Introduction: ITunes Wireless Remote - Packrat Style!


I bought a set of these wireless headphones because I was tired of being tethered to my laptop workstation with regular headphones. Oh what freedom! I like to listen to my iTunes library on shuffle and sometimes I'll push back my chair and get my groove on when some block rocking beats come on.

This is all fine and dandy until the next track is track 11 from my "Learn French Overnight" CD or my pzizz nap track. I have to shuffle over to my computer, Cmd-tab to iTunes, move the mouse to the next button and press it. By now the moment has passed and I plunk my sorry behind back in my chair

Then it hit me like a flash! I have the junk err.. materials to make something to keep the party going


Step 1: Gather Tools and Obtain Materials

Tools Needed:

- Wire cutters

- Wire strippers

- Screwdriver to open mouse case

- Soldering Iron

I had these items in my junk box, your mileage may vary...

- Retrofit wireless garage door opener. I have this because it was a retrofit on my 30 year old garage door opener that gave up the ghost last year. The new one has it built in.

- USB mouse

- Some two conductor wire

- Solder

Maybe not so obvious:
A computer with music files, an app to play that music, and a spare USB port

Step 2: Hack the Wireless Garage Door Opener

I can't speak for all remotes and receivers out there, but my receiver has a relay that opens when it receives signal from the remote.

My opener only has one button configured for use, but thats ok for this use.

It also has two nice terminals to screw down the wires to.

Strip two wires from your conductor wire and screw them down to the terminals.

Close up the case and move on to the next step

Step 3: Hack the Mouse

Open up the mouse by removing the screws. Sometimes the screws are hidden underneath the glide pads.

Locate the left click mouse button. If you are left handed and have your system setup to right click = left click then locate the right click button.

Strip the ends of the wire. I "tinned" the ends of the wire by globbing some solder on them before attaching to the solder pads on the mouse circuit board.

Solder the leads of the two conductor wire to the solder pads attached to the mouse button. It doesn't matter which wire goes to which solder pad.

Check for shorts and if you are satisfied close up the mouse case and plug it in to your computer.

Plug the remote receiver into a wall plug. You are now good to go

Step 4: Let's Use It!

Clip the remote on your belt, shirt, wherever. I like it on my belt, because then I kinda feel like Batman. <grin>

To use: Fire up iTunes, Winamp, whatever the cool kids these days are using to listen to music.
Click Play to get the tunes rolling then position the cursor over the Next button, now stand up and shake your moneymaker!
When you want the next track just click the remote.
I found mine works 30-40 feet away and doesn't need line of sight.

I could probably increase the range by fiddling with the receiver as it has a screw for determining the sensitivity of the remote.

I thought about writing my own custom app that will advance to the next song with one click and go back with two successive clicks, but for now I'm too busy dancing the night away!

The only downfall I see is that if someone builds this ... and finds out where I live, they could hack my listening pleasure. <grin>

I find I am also using this to read PDF's... although I can only read forward. I find it is nice to lean back and read with my hands in a comfortable position instead of reaching for the mouse all the time.

Maybe I will write that custom app now!

Let me know what you think!