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What Do I Buy To Reliably Control HomeSeer Via An Infrared (IR) Remote

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    #16
    Personally I use the Ocelot for both sending and receiving IR. It it very reliable. I also use a Xantech connecting block for 2-way communications between my IR devices and the Ocelot. All the IR equipment is in the family room, the Ocelot is in a closet. Cat 5 cabling connects everything together.

    The Ocelot does all the IR matching in hardware, Homeseer isn't involved. Homeseer is simply informed of which matching code was received, and matches it to the IR codes table in Homeseer.

    For the system you described in your initial post, I don't think a SECU16-IR would be required. The main reason for having a SECU16-IR is zoned IR, and that's really only useful if you have the same equipment in multiple locations where sending an IR code would be confusing as to which device you are targeting. Also keep in mind the SECU16-IR is zoned transmit only.

    For example, if you have 3 cable boxes that use the same IR code set, then the SECU16-IR could partition them so you can control them individually from Homeseer.

    In your post today about "what makes this so hard" only one of your examples really applies to the Homeseer scenario, and that's the last one - Girder with a USB IR receiver. That example can cover multiple devices, multiple code types. The rest are completely different 'apples and oranges' comparisons.

    The reason IR is so hard is that there are dozens of IR code types, some of them that change every time you press a button. It's not always the matter of 'record and play back' IR codes.

    Simply put:

    Yes, a $25 DVD player and it's remote can provide rock solid IR because it implements a very limited set of commands - maybe 2 dozen out of thousands of possibilities. This hardware solution has been around a long time and has the kinks worked out. Millions of devices exist.

    Yes a $25 universal remote can generate thousands of commands from hundreds of code sets. Same reason applies, it's been done to death. Literally hundreds of such device models exist.

    Implementing a device that can RECEIVE and interpret thousands of commands from hundreds of devices and interface with a computer is another story altogether. Devices that attempt this have only existed for the past 20 years, and the older ones will be limited in scope. You can probably count all the devices that do this in a couple of dozen, and those that do it well across the widest scope, count on one hand.

    Millions of people use the simple, fixed IR transmitters/receivers.
    The other group is probably in the low thousands at best.
    Those numbers alone should tell you why this is so hard.

    You can make this work, but it will require an education you may not want to invest in about how IR codes work, how to capture and edit them, and how they are used across different manufacturers. It will require 3rd party software and hardware just to capture and edit the files.

    I'd suggest starting the process with the JP1 forum here: http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/

    Comment


      #17
      If you own a Harmony One remote you would understand. This Beautiful and very simple remote can be setup with wonderful color soft touch buttons for lighting and and other buttons. Rather than use one remote for the TV and another remote for Automation, you could use the one remote for both. This would require accurate IR recognition by HomeSeer for a given set of IR commands... Not many IR commands, but at least a few that reliably get interpreted.

      I know a PalmPad works VERY well, but it is not at elegant and integrated as having everything on a single smart remote. There is room for both IR remote and PalmPads (rooms that have no TV).

      Has anyone here ever used the software Girder?
      ---------------------------------------------------
      Jean-Marie G. Vaneskahian
      jean@vaneskahian.com
      ---------------------------------------------------

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by jeanv View Post
        If you own a Harmony One remote you would understand
        But only if it's pointed at the equipment. I can't for the life of me get my wife to keep the remote pointed at the equipment for the entire macro. This is the beauty of a one button solution using HSTouch.
        💁‍♂️ Support & Customer Service 🙋‍♂️ Sales Questions 🛒 Shop HomeSeer Products

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          #19
          This is easily done with an Ocelot. The trick is making sure that what is learned by the Ocelot is 'repeatable'.

          Personally I use my cable remote to control all my equipment and my home automation triggers because it happens to be a JP1 programmable remote (Time Warner Cable).

          For me there are a few IR triggered events I use daily with the Ocelot:

          1. When the TV is turned on, turn on all the other IR controlled devices in my Home Theatre (via IR). Reverse for off.

          2. Toggle the X-10 controlled fireplace on/off with an IR code.

          3. When the TV is muted, automatically toggle on closed captioning.

          These all work very reliably.

          And Rupp's point above is well taken, you don't have to keep the remote pointed at the equipment through a multisecond macro. The HT equipment on/off process probably takes 4-5 seconds for everything, all Homeseer needs to see is the TV power toggle command.

          Comment


            #20
            mterry63,

            It does sound like the Ocelot and the SECU16IR is the way to go based on what you stated. In my Xantech system I am simply placing the IR emitter from the Xantech connecting block and placing it over the IR receiver on the Ocelot, is that correct?

            My next question is if I want the SECU16IR to send zoned commands back to a room, I would need it to interface with my Xantech connecting block. To do this you really need an optically isolated connection. I know Smarthome used to sell a device called an IR-Linc that accomplished this (http://james.lipsit.com/ir.htm).

            That device is no longer sold, is there another device I could use that would allow me to connect the SECU16IR to the Xantech connecting block?
            ---------------------------------------------------
            Jean-Marie G. Vaneskahian
            jean@vaneskahian.com
            ---------------------------------------------------

            Comment


              #21
              It seems like most people use IR to have homeseer control devices rather than using IR to trigger homeseer events. While I currently only use two IR codes for triggering events, I do have 206 total IR codes in the system that I use to transmit to the A/V equipment in my house. The devices I control via homeseer range from a brand new Samsung TV to a ~10 year Harman Kardon receiver, and they include Comcast cable boxes which are notoriously hard for learning remotes to deal with.

              It wasn't too complicated to set up, but it was time consuming. I had to track down the hexadecimal pronto codes on remotecentral.com and paste them into the USB-UIRT learn helper utility in order to get the Comcast cable boxes working. I have multiple cable boxes and the very simple page in homeseer to manage IR codes has no copy function so it was a little extra tedious since I had to do the cable boxes multiple times. Then there's the large investment of time I've put into creating and endlessly tweaking the HSTouch screens I use to control everything.

              The end result works nicely. My when I leave the house or go to sleep I have a control to turn off lights, and any TVs, stereos, etc. that might have been left on. I've got screens for my computers and my tablet where I can control all my A/V stuff. The UI is customized the way I like it and has some niceties. For example, I downloaded a set of TV channel icons and for all the stations I regularly watch so I've got nice logo buttons to switch right to them on my HSTouch screens.

              It isn't perfect enough to hide all the remotes yet however. I still reach for the cable box remote rather than my tablet when I have to turn the volume down quickly on the TV because of an obnoxiously loud ad. HSTouch on Android still needs a little work to make it reliable. Switching back to it from sleep or another app takes too long and often requires reconnecting in my experience. It needs to be instantly responsive when switched to, like HSTouch on a PC is.

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by jeanv View Post
                mterry63,

                It does sound like the Ocelot and the SECU16IR is the way to go based on what you stated. In my Xantech system I am simply placing the IR emitter from the Xantech connecting block and placing it over the IR receiver on the Ocelot, is that correct?

                My next question is if I want the SECU16IR to send zoned commands back to a room, I would need it to interface with my Xantech connecting block. To do this you really need an optically isolated connection. I know Smarthome used to sell a device called an IR-Linc that accomplished this (http://james.lipsit.com/ir.htm).

                That device is no longer sold, is there another device I could use that would allow me to connect the SECU16IR to the Xantech connecting block?
                I would make sure before I commit. As the expression goes, 'Your mileage may vary'

                I can't speak for the other IR solutions available for Homeseer, but I am happy with the Ocelot. It could be that the other options are as good or better. The Ocelot is pretty old and I have concerns for continued support from the manufacturer, Applied Digital. That being said, they've always been helpful and reliable. I've hedged my bets by buying a backup Ocelot.

                If you decide to go the Ocelot route, then yes, you need a device to convert between the 5V and 12V IR standards on the transmit side. There is a schematic available on the Applied Digital forum, and possibly here as well, for a simple circuit to make this change for a few dollars. I built my own and it has been functioning for years. You would need it for either the Ocelot alone, or with the SECU16-IR.

                For the receive side, it's simple to just use a stick-on emitter on the Ocelot's receiver, which is what I do.

                Comment


                  #23
                  mterry63,

                  You bring up some very good points. Since I have 7 zones I want to transmit IR signals to, rather than build 7 circuits (that I am not very good at anyhow), I did some digging and found this http://www.globalcache.com/files/doc...GX_distrib.pdf.

                  Will this work? Can I buy 7 of these cables and connect them to the SECU16IR and the other end to the Xantech Connecting block zones?

                  As far as the stick on emitter on the IR receiver on the Ocelot goes, you state you have had pretty good success with this right?

                  How does the Ocelot then trigger a HomeSeer event based on a recognized IR signal?
                  ---------------------------------------------------
                  Jean-Marie G. Vaneskahian
                  jean@vaneskahian.com
                  ---------------------------------------------------

                  Comment


                    #24
                    The device you reference looks like it will do what you want. Are you sure you need 7 zones?

                    Keep in mind the SECU16-IR is one-way, so if you want to RECEIVE IR from 7 locations and send them to Homeseer, you would need to combine them into a single zone, and Homeseer won't know where they are coming from.

                    I've had very good success with the stick-on emitter on the Ocelot IR receiver. The whole thing is enclosed in a case and the emitter is fastened with hot glue.

                    Make sure you have a handle around the whole 'multi-zoned' IR thing. Like I said before, it's really only good to target multiples of the same device by Homeseer.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      mterry63,

                      I think I do have a pretty good grasp of the multiple zones for sending IR from HomeSeer to a room.

                      Here is the setup I want:

                      I have 7 rooms with a TV in a house. I want HomeSeer to be able to send ONLY to that room specific IR commands since some of the rooms share the same type of equipment that answers to the same IR codes.

                      However, any room should be able to send a single common receiver that triggers HomeSeer events.

                      I am really conflicted with how I want to proceed here. Part of me says go with the Ocelot combined with the SECU16IR. But my concerns are what you pointed out, the age of the hardware and no new development in many years. The HomeSeer plug-ins do not seem to be updated, but maybe they don't need to be. This may be the best solution (especially for IR reception and decoding).

                      I looked at the Global Cache hardware and I think it might work too (at least for sending IR to the rooms). They have Zoned output (not as many as the SECU16IR). They are also the manufacture of the cables I would need to optically isolate the Xantech connecting block. They are new and have current support from HomerSeer and Plug-In developers. From what I read, the IR receiver from Global Cache is not reliable for HomeSeer to be able to match an IR code.

                      So I am torn... Still looking around... From a cost point of view, they are almost the same.

                      Thanks for all your help! You guys are awesome!
                      ---------------------------------------------------
                      Jean-Marie G. Vaneskahian
                      jean@vaneskahian.com
                      ---------------------------------------------------

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Sure, that makes sense.

                        I share your concern about the age of hardware and lack of development. At this point we don't have any indication from Homeseer about what hardware will be supported in HS3. As for the current plugin, it's a mature, working solution in HS2. There are some bugs, but nothing critical.

                        You can certainly have 7 output zones with multiple emitters on a Xantech distribution block. You can also have 7 IR receivers that are tied with a similar distribution block to an Ocelot connected emitter.

                        The challenges with this type of system is that it's somewhat synchronous. For example, if 7 people press a button on 7 remotes at the same time, there will be 'collisions', and none will work. You will also have to map different IR codes to each room's remote so that Homeseer can differentiate one room from another.

                        It's going to be difficult to work around some of these limitations. You have to decide if you can live with them or not, depending on your situation.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          So I plan to do something along these lines too, but in what I believe is a simpler implementation. I plan to put my DVR in my equipment closet and use an HDMI splitter to send that signal to all 4 TV's in my house. Then I plan to use a Xantech connector block and a serial strip to pass the IR from all of the TV areas OTHER than my media room. I will then use a single IR lead from my media room back so I can use it to connect to an IR receiver for HS.

                          It is my media room that I want to use some IR triggers. My plan is to use something (After reading this thread I have some ideas on what to use, but still thinking about it overall) to receive the IR so I can trigger events. What I am wanting in the end is things like Press Play on PS3, dim lights to 20% then wait 2 minutes and shut them off totally, Press Pause bring lights up to 25% and so on for the whole theater experience. I use a Harmony 900 for my remotes.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Do you have an IR adapter on your PS3? The PS3 remote is bluetooth I though.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Yes, I use the Harmony PS3 adapter. That was the only way to get down to a single remote.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                I had the same question as the OP: how to send IR commands to HomeSeer to trigger events? I use the Pronto TSU9400 universal remote control. I've defined a lot of macros, some of which need to turn on or off Z-Wave lights/dimmers in the room (and for a nice home-theater effect, dim the lights slowly like in a movie theater). Having lights turn off as part of a macro that starts up the Home Theater gear is a must-have (especially when using a projector that needs all lights turned off).

                                I thought at first that it would be nice to be able to send IR (via WiFi) to HomeSeer to trigger events, but after reading this forum thread, I've decided to use some of my old equipment that I already have. Here's my configuration that I got working:

                                1. I use the X10 IR-543 device to convert the remote control's IR to X10:

                                http://www.smarthome.com/4040/X10-IR...Console/p.aspx

                                Aside: My Pronto remote talks via WiFi/Ethernet to a Pronto RFX9600 "base" station, which basically converts the Pronto's WiFi signals to IR, and then sends that IR to the X10 IR-543 device. That way, it doesn't matter what room my Pronto's are in (I have 3 used in 3 different rooms) and I don't have to point the Pronto to the X10 IR-543 directly. Other more advanced universal remotes have similar RF or WiFi ability.

                                2. I use the ACT TI103 X10 interface, which receives the X10 signal over power line and sends it to HomeSeer via serial port (Iuse the ACT TI103 plug-in):

                                http://store.homeseer.com/store/ACT-...ce-P20C45.aspx

                                3. Then, I define events with triggers like "X10 Command A5 On", etc. to do whatever actions I want.

                                I actually do not have anymore X10 devices in my home (except for some trusty X10 DS10A sensors, which don't use the aforementioned equipment). I thought I was going to get rid of powerline X10 once and for all, but from what I've read in this thread, not yet... So, I was able to resurrect my old ACT TI103 and X10 IR-543 to send HomeSeer events with my Pronto. The same thing can be done with other universal remotes. You just need to teach them the IR codes for the IR-543. These are readily available online, such as in remotecentral.com

                                Hope this helps (if you don't mind getting the hardware; but, since HomeSeer does support good 'ol X10, as long as you don't have any power line issues that might affect X10 signals, this solution works fine.

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