Girard Awnings Remote Control

Simple function. Bad user interface design.

I am referring to the Girard Awning Remote Control. Specifically the remote known as part number 98GC1029. This is what it looks like:

Documentation?

Let me back up for a minute. Why was I suddenly so keenly interested in this particular remote?

Because it would not open both awnings. Only the awning up front.

The reason was simple enough. I could visually see only one red LED on the remote when pressing the “OUT” button. As this remote is a 5-channel remote, it does have the ability to send a signal out to all the channels or just one of the five.

Judging by the single red LED, the remote was sending the signal out to only one awning. Consequently, only that one awning would deploy. I must have pressed something on the remote to switch it to a single channel mode.

How to get the remote to send a signal out to all of our awnings? That was the question. Looking at the remote, it is not obvious what key you might need to press to select a channel. The up arrow with the helpful label “IN” retracts an awning on the designated channel or channels. The down arrow, labelled “OUT” will deploy the awning on the designated channel or channels. And the unlabelled icon that looks like a lightbulb about to explode will turn the awning lights on or off.

That last icon, the circle with an arrowhead, I wonder what it does?

Yes indeed. It changes the channels!

Pressing it will select a channel. You can visually confirm the channel by looking at the red LED on the remote. There are no numbers beside the LEDs and nothing to tell you why you should care about the lights. The function of the lights are not obvious unless you are a Girard engineer. In practice, you might not know your remote is the problem if you don’t happen to look at the lights when pressing the “OUT” button.

Keep pressing the circle with the arrowhead button until you reach a point where pressing it lights up all five of the LEDs on the remote. At that point, all of the awnings will respond to the remote control.

This remote has been around for at least ten years or more. What would it take, I wonder, to produce a remote with a clear function labelled “SELECT AWNING”. Or a remote with a legend on the back. And possibly a section on the website with a handy little tutorial on how to use the unintelligible icons and LED lights on Girard remotes.

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