PC Remote Control with HIP

A moment ago, some readers of my blog had been speaking to me on email about how to manage PC applications with non-PC remote control (RC) which I described a bit in my previous article. I’m not talking about dedicated PC RC since I though it much configurable, more compatible & well designate to such as XP Media Center RC, Xbox 360 RC or others specified at the green button site, also it equal to the price too. But on this, I’d like to focus about home electronic consumer RC, a cheap RC we can find on every local store near home.

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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Sincerelly,

Eko Wahyudiharto
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  1. Anonymous Carl Petro said,

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010 8:41:00 PM

    Interesting article. I bought a Unisen iPazzport - has a backlit touchpad and qwerty keypad. Seems to do the trick with a wireless USB. Cost was only about $50 and has not given me any problems so far. I just ran a HDMI plug to my flat screen in my office and watch ESPN 360, Netflix, HULU, etc.

  2. Anonymous IC Bombers said,

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010 9:55:00 PM

    I have ipazzport too work really well. many time lay on couch and do video on plazma and HTPC with pazzport. no get up and go to PC just do from far away. four performance/cost, pazzport is most better.

  3. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010 4:33:00 PM

    @Carl Petro & IC Bombers: iPazzport looks techie & great. Fortunately, I can't find it someplace in Indonesia ;-(

  4. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:46:00 AM

    Unfortunately HIP isn't win7-64 compatible so if your building a new HTPC around it don't install the 64 bit os...but ofcourse what idiot besides me would install the 64 bit in a HTPC given that your gonna have driver issues left and right.

  5. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 12:58:00 PM

    @Anonymous: Thank's for the opinion, but it's good enough if you build an HTPC from 32bit XP Media Center OS (or 32bit XP Professional Edition at minimal as I did on above experiment).

    Anyway, I'd rather focused about the hi-capability & ease-of-use than a well-dressed OS or a latest expensive CPU.

  6. Blogger Paul Rogan said,

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:46:00 AM

    While these PC remote controls seem like a fun DIY at home project, they may be outdated by more recent developments: specifically there is smart phone remote control software that allows you to turn your mobile device into a remote control with a touch screen and a slick UI.

  7. OpenID openid said,

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 7:03:00 AM

    Unfortunately, most of smart phone IrDA has range limitation, Mr. Rogan. They only have approximately 2 meter range & it make uncomfortable to use.

    Let say, I used to tested it with HP 6365 PDA. While my sofa placed 4 meter away from TV, so this thing nearly unusable :-(

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