Universal IR Remote Switch


Introduction: Universal IR Remote Switch

This project shows the use of a neat chip that lets you use any IR remote to switch something on-off.

Here I've modified an old non-working General Electric RF remote AC switch to a switch that can be controlled with any IR remote.

My motivation was this, I wanted to be able to turn a light on-off across my bedroom with my DirecTV IR remote. My plan was to use the Aux-1 button, since it's not being used for anything else. I needed some kind of circuit that would recognize the Aux-1 IR signal and activate a relay.

After some searching -- and a friend's suggestion -- I found the simerec.com, SIS-1 chip. I considered using the lamp application circuit that they have on their site, but then I remembered that I had an old GE radio remote control AC switch that I could convert instead. Why would I want to convert something that's already remote controllable? First, the radio remote never worked like it should have. Second, I want to be able to control as much as I can from one remote; In my case, a DirecTV 6-in-1 remote.

So, here's what I did...

Step 1: The Original General Electric RF AC Switch

Pictured here is the original General Electric AC switch. In this state, it's supposed to turn an AC device on-off with a small key-chain type RF remote.

Next, I'll cut open the case...

Step 2: Cut Open the Case

Step 3: Parts Used

The SIS-1 chip is from SIMEREC.com. I got the bundle that had the chip with the IR receiver, but you can use your own IR module, if you've got one (or salvage one out of an old piece of equipment.) The reason I went with the bundle is that this particular IR receiver is wide band, which means that if I want to use a different button other than Aux-1 later on, I can without any problem. So, if you're going to use your own IR module, just make sure that it matches the frequency for the IR remote you plan on using.

The capacitor and resistor are for blocking power supply noise. You don't need them if you are using a clean power source, like a PC power supply, but I figured better safe than sorry.

I'm using a socket because I like to use it instead of a perf/proto-board for a small project like this one.

I decided to use a stereo jack and old headphone cable/plug for the IR receiver so that I could move it around. I really don't need it now because the AC switch will be behind a table that is able to pick up the IR signal when I bounce it off of the ceiling. But if I ever decide to re-arrange things the plug/jack/cable give me more options.

The switch is used to put the SIS-1 into program mode, so that I can teach it the Aux-1 button. I'm going to install the switch so that it's accessible after I epoxy the enclosure back together so that I can re-program the SIS-1 if/whenever I want in the future.

Step 4: Wiring Plan

Here's how everything will be wired to the chip socket.

Step 5: GE AC Switch Circuit Board

Referring to the image:

1. RF antenna was removed to give more clearance.

2. Ground source.

3. +5v source.

4. Top leg of resistor R5 was de-soldered, so that the SIS-1
toggle output (pin 3 on SIS-1) could be connected. It's
through R5 that the transistor activates the relay.

5. These two lines run to an LED that lights when the relay is
active. I don't want an indicator, so I disconnected it;
However a diode connection is required here for the circuit
to work, so I moved the LED to the back of the circuit board,
so it's out of sight.

Step 6: Wire Is Soldered to R5 and Heat Shrinked

Step 7: Solder Wires and Resistor to Chip Socket

Using the wiring plan shown in step 4, I soldered directly to a chip socket since the circuit doesn't have very many components. This way, I don't have to use a perf/proto board.

Step 8: Drilled Holes for IR Receiver Jack (stereo Jack) and Pushbutton Switch

Step 9: IR Chip Installed

SIS-1 chip is installed, heat shrink applied, IR jack installed, and power wires soldered. The two blue wires will be connected together -- one is from R5 shown in step 6, the other is from the chip/socket assembly.

Step 10: Final Installation

Pushbutton switch is installed and glued, capacitor is installed per the wiring plan of step 4, and soldering is completed.

Step 11: Profiles of IR Jack and Pushbutton

After sealing the case back together, I'll next program the IR chip with my universal remote...

Step 12: Final Product

Here's the final product with enclosure epoxied, IR detector fastened with 3M double-sided tape, and the AC light fixture plugged in.

Programming the SIS-1 to respond to the Aux-1 button of my remote was almost too easy:

1. On the now modified GE unit, I pushed the programming button that was installed in step 10. As expected, the relay activated, and the light came on (this indicates that the SIS-1 is ready to learn the IR code).

2. I aimed the remote and pressed the Aux-1 button, and the light went off (this indicated that the SIS-1 learned the Aux-1 IR code.)

That's it. Now each time I press the Aux-1 button on my remote, the light switches on-off.

Now I don't have to get out of bed to turn my light on-off, and I don't have to keep track of more than one remote, not to mention changing batteries in more than one remote.

I'm planning on installing these chips into a few other items around the house, and I hope to post those projects too!



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    25 Discussions

    very clean end product. and thank you for the very well done instructable.

     I have a jukebox that has an rf remote... is there a way to capture the rf signals, and generate rf signals with an ir to rf transmitter?   

    I'd like to use my single universal ir remote to control it, but all the ir to rf adapters I've seen are designed to work with their rf transmitter/receiver pair,  not a rf receiver from another device!

    hmm... can you send me your product (i'm ready to pay :S) cuz i cant find those things ANYWHERE on web (so i cant build it at all)? ok nvmind i'm just kiddin' ^^
    /me needs those chipz...

    btw isn't sis-2 just rev. of sis-1?

    that's not a chisel. not trying to be a jerk but you should keep your mouth closed if you don't know what your talking about.

    I don't see a chip labelled SIS-1 on the Simerec order page. There's an SIS-2 there though. Maybe you could clarify - need to be carefull to get the right one methinks. BTW excellent job & great instructions. The chips are a bit on th expensive side though - would be nice (if you ever get time) to show how to use scavenged IR receiver parts so as to keep costs as low as poss. I have a room light switch that should initially have been two-switch -wired but was not, so IR control will save my legs & much irritation. Thanks.

    i have a remote-related question... does anyone know how to wire a remote so that i can send signals to it via maxMSP (out of the miditron)? what i'd like is for max to be wired to a remote so that it could activate the "play" or "menu" buttons. this is sortof a workaround.. any ideas?

    2 replies

    This maxMSP/miditron is new to me, but it sounds interesting. So, just to clarify, do you want to pre-load the miditron via maxMSP, and have the miditron running stand-alone? Or, will your Mac/PC be connected to the miditron while in use? If you are not running in stand-alone mode with the minitron, then I would recommend using LIRC or winLIRC to blast IR codes to your device that you want to "play" and "menu". If you are running in stand alone mode, let me know and maybe I can help...

    hm! LIRC looks pretty nifty, but i think integrating that with max/MSP, getting the parts, and troubleshooting the whole thing seems kinda intimidating since it's a world i haven't traveled into before. i'm trying to avoid too many new or unknown avenues, cuz i need this thing done soonish. i am definitely going to look into this for the future tho, thx!

    Excellent job, it's exactly want I want to do also. i already ordered three SIS-2 chips for 3 "almost" the same switch, Jasco model 51186 or Intermatic HB12R. They are the same. different enough from yours that I don't know where to solder. I'm not that good with electronics and I can't seem to find a schematic to try and guess what to do. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    light switch 003.jpglight switch 002.jpglight switch 004.jpg
    1 reply

    Sorry for the delay. Did you get this working? If not, let me know and might be able to lend assistance.

    Interesting, and an excelent hack. I've been thinking about the fact that there's no true "Universal" remote. Ie, and open source programmable remote that can be plugged into a USB port to download (and upload) codes, with a central site/place to exchange them (I'd propose Instructables, but that's because I work there.) It shouldn't be too expensive to develop. Thoughts?

    6 replies

    I thought about them. Can they upload the IR sequences directly to a file?. I didn't think so, but without any specs/information I can't say.

    I think they upload the sequences to a website. Then other people can download and use them.

    Hrm.... I wonder where they'd draw the line though? Just electronic devices? There are so many other wonderful IR controled objects in the world. I'd still prefer to see something hacker-friendly.

    Well, this is about the opposite, since it's a universal reciever. The device learns a code to activate an action, as opposed to a remote learning a signal to activate a device. You could use a logitech remote for this, you'd just need to make sure that the control scheme you're using has unused, but active buttons working.

    Very interesting hack. Well done!!! My question is how can I do the same but with DC current, like in RC toys (cars,helicopters,boats...) Do you know a schematic that i can build that has a remote and a reserver so, lets say if I push a button on the remote an LED turns on on the reserver (wireless).

    Just found this i-ble... Quick question, are the RF remotes on different frequencies? I was thinking, if they did, and you had multiple, it wouldn't be that hard to wire it up to computer control... Then, you'd have remote AND computer control of it. only problem would be if it was a only a toggle switch... then comp would need a feedback mechanism to know if it was on or off. Lastly, how did you find this and where? I'm looking and finding some, but wanted to see what options were available. thanks

    Looks really clean for the space you had to work with, nicely done :)