Building a universal remote with an Arduino

Arduino Technology
Building a universal remote with an Arduino

This is a nice DIY universal remote using an Arduino and an IR LED. Hopefully you have an oscilloscope so you can decode your current remote. If not, keep checking craigslist for a really cheap one. That’s where I got mine.

It is really easy to build a universal remote using an Arduino. With just an infrared LED, it can impersonate remotes for your TV, fans, lights, etc. and can let you easily incorporate these into your electronics projects. You won’t even have to solder anything or void any warranties.

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18 thoughts on “Building a universal remote with an Arduino

  1. Ome Joop says:

    What about reading other remotes with Arduino itself by connecting an IR receptor?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      Good point. I think the issue would be storing and analyzing the data. It is much easier to see it on a screen. Although, why not map it out in Processing? Hmmm….not fast enough?

  2. The Oracle says:

    The processor has plenty of power. But IR remotes use different carrier frequencies, if you use a detector that automatically demodulates, it has to be the correct frequency or your range will be horrible and you’ll never know what carrier the arduino should be sending with.

    And There’s 2 common wavelenghts of IR LED used, 940nm is most common but 870nm is also out there.

    Once all that is handled (let’s say you only accept 38kHz, 940nm), there’s all kinds of coding schemes. Some have a bit that toggles every time the same code is sent, some have a short “repeat” code. Some use active-low, some use active-high. On top of that the times aren’t very precise. If the remote is sending a 1ms pulse, you might get 0.8ms one time and 1.2ms the next time. So you’ll only have a rough approximation of what the timing was supposed to be. Using your scope you can see the ballpark the remote is aiming for.

    As you might guess, I’ve built a learning remote in the past. It certainly is possible and within the capability of an Arduino, but there’s a very good reason that almost all universal remotes on the market are pre-programmed.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      @ The Oracle

      WOW! Thanks for all the great information….you certainly know your universal remotes!

  3. oPossum says:

    Some resources for simple IR capture:

    Hack a MiniPOV3 for IR capture:

    The IR Widget:

  4. The Oracle says:

    @Marc — Thanks. See what happens when I stop flaming people? ;)

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      @ The Oracle

      That’s funny! Your comments have been really great. Thanks for contributing!

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    The Oracle always has great comments, even if they’re not universally celebrated by everyone :) they’re always good – thanks for contributing here Oracle, good stuff!

  6. says:

    I hacked together a simple project for decoding Sony IR remotes, using only an Arduino and an IR receiver. I believe this process would generalize easily, and completely eliminates the need for an osciliscope.

    My post is available here:

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