Arduino Compatible IR Blaster Keeps TVs At Bay

The TV-B-Gone is a well known piece of kit in hacker circles: just point it at a noisy TV in a public space, hit the button, and one of the hundreds of IR remote codes for “Power Off” that it blinks out in rapid succession is more than likely to get the intended response. Unfortunately, while a neat conversation starter, its practical use is limited to a single function. But not so with this programmable IR development board that creator [Djordje Mandic] describes as a “TV-B-Gone on steroids”.

Sure you can point it at a random TV and turn it off with a single button press, but you can also plug the board into your computer and control it directly through the serial connection provided by its CP2104 chip. Using a simple plain-text control protocol, the user can modify the behavior of the device and monitor its status. [Djordje] imagines this feature being used in conjunction with a smartphone application for covert applications. To that end, the device’s support for an onboard battery should keep it from draining the phone during extended operations.

Of course you could do something else entirely with it simply by firing up the Arduino IDE and writing some new code for the device’s ATmega328P microcontroller. As with the IR-enabled ESP8266 development board we looked at a few months ago, there are plenty of applications for an all-in-one board that allows you to communicate with the wide world of IR devices.

39 thoughts on “Arduino Compatible IR Blaster Keeps TVs At Bay

    1. I made this in first place as a challenge to test my skills in circuit design. Now the firmware can be written by anyone to suit their needs. If you wish you can scan the IR signal with cheap logic analyzer and just add it to code base in existing firmware or write your own.

      I don’t know what am i gonna do in future. I have parts for few boards to assemble and probably won’t order more. If i get rid of few boards and start seeing pull requests on github i will probably release the EasyEDA project to public.

      I can imagine that if this board lives there will be a lot of different firmwares for it. Flexibility is quite high expect for I2C.

    1. You’re free to use whatever you want, but the creator wrote the documentation for the Arduino IDE. Seems crass to insult the work he’s done because of your own software preferences.

    2. The IDE is the fastest and easiest way to work with the Arduino framework. And the best way to use it isn’t to actually code in it, ideally you make reusable libs and only a few hundred lines at most of app specific code.

  1. In theory you could create a truly universal remote control that essentially uses the TV-B-Gone’s technique of sending every combination for a certain button and applies it to every button on a remote control. Perhaps using a rough device select to avoid unintended functionality, say, TV, Sat, Hifi, DVD, LED lighting, etc. And have the ability to select more than one device at a time. No more programming universal remotes, just click and go. Maybe add a light sensor to detect an off on state change in the device and then it could zero in on the required code by windowing a section of the list and making the window smaller and learn automatically. Maybe even add an IR transistor too so it can copy remotes.

  2. I can only hope that one day people who used the TV-B-Gone own a business one day. Like a bar or something like that with TV’s all around. Then some yanker walks in and uses it on them. Then they will realize just how STUPID this sort of thing really is.

    1. I’d replace the word “STUPID” with the word “RUDE”, but otherwise I agree.

      If people think the bar/restaurant/etc is too loud, they should go somewhere else.

    2. Is that a real concern? How often are TVBGs really used? (And wouldn’t the bar have remotes for their TVs? Salmonella in the lettuce and bartenders selling top shelf booze, charging for bottom tier and pocketing the difference seems like bigger problems.)

    3. This specific firmware. Yeah. It’s useless and i only wrote it to test my knowledge.

      The board is completely different thing unrelated to TV-B-Gone.

      For example i could imagine right now a firmware that could benefit businesses.

      Some people have a lot of different devices, that means a lot of different remotes and etc. Someone could write a firmware for managing devices in big business or small restaurants / bars. Sequence of codes could be programmed for example to switch to soccer match or back to regular music or something… USB control comes handy here because in most bar’s there is TV in plain sight from cashier and his pc. PC app could be written to switch channels all day at specific time or a single keyboard shortcut to mute everything for a moment and etc…

      Possibilities are only limited by board design and imagination.

      1. I can invision ulternate uses for this board. Can I order one for my own personal experimentation? It’d be a resource saver not to have to replicate work that you’ve already done.

    4. TBG is mostly useful in captive audience situations where TVs are blaring garbage such as Fox News and visitors have no choice but wait for their number to be called. I’d find a different practitioner, but not everyone has that liberty.

  3. I searched anywhere but I couldn’t find the datasheet for my wife. Still after years of reverse engineering, pen-tests, DoS, and so on, I wasn’t able to found the mute button or similar apparatus that could act as a “TV-B-Gone”.
    I’ve plenty of hackers things in my lab that could be called “Wife-B-Gone” for most women on this planet, but mine’s protocol seems to secure and robust … and she stills loves my (as I do).
    That why, in the end, I would prefer a “Wife-B-Back” apparatus for the times I miss her ;)

  4. I interpret Cyna’s comment as: You may also choose to use some other IDE besides the aforementioned IDE, which I deem less than favorable.

    I think if he’d said “you also could” it would have been more clear.

  5. This reminds me of an old colleague of mine who was bothered by his trash upstairs neighbours and their deafening level of TV volume.
    He created a low power wideband UHF jammer that was modulated by the signal from a built in microphone.
    He attached it to his ceiling and the neighbours quickly found that the only way they could get an interference-free picture was to keep the volume down.
    He only switched it on when he was home so the neighbours had no luck when they got the repairman out multiple times to look at the problem.

  6. I finally got my hands on two pirate remotes that were free once from a german nerd shop.

    They are really cool, since you can scan the right tv set with a button and you can see if you found the right one if the volume changes. I use it often and have it as a keychain. Thought about replicating it, but I am rather waiting for the flipper zero to implement it.

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