Arduino based FLIRC equivalent for $5

  • I built several of these years ago for all the non-CEC capable TVs in the house. I never heard of FLIRC until recently, but these basically did the same thing. The arduino emulates a USB keyboard and sends appropriate keystrokes based on the IR signals it receives from the TV's remote.

    in the pre-covid days I was buying bunches of these generic pro-micro arduinos for less than $4 each, and the VS1838 IR receivers for 5 for $5. sadly, the chip shortage has pushed up the prices of arduinos...

  • Thank you for posting about this arduino alternative to FLIRC.

    Do these devices work straight out of the box?

    If not could you describe how to program or otherwise set up the VS1838 IR infrared receiver?

  • Do these devices work straight out of the box?

    lol, no, you shouldnt try this unless you are in the mood for a science project and you like tinkering. If you need something that works out of the box spend a few extra bucks and order the dongle from FLIRC.

    But to answer your question, the VS1838 IR receiver itself does not need to be configured, you just solder it onto the arduino board. It has pins for gnd, +5 and signal. use any available digital input on the arduino for the signal pin. Some wiring examples show adding a pull-up resistor, but mine worked without it.

    But you need to download a program to the arduino. I attached the program I used, but unlike the nice setup-mode of the FLIRC, here you would need to play around and figure out the codes for your specific remote. The codes in this program worked for the Toshiba and samsung remotes i had at the time.

    The program itself is actually very simple, all the heavy lifting was already done by the IR-remote and keyboard-emulation libraries provided by Arduino.

  • how does that behave if you use the same remote you use for your tv ?

    maybe I missed something but wouldn't the remote control the tv and le the same time ?

  • how does that behave if you use the same remote you use for your tv ?

    depends how lucky you are. It worked well with very simple TVs that had very complicated remotes. Often a TV remote will have play/pause/stop buttons that would only work if you happened to buy a vcr or DVD player of the same brand. Those buttons can safely be mapped for this kind of use. I think on my old Toshiba (long dead) there was a button or function to put the remote in DVD mode. The volume buttons would still control the TV, but play/pause stop and even the arrows and menu buttons would not do anything to the TV in that mode, so i mapped their codes to be by my psuedo-flirc. I just had to keep reminding family members to put the remote in DVD mode to use the raspberry/Kodi.

  • Thank you gadget_guy for describing how to get the VS1838 IR infrared receiver working with an Arduino and the code you posted. It is always good to have options.

    Regarding IR remote controls, my experience has been that different manufacturers tend to use different codes to work with their respective devices. For example I have not encountered any "cross talk" issues with the remotes for my Samsung TV, Panasonic DVD player, and custom built MythTV PVR (uses MCE remote).