View Full Version : Questions about infrared ports and USB infrared dongles

October 8th, 2008, 11:27 PM

I am excited about the possibilities that Girder opens up. However, I am wondering whether I can use Girder with my current hardware or whether I need to buy something like the USB-URIT.

At the moment, I send data between my laptop, PC and Pocket PC via infrared. The laptop and Pocket PC have built-in IR ports and the PC has a USB IR dongle (see picture attached).

Can the IR ports on the laptop and PC receive IR signals from household remote controls? Can I use Girder and my current harware to control my laptop and PC with a household remote control and Pocket PC? Or do I need to buy a more powerful IR transmitter/receiver?

If it is possible to use what I have, how to I setup these devices in Girder?

Grateful for any advice

Rob H
October 9th, 2008, 03:30 AM
Unfortunately, it's exceedingly unlikely that this will work. Almost all such devices use IrDA rather than Consumer IR.

October 10th, 2008, 04:50 AM
Thanks Rob.

You are right. I found this info on PC Remote Control website:

"It is very common to think that the 'infrared port' of your PC can be used together with an infrared remote control. Afterall, both use infrared light, right? Unfortunately, that's not true. It is not useful for remote control.

The problem is that such port follows a standard called IrDA. This standard has little in common with the one used in a regular remote control handset. Whereas in IrDA data is sent directly by means of short length light pulses, in a remote control the information is modulated with light bursts at a carrier frequency of several kiloHertzs.

If the above isn't enough, IrDA uses a bunch of protocol layers that allow the creation and maintenance of the bidirectional data link between devices. On the other hand, a remote control sends a specific sequence of bits representing a command, therefore the receiver only needs to decide what action corresponds to that command."

So, looks like I will need to buy/make some additional hardware.

October 10th, 2008, 07:12 AM
So, looks like I will need to buy/make some additional hardware.
But the question is still live!
What kind of hardware should it be?

October 11th, 2008, 12:22 AM
I'm going to try building a simple serial port infrared receiver such as the one listed as Lirc here: lnx . manoweb . com. With that one, at least I will be able to control DVDs, music and Powerpoint on the computer via remote control. Won't be able to have the computer control other devices though because it doesn't have a transmitter circuit.

October 13th, 2008, 04:09 AM
While I was out shopping for parts to make my own infrared receiver, I came across this purpose built remote control for controlling a Windows computer (see attachment) which includes a USB IR receiver (no driver installation required). The big round button allows you to control the mouse pointer and the "L" and the "R" are the left and right mouse buttons. The four colored buttons at the top can be programed to open any application you like. The other buttons are pretty much self explanatory.

This device allows you to sit at a distance from your computer and do anything you normally can do with a mouse. You can even click the Numlock button and type numbers. If you need to type letters, you have to open Windows' On-Screen Keyboard (Start>Programs>Accessories>Accessability>On-Screen Keyboard).

With the remote control you can play DVDs or music (play, stop, pause, next track, volume, mute, etc.) and control a PowerPoint presentation or photo viewing program. Oh, and you can also turn off the computer with the red button that says Power.

A handy addition to any PC.