Author Topic: IR help request  (Read 1281 times)


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IR help request
« on: January 04, 2014, 08:05:07 AM »
Why is infrared control so difficult? I have been involved in the home automation game since the early 80's starting with x10 controls from Radio Shack. I have spent thousands on universal remotes and HA hardware and software. I have used the pyramid repeaters, battery transmitters, TCP/IP and multiple hard wired solutions, and nothing, to date, has worked well enough for me not to try the next false promise coming into the market. It's a flashing light for Christ sake.

The only solution that has worked with reasonable consistency is using a phone or tablet to control a/v gear. The frustration with that solution is a lack of physical buttons and fat fingers can put the system into a tail spin when the wife tries to use the system. If you look at any of the home automation discussion board you see most of the communities complaining of the same thing. These smart people are all having the same issue.

My components are spread around the house. The living room has a TV, Receiver and DVD player. The theater has a cable box, HDMI matrix, Projector, Logitech Review, Roku, and Receiver ( I made a horrible mistake and have the same receivers in both the theater and living room). The bedroom has a TV. All rooms are fed a/v from the HDMI matrix in the theater.

I have been thinking about this long enough that I think I know what I want to see in a IR control system.

Use cheap universal remotes
Addressable (hard wire), IR transceivers, mesh based to overcome distance limitations. Transceivers should have 3.5mm plug in and outputs and be low power enough to be run by battery or USB power, capable of being ceiling or cabinet mounted.
The ability to control via TCP/IP to allow the system to be accessed by most HA controls. It could also act as a programmable router to eliminate collision issues if one has multiples of the same equipment (receivers or TVs)
If I am really reaching for the stars it could also have a current detector that could tell is there is an increase in the power cord current and resend the signal if there is not a change.  Current detection could be used else ware in a HA system like detecting if the washer or dryer ended and pause the cable box or shut off sound.
Here is that point that may make you laugh. I would like to see it hit a retail price point of around $30-40 for the transceivers (one for each room)  and around $50-70 for the router (one for the primary cabinet).
 I am looking for some help to develop this system. I have looked at Zigbee and it would be too expensive to implement. Zwave is closed source for the most part and you have to be a member. WiFi also seems too expensive. Ethernet along with Arduino would require wires. I have been looking at Jeelabs and RFduino and Moteino. The Motino paired with Raspberry Pi set up as the router seems to be the best possible way to achieve my goal.  When I saw Lowpower Lab was based in Michigan, I was over joyed. My 9-5 job is growing Michigan businesses for the MEDC (

I am pretty good from a hardware perspective, writing software is where my skills fail. I am looking for a solution in what ever form that takes. If someone from this group wants to take the idea and run with It. I will be your first customer. I will help and be the crash test dummy for all the beta testing. If you want to make a business out of it I can help with funding. I am very well networked into those communities. I can also provide introductions to manufacturing partners in South East Michigan for board manufacturing, component stuffing and injection molding for cases. I would also be willing to put my own money into the business based off from a working prototype. I have been in this hobby long enough and spent enough hours researching to know that this could be a successful venture if implemented correctly. If anyone is interested in taking on this challenge feel free to contact me through Pm or at michigansand at 


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Re: IR help request
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 08:35:18 AM »
This does not solve all problems, but a neat remote extender that uses radio is;

Next Generation Remote Control Extender

I have been using this since 2008 to beam IR to my DirecTV receiver and surround reciever both installed in a different room from my plasma monitor.

I am very new Moteino, but have done an IR repeater using Arduino in the past.  Actually - I think I used more AVR than Arduino.  Seems like this concept would work really well.

Another thing to be aware of is that newer equipment with HDMI have a pass-through system that brings the IR commands through HDMI.  It can work really well.