The INFRA-NINJA — A PC Remote Receiver

F3GULGEHTOUJI73.MEDIUM

Laziness sometimes spawns the greatest inventions. Making things to reduce effort on your part is quite possibly one of the greatest motivators out there. So when [Kyle] had to get out of bed in order to turn off Netflix on his computer… He decided to do something about it.

He already had an Apple remote, which we have to admit, is a nice, simple and elegant control stick — so he decided  to interface with it in order to control his non-Apple computer. He quickly made up a simple PCB up using the good ‘ol toner transfer method, and then populated it with a Bareduino, a CP2102 USB 2.0 to TTL UART 6PIN Serial Converter, an IR receiver, a USB jack, header pins, and a few LED and tactile switches.

It’s a bit tricky to upload the code (you have to remove the jumper block) but then it’s just a matter of connecting to it and transferring it over with the Arduino IDE. The Instructable is a bit short, but [Kyle] promises if you’re really interested he’ll help out with any questions you might have!

Comments

  1. Qa says:

    Nice! Partly related question : has anyone seen plans for a small battery powered IR adapter? It would take input from your favorite remote (or phone with IR like recent Samsung galaxy phones) and output IR user set IR signals for some home device. You’d also need a way to record the IR codes for the target device. I know there are learnable multi remotes already of course. But with this idea ANY remote, with the design you like, could be used.

  2. Veyo Exxon says:

    So the world goes around and the old ideas return. Some 15+ years ago IrMan was the solution for this: a relatively simple receiver plugged to serial port and the rest was then scripting.

    • AP² says:

      Yeah, that was in fact one my earlier projects: a TSOP-something plus a couple of simple components and a serial port connector in a free-form circuit. It worked fine with LIRC.

      Unfortunately nowadays most computers don’t have serial ports, so you need to emulate them using a µC.

      • cr0sh says:

        I’m beginning to wonder if most don’t, because they don’t bring the pins out to the back of the machine?

        I’ve been doing some motherboard window shopping (my main workstation is getting long in the tooth), and everything I have seen so far (I haven’t looked at everything, though – especially not the real “high end of wallet” stuff) seems to always have at least a serial port, and sometimes a parallel port, too!

        Even on the ones that don’t have it on the main rear panel, there is generally a header for it. For the parallel port, that seems much more rare today. One thing I have noticed is that on the mobos that do have ps/2 ports, those ports are now “combined” into a single port (like laptops used to be) – you can plug in a keyboard, or a mouse (and maybe both, if you have one of those old ps/2 laptop y-cables laying around!). The port is even split-colorized (half green, half purple)…

        I would imagine that LIRC would work with a virtual serial port – so all you would need would be some kind of serial-to-USB adaptor cable…

      • Eirinn says:

        I haven’t seen a computer yet (that’s not a mac) that doesn’t have a serial port :)

        • Are you talking about a DE-9 male connector somewhere on the motherboard? Those things are rare in modern motherboards, and parallel ports doubly so.

          It really kind of sucks, because USB->Serial adapters are really hit and miss, but real serial is pretty much required if you’re doing anything with ancient hardware (or even new, $10,000 CNC machines).

        • Are you talking about a DE-9 male connector somewhere on the motherboard? Those things are rare in modern motherboards, and parallel ports doubly so.

          It really kind of sucks, because USB->Serial adapters are really hit and miss, but real serial is pretty much required if you’re doing anything with ancient hardware (or even new, $10,000 CNC machines).

          • MikrySoft says:

            It’s not that hard to find a motherboard with RS232 at least as a header somewhere. Installing DE-9 on a piece of ribbon somewhere on the case is trivial.

  3. incognito says:

    the toner transfer tutorial (TTT) on the linked page is 404. Frowny.

  4. Shakipu says:

    Apple remote ? Use a wireless mouse, you punk!

  5. sn says:

    Ever heard of LIRC? (if USB is a must: using FT232 should work, additional components required: a few caps, and the IR receiver…, see, e.g., http://www.huitsing.nl/irftdi)

    I begin to feel sick, whenever I see projects using *duino for jobs, which are a) solved a long time ago, and b) much simpler without it. But on the other hand, building something new from scratch provides insight, is fun, etc…. but, as I said, it sometimes seems unnecessary…

    • Eirinn says:

      “b) much simpler without it.”, the arduino removes the entry barrier. For many people, NOT using an arduino is NOT an option :)

    • Jerry says:

      If you’re going to feel sick every time someone doesn’t do things the exact best way, or even worse, the way that you would do it, then expect to feel sick a lot.

      For those of us without your vast knowledge, getting something done with what we do know works just fine thanks.

      If you are doing a one-off to solve a problem, what difference does using an arduino (or ) make? A couple of dollars? An extra 15 minutes in soldering? I’ve set up lirc in the past – during some of those times, I seriously thought it might be easier to write some custom code from scratch.

      Sure if you are mass producing a widget, spend a bunch of time wringing every last cent out of the design. But in this case? It really doesn’t matter.

      How about some kudos for him for buying one of the many off the shelf solutions as well as for documenting his experience? Or at least some constructive criticism instead of your belly-aching that it isn’t perfect.

  6. Brian from Denmark says:

    The jumper thing for programing is only because he did not bring the DTR-signal down from the cp2102 board. I do this on my breadbord arduinos with great succes.

  7. dohzer says:

    Seems like a waste of toner. Looks like veroboard would have sufficed.

  8. Paul Kastner says:

    I still use Girder, a Packard Bell serial IR receiver, and an old TV remote to accomplish the same thing.

  9. Dan T says:

    I admire the workmanship here, but you can buy a USB-IR receiver designed for the Apple Remote (the Manta TR1) for about the price of the Bareduino.

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