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Flirc Continues Endless Keypresses on Harmony 650

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Unfortunately the problem is back. It's possible that it's more intermittent since it took more time for me reproduce it, but when it started happening, it happened multiple times. The situation seems to clear if I keep a button pressed on the remote for a moment.

 

Since it's intermittent a real-time debugging session may not be that fruitful, but I'm ready to try different firmware versions if you will.

 

--Ere

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Unfortunately the problem is back. It's possible that it's more intermittent since it took more time for me reproduce it, but when it started happening, it happened multiple times. The situation seems to clear if I keep a button pressed on the remote for a moment.

 

Since it's intermittent a real-time debugging session may not be that fruitful, but I'm ready to try different firmware versions if you will.

 

--Ere

I'm will to try anything. If you want to ping me on gchat, jasonkotzin, I'll give you some firmware images to try.

One quick test, you have built-in-profiles enabled in your configuration. Could you head to the advanced section of your gui, and disable that if you're not using the built in harmony xbmc profile?

 

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I've got stuck keys one more time, but then I moved the Flirc even further back in the cabinet and it has worked fine for a couple of hours. So maybe, after all, it is IR interference, though I've no idea why it would be since it was working fine with the other computer. Maybe a difference of a couple of centimeters makes a difference... Anyway, I'll continue testing and will report here.

 

--Ere

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At least I don't know what the source of interference is, but the Flirc has been working flawlessly when it's deeper in the cabinet. Maybe something from the TV as I can't think of other sources of interference, but who knows what the Flirc sees. I also wonder why the interference is only causing repeating for me. If I don't press any keys on the remote, nothing happens. That makes me wonder if it would be possible to distinguish proper signal from interference somehow..

 

--Ere

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Hang in there guys, I'm going to have a beta image to try soon, I couldn't finish it last night, but it's coming.

 

** EDIT ** 

 

To make it clear, I'm taking this very seriously. I've dropped everything on my plate, and am committed to firmware full time.

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Just registered to give my 2 cents and perhaps aid in the development

 

Flirc worked well for me for 2 days, and then i started seeing the repeated keypresses, and significant loss of sensitivity.

In that time i built up my media center rack: speakers receiver subwoofer NAS modem router xbox ETC.

 

After several days of tearing everything apart I have isolated the issue with FLIRC

 

TLDR:

The issue is an ELECTRICAL NOISE issue, NOT an infrared sensitivity issue.  I'm afraid this may be all the way down to the hardware, unless a Firmware fix can filter electrical noise.  

 

Long version:

I'm an embedded systems engineer, I'm not claiming to be an expert but this isn't exactly voodoo to me.

After several days of frustration figuring out why FLIRC was no longer working, i systematically eliminated devices that weren't causing the problem.

 

My final setup is as follows.

 

FLIRC -> HTPC Laptop. (connected to AC adapter) -> HDMI -> Denon Receiver -> RCA subwoofer cable -> subwoofer -> back to the SAME OUTLET.as PC

 

**The failures occur where these are the ONLY devices, and no other devices or speakers are connected to either the receiver or the PC**

 

This is what is required to cause my FLIRC not to work. Ultimately my subwoofer is the root cause of the error.  Sure, we can blame the it and say flirc is fine, however EVERY SINGLE other device works just fine, including every other USB device running on the same.

 

If any component in this loop is broken , FLIRC works great, with such great reception i can reflect IR from my Harmony remote off the back wall and it will be recieved.  Complete the loop and ~50% of the time FLIRC is lucky to detect IR 6 inches away, and when it does we get repeated keypresses quite frequently.  The loop doesn't even have to be fully connected, simply short the grounds on either the HDMI or RCA terminals and FLIRC stops working. (same goes for the data pins too).  The difference is dramatic!  

 

(Please don't blame lighting conditions, I realize FLIRC is sensitive, but realize that 99.99999% of TVS or other equipment have never received phantom input from lighting causing it to turn on without intervention, and I'd expect the same level of filtering from flirc once it is programmed.)

 

It is interesting to note, that this ONLY occurs when the subwoofer is connected through the same electrical outlet as the other equipment (to prevent ground loops)  If i run an extension cord through my house to an outlet on another breaker, FLIRC works fine with everything hooked up, so long as the subwoofer has a different ground.  (sure, my APT doesn't have the best wiring, but again thats not the point is it?)

 

This leads me to believe that ultimately electric noise is being read by flirc as an IR signal and being sent back through to the PC via USB as a valid input (or repeated keypress for some reason)??.    I don't have an oscilloscope handy here, but my multimeter says the difference in ground voltage between the subwoofer and USB is .07V at its max.  

 

I'm not sure if FLIRC can actually be fixed, as i think this may be a hardware problem, Maybe  FLIRC does not have the required resistors and capacitors to fully clean up a dirty USB signal, and instead we are leaking analog noise over the digital USB signal to the IR circuit and it is being interpreted as a command? i'm not sure.  This is probably why 90% of cases with FLIRC acting up is people with raspberry PI, as its power is usually from a "dirty" wall wart.

 

I've tried various solutions as you would expect USB hub, powered USB hub, changing USB ports, Adding resistors to create a voltage divider to attenuate the nose on the RCA cable, dark rooms, light rooms, other equipment.  

 

At this point i feel that any fix (ground loop isolater on RCA subwoofer cable or extension cord running through house to power subwoofer-causing an actual ground loop) would be an unnecessary band-aid on something that should just work.

 

 

I apologize if i seem "ranty" I really think this is an awesome project but I figured the more info I gave the better!

 

Let me know if you need any more data points!

 

Thanks

Edited by summers

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Just registered to give my 2 cents and perhaps aid in the development

 

Flirc worked well for me for 2 days, and then i started seeing the repeated keypresses, and significant loss of sensitivity.

In that time i built up my media center rack: speakers receiver subwoofer NAS modem router xbox ETC.

 

After several days of tearing everything apart I have isolated the issue with FLIRC

 

TLDR:

The issue is an ELECTRICAL NOISE issue, NOT an infrared sensitivity issue.  I'm afraid this may be all the way down to the hardware, unless a Firmware fix can filter electrical noise.  

 

Long version:

I'm an embedded systems engineer, I'm not claiming to be an expert but this isn't exactly voodoo to me.

After several days of frustration figuring out why FLIRC was no longer working, i systematically eliminated devices that weren't causing the problem.

 

My final setup is as follows.

 

FLIRC -> HTPC Laptop. (connected to AC adapter) -> HDMI -> Denon Receiver -> RCA subwoofer cable -> subwoofer -> back to the SAME OUTLET.as PC

 

**The failures occur where these are the ONLY devices, and no other devices or speakers are connected to either the receiver or the PC**

 

This is what is required to cause my FLIRC not to work. Ultimately my subwoofer is the root cause of the error.  Sure, we can blame the it and say flirc is fine, however EVERY SINGLE other device works just fine, including every other USB device running on the same.

 

If any component in this loop is broken , FLIRC works great, with such great reception i can reflect IR from my Harmony remote off the back wall and it will be recieved.  Complete the loop and ~50% of the time FLIRC is lucky to detect IR 6 inches away, and when it does we get repeated keypresses quite frequently.  The loop doesn't even have to be fully connected, simply short the grounds on either the HDMI or RCA terminals and FLIRC stops working. (same goes for the data pins too).  The difference is dramatic!  

 

(Please don't blame lighting conditions, I realize FLIRC is sensitive, but realize that 99.99999% of TVS or other equipment have never received phantom input from lighting causing it to turn on without intervention, and I'd expect the same level of filtering from flirc once it is programmed.)

 

It is interesting to note, that this ONLY occurs when the subwoofer is connected through the same electrical outlet as the other equipment (to prevent ground loops)  If i run an extension cord through my house to an outlet on another breaker, FLIRC works fine with everything hooked up, so long as the subwoofer has a different ground.  (sure, my APT doesn't have the best wiring, but again thats not the point is it?)

 

This leads me to believe that ultimately electric noise is being read by flirc as an IR signal and being sent back through to the PC via USB as a valid input (or repeated keypress for some reason)??.    I don't have an oscilloscope handy here, but my multimeter says the difference in ground voltage between the subwoofer and USB is .07V at its max.  

 

I'm not sure if FLIRC can actually be fixed, as i think this may be a hardware problem, Maybe  FLIRC does not have the required resistors and capacitors to fully clean up a dirty USB signal, and instead we are leaking analog noise over the digital USB signal to the IR circuit and it is being interpreted as a command? i'm not sure.  This is probably why 90% of cases with FLIRC acting up is people with raspberry PI, as its power is usually from a "dirty" wall wart.

 

I've tried various solutions as you would expect USB hub, powered USB hub, changing USB ports, Adding resistors to create a voltage divider to attenuate the nose on the RCA cable, dark rooms, light rooms, other equipment.  

 

At this point i feel that any fix (ground loop isolater on RCA subwoofer cable or extension cord running through house to power subwoofer-causing an actual ground loop) would be an unnecessary band-aid on something that should just work.

 

 

I apologize if i seem "ranty" I really think this is an awesome project but I figured the more info I gave the better!

 

Let me know if you need any more data points!

 

Thanks

Hey Summers, I appreciate the analysis and detailed information. Really helps.

 

I would love to be able to replicate this, I have my scope so I would be able to see it. There was an account of another user posting some information on not having his media equipment on an earth ground, which caused strange misbehavior.

 

This is definitely pointing to a noise issue, however, I'm not sure what the potential fix would be.

There are three issues and causes.

 

  1. Raspberry pi problems with power supplies. - Shitty power supplies are causing flirc to get stuck in the bootloader requiring them to be taken to a computer and fixed with the gui. Bootloaders have been updated with a workaround in later versions of the device.
  2. Light problems. There are several accounts that lights are causing indefinite key strokes, repeating and noise problems. I've released an updated firmware version to address this: 
  3. EMI interference (could be related to what you've described). When I have my laptop power chord by my flirc, I see this issue. False triggers and indefinite key presses. The firmware image released above should help with this too.
  4. This problem described by you. I can't add any more filtering, any more capacitance on my device and the raspberry pi will actually reboot because I triggered an inrush current limiter. This is going to require investigation and take time. Not sure how I reproduce this

Thanks so much for the information, this should help and I'll meet with my buddy to go over possible ways of reproducing this.

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Just putting in my 2 cents...I just recently encountered this problem after having no problems for a year...the culprit............

 

My xbox one kinect!

 

I use a harmony one and have it set to turn off my xbox when not in use, but it must have been turned on by accident and it caused my flirt to go nuts!

 

anyway, check for stray IR noise!

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I'm having this exact same issue with my Flirc + Harmony 650. Was working fine for months. No new devices in my home theatre but only seems to happen when plugged into my USB hub (which its been plugged into since day 1). I have a ton of stuff plugged in but nothing else is behaving weird besides the Flirc.

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Sorry to bump an old topic, but these repeated keypresses (partly multiple spurious repeats of the single key I did press, partly totally random sequences following the genuine keypresses) were making my brand new flirc with the latest firmware installed completely unusable on my Pi1 model B too, though it worked fine on a Pi 2 and with my laptop. The answer was in the post by summers. I swapped out my Pi's power supply and the problem went away completely. The various tweaks for this problem proposed in other, later, threads did no good at all in my case.

 

This wasn't a "cheap and nasty" PSU, BTW. It was a good quality one bought from a reputable specialist Pi supplier specifically for use with a Pi, and it has been powering that Pi for two years with no sign of any problems either with booting or stability, so I'm confident the voltage and current levels are up to spec. It looks as if some sort of out-of-band interference from the PSU or its cable was fazing the flirc.

 

I see in more recent threads that other people are still having the multiple spurious keypresses issue, but I can't find any mention in those threads of this particular cause and solution which worked perfectly for me, which is why I'm bumping this.

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So I am having this same issue. Random "presses" by the Flirc. I have isolated the IR (used an IR blaster and electrical tape so no light can get to the sensor) so I'm pretty sure the flirc is not getting spurious signals via the IR receiver. I suspect it is an electrical/grounding issue (ex-embedded engineer over here). Really making the Flirc unusable for my application - control of a PS4.

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I believe so. Its hard to test as the Fllirc is in a fairly complicated set up when the problem occurs (part of audio/game system) and I dont have the ability to connect up a terminal to see the signal - the behaviour of the ps4 receiving the signal is the same each time. I have not seen the problem when I plug the flirc into a stand alone laptop.

 

I'm getting a power conditioner that hopefully will clean up the power to the Flirc - maybe that will help.

Edited by steeevey

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I'm fairly certain I am also getting this problem, and it's continued to be a problem in both Linux (mint 17.1) and windows (8.1) for me using Harmony 650. I've tried both the Samsung/Panasonic TV profile method and also the special Flirc profile on the Harmony and neither has solved this problem. My center was running linux at first, and I was getting the problem no matter what I did, so I just set flirc aside for the time being. After a while the machine came to run windows 8.1, and the exact same problem persists with flirc there as well. For some reason the flirc will start out working just fine, then at some point it just begins "cutting out" (which I've actually come to find is endlessly stuck keypresses), then eventually only send "phantom"/repeated keypresses over and over even if I restart, even if I re-plugin Flirc. I've tried using USB 2.0 hubs, and I've tried ensuring that the drivers pick up flirc on the media center - It gets the problem when I try to record, that it will instantly register some random key and I can't even program it anymore. I've tried every inter-key delay in the list and none solve it. I am using Firmware 3.6. It's not just in Kodi where it misbehaves, of course, but in the OS itself as well (constantly pressing the key and typing whatever that happens to be in any dialog or box that comes up).

 

After reading a few threads about "lamps" and "light interference" (...) I've even tried taping boxes over it in a very silly attempt to get it to be nice and happy in its own dark little box-world, but to no avail. So.. I'm really not sure what to do, and sadly rearranging my room to have no other electronic in it except the PC and flirc is not exactly feasible. Any suggestions?...

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I'm fairly certain I am also getting this problem, and it's continued to be a problem in both Linux (mint 17.1) and windows (8.1) for me using Harmony 650. I've tried both the Samsung/Panasonic TV profile method and also the special Flirc profile on the Harmony and neither has solved this problem. My center was running linux at first, and I was getting the problem no matter what I did, so I just set flirc aside for the time being. After a while the machine came to run windows 8.1, and the exact same problem persists with flirc there as well. For some reason the flirc will start out working just fine, then at some point it just begins "cutting out" (which I've actually come to find is endlessly stuck keypresses), then eventually only send "phantom"/repeated keypresses over and over even if I restart, even if I re-plugin Flirc. I've tried using USB 2.0 hubs, and I've tried ensuring that the drivers pick up flirc on the media center - It gets the problem when I try to record, that it will instantly register some random key and I can't even program it anymore. I've tried every inter-key delay in the list and none solve it. I am using Firmware 3.6. It's not just in Kodi where it misbehaves, of course, but in the OS itself as well (constantly pressing the key and typing whatever that happens to be in any dialog or box that comes up).

 

After reading a few threads about "lamps" and "light interference" (...) I've even tried taping boxes over it in a very silly attempt to get it to be nice and happy in its own dark little box-world, but to no avail. So.. I'm really not sure what to do, and sadly rearranging my room to have no other electronic in it except the PC and flirc is not exactly feasible. Any suggestions?...

Is it always the same key it's spamming? Or is it random?

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Is it always the same key it's spamming? Or is it random?

 

Usually it settled on one key to repeatedly press each time it happens, but which key that is has been a different one each time (usually). I've had it be "1" before, "P", "Left Arrow", etc..

Edited by jolteon234

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does the repeat start happening after you press a button, or is it triggered randomly by the environment?

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does the repeat start happening after you press a button, or is it triggered randomly by the environment?

 

Repeat will begin usually after some interaction between flirc/the remote during which time it works perfectly well, and then once it has gotten "hung up" (for lack of a better word) on whatever button that is, it will gradually over the next few uses/presses become "stuck" repeatedly pressing some key (any number of different ones as noted in a previous post). Once it has entered this state, it will start triggering without being given any keypresses.

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My flirc just arrived. I really hadn't done my homework, because I have a Harmony 650. Is there still an issue with multiple button presses and this remote?

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