Quartet ECU Systems
Choosing the Right ECU
Tips That Help You Select The Right ECU
An ECU allows you to control your surroundings: open and close doors, answer the phone, turn on electric appliances, watch TV, change the room temperature, turn the pages of a book and much, much more. It puts you in charge.
With the right system, you can gain more independence than you ever thought possible. With the wrong system, however, you could unnecessarily limit yourself.
There are different units available today with a range of features suited to various user abilities. Some may suit your need today. Others may not. Some may be flexible enough to accommodate your future needs. Others may not. When choosing an ECU, you should consider whether a unit can keep up with emerging technologies and with your desire for increasing freedom.
Here are some "shopping tips" you should keep in mind as your look at ECUs. Your occupational therapist can offer valuable guidance during this process and help you feel comfortable with your final decision.
TIP#1: Learn about the manufacturer
Start your decision-making process by "doing your homework." Your ECU dealer should help you answer the following questions about each ECU's manufacturer:
behind each system can help you avoid purchasing an inappropriate ECU.
TIP#2: Find out how you will actually control the ECU
The more options you have--switch, voice, and/or both--the more independence you can gain. Look for the ability to customize or combine the control (input) devices to meet your needs. While a voice activated system can give the most independence, one's voice can become weak by the end of the day, so an ECU that can be controlled by both voice and switch may be very beneficial.
TIP3#: Find out if the ECU is dependent on other equipment
If you are considering an ECU that is operated by computer, be aware that, if the computer "crashes" (stops working), your ECU will "crash", too. If this is a concern to you, look for a "stand-alone" ECU, one that functions independently from your computer.
TIP#4: Examine the ECU's flexibility
Can the system be modified to meet your needs? After you have purchased an ECU unit and you have a new cable television system installed, can control of the cable TV be added as a function right from your own home? Or do you have to send the unit back to the manufacturer, or hook up a computer just to program the ECU to a new cable system or other device?
TIP#5: Consider remote control capabilities
If you choose a system with remote control capabilities, you can move from room to room and operate the system from anywhere in your home--without moving the ECU.
TIP#6: Find out exactly how the ECU is controlled
For example, when you want to turn on the television, can you simply say: "television", or do you need to chase through multiple layers of information? The most contemporary unit can be controlled without confusing visual or text
interfaces, saving your time, frustration, and energy.
TIP #7: Are essential and emergency functions reliable?
Does the ECU control the phone, door opener, or bed with an infrared link? Infrared control will fail for three reasons: physical obstruction of the IR beam, bright sunlight, or smoke in the path of the IR beam. If that happens, you could be left without critical functions at the most important times.
TIP#8: What's built-in?
Look for an ECU that has all functions built-in. One thing you should specifically ask about is whether or not the system conforms to industry-standard power line technology. If it conforms, you won't need lots of extension cords running
throughout the house.
TIP#9: Get all the installation details
Installing a unit for all of your personal needs doesn't have to be difficult. Focus your search on ECUs that offer "plug and play" capabilities. That means the ECU will be easy to install, and it will be easy to move, if necessary.
TIP#10: Make sure your ECU keeps working if there is a power failure
Be sure your ECU, and all it's essential accessories, have a battery back up. If you ever lose power in the house, a battery back up will ensure that you can still make a telephone call in case of an emergency.
TIP#11: Get all the facts on service and support
The key here is to find an ECU that is sold by knowledgeable, well-trained dealers. Asking some of the questions raised in this document will help you determine the quality of the various ECU dealers you may meet. Also ask the dealer for
referrals. And find out each dealer's policies on service and support.