ITunes Wireless Remote - Packrat Style!

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!

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    12 years ago on Step 4

    This idea is really inspired. Loving the use of the garage door opener.

    I'm sorry to be a killjoy but all you need to do is buy a wireless mouse that has extra buttons. You can then allocate the extra buttons to Next and Previous in iTunes or whatever.

    I've got a Logitech MX Revolution and love chilling in the garden listening to my music through the window and if a "bad" song comes on I just aim it at the window and hit the side button et voila! next track.

    You also learn to love them for internet and normal itunes use.


    I was really smart and used my sony ericsson phone and a bluetooth dongle to do the moves, I always fire media player up straight away so I know it's first on the bar and the phones have a desktop controller with a handy button for swapping window without moving the mouse too far, switch to media player mode and leave it like that and just change tracks on my phone... Also great in ICT class when you know the person doing a slideshow is on the computer with bluetooth... go back and forth between slides really fast and trip out the it teacher....


    15 years ago

    i would just make a playlist with all your music and shuffle that


    15 years ago

    Another option would be to build the computer remote project. sorry, but i don't know the link but its somewhere here on instructables. if u build that you could use an old infrared remote. this way you can pause/ rewind/ fast-foreward/ play/ stop/ and switch between songs.


    15 years ago

    I have to admit I like this, in spite of its flaws. Part of the reason is your sense of humor and writing style, which is similar to mine, but I digress. Wouldn't be easier to: - create a Smart Playlist in iTunes? ;-) - get a new Mac with a remote of it's own? Maybe, but it's more fun to make your own. How about a Command key on the other button? ;-)


    Reply 15 years ago

    - Use LIRC or something similar.


    Reply 15 years ago

    I have heard of smart playlists but I like when the 'puter queues up a track in shuffle mode that I haven't heard in awhile. Thanks for the kudos. (Still saving for that new iMac :) )