Product Review (August 2005) - Niles
RCA3 Remote Control Anywhere! Kit

Controlling hidden or inaccessible components in your system can be a problem with the vast majority of IR-based remote controls. Our system has components spread fairly far apart on both sides of our large 100" screen with the front projector mounted overhead. Niles Audio has addressed this problem with the introduction of the RCA3 Remote Control Anywhere Kit, designed to repeat virtually any IR signal directly to the components. The RCA3 has a local sensor that receives commands and re-transmits them through a series of wired IR flashers. Up to five flashers can be connected to the main hub. These flashers are designed to be placed near the IR sensors on the individual components. The main sensor is placed in a logical spot in front of the user (usually near the screen). The sensor acknowledges the receipt of of an IR command by flashing a blue LED on the sensor assembly. This gives the user visual feedback that the signal is being received.

The RCA3 kit includes a single MS200 silver IR sensor, a MSU250 IR main system unit, 5 MF1VF MicroFlashers, 50 feet of category 5 cable, a universal voltage switching power supply and an installation guide. Two of the flasher outputs have a high/low selector switch for changing the output level. There is also a status LED located on the MSU250 that illuminates when the switched 3-30V AC/DC Status Input is active. This Status Input is designed to be used with a 12VDC AC adapter on a component with a switched power outlet. The 12VDC/200mA output on the MSU250 is provided to trigger external devices when the status input is triggered.

The MSU250 IR main system unit is powered from the 12VDC, 1.25A universal power adapter and can be mounted using the slotted screw holes or the rubber feet included with the system. The MSU250 is built very well in a sturdy metal housing. The sensor input connector plugs are designed with spring loaded wire inserts that eliminate the need for tools when connecting the wires. Four wires are used to interface to the input sensor (Power, Ground, Data and Status). The MSU250 is designed to accommodate up to two input sensors depending on the needs of the setup. The hub should be installed close to the components so that the flasher cables will reach each of the IR detectors. The sensor input can be placed up to 50-feet from the MSU250 using the included Cat-5 cable. Our setup didn't require the additional Cat-5 cable.

The IR sensor housing has a silver finish complete with a blue status LED designed to give the user visual feedback that the IR signal is being received. This sensor matches the decor found on many of today's elegant flat panel displays. The double-sided tape located on the sensor housing attaches the sensor to a flat surface. We placed it directly in front of the viewer just below our Stewart FireHawk screen. The five small IR flashers included with the RCA3 kit provided a strong IR signal to each of our components. Each flasher plugs into the main hub with a standard 3.5mm plug. Double sided tape holds the flasher in place. Users can also use optional dual flashers if more than five single flashers are required in a given setup. However, the hub cannot accommodate more than five plugs, so each dual flasher must be used to replace a single flasher. Each flasher also includes a status LED to verify the signal is working properly.

The Niles RCA3 is a well designed product that solves a serious problem with most advanced home theater setups. The RCA3 worked perfectly in our home theater system and the visual feedback is a great feature that provides verification of the signal received. Full control of A/V components can be achieved locally or remotely from another location thanks to the dual sensor inputs (only one IR sensor is included with the kit). Installation is simple and unless the additional Cat-5 cable is needed for long cable runs for the input sensor, no tools are required. Some may choose to mount the MSU250 IR Main System unit depending on the location. We had our system up and running in less than 30-minutes, most of that time spent on wiring the flasher units to the components. The professional build quality of the Niles RCA3 is clearly beyond that of any ordinary consumer product. The design is simple, yet achieves excellent value-added capabilities in any ordinary or advanced home theater or audio system. If you have problems sending IR commands reliably to your components or wish to remotely command your system, then we would highly recommend that you take a look at the Niles RCA3.

- Kevin Nakano

OneCall: Your Home Theater, Digital Camera, and HDTV Experts

Review - At a Glance

Niles Audio - RCA3 Remote Control Anywhere!® Kit

MSU250 IR Main System Unit

  • IR System
    • Compatible with virtually all brands of remotes using carrier frequencies between 26 and 105kHz.
  • Wiring Requirements
    • Individual home-runs of category 5 cable from each sensor/keypad.
  • Unit Dimensions
    • 5-5/8" wide x 1-1/4" high x 2" deep
  • Power Requirements
    • 12 vDC power supply (included).

MS200 IR Sensor

  • IR System
    • Compatible with virtually all brands of remotes using carrier frequencies between 26 and 105kHz.
  • IR Receiving Range
    • 18' to 30' depending upon the strength of the remote control.
    • Carrier frequencies between 26 and 105kHz.
  • IR Receiving Angle
    • 30° off-axis (horizontal and vertical) at 20'
  • Mounting
    • Surface mount.
  • Wiring Requirements
    • Individual “home-runs” of category 5 cable.
  • Unit Dimensions
    • 11/16" wide x 1/2" high x 2-1/16" deep

MF1VF Flashers

  • IR System
    • Compatible with virtually all brands of remotes using carrier frequencies between 20 and 455 kHz.
  • IR Transmitting Range
    • Up to 4' (Typically mounts to the IR remote sensor window of an audio/video component).
  • IR Transmitting Angle
    • Transmits in a “pinpoint” transmission pattern (the off-axis power drops off very rapidly).
  • Unit Dimensions
    • 5/16" Wide x 3/16" High x 1/2" Long.

Company Information
Corporate Offices
Niles Audio Corporation
12331 S.W. 130 Street, Miami, FL 33186
Phone (305) 238-4373
Fax (305) 238-0185

Source: Manufacturer Supplied
MSRP: $279.95

RCA3 Product Manual


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