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4 – Using Universal Remote Controls to operate the Ultimate Volume Control

Control 

The UVC can be remote controlled from any remote control that implements the RC-5 remote control protocol (see Appendix 1) and supports audio components (Amplifier/Preamplifier).

 

Examples of relatively inexpensive remote controls that are known to work are the Altronics stock number A1009 “Universal 6 in 1 Remote Control” and the Altronics stock number A0977 “6 In 1 Jumbo Pre-programmed Remote Control”. 
Similar or identical remote controls are available from a range of electronic retailers. Many also offer considerably more sophisticated universal remote control solutions (Logitech, Sunwave etc.) at higher cost which tend to all allow the programming for the use with the UVC.

 

There are also many universal remote that it intend to only control TV/DVD/VCD/VCRs, but no audio equipment. This type of remote control will not work with the VC. Please make sure the remote control supports audio amplifier devices before purchase as indicated by programmability for audio devices such as „tuner‟ „preamplifier‟ „amplifier‟ etc.

 

Most universal remote controls work by entering a three or four digit “brand code”. This code is in no way standardised, but specific to the individual remote.

 

It is usually printed in small print on a page included with the remote, listing brand codes and equipment. An example of such an instruction/code page is found HERE.

 

Note that these codes ONLY apply to the Altronics A0977 “6 In 1 Jumbo Pre-programmed Remote Control” and not to any others.

 

Select a brand code for an audio amplifier, receiver or audio preamplifier by Marantz, Philips or Rotel. This should produce a working control. Often several codes are listed and it may be necessary to try several ones and possibly several brands.

 

A Brand Code for an audio device must be used, in other words, a brand code for Philips amplifier will work, but a brand code for Philips TV will not.

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Appendix 1

The RC-5 Remote Control Protocol

 

The DIYHFS‟s UVC uses industrial standard Philips RC-5 code

 

The RC-5 protocol was developed by Philips in the late 1980s as a semi-proprietary consumer IR (infrared) remote control communication protocol for consumer electronics. However, it was also adopted by most European manufacturers, as well as many US manufacturers of specialty audio and video equipment. The advantage of the RC-5 protocol is that (when properly followed) any CD handset (for example) may be used to control any brand of CD player using the RC-5 protocol.

 

The RC5 code is made up of 2 parts:
(1) Device Address (to identify the correct device; e.g. TV, VCR, Pre-amp etc.)
(2) Command (e.g. Volume +)

 

The UVC‟s software is set to respond to RC-5 IR Commands as follows:
Device (Address)
¾ Pre-amp01 (0x10)
¾ Pre-amp-02 (0x13)
¾ Tuner (0x11)

 

Note: any one of the above device will work.
Commands (address):
¾ Volume + (0x10)
¾ Volume – (0x11)
¾ Channel + (0x20)
¾ Channel – (0x21)

 

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Appendix 2

–Features, Technical Data and Application Examples

–Specifications

–Application Examples

Features, Technical Data and Application Examples
Features: 
  • 127 step volume control from -52dB to 0dB attenuation with 12 LED level indicators
  • 5 Inputs with LED indicators
  • Remote control via universal remote control (RC5 code)
  • Options for shunt operation (-52dB to -6dB)
  • 5 way Silver alloy relay input switching
  • LED‟s driven on/off, not “multiplexed” to remove digital noise
  • Audio PCB includes option for fitting two LSK389A forming a direct coupled zero feedback J-Fet buffer to make a stand alone buffered passive preamplifier
  • Control PCB delivered as one PCB but allows “break-off” of the rotary encoder & LED parts connection via supplied 20-Pin IDC cables
  • A single Control PCB can control up to 3 Audio PCB‟s (6 channels single ended or 3 channels balanced)
  • Control PCB connects to Audio PCB via 20-Pin IDC cables (supplied)
  • Power Supply using schottky diodes and low noise regulators
  • Mains transformer with 115/230V Primary capable of supporting 3 Audio PCB‟s with buffer
  • Gold plated, 70 micron Copper PCB‟s
  • Includes drill template (PDF for printing on paper) for drilling front panels for LED’s, encoders and
  • fittings

 

Specifications:
Passive operation standard mode 
  • Maximum input/output level: 3.5v rms
  • Input impedance: Fixed 100kOhm
  • Adjustment range: -52dB to 0dB in 127 steps
  • Output impedance: < 25kOhm
Passive operation 100k shunt mode (option) 
  • Maximum output level: 3.5V RMS (note, input level is not limited in shunt mode)
  • Input impedance: > 100kOhm
  • Adjustment range: -52dB to -6dB in 127 steps
  • Output impedance: < 50kOhm
Passive operation all modes 
  • -3dB Bandwidth: 100kHz (with no capacitive load)
  • THD + N: < 0.0001%
  • Noise: > -120dB (re. 2V)
Audio module with LSK389 buffers fitted 
  • -3dB Bandwidth: 100kHz (with capacitive loads up to 1nF)
  • THD + N: < 0.004% (2V RMS 10K load)
  • Noise: > -120dB (re. 2V)
  • Output impedance: < 50 Ohm
Application Examples:
1. 2-channel buffered passive Linestage of highest quality with remote 
  • 1 X Control Module
  • 1 X Audio Module
  • 2 X LSK389
2. Upgrade any 2-channel preamplifier or integrated amplifier with remote control 
  • 1 X Control Module
  • 1 X Audio Module
3. 2-channel tube preamplifier of highest quality with remote 
  • 1 X Control Module
  • 1 X Audio Module
  • 1 X Universal Tube Stage (UTS) Module
4. 2-channel balanced tube preamplifier of highest quality with remote 
  • 1 X Control Module
  • 2 X Audio Module
  • 2 X UTS Module
5. 5.1-channel tube preamplifier of highest quality with remote 
  • 1 X Control Module
  • 3 X Audio Module
  • 3 X UTS Module

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2 – Audio Matrix Input connections 

Simply connect the Inputs using suitable wire or cable (shielded cable is recommended) from your input connectors to the UVC Module.

Connections are labeled on the PCB.

 

Make sure the sockets used do not allow electrical contact between RCA Socket ground and the chassis. Connect each RCA input pairs ground connection to the middle connection of a given input connector. Connect the signal wires (L/R) to the respective connections of the input connector.

 

Up to five inputs can be accommodated.

 

For single input applications this input can be connected to REC OUT (ie tape out) connector, bypassing the input switching.
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1 – Mounting & connecting the Control Matrix 

–1.1 Mounting the Control Matrix

–1.2 Power Supply Wiring

–1.3 Connecting the Ribbon Cables

1.1 – Mounting the Control Matrix
If using a pre-machined front panel, simply mount the Control Matrix PCB using the supplied hardware. It is not necessary to fit the ribbon cables between Logic/PSU Module and the Volume Control and Selector Module if the pcb is used as a single module (ie not broken is 3 parts)

 

If fitting to your own front panel or into existing equipment use the supplied drill guide to drill the necessary holes. Several fixing options exist, including for the use of standoffs; use what is most appropriate for the actual application.
If it is necessary to detach the Volume Control and Selector modules, use a sharp hobby knife and cut cleanly along the lines indicated (they are also printed on the PCB) several times. This will cut the connecting PCB traces cleanly.

 

Following this, the Volume Control and Selector modules can be broken off quite easily.

 

1.2 – Power Supply Wiring
 If your local power supply is in the range of 100V to 120V AC wire up the mains connections as shown below.

 

If your local power supply is in the range of 220V to 240V AC wire up the mains connections as shown below.
In order to ensure electrical safety please make sure that the PCB is mounted at least 6 mm Distance between its solder side (lower surface) and nearest metal chassis part (e.g. the front panel).

 

1.3 – Connecting the Ribbon Cables
The Control Matrix PCB is fitted with five connectors for IDC type ribbon cables.

 

Four of these connectors are of the 16-Pin type. They are used to connect the Volume Control and Selector modules to the Logic/PSU module if they have been detached from each other.

 

If the whole Control Matrix has been retained as a single block it is not necessary to connect these cables.

 

Make sure you connect the correct module to the correct socket (the sockets on the Logic/PSU Module are labeled, as are the Volume Control and Selector modules.

 

Shown below is the Control Matrix with all cables connected correctly. Note: the two outside cables are not needed if the volume and selector modules have NOT been detached
The fifth connector is a 14-Pin type and connects the Logic/PSU Module to the Audio Matrix. This cable carries the analog and digital power supplies and the control signals for the input selection and the DS-1666 analog potentiometers. The logic lines are only active when the volume or input is changed and normally there should be no need for any additional shielding or other special routing precautions.

 

If using multiple Audio Matrix PCB‟s the cable from the Control Matrix connects to one of the two connectors on the Audio Matrix, the second board is connected using a short IDC jumper cable to the first one and so on.

 

The power Supply on the Audio Matrix can supply up to three Audio Matrix PCB‟s with the J-Fet buffer circuits fitted or six Audio Matrix PCB‟s without J-Fet Buffers.

 

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3 – Audio Matrix Output connections

–3.11 – Connecting the Direct Output to RCA Output Connectors

–3.12 – Connecting the Direct Output to an active Linestage

–3.2 – Connecting the Buffered Output

 

3.11 – Connecting the Direct Output to RCA Output Connectors
The direct output can be connected to an RCA output.
Simply connect the outputs using suitable shielded cable from the UVC Module to the RCA output connectors. Connectors are labelled on the PCB.

 

Make sure the sockets used do not allow electrical contact between RCA Socket ground and the chassis. Connect the RCA output pairs ground connection to the middle connection of a given output connector. Connect the Signal wires (L/R) to the respective connections of the output connector.

 

However note should be taken of the high output Impedance (up to 50KOhm in shunt mode and 25KOhm in standard mode) of this output. This may result in hum when using poorly shielded cables and high frequency roll-off when long cables are employed.

 

3.12 – Connecting the Direct Output to an Active Linestage
It is preferable to use the direct output to drive a buffer stage or line stage placed in the same chassis as the UVC. Such a circuit may be realised using the Universal Tube Stage (UTS) Module or indeed any other tube or solid state line stage.

 

Connect the ground (GND) connection to the line stage to the ground connection of the UVC and then connect the left & right signal lines as required.

 

3.2 – Connecting the Buffered Output
The Buffered output is (optionally) fitted with a minimalist zero feedback J-Fet Buffer of conventional design. This is based around the military grade, metal encased LSK389A monolithic dual J-Fet. Using this expensive but exceptional part combined with the split rail power supply allows to dispense with any input and output coupling capacitors, such as found necessary in some other recent buffered passive preamplifier designs.

 

This buffer is to provides an output that is compatible with driving long cables and offering a low output impedance well into the radio frequency range. This buffer turns the UVC into a stand alone buffered passive preamplifier.

 

When using this output it is necessary to fit the optional LSK389A Transistors as shown to the left.

 

Following this simply connect the Outputs using suitable cable or wire (shielding is optional but recommended) from the UVC Module to your output connectors. Connectors are labeled on the PCB.

 

Make sure the sockets used do not allow electrical contact between RCA Socket ground the Chassis.
Connect each RCA output pairs ground connection to the middle connection of the buffered output connector.

 

Connect the Signal wires (L/R) to the respective connections of the output connector.