A mini breadboard fits perfectly snug between the Arduino Yún's header sockets.

A mini breadboard fits perfectly snug between the Arduino Yún’s header sockets.

Sniffer. Snooper. Computerized Infrared Receiver-Transmitter Control Unit.

Call it what you want because the Smart Remote Control is many things and ultimately probably the simplest IR decoder available for tinkering purposes.

There are lots of ways to sniff IR codes, but none that come with editable python scripts and a readymade XML file for generating a simple web interface. No DOS or DLL files here! (Seriously, there are still IR decoder options out there that require Windows 98.) Just a credit card-sized single-board device that combines the functionality of embedded Linux with the simplicity of Arduino-based processing.

It couldn’t be easier.

For instance, this past summer I acquired an indoor portable air conditioner. The unit was free but the person who gave it to me misplaced the remote control. Eventually I settled on buying a new remote — and now with the Smart Remote Control I can replicate the control buttons quite easily. This will allow me to backup the remote control’s functions, fabricate a facsimile remote, or share the remote’s data with others who have also misplaced their remote.

The remote I bought has 8 buttons. The surface-mounted IC is a PT2221M-001, "designed for use on infrared remote control applications" which sell for around 10¢ each wholesale.

The remote I bought has 8 buttons. The surface-mounted IC is a PT2221M-001, “designed for use on infrared remote control applications” which sell for around 10¢ each wholesale.

normalyun After sniffing the remote control’s power button code, I set up the Smart Remote Control’s web interface to replicate this function, and initiated it over WiFi:

Granted, this is an expensive option for simply turning an air-conditioning unit on and off. It’s nearly twice as expensive as the replacement remote. But as far as decoding IR signals in the first place, it was a snap with the Smart Remote Control‘s readymade Arduino sketch. And the project could easily be designed to handle the functions of not just one appliance, but two, ten, or more. Wi-fi control is also pretty slick, especially given the ubiquity of touchscreen devices — it’s as simple as launching a browser and turning your phone or tablet’s screen into an all-in-one IR controller.

Watch the video below, which is admittedly goofy, but then ask yourself, “What could I do once I know the IR codes of appliances in my home?” If you invent any clever hacks of this project, port the data to an entirely new device, or simply mod it to suit your needs, be sure to leave a comment here or over on the project page with your story.