Instructables
Picture of TV Volume Loudness Guard using Arduino
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INTRODUCTION

What can be more annoying than those TV commercials on steroid?  Here you are watching your favorite TV show when all of a sudden you are ambushed by a very loud TV commercial sending you scrambling for the remote control to turn down the volume.  

In some countries it's now illegal for broadcasters to blast the volume during commercials. But in many others, this TV audio terror is still legal.  I hope my TV Volume Loudness Guard will mitigate some of this ad-driven rudeness. 

The TV Volume Loudness Guard will listen to your TV and if the volume goes higher than a certain level, it will bring it lower. 

There are many uses for this gadget such as keeping the TV volume down when you are in a different room while the kids are watching their favorite music channels. Or when someone blasts the stereo system. The TV Loudness Guard will be ready to keep a lid on it. The TV Loudness Guard should be part of every Big Brother's bag of tricks :)

HOW THIS GADGET WORKS

Place the Arduino TV Volume Loudness Guard close to the TV set to monitor the volume. When the volume loudness of your TV exceeds a certain threshold (set by you in the program or via a trimpot), the gadget sends a Volume Down remote control code to your TV--or any other remote controlled gadget for that matter--until the TV volume falls below the pre-set level. This level can be changed in the program you upload to Arduino or with a potentiometer built into the sound sensor I am using in this project. 

WORKFLOW

There are three steps to make use of the TV Volume Loudness Guard:
  1. Capture & decode your remote control Volume Down button (or any other remote function). This feature is included in my gadget. 
  2. Update the TV Loudness Guard program with the remote control button code captured from step 1 and upload the program to your Arduino.
  3. Power the TV Loudness Guard and place it next to your TV. Fine-tune the parameters of the Arduino program and the sound sensor's potentiometer until you get the desired results. 


 
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Step 1: PROJECT PARTS

HARDWARE
  • GOduino III or Arduino Uno. You should be able to get this project to work with most Arduinos with some tweaking. 
  • Sound Sensor ($4 from ebay). I used Seeed's sound sensor
  • IR 940nm LED Transmitter .($0.10 from ebay)
  • IR Receiver 38Khz 3-pin not the 2-pin LEDs. ($1 from ebay) I got mine from Tayda2009
  • 1K Ohms resistor.
  • Breadboard.
  • Jumper wires.
  • Power:  you can use USB power or any battery that can source  7V to 12V and over 500mA.

SOFTWARE

Step 2: WIRING THE TV LOUDNESS GUARD


SOUND SENSOR
  • GND pin ---> Arduino GND pin
  • VCC pin ---> Arduino 5V pin
  • SIG pin ---> Arduino A0 pin

IR TRANSMITTER LED
  • Cathode ---> Arduino GND
  • Anode ---> 1K Ohms ---> Arduino pin 3 (PWM)
NOTE: I forgot to add the 1K ohms resistor to my prototype but it's wise to include it. 

IR 38KHZ RECEIVER (FACING YOU)
  • Right Pin --->  Arduino 5V pin
  • Middle Pin ---> Arduino GND pin
  • Left Pin ---> Arduino 11 pin (PWM)

Step 3: DECODE YOUR REMOTE CONTROL BUTTONS

There are many remote control protocols out there supported by leading vendors such as Sony, NEC, Panasonic, etc.   If your TV is not one of those brand named, chances are its remote control adheres to one of the popular remote control protocols supported by the leading vendors.

Since our gadget needs to simulate sending a Volume Down remote control command whenever the TV volume is too high, we need to figure out what's the code for any particular TV remote.  This is done easily using the example program provided by the IRremote library.
  • With the TV Loudness Guard gadget fully wired, connect your Arduino to your PC.
  • From the Arduino IDE, load the example file IRrecvDump which can be found under menu File/Examples/IRremote
  • Open the Arduino IDE serial monitor.
  • Point your remote control at the IR LED receiver (3 pin) and press the Volume Down button. You will see numbers being displayed on the Serial Monitor.
  • Record the short number generated when you pressed your remote button. In my case, the volume down button was 1CE3E817 and the bit count (e.g. 32 bit) which I  will see in my Arduino program. You need to replace my remote code with your captured remote control code for your Volume Down button. 

Step 4: PREPARE THE ARDUINO PROGRAM

Picture of PREPARE THE ARDUINO PROGRAM
At the top of the Arduino program below there is a number of lines starting with #define LABEL NUMBER This is to make it easier to control how the program behaves.  The LABEL is the thing you want to control in the program behavior and the NUMBER is the value of the thing you want to control. Here's an explanation of the relevant #define lines. 

REMOTE BUTTON CODE & BIT

#define REMOTE_CODE  Your remote code as returned by the IRrecvDump decoder utility prefixed with "0x"
#define REMOTE_BIT   Your remote code data size as returned by the IRrecvDump decoder utility.

This Arduino program works for most remote controls but you need to tell it about your remote control protocol from the info you gathered in the previous step when you decoded your remote control buttons using IRrecvDump utility.  It's possible to make the remote selection dynamic during run time so you don't have to change and upload code. I might do this in a later version of this gadget.

VOLUME LEVEL THRESHOLD

#define NOISE_LEVEL A number from 0 to 1024. Start with 500 then fine-tune the number.

This is the number that decides at what point the Arduino will start transmitting Volume Down codes

NOTE: The sound sensor I am using as a built-in potentiometer which also controls the sensor's sensitivity. 

VOLUME CHANGE SPEED

#define REPEAT_TX (from 1 to as many as you want. Start with 3 then fine tune)

Change how many times you want  the remote code transmitted to the TV. If you want more drastic drop in TV volume increase this number. If you want a more gradual change in volume, lower this number.

FEATURE TODO LIST

It's very simple to program more functionality into this gadget. Some of the features that can be added:
  • Average audio level over a period of time to determine if increase in volume is persistent requiring volume control or momentary and should be ignored.
  • Read audio level after a period of time. If audio is too low, increase volume by a certain increment. 
  • Make program inclusive of supported remote protocols 
  • Add Panasonic & JVC support

THE ARDUINO CODE

Cut and paste the code below into your Arduino IDE



//=================================================

/*
PROJECT: TV Volume Guard
AUTHOR: Hazim Bitar (techbitar)
DATE: FEB 9, 2013
CONTACT: techbitar at gmail dot com
LICENSE: My code is in the public domain.          
IRremote library: copyright by Ken Shirriff http://arcfn.com

*/

#include <IRremote.h>


#define NOISE_LEVEL      350  // level of noise to detect from 0 to 1023
#define REPEAT_TX         3 // how many times to transmit the IR remote code
#define REMOTE_CODE     0x1CE3E817  // remote code to transmit. This is for my TV. Replace with yours. 
#define REMOTE_BIT   32

#define SOUND_SENSOR_PIN     A0 // sound sensor connected to this analog pin
#define LED        13      // LED used to blink when volume too high

IRsend irsend; // instantiate IR object

void setup()
{
  pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);
}

void loop()
{
  int soundLevel = analogRead(SOUND_SENSOR_PIN); // read the sound sensor
  if(soundLevel > NOISE_LEVEL) // compare to noise level threshold you decide
  {
    digitalWrite(LED,HIGH);  // LED on
    delay(200);
    for (int txCount = 0; txCount < REPEAT_TX; txCount++) { // how many times to transmit the IR remote  code
      irsend.sendNEC(REMOTE_CODE , REMOTE_BIT); // Change to match your remote protocol
      delay(200);

      // Uncomment the function that matches your remote control protocol as shown by IRrecvDump
      // irsend.sendNEC(REMOTE_CODE, REMOTE_BIT);
      // irsend.sendSony(REMOTE_CODE, REMOTE_BIT);
      // irsend.sendRC5(REMOTE_CODE, REMOTE_BIT);
      // irsend.sendRC6(REMOTE_CODE, REMOTE_BIT);

    }
  }
  digitalWrite(LED,LOW); // LED off
}

//=================================================
ybikawi8 months ago

big respect for u

codegamc9 months ago

you didn't include "IRromote.h" and while i have it, the code has presented some problems in my IDE, did you change it from the IR library online?

newbeduino1 year ago
Very cool :) How hard would it be to have it keep the volume at a certain level turn the tv down for the commericials and then back up when the quieter show comes back on.
I would love something like this too. It's not just commercials, but sometimes movies go from whisper quiet to explosion loud and I'd love a device that just kept the TV at a certain range, automatically raising the volume up and down as needed.

I'm doing this but I'm having trouble with the code. the IDE will not compile it, due to countless errors. anyone else have trouble, or understand the code in depth?

It seems i'm only one who can't make it work.

Noise level == 45

Blinking led on pin 13 tells that microphone is working.

But IR led on pin3 is not blink (it visible with any mobile camera). If i reconnect IR LED to pin13 - it blinks.
IF i connect any other LED to pin 3 ---> no blinking too
If i load those simple example that make onboard LED blinks and set the pin 3 - IR LED start blink.

What's wrong?

Arduino Mega 2560
I had the same problem and found the solution in the source code of the IRremote library: on the ATmega2560 the IR diode must be connected to pin 9, see https://github.com/shirriff/Arduino-IRremote/blob/master/IRremoteInt.h
Edgar1 year ago
Nice!
This could be used on pubs, restaurants, and the like!
Gone to my Blog:
3D Printers from India, Nano-printing 3D printers, and an Arduino that shuts up TV ads! http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/02/impressoras-3d-uma-da-india-outra-nano.html
techbitar (author)  Edgar1 year ago
Glad you like it. It's more challenging in public places because of the ambient noise. But it's not difficult to read the audio signal directly from the headphone jack instead of an open mic. This could be Rev2 of the gadget.
Go for it, but don't forget to Patent it, because I see all kinda crazy stuff being sold, that's not useful as that one idea...
techbitar (author)  Edgar1 year ago
This project is based on all sorts of open source and open hardware ideas so it's only fair that it remains open :)
Right you are, but if someone makes money out of manufacturing those, isn't there somewhere, some open source support thing, you can send some kind of royalties?
zorwick1 year ago
Great project! Everybody should have one before they totally get brainwashed...I wanted something like this for decades! There were some devices many years ago to zero the volume when advertisements start but some marketing lobby stopped them to sell or built in to the TVs. Now I have to congratulate you...for me it is too late, I don't have TV for years now, because of the ads.
techbitar (author)  zorwick1 year ago
Merci! I think dumping the TV is the ideal solution. The internet is enough nowadays.
Excellent project. I need one of these. :D
techbitar (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago
Thanks! If you build one please share your experience. The Arduino program can benefit from more intelligence with additional timing parameters. I might update it in an upcoming version.