Infrared Control (with Broadlink): Single remote and IR code databases

This is a follow up to this question about what people like for IR hardware.

First, I’ve seen a few post here (and elsewhere) when searching that talk about using codes from the Broadlink DB, from LIRC, or IRDB, but the main page I see on HA’s site talks about learning IR codes from the remotes. (Which can be a frustrating and time consuming experience.) At this point, has anything been set up within HA to make it easier to get codes for a particular appliance, like a TV or DVD player through a DB like this? Is there work on something like this to make it easy to add IR command codes without having to teach them to the system?

Second, I’ve seen writeups about people setting up all the proper tiles on a dashboard for their phone so they can use it as a remote for TV/DVD/Streaming control. Is it possible to buy a remote control that, rather than sending IR controls, will send controls in some method HA will receive and match them to the commands sent to a device such as a Broadlink controller? While I could use my phone without issue, there are members of this household who would rather use a “conventional” remote control.

Interested in this as well.

While the blaster part through Broadlink is more or less a given, what recommendation would you have for a “physical” media remote to pilot it, likely through HA.
Ideally Zigbee, but those do not seem common nor cheap, so bluetooth, I guess.

I did some searching and see that there are remotes that use RF, but I haven’t yet done a deep dive to see if they used something that would work with something HA would work with. At one time I had a “universal” remote that would send devices to a hub and, from there, they’d go out to something like an iTach. That was over 10 years ago and, at that time, I found the iTach problematical for multiple reasons. (I’m sure most or all of those are solved now, but I’ve had no reason to go back to it.)

There are those “airmouse” type that uses RF with a associated dongle, but they tend to be low-quality, assuming the dongle is even recognized by Linux. Might still be an option, though.

I assume you mean IR remotes? I have a Flirc (Flirc USB - Flirc) that would definitely work, but I want to avoid IR remote.

PS: Well, both types emulate a keyboard. Not actually sure how I could capture those keypresses in HA, now that I think about it.

I think I know what you’re talking about - for instance, I use wireless keyboard/mouse combos that have a small plug I put in the USB port. I have yet to have a problem with Linux recognizing one of them. I have several and I’ve labelled them so I can make sure I keep the right mouse, keyboard, and plug together. Since I now have a few headless Linux systems and Pis in several locations, I find them a big help when I can just plug in the USB piece and use the keyboard and mouse without having to deal with wires.

(I’ve always wondered why they work that way instead of just using bluetooth. Maybe bluetooth has some kind of licensing requirement?)

I have found some wifi remotes, but they seem to work with specific hubs.

The one I used was an IR remote. I’m trying to remember how it was set up. Maybe I used normal IR remotes and it had receivers in various rooms and the main hub in with my main cable box and TV. But that was also years ago, so I figure whatever I was using at the time is probably either outdated or no longer in existence.

I remember the one I used that had a hub had issues. The hub would die once a year or so and I went through multiple hubs before giving up. There was another IR universal remote for only about $30 I liked. I could program one with all I needed, then clone that configuration to another one. Maybe I used those with the other one with the hub so I could control the cable box from another room. (I split the output so it went to the main TV and the one by my study.)

All of those worked, but not without effort.

Yeah, that’s why I was hoping someone might know of something out there.

Seems to me that, if I had a 3D printer, if they can print things like a form and buttons, with some kind of springs, or something, I could make a case for a Pi Zero with all the buttons on it and it could send out commands or signals over wifi. I don’t know, though, if there’s anything that HA uses that would be good for receiving such signals. Maybe something over MQTT?

But that would be a complete DIY solution. I suspect if someone got something like that working, others would jump in to improve it and make it work with other hubs, too.

Is the issue that it’s a phone, not a conventional remote, or is it that it’s your phone?

I use an old phone as a dedicated keypad for the alarm system - attached to the wall by the door, running Fully Kiosk browser defaulting to the keypad dashboard with all other dashboards hidden. You could do something similar with a dedicated phone sitting on the arm of the sofa.

That is covered, apparently :wink: