My continuing drive to unify all my remote control needs into one device has lead me to certain hardware and software to enable my android phone as a true Universal Remote.
My deepest thanks to Ron Bessems of promixis for his assistance on getting my home automation using girder 6 and netremote dynamic working perfectly. This guy is an absolute genius!
The license I purchased is for the standard version (50USD) of girder 6 and trust me when I say its worth every cent.
Also, all of this is powered from my solar power system:
Please note that any android phone or tablet can be used in this instructable. It does NOT NEED a built in infrared emitter! In fact I never use the one in my Galaxy Note 4! This automation setup uses wifi, so the more power your wifi router transmits, the larger the range you shall have!
I even extended the use of this setup from home comfort to home access:
Read on and I hope you find my work interesting.
Step 1: The Hardware.
The key behind creating the universal remote is the John Rees USB uirt. The transceiver allows reading of any infrared remote codes and transmission of those codes. Any infrared controlled device that is not in line of sight with the USB uirt can easily be controlled via infrared emitters. One (or more via a splitter) of these can Be Plugged into the uirt 3.5mm port.
My USB uirt I wedged behind my TV to allow it to control the air conditioning unit for the living room. The air conditioning unit in my bedroom I control using an extension chord for 3.5mm mono audio and plugged an infrared emitter group into it. The extra emitters need to be right on the receiver for the appliance since they don't put out enough power to use at long range (like a standard remote).
The emitter I placed by the TV I simply stuck on with the adhesive it came with.
Of course for this wonderful software to run, you Need an always on pc (preferably low power and energy efficient). In my Case it's my home automation pc.
Step 2: The Software.
Girder 6 is the engine behind home automation of infrared devices. The first step is to install the USB uirt driver. In the girder 6 settings select the USB uirt plugin (this for me Was the only plugin I needed). Next go to the device manager (in settings) and have the USB uirt enabled.
Although girder 6 can learn remotes I found it to be very troublesome. I used a free program called lrnhelper to accept the more common short bursts from my Remotes. I simply copy and pasted the learned coded into girder 6 events. For your convenience, I included the zip file of lrnhelper.
You Need to be careful with girder 6 new events. Any new infrared event has by default the number of repetitions as 0. You must change this to 1 or else absolutely nothing will happen when you test the code. The promixis website has full tutorial on doing this. Hopefully an update may fix this problem in the future.
For my setup I used basic button commands. Girder 6 can perform automation with timers and logic conditions however I don't need that. My real automation for the house is performed by FLOWSTONE and a labjack u3-hv which I will cover with a separate instructable.
The netremote dynamic part is the front end or face for girder 6. Check the promixis website for tutorials on setting this up but it's very easy.
Once configured, the netremote dynamic app can be installed on a phone or tablet to allow easy control of infrared devices.
The girder back end runs on a Windows pc. The front end is the fancy buttons on the mobile app after it connects to the girder 6 server (opening the app automatically shows the list of servers on the lan).
Step 3: Enjoying the Universal Remote on My Phone.
The first time the netremote dynamic app is run it will list the servers connected via the lan. The server in my case is my always on home automation pc.
Selecting a server will bring up the layout that was designed on the pc version of girder 6.
Now anywhere I am (within range of the WiFi) I can enjoy control of my air conditioning units and TV!
Please note that the mobile app is available for Android and iPhone/pad. Therefore a large range of mobile devices can support this.
A future upgrade will be to have Internet connectivity with the mobile app of netremote dynamic!
I have recently expanded the use of girder 6 to operate my gate motor and open one of my doors. Read my instructable below on how I made this wonderful feat happen!