Moved a CC1101 from a board marked receive only to a board marked bad & it suddenly worked in receive & transmit mode. So there was something funky going on with the passives or the soldering on these boards. It might be why some went bad. The chip from the board marked bad might work on another board.
The mane remaneing problem was a long startup time for the transmitter. No matter how fast SPI is driven, there are delays for the AGC's & the frequency synthesizers which the AM system & IR didn't have. The startup time is highly variable. That's why these remote controls can't send out a short pulse & time out. They have to transmit continuously as long as a button is pressed. Of course, even the fastest system still has a minimum latency because the codes go at 10hz.
Power consumption of the ESP8266 in idle mode was enough to fly to the moon.
Pin 15 was some kind of reset & couldn't be used for anything. Pin 2 was the blue LED. Every useful GPIO had to be used.
Noted the UART from the desk sends the LSB 1st. Lions spend most of their time debugging SPI & always expect MSB 1st.
Dropped the STOP button from the remote control since experience showed it was easier to remember to hit a preset button to abort a motion & there weren't enough MHPS2283V buttons.
The controller got a significant upgrade to a narrower form factor & of course a shiny glass bed finish. Noted the detents require lubrication or they'll eventually jam. Noted the large unused space tends to flex, but that space was needed for the battery.