Home Automation Guide : SQ Blaster Plus
As promised in my previous posts, I’d like to highlight some of the annoyances to take note when using SQ Blaster Plus, IR distribution system and, especially for Singaporean home automation enthusiasts, the Starhub setup box. In this post, I’m assuming that my readers (my fellow geeks) already possessed some knowledge of SQ Blaster Plus, know basic networking and understand how IR distribution system works.
First, let’s take a look at the SQ Remote HD app, which I’ve setup in my iPhone. This is the main menu of the SQ Remote app.
I usually use the TV Console menu to startup/shutdown my TV console. With this menu, I can also switch the source input for my Onkyo receiver.
With the startup button, the app will turn on the power, the TV, the sound system and the Starhub cable box. After startup, the app will automatically switch to the channel list as follows.
Now from this, I can switch channels without remembering the channel number and control the volume etc.
Annoyance number 1 : So far so good but there’s been alot of complain that your iOS device may sometimes encounter problem connecting to the SQ Blaster Plus. To get around this, it is suggested that you configure the IP address of the SQ Blaster Plus in the app instead of using the default hostname as shown below.
Notice in the screen above, my SQ Blaster Plus name is defaulted to sq-blaster-17f5. This is also the hostname that will be configured as default.
By default, under the Hostname/IP Address, the name sq-blaster-17f5 will be configured. I’ve changed it to a static IP address of SQ Blaster Plus (you should be able to configure static IP address in your router using reserved DHCP function). This should solve the problem of intermittent connection failure between your iPhone/iPad and the SQ Blaster Plus.
Let’s continue with my setup. My TV console is designed to have a minimalist look, with everything kept inside the clean console.
Most interior designers would recommend a TV console with glass doors so that IR can be transmitted into the console. For me, I’m using a IR distribution system to send IR into the console as I didn’t want to have glass doors. I’ve placed the SQ Blaster Plus just below the TV.
The IR receiver is installed just above the SQ Blaster Plus so that the IR commands fired from the blaster could be transmitted into the TV console.
The distribution module shown below will then relay the IR commands to the various devices via IR cables within the TV console.
The picture below shows the other end of one of the IR cables, which is connected to the distribution system.
Now, I love minimalist look and hiding clutters. If you are not a fan of keeping everything out of sight, you need not use a IR distribution system. So here comes annoyance number 2.
Annoyance number 2 : SQ Blaster Plus IR commands for TV, DVD player and sound system transmit perfectly via the IR distribution system. However, for some weird reason, the learned IR commands for Starhub does not transmit successfully. My Starhub setup box seems to ignore the learned commands totally! If I use my Starhub remote, there is no problem but once the IR command is fired from the SQ Blaster Plus, nothing happens.
After hours of investigation, I decided to connect the IR cable to one of the IR ports behind the SQ Blaster Plus (yes, SQ Blaster Plus has 4 IR ports for connecting IR cable) so that the SQ Blaster can transmit learned Starhub remote IR commands to the setup box, skipping the distribution system entirely. For some weird reason, it works!
So, if you are using SQ Blaster Plus with IR distribution system, do remember that it may not work for learned Starhub remote commands.
Annoyance number 3 : You may also like to take note when you are using the SQ Blaster Plus to learn IR commands from Starhub remote. The SQ Blaster Plus requires you to point, press and hold the button on your Starhub remote twice during the learning process. For another weird reason, when you simply press and hold twice, the learning process will not be successful.
The Starhub remote seems to transmit alternate IR commands on consecutive button press. You will need to press and hold once (pointing the remote towards the SQ Blaster Plus) press second time (pointing the remote away, covering the top of the Starhub remote), then press and hold the remote the third time (pointing the remote towards the SQ Blaster Plus) for a successful learning.
That are the three annoyances I’d like to share with you. Hopefully, it will save hours of frustrations during your setup. To recap:
Annoyance 1 : It’s better to set the IP address of the SQ Blaster Plus instead of hostname in your SQ Remote App.
Annoyance 2 : Learned Starhub IR commands for weird reason, does not transmit properly in a IR distribution system.
Annoyance 3: Starhub remote transmit alternate IR commands on consecutive button press.
Enjoy the process!