pin in the receptacle. The metal contact in that hole is not electrically connected to anything. This is strictly a two-blade receptacle as far as function goes, although it does accept blades that are vertical (parallel), horizontal, or skewed as on Australian plugs.

    Cons:

    Inadequate instructions about the learning feature. Failure to mention it is useable at 115VAC line.

    Bottomline:

    A nice, compact control with good transmitter range and able to operate at 115VAC or 220VAC.

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