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# ir signal generator

#### stevesxm

##### New Member
hello troops,
i am a long retired ME and well out of my area of expertise and need some help, please. i need a device that acts like a typical ir remote control to control a bunch of devices simultaneously. in an simple on/off sense. i believe i can program all the devices on the same frequency so i only need a single/dual freq device... now... i know i can simply take the existing remote and make a device that pushes the button and on the face of it that seems simple enough but for a variety of reasons i need something more reliable and elegant that that.... so the question for you guys that actually know about this stuff.... is that something i can buy off the shelf ? a programmable ir signal generator ? or failing that, how much would something like that cost to build? OR could i hardwire the remote's circuit board membrane switch to a relay or something ?

when and if you answer... remember you are talking to an old mechanical guy.... so pretend you are explaining it to your 11 year old...

#### For The Popcorn

##### Active Member
I suggested a simple test to see if one remote can control multiple boxes, because that's exactly what you are asking for. It's a test that will take five minutes.

Several people have stated very clearly that RF devices don't need external antennas. I have Bluetooth remotes that don't have external antennas (FYI – Bluetooth is RF) and dozens of wifi devices that don't have external antennas. Yet, you're still on that the remotes can't be RF because they don't have antennas. "Pairing" is a trait of RF devices, and rare or nonexistent in IR devices.

It's not the people trying to help that "just don't get it". Try the test I suggested. Post a picture of the remote somebody asked for.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
well... not doomed. i made my career doing things no one had done before and , like everything, its just a matter of learning and finding how the elemental and fundamentals and extrapolating from there.... thats where you guys come in... electronics were not my field. if i needed an electronic component i called up the electroic guys and said " how do i do this "? and they would tell me or provide it. for the rest.... maybe i simply haven't been clear...

Already explained - use a PIC, Arduino, or other microcontroller - you 'just' have to write the software to do what you want. As it's RF, it's probably going to be a LOT more difficult though. Attempting to do it just in hardware would be extremely difficult, and require huge numbers of chips - no one would even consider doing so for such a project.

You could even consider an ESP32 (micro-controller), which (as well as WiFi capable) is BlueTooth capable - assuming that your remote uses BlueTooth?, and that if it does it's compatible with the ESP32.

1) the remotes are clearly RF because it says so right on them. having said that they also have an IR capability.... its a dif remote but im holding it in my hand so i know that true.

2) the remotes don't have the antenna... the device it controls does ... at least in all the hundred cases i done before this.... and that what caught me out on THESE devices... they are RF because the remote says so but the device has no antenna.

Again the devices don't either, or at least they 'do' - but they are internal and not visible (and usually just a PCB track).

If the device has an aerial, it's most probably a WiFi aerial for connecting to your WiFi and streaming on-line.

3) i already know i can do this with the std remotes i have... thats not the object of the game or the question. the object of the game and the question is " how do i make or buy a device that SIMULATES the remote so i don't have to use the remotes themselves. " i need something more reliable, not battery powered and stand alone.

As I said initially, IR is easy - RF is likely to be far more difficult - but in either case, you need to learn programming microcontrollers first.

#### stevesxm

i don't know anything about cell phones. mine is still a flip phone.... but every dish box i have that uses rf has a little 6" whip antenna on the back of it. the new hopper master unit has the same whip and a a remote that looks identical to all others. that master unit can drive slave units called joeys. they have no antenna and are, apparently rf as well as are the duo and wally's. i think they did two things... they buried the antenna inside and increased the output power because before the rf was very short range and now they say its 200 feet. but again... not my problem. my problem is to buy or create a rf sgnal generator that i can somehow program the code into. i may be naive but i can't believe its rocket science. we aren't talking about beaming readio freq to the moon. we are talking about duplicating a remote control that they sell for 21 $.... it can't be that complex. especially for knowledgeable people.... like you guys. and im not being facetious. for me , with no formal training.... when i graduated we were still programming fortan with punch cards.... its all magic. for you guys its like breathing. how about this..... we know that all the correct circuits and codes exist in the oem remote. the signal i need comes from one single button push... which is a membrane switch on a board. correct me if im wrong but when that button gets pushed it completes a circuit either to ground or to voltage... so why can't i just get a power supply to eliminate the batteries and hard wire the membrane switch to a relay and a timer ? why re-invent the wheel ? or am i missing something ? Last edited: #### danadak ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member An network made out of esp8266's. Mesh Network : Regards, Dana. #### stevesxm ##### New Member An network made out of esp8266's. Mesh Network : Regards, Dana. i see what this is , but how do you see it helping me ? i guess i don't understand where it fits into the solution. #### Les Jones ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member I am not clear on EXACTLY what you require. I THINK you want ONE transmitter device with two buttons. One for on and one for off. On pressing the on button ALL the receiver devices will turn on. On pressing the off button ALL the receiver devices will turn off. Is this understanding correct ? How many receiver units will be in your system ? Les. #### rjenkinsgb ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member why can't i just get a power supply to eliminate the batteries and hard wire the membrane switch to a relay and a timer ? You can, that is easy, and from what I can see it's by far the simplest solution. For info, building an RF remote from scratch is vastly more difficult than with an IR remote. (With IR, all you need in essence is a IR detector & capture the signal that comes out using a small MCU, then replay that to an IR LED to duplicate it). For RF, you need to know the exact frequency, then the modulation type, then get a suitable receiver and look at the output on an oscilloscope to figure out the data content - assuming it's a one-way system. If it's using one of the common RF protocols such as Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee etc. (which is implied by the remote having to be linked to a unit) then both the remote and the device being controlled are two-way (transmit and receive), with cross-checking and handshaking to confirm each transmission is received correctly. It's by no means impossible to duplicate such a device, but it's orders of magnitude more complex than with IR. #### stevesxm ##### New Member there are as many as few as 12 and as many as 24. assume, for the same of this discussion, that they all react to the same code. when they update, they turn themselves off but then come back on BUT they are on a screen saver... not the channel. they require a single " ok " signal from the remote to tell the box to get off the screen saver and start displaying the channel again... so its only 1 button and one code. its possible that all the boxes might not react at the same time so there would have to be a programmable timer that tells the " remote" to pulse that code every few seconds for , maybe 10 minutes. #### Nigel Goodwin ##### Super Moderator Most Helpful Member how about this..... we know that all the correct circuits and codes exist in the oem remote. the signal i need comes from one single button push... which is a membrane switch on a board. correct me if im wrong but when that button gets pushed it completes a circuit either to ground or to voltage... so why can't i just get a power supply to eliminate the batteries and hard wire the membrane switch to a relay and a timer ? why re-invent the wheel ? or am i missing something ? Going back to your original post: but for a variety of reasons i need something more reliable and elegant than that.... Which is why no one has suggested doing it that way. #### danadak ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member i see what this is , but how do you see it helping me ? i guess i don't understand where it fits into the solution. An esp8266 is a RF module that with the links I showed indicate ease which one can easily transmit a message to multiple esp8266 remotes. But I think your experience level would be a challenge, even though one of these projects can be prototyped in ~ 15 minutes working one to one, and using a web published project from one to many. You can buy ESP8266 modules with relays on them for this purpose. But if electronics is a foreign language for you I would just keep shopping around until you find someone that has done this on a product based solution. To see whats involved : Regards, Dana. Rehards, Dana. #### For The Popcorn ##### Active Member But you still haven't done (or even acknowledged) my suggested test to see if ONE REMOTE can pair to multiple boxes. This was fully explained in post #17. #### DrDoggy2 ##### Member The 200m range and antennas spoken about is how the signal get in from the dish... the dish feeds the main box on coax or lan or whatever, then the main box relays tv signals to the slave boxes via antenna. This is seperate from the small remote uhf antenna inside the remote. And the problem we have here is that lots of ppl have decoded IR so there is lots of help and decoders available, RF is still new and limited to tvs, so we wont find any resources out there, and you will need to design this thing from scratch. Also the power instruction is the same for all devices, but because with RF locked to each box we also need to send the device code in that instruction aswell, which is different for each box. I dont think its wifi or bluetooth, and i assume comm is only one way, just based on the way i have seen them pair, and I have not seen any suggestion that remote receives any information, but i could be wrong about any of that and remotes could potentially also have receivers too for 2-way communication and more advanced handshakes. The remote has a universal pair instruction which tells all tvs in range to go to pair mode, you then enter the code shown on the specific tv, and that is what locks the remote. I honestly would enjoy to see you pick up this operation but it will start at just building a UHF receiver, to see what kind of rf is being spit out. then you can demodulate, i suspect and hopefully it is just FM, but could easially be QAM, or alien-eese, so read up on digital FM! and build a receiver from there. After you get the demodulator working you can then read the bytes encoded in the signal and will then need to scan each remote for that device & power instruction, in addition if ever a remote is replaced/repaired you will need to reprogram that code in the main controller too. From there we will have enough data to build a proper transmitter. Personally I dropped out of the last chapter of a 2 yr EE course when they started talking about audio & RF circuits or any word that has Q, dB or pi in it. For you to take on this project it will cost you a few hundred dollars in equipment and about 2-4years @ 40 hrs/wk. as a fast learner. To hire a team to do this for you will be in the 10's of thousands of$ range.

Anyway for simpilicty and cost effectiveness your origional idea of wireing in a relay is the way to go. IF you are truely interested in doing this getting a Oscillioscope capeable of UHF is your first step. and second step would be to get a few snapshots of the signal the remote is putting out. MAYBE someone can do this for you but I cannot since i dont have any tv much less your brand of equipment.

Another option is to call the satalite co and address your concern. Maybe they did not delete this feature and just moved it. And maybe by calling enough times they may get sick of listening to it and put the feature back in just for you! Phone time spent stalking them would be cheapest way to go! Be sure to mention that you are retired and have lots of time to call them over and over and waste their resources listening to you will put a dent in their budget(I got rid of a collection agency that way once!).

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#### Les Jones

##### Well-Known Member
If my understanding of your requirements in post #26 is correct then then using this 4 channel remote control (Or similar.) may do what you want. You would use one of these receiver boards for each channel and program them all to work with ONE of the transmitter units. (It is the receiver that is programmed to recognise the code from a transmitter.)
There are similar single a two channel units that probably work the same way but I have only used the 4 channel version.) You have now brought a timer into the specification. EXACTLY how does the timer fit into the system ?

Les.

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#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
If my understanding of your requirements in post #26 is correct then then using this 4 channel remote control (Or similar.) may do what you want. You would use one of these receiver boards for each channel and program them all to work with ONE of the transmitter units. (It is the receiver that is programmed to recognise the code from a transmitter.)
There are similar single a two channel units that probably work the same way but I have only used the 4 channel version.) You have now brought a timer into the specification. EXACTLY how does the timer fit into the system ?

Les.
From what he's said, it's pretty straightforward, he essentially just wants to send a specific key press at timed intervals - which he mentioned was once a day. I know exactly the the type of thing he's trying to do, as I've done it in the past - though using sensible IR remotes - but as I mentioned above, not all the boxes always respond all the time.

What messes everything up is the RF issue - otherwise it would be trivial to do using a PIC or similar.

For an IR version all you would need is a suitable PIC (even a tiny 8 pin one would be enough), an IR LED, a series resistor for the LED, a power supply decoupling capacitor, and a suitable battery - such as an 18650 Li-Ion. So a VERY, VERY simple circuit - five cheap components including the battery.

The PIC simply spends all it's time in sleep mode (so consumption is so low the battery will last for years), and wakes up under timer control (once a second) and updates a real time clock, then every day at a specific time it sends the required IR code.

As For The Popcorn said, he first needs to get a remote and confirm that it can be set to control all receivers simultaneously, assuming it can?, then arrange a circuit to connect the required parts of the PCB tracks together once a day - again, the PIC solution would be an easy option for a timer.

Put it in a nice plastic box, with a nice label, and no one will know it's really just a butchered TV remote (you could even fill the box with potting compound )

#### For The Popcorn

##### Active Member
He has said several times he has dozens of remote controls already.

The big question is, can one remote be "paired" to multiple boxes. If not, then the project becomes much more complicated. If so, the answer may be as simple as Nigel described or something purpose-built.

This thread is really short on details and really long on "this is what I wish it to do, so it must be simple."

#### Les Jones

##### Well-Known Member
Hi Popcorn, The remote is only a transmitter so it knows nothing about being paired with a receiver. So this means that it can be paired with any number of receivers. I have attached the information about setting up these remote controls.

I agree with Nigel that using PICs is the obvious solution but the OP does not want to attempt using PICs

Les.

#### Attachments

• Features.pdf
56 KB · Views: 47

#### For The Popcorn

##### Active Member
Les, sorry for the confusion. I am talking about the remotes furnished with the boxes. As far as I have seen, there's no certain information about those controls, including if they actually are RF, if they are Bluetooth or what protocol they use, and if they can control more than one box at a time.

I apologize if I have missed these basic, essential details.

#### Les Jones

##### Well-Known Member
After reading through the thread again I realise that I misunderstood the requirement. I thought that the requirement was receiver units with a set of contacts as an output that could all be controlled from one remote control.
This is my new understanding of the requirement. There are between 12 and 24 set top boxes. (DTV receivers, satellite receivers etc.) that receive different stations and their outputs are modulated onto a single RF feed to a number of hotel rooms so that the station can be selected an a standard TV. (The combined RF feed looks like the aerial signal to the TV when they are used connected straight to an aerial.)
The set top boxes can be configured to respond to the same IR code to switch them back on. (Even though they are different models and from different manufacturers. (This is a critical point that you only require ONE IR code to enable them all. Can you confirm that this is the case and you do not need a different IR code for each model of set top box ?)
There are many models of IR extenders on the market that were designed for controlling set top boxes from a different room. (One example is that used on Sky satellite receivers. The IR receivers in each room converted the IR signal from the remote to a modulated RF signal (At about 6 to 7 Mhz) that was fed back up the antenna cable to the loop through output of the satellite receiver. That RF signal controlled the satellite receiver in the same way as it's IR remote. Some companied made units that would convert these RF signals back to an IR signal to control other devices.
If you google "IR remote extenders" you will find many examples of this type of device.
I see no reason why a standard IR remote with a set of relay contacts (Or an optocoupler.) wired in pace of one of the push buttons should not be reliable. (Most problems I have seen on remotes have been due to the keypad.)
If all of the set top boxes are close together (And require the same IR code.) All the IR LEDs could be wired to the same driver circuit.
Please comment if I now have the correct understanding of your requirement.

Les.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
After reading through the thread again I realise that I misunderstood the requirement. I thought that the requirement was receiver units with a set of contacts as an output that could all be controlled from one remote control.
This is my new understanding of the requirement. There are between 12 and 24 set top boxes. (DTV receivers, satellite receivers etc.) that receive different stations and their outputs are modulated onto a single RF feed to a number of hotel rooms so that the station can be selected an a standard TV. (The combined RF feed looks like the aerial signal to the TV when they are used connected straight to an aerial.)
The set top boxes can be configured to respond to the same IR code to switch them back on. (Even though they are different models and from different manufacturers. (This is a critical point that you only require ONE IR code to enable them all. Can you confirm that this is the case and you do not need a different IR code for each model of set top box ?)
There are many models of IR extenders on the market that were designed for controlling set top boxes from a different room. (One example is that used on Sky satellite receivers. The IR receivers in each room converted the IR signal from the remote to a modulated RF signal (At about 6 to 7 Mhz) that was fed back up the antenna cable to the loop through output of the satellite receiver. That RF signal controlled the satellite receiver in the same way as it's IR remote. Some companied made units that would convert these RF signals back to an IR signal to control other devices.
If you google "IR remote extenders" you will find many examples of this type of device.
I see no reason why a standard IR remote with a set of relay contacts (Or an optocoupler.) wired in pace of one of the push buttons should not be reliable. (Most problems I have seen on remotes have been due to the keypad.)
If all of the set top boxes are close together (And require the same IR code.) All the IR LEDs could be wired to the same driver circuit.
Please comment if I now have the correct understanding of your requirement.

Les.
You still appear to be misunderstanding it?, as the devices use RF remotes, presumably two way, as they are paired to the individual receivers. It's yet to be confirmed if one remote can be paired to multiple receivers.

I assume that all the receivers are identical, and not a random mix of different makes - as he specified Dish Network, I presume all the boxes are the same (just as with using Sky boxes in the UK).

For anyone who might be vaguely interested, the project I did used Sky boxes feeding external modulators (better than the internal DSB ones), and my PIC device was based on my IR PIC tutorial, but using Philips RC6 codes, rather than Sony - as I mentioned earlier, it was very simple to make the minor changes required. I also modified that code for another project, for a friend who was repairing Sky boxes - he'd got problems with the boxes locking up occasionally while stepping up channels, and he wanted a device that stepped up the channels every so many seconds - again this was a trivial modification, from the previous RC6 code.

However, this doesn't help the OP, as if they are RF remotes (and there's no IR option? - SkyQ for example can use either!, there's a stupid RF remote, and a user friendly IR one) it's many times more difficult.

#### For The Popcorn

##### Active Member
I'm not sure we've established with certainty that the remotes are indeed RF. It would be easy enough to verify – just test with a hand over the end of the remote or from outside a closed door.

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