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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    IR Blasting test results

    I received the IR emitter cable today. Thank you!

    The emitter (as you may know) is enclosed in a small cube (one axis longer than the others). The cube comes with a small piece of double-stick tape on one long side.

    The instructions say to stick the emitter directly on top of the IR sensor in your equipment. I did some investigating and found that this is not the most efficient method of transmitting the signal.

    I used a camcorder to be able to see the IR light (CCDs have a decent response in the infrared.) I quickly saw that the most light is emitted out the end of the cube, i.e. the smaller surface, opposite the cable entry surface. The side of the cube with the tape emitted far less light.

    A better method might be to mount the emitter such that the smaller "end surface" of the cube faced the emitter. This might be done with a small plastic bracket.

    I also did a few empirical tests to check receiver response from various surfaces. I measured the distance from the receiver which the emitter could be placed to be able to receive a fairly reliable signal (this was not rigorous testing!):

    1) "End surface", opposite the cable (the surface with the smallest area): about 6 ft.

    2) Larger "side surface" without the tape: about 2 ft.

    3) Larger "side surface" with the tape: 1 ft.

    4) Either smaller "side surface" about 2 ft.

    The best response is achieved with the emitter "pointing" at the receiver. The worst response is through the surface with the tape.

    IR Blaster Plugin results:

    Equipment used:
    SB2 with IR Blaster/cable and Felix's test plugin
    Slim Remote
    Onkyo TX-860 Tuner/Amplifier

    I grabbed a few Onkyo remote configuration files from lirc.org. I did not find an exact match to my remote, but most codes were the same and I found the timing numbers given in the header are not critical. The conf files on LIRC are automatically generated; I expect the one/zero timing is actually the same for most of the Onkyo remotes and there is just added precision in the calculations which makes the numbers appear different from remote to remote.

    I tested the two features which Felix implemented in the plugin:

    1) Power on/off
    2) Volume up/down

    Both work just fine with the IR blaster. Felix has coded the SB2 volume to go to 100% as soon as either Volume up or down is pressed with the plugin active. That way, the IR blaster will control only the volume of the other device (amplifier in this case) and the Slim Remote will not be trying to control the SB2 volume simultaneously. In a later version it might be nice to have this as an option in the interface. (This version of the plugin is just for basic testing.)

    The power on the SB2 and the device being controlled _do_ operate simultaneously. They could get out of sync, though, with one device turning on and the other turning off. Again, an option would be nice to not control the SB2 power.

    Also in a later version, it would be nice to be able to map the features to other keys on the slim remote. For example, the "turn on/off power on the amplifier" command could be mapped to the Slim remote's sleep button or any other button which was not used. (Here's where I would like to see a few "programmable/unused" buttons added to the Slim remote.)

    As Dean said in another post, this plugin from Felix is a great start. I'll add that it worked right away! Great job to everyone (firmware and plugin code)!

    Next tests will be with remote codes for Panasonic DVD, Samsung VCR and maybe Magnavox TV. I know these are not audio devices; I just want to check response from various manufacturers.

    Regards, Dave

  2. #2
    Senior Member GoCubs's Avatar
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    My IR blaster results

    I also just received my IR blaster. (Thanks Slim Devices!) Here are my results:

    1.) As previously discussed, I had to change my skin in order to see the plugin. It then appears as a server setting. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the settings configurable at the player level?

    2.) I could not find an exact match for my Denon 4802R. However, in looking at the hex codes provided in RC-897 and comparing them with the IR codes provided on the Denon website, they seem to match.

    Unfortunately RC-897 did not work. I know the emitter is functioning properly (the slim remote config file emitts properly). Upon further investigation I noticed that the RC-897 file has the following comment:

    # CAUTION!
    # This config file only works with lircd > 0.6.5 because of a new config
    # directive 'toggle_mask'.
    #

    In looking at Felix's plugin code, it does not seem to utilize the toggle_mask setting. None of the .conf's included with the plugin use this setting. I'm not sure what this setting does, but it's probably needed for the new Denon AVR receiver remotes.

    When I have time I'll try some remote codes for other devices I have. It's good to finally see a good use for the "geek port"!

    Greg

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Followup on test results

    I just tried the emitter with three more devices with mixed results. I expect the results are simply because I could not find compatible remote configuration files:

    1) Samsung VCR
    Success on both of them, with Power on/off. I found a conf file on LIRC for a very similar remote to the one I have. [It's actually annoying; either remote will work either Samsung unit. Fortunately, we only use these now for the kids' videos.]

    2) Panasonic DVD
    Could not find a compatible remote conf file. Tried what I thought would be the closest match, but no success. Will check the Pany website, but don't expect much.

    3) Magnavox TV
    I'm almost embarrassed to say we have a Magnavox TV. No luck here, either. It's not surprising there were very few conf files for Magnavox on LIRC.

    Dave

  4. #4
    Slim Devices Developer fcm4711's Avatar
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    IR Blasting test results

    First of all - thanks for the reports.

    Greg:
    I don't know (yet) what this parameter does, but from the name I had the impression, it should work without using it. Anyone knows what this parameter does?

    Dave:
    Panasonic: I found some panasonic .conf files containing the line 'min_repeat 0' which would prevent the current version v0.8 of my plugin from sending anything. If the .conf file you used contains this line could you either remove it or change it to 'min_repeat 1' and try again. I will add a check in my plugin to make sure 'min_repeat' is set at least to 1.

    Magnavox: From the four remotes on LIRC three are of type RC5/6 which is a different format and not supported yet (as of v0.8). But I am working on it.

    Felix

  5. #5
    Slim Devices Developer fcm4711's Avatar
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    IR Blasting test results

    Hi all

    Just posted the lastest version (1.1) of the plugin:

    www (dot) gwendesign (dot) com/slimserver/dev_hard_and_software.htm#irblaster

    Added features:
    - Web interface per client (SB2s only)
    - Entered data stored in slimserver.pref
    - Support for 'TOGGLE_MASK'
    - Preparation for RC5 remotes *)

    *) Needs upcoming firmware (version > 19)

    Enjoy
    Felix

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: IR Blasting test results

    Felix/Sean,

    Am I right in thinking that the need for the timer delays are to avoid the "blast" overlapping the original IR signal and hence
    corrupting the signal received by the target receiver?

    I managed to get a simple test to work without the delays by shielding the target equipment from the slim remote so that it only
    sees the blasted signal. Assuming this is the case, it may make sense to make the delay variable based on the users configuration
    as it seems much more responsive without the delays and also some people press the button for longer than others.

    [also using a timer to avoid the select statement as this blocks the server - see patch]

    Adrian

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "fcm4711" <fcm4711.1v0b5n (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
    To: <developers (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
    Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 9:52 PM
    Subject: [Developers] Re: IR Blasting test results


    >
    > Hi all
    >
    > Just posted the lastest version (1.1) of the plugin:
    >
    > www (dot) gwendesign (dot)
    > com/slimserver/dev_hard_and_software.htm#irblaster
    >
    > Added features:
    > - Web interface per client (SB2s only)
    > - Entered data stored in slimserver.pref
    > - Support for 'TOGGLE_MASK'
    > - Preparation for RC5 remotes *)
    >
    > *) Needs upcoming firmware (version > 19)
    >
    > Enjoy
    > Felix
    >
    >
    > --
    > fcm4711
    >

  7. #7
    Senior Member GoCubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fcm4711
    Hi all
    Just posted the lastest version (1.1) of the plugin:
    - Web interface per client (SB2s only)
    - Support for 'TOGGLE_MASK'
    I went ahead and tried out 1.1 and am happy to report that it now works with my Denon receiver. I'm not sure exactly what TOGGLE_MASK does, but it did the trick

    Initially I did not realize that in order to utilize the "TEST" button, you must first hit the "CHANGE" button after selecting your remotes. It'd probably be useful to either indicate this functionality or make it so the "TEST" button works immediately after selecting a remote.

    Thanks again! Now I'm anxiously awaiting support for it to send a series of buttons (so my receiver can select the propper source).

    -Greg

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    IR Blasting test results

    fcm4711 <fcm4711.1v0b5n (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> writes:

    > Just posted the lastest version (1.1) of the plugin:


    I finally got around installing the blaster. I want to use it with my
    (old) technics receiver. I tried a couple of the technics remote
    configuration files, but could not find one yet, which works :-(

    I think one of the already existing ones should work, at least for the
    CD player, but it doesn't. I am planning of installing the lirc
    packages on my notebook (which has IR) to create my own remote file,
    just to be sure to use the correct signals.

    I found it kind of difficult to get the plugin working. Maybe I am
    missing a post, but I had to read the source, to figure out, that I
    need to use the plugin on the client and press up and down to
    enable/disable the IR blaster.

    Would sending music data to the IR blaster destroy it? I probably did
    that (it is very easy to make that mistake) and it would be really
    annoying if the blaster would be destroyed.

    Gerd




  9. #9
    Craig, James (IT)
    Guest

    Re: IR Blasting test results

    There's no need to lock the volume at the maximum - what if you wanted
    to set the volume lower, so that it matched up with some of your other
    input devices? The Squeezebox is far louder than my TV which is quite
    annoying.

    (although I use the digital output so this may be irrelevant)

    I too have recieved my IR Blaster but haven't had a chance to test it
    yet!

    James
    --------------------------------------------------------

    NOTICE: If received in error, please destroy and notify sender. Sender does not waive confidentiality or privilege, and use is prohibited.

  10. #10
    PAUL WILLIAMSON
    Guest

    Re: IR Blasting test results

    >>> James.Craig (AT) morganstanley (DOT) com 09/23/05 8:21 AM >>>
    > There's no need to lock the volume at the maximum - what if you
    > wanted to set the volume lower, so that it matched up with some
    > of your other input devices? The Squeezebox is far louder than
    > my TV which is quite annoying.
    >
    > (although I use the digital output so this may be irrelevant)
    >
    > I too have recieved my IR Blaster but haven't had a chance to
    > test it yet!
    >
    > James
    >


    What about locking the volume at a specific value? I usually
    have my sb at 30 and adjust the volume on either my
    receiver or TV. Locking it at max would defintely be
    irritating...

    Paul


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