IR Detective Eases Development With Compact Decoding

Hardware development often involves working with things that can’t be directly perceived, which is one reason good development tools are so important. In appreciation of this, [David Johnson-Davies] created the IR Remote Control Detective to simplify working with IR signals. While IR remote controls are commonplace, there are a number of different protocols and encoding methods in use across different brands. The IR Detective takes care of all of that with three main components, none of which are particularly expensive. To use the decoder, one simply points an IR remote at the unit and presses one of the buttons. The IR Detective will identify the protocol, decode the signal, and display the address and command related to the key that was pressed. The unit doesn’t consist of much more than an ATtiny85 microcontroller, a small OLED display, and an IR receiver unit. The IR receiver used is intended for a 38 kHz carrier, but such receivers can and do respond to signals outside this frequency, although they do so at a reduced range.

As a result, not only is the unit useful for decoding IR or verifying that correct signals are being generated, but the small size and low cost means it could easily be used as a general purpose receiver to add IR remote control to other devices. It’s also halfway to bridging IR to something else, like this WiFi-IR bridge which not only interfaces to legacy hardware, but does it across WiFi to boot.

Lamp Fading And Remote Control For The Lazy

[Dmitry Grinberg] has to walk all the way across his bedroom to switch the lamp on and off. The drudgery of this finally became too much, so he built a remote control and added dimming for good measure. Above you can see the circuitry for the remote and the receiver, as well as the finished remote housed in what he calls a ‘Chinese Altoids tin’.

After the break you’ll find [Dmitry’s] demo video. The remote control is quite responsive, and the dimming has great resolution. That’s thanks to a power N-channel MOSFET which switches the AC with the help of a full wave rectifier. The PIC 12F617 that controls the MOSFET is powered separately, and [Dmitry] mentions that you must use a transformer and not a switch-mode power supply to avoid a fire. We’d like to know more about this, so leave a comment if you are able to explain further.

The remote and receiver communicate via Infrared. The protocol is operating with 38 kHz signals using an easily sourced receiver tuned to that frequency. [Dmitry] shares all the details about the encoding scheme that he uses. Recreating this communications pairing is a great way to test your understanding of this technique. But if you need a refresher, here’s a tutorial to push you in the right direction. Continue reading “Lamp Fading And Remote Control For The Lazy”