Logitech Harmony 950 Remote

I had recently cleaned the button contacts on my Logitech Harmony 700 remote. It did restore the functionality of the ‘All Off’ button for a bit. Unfortunately was a a short lived fix. The button on the remote is once again very unresponsive and takes multiple presses to work. I’ve had the remote for years so a replacement was due.

I decided to stick with Logitech. So far their products have served me well. While researching their available remotes I found that the Harmony 950 was the closest match to the features I wanted. The $249 MSRP is a bit steep. Luckily, Amazon has refurbished remotes that I was able to pick up for much cheaper.

The remote arrived in slightly abused original packaging, but the contents within were all in like new state. Plastic film still covered displays and high gloss finishes on the remote and chargning base. They only have a 90 day warranty but so far it has been working like a champ.

The MyHarmony software also allowed me to easily migrate all of my remote settings from the Harmony 650 over to the Harmony 950. It copied everything except for the row of colored buttons used for custom actions. I utilize one of them to toggle the receiver from all-channel stereo to straight depending on the content we are viewing. It was easy enough to re-add the single action.

I’ll update this post if I run into any issues. So far so good.

Logitech Harmony 950 Remote
Harmony 700 Remote Button Contact Cleaning

Harmony 700 Remote Button Contact Cleaning

A few years ago I had picked up a Harmony 700 remote to simplify our home theater experience. I was able to consolidate 5 different device remotes onto the Harmony.  It’s been wonderful remote and I was lucky enough to find it on clearance at Best Buy for around $40. It has since been discontinued by Logitech but is still very capable. There are stores selling new in box versions for around $140 which is amazing. The remote must have a following. It also has quite good reviews on Amazon.

However, recently the remote began having issues turning off the system. There is a very handy “All Off” button located at the top left of the remote. You can see it in the image below. Pressing that button will will turn off all devices, regardless of which mode you are in. It is the perfect end-of-night button and it stopped working reliably. You could press the button a number of times and it would not register. Luckily you can still reach power off features by digging through the device settings on the remotes LCD display.

Harmony 700 Remote

Thus began my quest to clean the contact for the “All Off” button.

Tools Used:

  • Precision Phillips Screwdriver
  • Plastic Spudger or Precision Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Q-Tips
  • 91% Alcohol
  • Hair Dryer

If you find that you need a set of precision tools I can recommend the set to the left. I purchased them from Amazon and they were used in all of the photos. Quite affordable too.

Step 1

On the back of the remote is a plastic cover that is hiding two screws. The piece is attached using some very sticky adhesive. To remove the cover we will need to heat the adhesive and then use the spudger tool or flat head screwdriver to pry up the cover. It is highlighted in red in the image.

It comes off fairly easy and the adhesive remains very sticky so that it can be reassembled later.

Harmony Screw Cover
Harmony 700 Remove Back Screws

Step 2

Now that the the screw cover removed, you can now access the six screws holding the back cover on. This is where you will use the precision phillips screwdriver as the screws are quite tiny. They are highlighted in red in the image.

I should also note that I removed the batteries and battery cover.

Step 3

Once the screws are removed you are ready to separate the back cover off of the remote. It is snapped into place. You can use your spudger tool to separate the two halves of the remote. As you run the spudger along the seam between the two pieces you will feel small cutots or notches that can provide leverage to separate the two parts. You can see them highlighted in red in the image.

Harmony Side Spudger Pry Open
Harmony 700 main board screws

Step 4

Moving along, the back cover is now removed and the remotes main board can bee seen.

The top black piece of plastic simply lifts right off. This is highlight in the red rectangles.

There are three silver screws holding the mainboad to the remote. Use your precision phillips screwdriver to remove the three silver screws from the main board. With those removed you can now lift the mainboad off of the keypad below it.

Step 5

Finally, the last step has arrived. In my case, the “All Off” button was the only one that was having issues working. It is the top left most button on the remote which makes it very easy to find.

Using a cotton swab and some alcohol I cleaned the area the below the button and the underside of the button on the keypad. You can see that the cotton swab is a bit dirty in the image.

Once cleaned, reassemble by following the instructions in reverse.

Harmony 700 Cleaning

I hope this may help someone breath new life into their remote. It may be older, but it is still a great device that is more than capable.

Snip & Sketch Tool Crashing

Snip & Sketch Tool Crashing

I recently tried to take a screenshot and noticed that my screenshot tool was no longer working. The default screenshot application on windows is called Snipping Tool. When launached it presents a notice that the application is being replaced by a new and improved version called Snip & Sketch. The keyboard shortcut to launch it is Win Key + Shift + S.

When trying to take a screenshot I had noticed that it would try to launch but then nothing would happen.

A quick Google search led me to the following thread on the Microsoft Support website that has a number of troubleshooting tips. Snip & Sketch Tool Crashes 100% of the time.

Like most support threads on the Microsoft website the thread was filled with the usual boiler plate answers. Examples included Running the System File Checker, Disabling Development Mode using Powershell, and repairing or reinstalling Windows. 

I did not want to go down any of those routes and decided to dig futher. Hopefully this will help prevent someone from having to reinstall Windows for something that might be a simple fix. In my case, a quick peek at the Event Viewer and had helpful information regarding the issue.

event viewer snip & sketch error

Snip & Sketch was logging errors each time it tried to launch.

Faulting application name: ScreenClippingHost.exe, version: 2001.2213.0.130, time stamp: 0x5e868fd1
Faulting module name: aticfx64.dll, version:, time stamp: 0x563a78f4
Exception code: 0xc000041d
Fault offset: 0x0000000000050b1e
Faulting process id: 0x1bdc
Faulting application start time: 0x01d648d7ef92c7b1
Faulting application path: C:\Windows\SystemApps\MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_cw5n1h2txyewy\ScreenClipping\ScreenClippingHost.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\aticfx64.dll
Report Id: aa45274c-73b6-4578-9d5a-3759e47dcbc7
Faulting package full name: MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_120.2202.130.0_x64__cw5n1h2txyewy
Faulting package-relative application ID: ScreenClipping

The faulting module is what lead me to the cause of my issue. aticfx64.dll is part of the ATI video driver. My system is an old HP Pavilion DV7T with switchable graphics. The ATI software can be used to specify which graphics card,integrated Intel HD Graphics or discrete AMD HD 6740M, is used to launch the application. The video card drivers have not been updated by HP or AMD (ATI when the laptop was released). 

hp switchable graphics

Switching the graphic setting to Power Saving would set the Snip & Sketch tool to use the integrated graphics. Snip & Sketch continued to crash even after changing to Power Saving. The error still mentioned the aticfx64.dll faulting module. For some reason the Power Saving setting was not taking effect and the application was still using the discrete card and crashing.

The next step would be to remove the discrete card from the equation.

uninstall device

Using Device Manage I removed the discrete graphics card and also checked the box so that Windows would also remove the device drivers. Even though the card is a 6740M it is labeled as a generic 6700M by the drivers. Once the device and drivers were removed the Snip & Sketch tool began working again.

The only thing left to do was rebooted the laptop which would allow Windows to find the discrete graphics card and reinstall the drivers. I then followed that by inspecting the switchable graphics page to ensure the Power Saving option was set.

Snip & Sketch has been working great since.

Do you folks like coffee?

Do you folks like coffee?

Dethklok – Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle

Songwriters: Brendon Small / Tommy Blacha

Do you folks like coffee?
Real coffee?
From the hills of Colombia.
Then Duncan Hills will wake you
From a thousand Deaths
“A cup of blackened blood”
[Die! Die!]
You’re dying for a cup!
Guatemalan Blend
French Vanilla Roast
[Die! Die!]
You’re dying for a cup!
Prepare for ultimate flavor
You’re gonna get some. Now!
And scream. for your cream!