Amazon, TV remotes and DIY

Actually, as this is a DIY forum, perhaps one should attempt to tackle a homebrew device to replace all the remote controllers, TV, Freeview PVR, Freesat PVR and Tosh VHS/DVD PVR in one control box?
Assuming one could get hold of all the IR protocols.
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On 03/07/2019 16:44, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs Computer wrote:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Universal-Arduino-Remote/
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wrote:

Am I the only one that finds that the amazon descriptions are much worse than you usually get with ebay.
This one doesn’t have a very clear description of exactly what it does, let alone even show you what the labelling of the buttons is like when you are using the replacement remote.
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Doesn’t do a damned thing about the fundamental problem with all remotes, having the same labels on the buttons as were on the original remote.
Even say a smartphone which has the IR capability built in so the app can have correctly labelled buttons on the screen isnt really viable either because none of the screens are big enough to get all the buttons on it which are big enough to tap on with a touch screen. It isnt viable to have them the same size as on the original remote because they can't be a closely spaced and still be useable on a touch screen.
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On Wed, 03 Jul 2019 16:44:28 +0100, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs Computer wrote:

There is a Linux project my fanbois brother suggested a while back ...
http://www.lirc.org/
I had a shufty ages ago when I "acquired" a USB IR receiver for use with a Powerpoint PC.
The problem was the remote (which I finally replaced via a man+dog operation on eBay) was a never-heard-of-before-or-since brand, and the codes weren't shared by other remotes and I couldn't get LIRC to read the ****ing thing.
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On 03/07/2019 16:44, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs Computer wrote:

It is possible but you have to train the unusual protocols in and live with the buttons not saying the same on them as on the real controller. Quite a few generic ones will do a vast range of kit a few have a learn a new controller mode if you can be bothered setting it up.
I never found one that would work the VH Karaoke machine. Fortunately a few years later it turned up in the bottom of a box of bunting.
It can be very confusing though as many modern Toshiba and Panasonic sets are badged and no longer respond to Toshiba/Panasonic controllers!
https://www.engadget.com/2015/01/30/the-next-toshiba-tv-you-see-will-be-made-by-a-different-compan/
https://www.avforums.com/threads/how-to-tell-if-your-tvs-a-vestel.2019864/
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
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On Wed, 3 Jul 2019 17:11:30 +0100

Implement it on a smartphone or tablet and you can have an image of the actual controller.
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wrote:

Trouble is that the buttons on a real control are much smaller than is viable on a touch screen because on the touch screen you don't have the raised physical button.
Really needs a full redesign of the buttons and better labels and to spread the buttons over more than just the single touch screen to get the best result with all but the simplest physical remotes.
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On 06/07/2019 22:07, Rob Morley wrote:

Way back around 2001, we had an HP Ipaq with a GPS receiver sleeve (it cost around a £900 IIRC. One of the apps on it was a remote control (Nevo I think), which could be set up for whatever you needed.
I have often thought that it is a great pity that mobile phones dropped the IR transmitter. There is so much that you could use that for.
SteveW
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On Sat, 6 Jul 2019 22:40:25 +0100

I have a slightly newer one that has the GPS built in - great little devices for the time.

You can get USB or Bluetooth IR transmitters to use with phones that don't have IR built in (a few still do, I think).
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On 07/07/2019 09:12, Rob Morley wrote:

Yes. I've seen them, but the USB ones don't seem a good idea. They'd end up on the wrong end of most phones, stick out enough to get damaged or cause damage to the phone if left in and will add wear to the socket as they have to be taken out for charging the phone each day - my son has already had two phones fail from the extra stress of using them on the bus while connected via a cable to a powerbank.
Bluetooth gets around that, but would require them dotted all over the place (we'd need a eight dotted around for various TVs, hi-fi, sound systems, etc. and, in two cases, probably two in the same room. Not all would be easy to position where they would work well. Anyway, I'm not sure how well a phone would cope with 8 different bluetooth IR devices, all in range at the same time - and if it can, how you'd avoid operating two devices of the same make and model in different rooms at the same time? Can more than one phone be connected to the same bluetooth device at the same time, as there'd be five phones in the house at once?
The point and shoot ability of a phone with IR at the right end would be so much simpler. I presume they took them out to save space, as I would have thought them something that so many people would find useful these days.
The better option is probably wi-fi to IR devices. Much more likely to accept multiple phones at once and to be able to direct control for a specific device to only that IR blaster. I don't know whether that is the case or not, so I'll have to look into it.
SteveW
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On Wed, 3 Jul 2019 16:44:28 +0100, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs

My Logitech universal remote controls the TV, PVR, DVD and hifi, with scope for more. (DIY insofar as it needs connecting to the Logitech website to be configured and for mapping buttons.)
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On 03/07/2019 20:56, Peter Johnson wrote:

Sounds interesting
What model number?
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On 03/07/2019 21:10, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs Computer wrote:

The Harmony 650 does 5 devices I think. The 665 does 10.
The 650 is discontinued, but widely available. The 665 costs little more.
At the more expensive end is the Harmony Elite which I think uses your wifi and comes with a hub for siting near your devices and can connect to Alexa.
I have the older 600 and it is beginning to give up now, but was used for many years and does still work.
It has become less important for me, because CEC has taken over the job of turning the TV on and off with the boxes and selecting the right input and now we only normally use one box plus the Blue-ray player, so two remotes is no real hardship. The 600 has been relegated to operating the hi-fi separates for some time.
SteveW
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On Wed, 3 Jul 2019 21:10:26 +0100, Gareth's was W7 now W10 Downstairs

Mine's an Ultimate One - doesn't look as though it's still available but they do several: https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/harmony-universal-remotes (As do other makers.)
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On 05/07/2019 20:01, Peter Johnson wrote:

Thanks, I previously googled for them but at £200+ I'll stick with separates.
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On 03/07/2019 20:56, Peter Johnson wrote:

They don't mention it now (in fact I don't know if they even offer it now), but there is also a stand-alone set up program. I've not used it for some time now, but at the time, there were some things that it did that you could not do on the website and vice-versa. They have probably improved the website by now though.
SteveW
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On Wed, 3 Jul 2019 21:43:01 +0100, Steve Walker

The stand-alone app hasn't been available for several years.
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wrote:

There's nothing "clever" about the IR signals that control your TV (or whatever)
All they are are a binary code transmitted at some specific frequency or combination of frequencies
Any IR transmitter is going to be capable of morphing the signals required by any TV (etc)
the hard part here is in creating a user friendly way for the remote to learn what the codes are (and assigning that code to a specific button)
and that's where these products fail.
tim
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