So, how this things can run? First, make sure that you have Infrared (IR) tranceiver built-in or plugged on your machine. If it detected well in Windows XP, over Device Manager, it will show 3 items (eHome Infrared Receiver, Microsoft eHome Infrared Transceiver & Microsoft eHome Remote Consumer Controls) just like picture below:
Next, you’ll need 3rd party software purposed to communicate between RC and IR transceiver. I found 2 free software regarding to this which is Girder and HIP, but then I decide to choose HIP (stands for Human Interface Programming) because it’s more easier to use. I compared that it took less time to learn HIP than Girder, so reasonable because Girder has more complete functionality than HIP. To get latest HIP software, point your browser to this link.
As you can see from above picture (got from HIP official website), HIP can organize several media or electronic to do something likes automation control, windows messaging, IR, sending, communicating with LED display, microcontroler scheduler and so on. But, the principal thing on this article is, it can provide a link between RC and (HT)PC by emulating keyboard commands over RC.
Then, what kind of non-PC RC compatible to HIP? Ok, let’s try trial & error like as I did before. Get as much electronic RC you can find near you, it can be TV RC, DVD player, AC or something else. Use HIP wizard to recognize one of those things. Once your RC “handshaked”, then explore it more with it & continue to next wizard.
Unfortunately, I only have 3 RC’s around me; from left to right: Sharp TV RC, LG AC RC & Philips DVD Player RC. None of all recognized by HIP except the DVD RC. On 3rd party Girder plugin page, I found that Philips mostly use RC6 IR chip on their RC. I also found that this RC6 chip is compatible with SFH56-36; TSOP1736 sensor with sufficient sensitivity transmitters at 36kHz. From other resources on internet, I found too that most of remote controls operate at 38kHz, some at 36kHz and some (mostly Sony) at 40kHz. A higher frequency value means better sensitivity but limited to IR transceiver and lower frequency means less sensitivity but high compatibility to IR transceiver.
The great thing is, you can assembling those chip into a IR transceiver with RS232 (COM port) based by your own self at US$ 1 cost only, just look at above PCB diagram! Ok, back to topic. Once you have RC recognized by HIP, get continue to next wizard until you find a window asking you what software you want to control. On my experience to support my Media Center, I choose PowerDVD 9 (Cinema Mode), Winamp, Windows Media Player and On Screen Keyboard.
Each of those software need to configure one by one using HIP user input button. For example, if you choose Play shortcut keyboard in Winamp (known as “X”), on Edit Value window, you need to press approriate Play button on RC.
And so on with others function on each software until all software listed succesfully by HIP. To test the RC button, simply press Run button on HIP or activate it by using mouse right click over HIP icon reside in taskbar.
Dont forget to execute the software first. Once it’s been running, HIP will notice you by yellow balloon tips rise at the HIP icon from the taskbar.
From this point, you can try whether your configuration button is suitable or not. On my test using Philips DVD Player RC, I can operate the PC well from 6m distance with non-wall penetrated. I think it’s great with no cost additional of course! Have a good try.
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