Monday, September 29, 2008

Philips Magnavox Universal Remote CL015 and Sony DVD Player DVP-NC600

I'm just putting this up in the hope that it comes up for searchers instead of the dishonest websites that seek to make you pay for DVD player codes for your universal remotes (and probably don't).

The Philips/Magnavox universal remote "CL015". Not made by either of these companies, it seems, but by a company called Gemini, which has since folded. So if you lose the manual, you lose the codes.

Never fear! I got this trick from the Bob Vila website, but it may already be explained in the remote's manual (which I've lost).

1) Turn your DVD player on.
2) Press the "code search" button (on the remote) for about five seconds. The LED on the remote will glow continuously.
3) Now press the DVD button (top of remote). LED will flash.
4) Now REPEATEDLY AND SLOWLY press the power button on the remote (LED will flash each time). You may have to press up to 300 times. When the DVD player turns off (in response to the remote), stop and press "enter" (under the number 7 on the remote). That saves that particular code-pattern to the remote.

Now, a caveat on this process:
However the remote works, it clearly cycles through the 300-or-so codes on some kind of EPROM or BIOS-type chip, as it remembers where it is in the cycle, even after you've taken the batteries out. This means that if you discover that the code you want is the 45th, but you accidentally press the button a 46th time, you can't simply take the batteries out of the remote and start again, counting up to 45. Instead you'll have to continue in the cycle all the way through the 300 codes till you cycle back to zero and on to number 45.

Another caveat:
The power button seems to be the only reliable button to press when looking for DVD codes (I pressed the "play" button a wearying 700 times before giving up).

Another caveat:
Your DVD player may respond to more than one code. I discovered this the hard way by saving a code after getting the player to switch off, only to find that the only control the remote had over the player was to switch it on and off. If you find that your player responds imperfectly to the remote after you've saved one code, continue your sweep through the codes until you find one that causes the remote to better control the player. In my case it was only ten or twenty steps further on in the cycle.

Another caveat:
Even if you identity the right code with this process, you won't know what it is, as the remote doesn't tell you. If you reprogram the remote, you'll have to go through the whole process again.

One last caveat:
I don't know how many codes are in the cycle, as I kept on losing count, but Vila's website seems to be about right that it's circa 300.

Now, my individual experience with the Sony DVP-NC600.

We have a fairly rudimentary DVD player (liberated from a basement shelf many years ago, and without original remote), and I found the DVP-NC600 while dumpster diving the other day. It looked in good condition and still had a few cables attached, so I figured I'd still have the cables if the unit itself didn't work. Taking it home and turning it on, I found it to be indeed damaged. When switched on (OK self test, so the electronics were fine), it clicked sadly on my pressing the eject button, returning the error code "E 27 00" (and not ejecting the disc changer). A web search for the code turned up the suggestion that this indicated a fault in the disc-changer and the culprit was often a stuck DVD in the mechanism or dust on an optical sensor. I took the lid off the unit (eight or nine screws) and peered around. Indeed the disc-changer was stuck in an untenable position and peering around I saw a disc under the changer, blocking it from moving. There was a plastic retainer over the lens array designed to secure the disc while playing, which was held in place with three screws. It looked fairly simple, so I took it off and gained access (just) to the disc ("Scooby Doo's Scariest Moments"). It went on again without difficulty, so I tried the disc-changer eject and everything came out as intended. No more error code. This time I put a disc in and pressed play. In it went and started playing. Success.

But no remote. I debated going around to the household that had thrown out the unit. Spouse counselled against, suggesting that I'd get a frosty reception on appearing at their door to announce that I'd fixed their DVD player and could I now have the remote.

Then again, remote not absolutely necessary, as most controls for this unit are actually on the front panel already (nice joystick-style button on the right allows one to cycle through on-screen menus).

Oh, but I had to have a remote. I'm a proud and dedicated giolla-na-leisce! Well, as you can tell from the above, the universal remote didn't work with the new unit and I'd lost the manual for the remote, so couldn't just try out the Sony codes (it seems possible that these codes vary from remote to remote anyway). I hunted around and found the tip from Bob Vila's website and gave that a whirl with the remote. Indeed, after ten minutes of tedious pressing, I had a serviceable remote. You'll notice with this unit that there's a physical push-on button, but the power button on the remote (when you eventually find the right code) puts the unit into "standby" mode, so you'll know if you've found the right code or not.



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