Which hardware to buy - IR blaster

This post is based on an idea put forward by @Nick4.

Forum members are encouraged to add short hardware reviews of similar hardware items they have used in the format below. (Note that you must have actually tried the hardware as a user - no spam please!)

This thread is for IR blasters. Add a new post to review yours. Start a new thread in the same format to review other types of hardware.

Template

Please use this format when adding items to this thread

Brand:
Model:
Link to exact product:
Protocol:
HA Integration:
In use since:
Number of this item in use:
Positive:
Negative:
My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super):
Comment:

3 Likes

User experiences: Moes Universal Infrared Remote Controller

Brand: Moes
Model: UFO-R11
Link to exact product: https://moeshouse.com/products/zigbee-smart-ir-remote-control?ref=v4thya2eufek
Protocol: Zigbee/SkyConnect 7.3.1.0
HA Integration: ZHA
In use since: 5 Oct 2023
Number of this item in use: 2

Positive:

  • Local
  • Easy to pair with ZHA
  • Easy training from IR remotes
  • Battery-powered - can be placed anywhere (adhesive tabs supplied for wall mounting)
  • No connection time-outs
  • Works if wi-fi is down

Negative:

  • No good if you haven’t got Zigbee
  • Needs a custom quirk
  • Only the last code learned is easily available, so you have to make notes!
  • Slightly slower response
  • Can’t make switches as you can with the Broadlink integration - have to use toggle helpers in dashboards

My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super): 4

Comment:

If you already have a Zigbee network, a reliable alternative to wi-fi based products. Going to get another one!

1 Like

User experiences: Tuya WiFi IR Remote Control Hub WiFi Smart Home Infrared Universal Remote Controller

Brand: Tuya
Model: Universal
Link to exact product: https://aliexpress.com/item/4000031408686.html
In use since: Aug 2020
Number of this item in use: 1

Positive:

  • ESP based allows full ownership thank’s to ESPHome:muscle:
  • Works if wifi is down for all locally configured tasks (receive X - blast Y for example) :arrows_counterclockwise:
  • Can make switches/buttons whatever as full ownership is possible :trophy:
  • No (dirty) battery power but convenient 5V USB instead allows using local regenerative energies :sunny:
  • Extremely sensitive/wide range. Receiver doesn’t even need to have a line-of-sight to work in a 20m² room :ok_hand:
  • Strictly no quirks/no Z-Technology but a highly-optimized native api for HA connection :rocket:

Negative:

  • No good if you haven’t got Wifi :no_entry_sign::signal_strength:

My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super): 5 :star: :star: :star: :star: :star2:

Comment:

First thing: Install ESPHome to get full ownership and the right to repair/extend/modify. :hammer_and_wrench:

Has been a setup & forget (just works :tm:) for me :medal_sports:

2 Likes

User experiences: Broadlink RM4 Mini Universal Infrared Remote Controller

Brand: Broadlink
Model: RM4 mini
Link to exact product: IR UNIVERSAL REMOTE-Broadlink博联智能
Protocol: Wi-fi IR
HA Integration: Broadlink
In use since: 2021
Number of this item in use: 1

Positive:

  • Local - once device is on wi-fi network (no need to open Broadlink account)
  • Wi-fi based
  • Integrated with HA
  • Fast response
  • Integration allows creation of switches for use in dashboards
  • Once learned, all IR codes are easily accessible for reference

Negative:

  • No good if you haven’t got wi-fi
  • Broadlink app needed to add to wi-fi network
  • Fiddly to set up - only works with 2.4Ghz
  • Learning codes quite a complex process
  • Sensitive to poor wi-fi signal - can get repeated timeouts
  • May need resetting after a router restart
  • Mains powered (via USB adapter) - can make placement difficult

My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super): 2

Comment:

A good workhorse, but by no means “set up and forget”.

User experiences: Broadlink RM4 Pro Universal IR/RF Remote Controller

Brand: Broadlink
Model: RM4 Pro
Link to exact product: IR/RF UNIVERSAL REMOTE-Broadlink博联智能
Protocol: Wi-fi IR/RF 434 MHz.
HA Integration: Broadlink
In use since: 2021
Number of this item in use: 1

Positive:

  • Local - once device is on wi-fi network
  • Wi-fi based
  • Integrated with HA
  • Also controls RF devices
  • Fast response
  • Integration allows creation of switches for use in dashboards
  • Once learned, all IR codes are easily accessible for reference

Negative:

  • Not good if wi-fi is unreliable
  • Broadlink app needed to add to wi-fi network
  • Fiddly to set up - only works with 2.4Ghz
  • Learning codes quite a complex process
  • Mains powered (via USB adapter) - can make placement difficult

My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super): 3

Comment:

I use it mainly for RF (the range is good enough to cover the whole house), but I’ve never had any problems with IR. Reliable. Does not time out like the RM4 mini.

Brand: Global Cache
Model: GC-100-06
Link to exact product: https://www.amazon.com/Global-Cache-Network-Adapter-6-Inch/dp/B0002M5O2K
In use since: 2005
Number of this item in use: 1
Positive:
Good IR Database to access codes
No Problems and I use 2 blasters in my media room
With addon can get codes from any remote
Easy access interface through web
Serial Port available if needed
Ethernet access
It just works after getting codes and setup in HA
Negative:
No Relays
More expensive than other products
No Wi-Fi
My rating (1-5, 1 being bad, 5 being super): 4.5 / 5.0
Comment:
This may be a discontinued product. The GC-100-12 is no longer available. The itach is available but it is just IP2IR no serial. The best thing I can say is it just works.

What is the custom quirk of the Zigbee Moes IR controller ? I’ve had problems with rolling codes which renders the device almost useless.

1 Like

You can find it here.

Not sure this will help with rolling codes - I only do simple on/off stuff.

Rolling codes with infrared? Does that even exist? :eyes:

yep it does, the code learn to IR changes with every key press for the same function on the TV remote.

1 Like

thanks, looks like ZHA only, I use zigbee2mqtt

Does it really change continuously? I got IR remotes that blast indeed different codes when the same button is pressed - but when analyzed they are actually only two alternating ir codes. It might be tricky to spot if the protocol isn’t detected and the output is only raw/pronto.

On another note IR remotes for climate devices often need a special treatment (still no rolling codes involved afaik).

This obviously works on every IR blaster which can be completely owned!

And… grrrrr… Broadlink has a limit of the maximum number of characters in your wifi password of thirtysometing characters, whereas wifi has a limit of 63. I have a longer password, which makes them useless. And I’m not about to change the password of over a hundred devices to satisfy a cheap IR blaster.

6 Likes

Do you mind me asking how this works. Do you have to remove the chip or solder on a serial cable before take ownership?

:put_litter_in_its_place:

So then stick with the devices you know that are completely ownable :wink: (includes the right to repair :hammer_and_wrench:)

No need removing chips or soldering around. It’s enough to hold the serial adapter to the RX/TX/GND/VCC pins of the device. The device mention does actually have holes broken out and it’s very is just to use dupont cables and hold them in place for the 20 seconds for the initial serial flash :zap:

1 Like

ive tried multiple blasters, Boardlink RM 3 and RM Pro 4 remains the most stable…

1 Like

Do they still don’t support 15(:warning:) year old protected management frames (IEEE 802.11w)? :thinking:

Meaning no known “secure” way (WPA3 or WPA2+PMF) to use this devices nowadays :put_litter_in_its_place:

In that past (7 years ago) users used to retro fit broadlink devices so that they support PMF :joy:

1 Like

Means I have to live in constant fear that a war driver might pass by to authenticate through the Broadlink RM’s into my (invisible) IoT-device’s restricted WiFi network ? :scream: :rofl:

1 Like

In your case I highly would suggest using WEP :face_with_hand_over_mouth: In that case the war drivers don’t need to stop but can do an easy drive by :blue_car: