This page last changed on Apr 07, 2013 by jules_bike.

I've got Openremote running nicely on a Raspberry pi controlling lighting and alarm.

So far I am really impressed, well done to those behind the software!

My next project is to attack all the remotes for the TV/Satellite/DVD/AV Amp
I've already tried a few apps such as IRULE and Demopad and but I miss having physical buttons to press (plus having 4 kids who keep running off with any tablet I leave on the table!)

My ideal scenario would be a basic Universal remote which I could interface to the Openremote console which in turn would output the IR codes (probably via Itach). This means I can give the kids an indestructible remote whilst I can have something running on Android/IOS to turn the volume down etc...I could also set rules for what time they can turn things on.

Just wondering if anyone has tried something similar and if so what remote you would recommend.

I tested irtrans to receive ir commands which I learned from any remote before.
irtrans can then send out a UDP packet which OpenRemote can receive and based on rules trigger other commands.
This works quite well.

Posted by mredeker at Apr 08, 2013 20:02

how does this compare with global cache - I figured their IP2IR product allows me to get IR signals into OR and also output IR for machines that don't have a serial or ip interface?

Posted by jules_bike at Apr 08, 2013 21:59

I guess it's the same. I just don't know them and can't say how to get the IR signal into OR.

Posted by mredeker at Apr 08, 2013 22:03

Interesting, I was just thinking about that the other day, mainly because of some discussion on the HDTV and Home Theater podcast (great podcast for people in A/V in home theaters BTW).
In this episode, they discussed using a tablet as the only remote and the drawbacks when wanting some simple control like volume.

So I thought about using the IRTrans to overcome this, using any "old remote lying around" for the basic functions and triggering appropriate events using OR.

In the GC world, what products were you thinking about ?
On the newer products (iTach and Flex), there is a learner on board. On the older GC-100, you need a GC-IRL module (which by the way could also be used without a GC-100, all it needs is a serial port). I haven't looked yet at using that however.

The product that seemed the most suited for the job, is the GC-IRE, which would not learn but recognize IR signals.

Let me know what you were thinking, and I'll take a closer look and would be happy to help if you want to make this work.

Posted by ebariaux at Apr 09, 2013 10:36

I was very close to going with a solution from RTi before I came across OpenRemote - they have some very high quality remotes which interface with their own software solution, they also have a IOS/Android front end for tablets etc. The main drawback was that it was dealer only.

Otherwise I think a hybrid approach is still preferable - for my lighting I've automated quite a bit but it is still nice that if everything fails I have a physical button to press. In particular it is instantly user friendly and recognisable.

My setup has all the equipment in a server room (AVAMP/Freebox/Humax/Raspberry running OR) so I would want to send commands either from OR or from a remote over IP which the ITachIP2IR would convert back to IR commands for the equipment that is not IP ready. The issue is how to get the IR into OR! I have seen that you can get Wireless Remotes so that may be an option although the local TV would still need a IR signal to turn on.

Posted by jules_bike at Apr 09, 2013 13:00

I would like to add my 2 cents to this interesting discussion.

I have been using an IrTrans like Marcus describes. The drawback (not counting the price ) is the award method for programming/configuring the thing. For every signal you have to fill in IP-Number (does not recognize IP names if IIRC), portnumber, the command that is to be transmitted, all in different pop-ups. If having more than very few signals, this is very tedious and error prone, with no way to perform global changes, or documenting/proofreading the entries e.g. with a print out. The configuration can be saved to the local disc, however, I have had several occasions when this file got damaged, the software just complained "corrupt" with no possibility to fix. The saved file is a sort-of text file, with the command payload as binary, if it contains bytes outside of the printable domain. So generating this file (undocumented format) from a program is probably not a good idea. It is a good example of a unflexible GUI that makes you long for a good old-time configuration file again... Finally, it is UDP only.

For several years, I have therefore planned to replace the IrTrans with a LIRC-based solution. This should consist of a small networked Linux box (Raspberry Pi, Alix,..., possibly the same as OR server) with a LIRC server and receiver. Recall, a receiving LIRC server invokes a file, .lircrc IIRC, thus invoking commands when particular IR signals, present in the lircd.conf file, are received. Invoking netcat or wget (or curl,...), and we have our IR to IP translator. If performance is an issue, netcat, curl, etc can be merged into the the LIRC program, thus eliminating the overhead of firing up programs, in particular if using an OS that is not very good at creating processes (I did not use the word...). Using a Raspberry Pi B and a TSOP-xxxx (e.g. TSOP4838) as receiver we have an IR to IP gate for 50€. So it can be feasible to put one in each room... (I plan to write a more detailed description, sometimes.) It should be explicitly mentioned that it is possible to access the Openremote server API directly. The drawback with this is or course that it has not been intended for this, and may change as soon as you add/remove/modify an element. This drawback can be overcome, at least partially, by generating the .lircrc file automatically, either together with the controller.xml (requires an extension to the designer), or it can be generated from controller.xml, for example by an XSLT-stylesheet.

Yet another solution might be to use either an X10 remote with USB-receiver, or a Bluetooth remote, e.g. the one for the Sony Playstation. I think these have been successfully integrated in the Eventghost project.

Finally, as Eric points out, there are IR-learners and there are "deployment" IR-receivers. Using one instead of the other is in general a bad idea. An IR learner has in general very poor sensitivity for distant remotes.

Posted by barf at Apr 09, 2013 20:26

I did wonder whether a Raspberry pi type solution would work - given that you could possibly use it at the same time as an XMBC platform hooked up to a local tv with an IR receiver on one end. Most modern TV's now have a serial interface which could be used for Power cycle from the Raspberry pi(I've not found a TV which has IP Power cycle).

Personallly I would still need an IR blaster in my server room for IR only hardware, but I guess this could be hooked up to the OR server through a serial port.

Keeping all the intelligence in OR would certainly help keep it tidy and allow for different interfaces depending on the user. I am not sufficiently adept at OR to know how best that could be implemented. The Global cache products are reasonably priced but do add another layer which would need configuring.

I found something on the web that might be good as a starting point -
ir pi receiver

Posted by jules_bike at Apr 09, 2013 21:20

Bengt, very nice input. I would love to convert my never used X10 USB remote to something useful. Eventghost is windows only and my OR controllers are running linux only now. So I think I'll hit the ilrc path. I've found this X10 USB remote example. Very promissing, so I'll follow this path and investigate it a little. From your post I understand that the best method to send commands to openremote is via the Openremote server API. Of course I would like to overcome the drawback you've mentioned and will also try to generate the .lircrc directly from the controller.xml file.

Posted by aktur at Apr 20, 2013 17:50
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