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craigrs84

Is FLIRC a good fit for me?

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I have a Windows 8 PC sitting directly beside my Samsung TV.

 

What I'm hoping to do is a buy FLIRC and combine it with a cheap universal remote control.  I'd prefer to use the universal remote control alone to control my TV, my blu ray player, and my HTPC all without interfering with each other.  What I mean by interfering is that if I'm using the remote to control my HTPC and I press a button on the remote intended for FLIRC, then in most cases I probably wouldn't want the TV's IR receiver to also pick up that button press and react to it because it may cause weirdness.

 

I am considering using FLIRC with this remote control:

http://www.amazon.com/RCA-RCRN08GR-Device-Universal-Backlit/dp/B003EYV21K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406518466&sr=8-1&keywords=rca+8+universal+remote

 

Are there any other options besides FLIRC that would work well for me?  From what I've read the Windows Media Center remotes kind of stink and there aren't many Windows MCE remotes that are also universal remotes.  Another option I've read about is the Harmony remote series, but I'm not sure I want to spend that much money on one and I've head of possible issues with delay/slowness with harmony remotes.

 

Thanks for your help.

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It all depends on the application you want to control on the HTPC. For example XBMC can be 100% controlled from keyboard and works very well with Flirc, as Flirc emulates USB HID keyboard. This has nothing to do with the remote you'll be using with it can learn IR signals from the remote and having universal remote you should be able to find a device code (on the remote) which would allow to use all the remote's buttons without interferring with your TV or Bluray.

 

As for the remote I would suggest One-For-All Simple 4 (URC-6440) or OARUSB04G (US version of URC-6440). It is very nice remote with backlight and you can set it up in a way that every button on remote controls your HTPC but volume keys are sent to the TV directly without the need to switch selected device (this is called Combi Control on these remotes). I have URC-6440 and it is very nice and it's not expensive. You can also upgrade it online if it doesn't support your TV/bluray out of the box.

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Thanks I'm using XBMC + NextPVR currently.  I've also thought about potentially using Windows 8 Media Center - does it have good keyboard support?

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Sorry, I don't have windows 8 so I can't tell you if it's good or bad. I've also never used media center in windows 7 as its codec support was rather poor.

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Thanks for the info about the One-For-All Simple 4 remote.  It looks like a good remote and it is available at my local BestBuy so I may have to pick one up :)

 

As I understand it these are my options for an IR remote:

 

1.  Windows MCE remote and receiver - cost around $20-$30:

    PROS: The cheapest solution

    CONS: Windows MCE remotes are typically low quality usually not universal.  Cannot support as complex of key mapping as FLIRC for programs like XBMC.

 

2.  Learning remote + Windows MCE remote and receiver.  Use the Windows MCE remote to teach the learning remote.

    PROS: Still relatively cheap.  May work better than FLIRC for programs that have poor keyboard support.

    CONS: Cannot support as complex of key mapping as FLIRC for programs like XBMC.

 

3.  Universal remote + FLIRC

   PROS: Still relatively cheap.  Supports more complex key mappings for programs like XBMC compared to Windows MCE remote.

   CONS: May not work well for programs that have poor keyboard support.

 

4.  Harmony remote + either Windows MCE receiver or FLIRC

   PROS:  Well supported, fancy features.

   CONS:  Expensive.  The cheapest model is $50 plus the cost of receiver or FLIRC bringing total cost to $70 minimum.  Also have heard some reports of button press lag?

 

Seems like the One-For-All Simple 4 remote would be a good fit for options 2 or 3.  I think I'm still leaning towards buying a universal remote like the One-For-All Simple 4 remote combined with FLIRC because I like the idea of having more control of key mappings.

Edited by craigrs84

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Actually you don't need to learn from MCE remote. You can set up Simple 4 remote with MCE setup code using simpleset.com website :) (at least european URC-6440 can be set up this way, I think there was some strange problem with OARUSB04G). I'm also actively working with experts from http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/ which is a community of EUI/OFA remotes modders (these remotes can have very advanced features) on supporting these new "SimpleSet" (like Simple 4) remotes and I think that we will release something really soon. The software we are working on allows to edit remote's configuration in much greater details.

 

As for 3 you can always use some kind of script or software to map mouse movements to specific keyboard shortcuts and map those shortcuts to remote buttons.

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Actually you don't need to learn from MCE remote. You can set up Simple 4 remote with MCE setup code using simpleset.com website :) (at least european URC-6440 can be set up this way, I think there was some strange problem with OARUSB04G). I'm also actively working with experts from http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/ which is a community of EUI/OFA remotes modders (these remotes can have very advanced features) on supporting these new "SimpleSet" (like Simple 4) remotes and I think that we will release something really soon. The software we are working on allows to edit remote's configuration in much greater details.

 

As for 3 you can always use some kind of script or software to map mouse movements to specific keyboard shortcuts and map those shortcuts to remote buttons.

 

I assume you're talking about this thread http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=15142&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0 I've been watching it for a while :)

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i bought OARUSB04G today.  Flirc is ordered and in the mail.

 

Question: Should I program the remote to work with FLIRC using a random TV profile that I don't own (such as Panasonic)?  Or should I program the remote work with FLIRC using Windows MCE profile.  Do you program the remote for Windows MCE by selecting "MCE" as the brand on simpleset.com?

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I would not recommend using mce profile with flirc. I'm using Samsung TV code but Panasonic one should also work.

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Ok I got my flirc in the mail today and I'm trying to program my remote and I'm stuck.

 

I want to use panasonic code for my profile to control flirc with.  I want to assign flirc to the "Audio" button on my universal remote.  I set up the audio button as a pansonic profile but it says I have to finish setting it up by pressing the audio button and pointing it at the device and holding down the power button until the device turns off.  I don't actually own a panasonic TV and I'm not sure how to reproduce this with the FLIRC.

 

So far FLIRC is only detecting keys when I'm on the TV profile which controls my Samsung TV, and I don't want this because it will interfere with the TV, which is why I'm trying to use Panasonic on the "Audio" profile.

 

Here is the remote's manual: http://www.oneforall.com/downloads/dl/file/id/137/urc_6440_manual_code_list_and_warranty.pdf

 

Thanks for your help.

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ahh I can't get it to work at all.  I getting phantom keypresses all over the place no matter if I try to use Sony or Panasonic profile.  Keeping getting button already exists message when I try to program FLIRC and I can see that the buttons are being clicked but I'm not actually clicking the buttons. Looking in the bugs forum...

 

 

EDIT: I stopped trying to program FLIRC on my Windows laptop, and switched over to my desktop computer which is also running Windows.  Once I switched over the programming is going just fine.  Not sure why there is a difference there...

Edited by craigrs84

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Got it all configured now, and it's working very well.

 

Quite happy at the moment.  Thanks for the recommendation of the Simple 4 remote, the combi control is really nice and exactly what I wanted.

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I'm glad I could help :).

 

As for the problem with recording buttons on your laptop it could be a problem with USB voltage level. Flirc can also be susceptible to some lighting conditions in the room (depending on the light source type).

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Hi,

Sorry to resurrect an old topic but I too have bought a OFA Simple 4 Remote in the UK. I used Samsung code 2051 to pair the remote with my new Flirc 2.

It works okay with Kodi / XBMC but everything else is pretty poor. I was hoping to be able to use it to control my PC somehow but it seems this is not the intended use of the device.

I would like to at least get the Play / Pause / Rewind / Forward and Number buttons working. It would also be nice if I could control a web browser, e.g. Chrome / Firefox.

However the latest Flirc application for Ubuntu does not provide any customization options for the version 2 Flirc device. It lets me pair the device to my remote using either no specific device or the Samsung TV 2051 device configured on the PVR button of the remote as a TV device.

But I cannot re-map buttons aside from the basic Left, Right, Up, Down, Back and Enter that the App provides. There are no advanced or customization options at all. There is supposed to be a command line tool flir_util but it has not been installed on my system.

Is there any way I can do this? The software manual says these features were removed and replaced with 'automatic algorithms' but these don't seem to match my applications very well.

I can use the remote to control a video player in my web browser but the only buttons that work in the browser itself are up and down which map to page up and down, I cannot use Enter to open links for instance.

In Kodi / XBMC I can control the Application itself but I can't control the video with Play / Pause / Rewind / Forward and cannot enter numbers with the keypad, I have to use the on screen one.

I am using the Remote Master / RMIR tool you may have heard of which is a Java App for programming the remote. It does everything I want for the TV / Amplifier I have. But I don't know how to adjust the Flirc settings with it. If there's a way to do that I'd be happy to try it. The buttons on the remote are all mapped to their normal functions for the Samsung TV device.

I tried just pairing the remote on it's own but without a specific device to pair to it cannot be used to control multiple devices and is basically useless when the remote has been paired with a TV.

If there's a TV or other device code I can use or some other way to customise it I would be glad to hear it.

Thanks very much. Please also feel free to direct me to another forum or move this post elsewhere if it is in the wrong location. It would be useful to know where it's been moved to though so I can find it. I'm also happy to contact Flirc directly I just don't know the best way to do that.

Remote I'm using: One-All-Simple-Universal-control-Black

Flirc Receiver: FLIRC-Universal-Control-Receiver-Raspberry

Edited by edgi686

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Hi

Have you looked at the controllers menu in the Flirc GUI? You can find there more controls than just directions and enter. Especially you can use full keyboard controller and multimedia keys. Of course you can use any controller. You don't need to stick to any single one (the controller selection is not saved anywhere, only recorded keys are).

It's not flir_util but flirc_util. Remember to close GUI before using the cli. 

The Samsung 2051 is something I'm using myself. You don't have to use it but it's a known code for a device using NECx2 protocol and I have a good experience using that proto with Flirc.

BTW I'm an RMIR contributor, especially when it comes to URC-6440 (the simple 4). I've helped to add support for that remote (and other simpleset ones) to the RMIR.

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There are no menus at all in my Flirc GUI. No advanced options, no controllers, nothing. The only buttons are the ones on the virtual remote in the middle of the screen plus the erase and go buttons. I've tried right clicking, left clicking etc, there are no menus or anything.

I downloaded the Flirc package from here: https://packagecloud.io/Flirc/repo/

Here's what I see on Debian 9: https://support.flirc.tv/hc/en-us/article_attachments/201160599/Minimalist.png

As you can see there are no menus or options whatsoever.

This page seems to suggest that the controllers were removed for Flirc Version 2? https://flirc.gitbooks.io/flirc-instructions/content/graphical-user-interface-guide/advanced-configuration.html

The tutorial shown on this page is completely unavailable in my version of Flirc: https://flirc.gitbooks.io/flirc-instructions/content/graphical-user-interface-guide/advanced-pairing.html

Regards the CLI tool it is supposed to be installed in /usr/local but I couldn't find it there at all.

UPDATE

Just discovered the flirc_util tool is installed on my system but due to a bug of some kind in the Ubuntu package / package manager it was not made executable by the installation so I was not aware it was there. Also it was in /usr/bin not /usr/local which I believe is where the documentation says it is. I will have a look at the cli and see if I can get anywhere with that. I'm also following a video series here:

Where I have reached video number 4 in the series but not found anything about my version of the Flirc tool. I have version 3.1.0 of the Flirc software and Firmware 4.2.2 apparently.

 

Edited by edgi686

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Can you attach your own screenshot of the GUI? The one you've linked to is from OS X, where the menu detached from the main menu.

Neither controllers nor the controller support were removed for Flirc gen2. The article you've linked to describes advanced options, not controllers.

Here's how the main window should look like:

Zrzut ekranu z 2017-11-14 11-30-50.png

Which Window Manager are you using? Current Flirc GUI uses Qt5.

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Hmm, that's not what I see. The menu is missing like in the Apple screenshot but with a Linux XFCE title bar.

image.png.e765fed681c8d3565c91b9415a5781a2.png

I did have issues with QT / GTK Applications on this machine. I could maybe try the installation on one of my desktops, even Windows perhaps if an Internet connection is not required?

My Linux desktop is an old 686 Athlon so may not run the software. It also only supports USB 1.0/1.1.

I did have some success with the CLI tool after I made it executable and found where it was. But it only allows programming one letter at a time not multiple key presses or macros.

There was an icon / image in the left corner of the title bar for the GUI but when I click it the application crashes.

It's built for Ubuntu trusty I believe but I'm running Debian 9.2 x86_64 with XFCE Desktop.

Thanks for your help so far.

Edited by edgi686

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Try moving your mouse over the black bar just below the window upper decoration. The menu is there but your Qt theme is broken and both the menu bar background and text colors are black.

Check this page https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/qt (I know it's for ArchLinux but it should be the same). Look for "Configuration of Qt5 apps under environments other than KDE Plasma". Set QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME="qt5ct" in your env and install qt5ct program. Also install some Qt5 theme if you don't have one.

As for the flirc_util vs GUI, you can't do anything more with GUI than you can do with util. There's no macro support yet. When it comes, both GUI and util will support it.

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Thank you so much! You're a genius! :D.

I was thinking I should send the thing back as it doesn't do what I expected and seems my broken QT configuration is to blame after all.

I think it's something to do with my font settings or maybe a theme or package I installed when I used the deb-multimedia repo, it was after I installed packages from there that things went funny.

When you say the util does everything the GUI does, how do I map arbitrary keys with the util? It only has examples <a-z>, page up, down etc, media keys and system? Is that due to incorrect controller setting on Flirc itself? Would I map one key for control and then another for a, b c etc? Could I press two at once to simulate command sequences?

I understand my remote - URC 6440 - OFA Simple 4 USB is capable of some kind of macros but apparently uses the list key or something, I don't know how to set this up in software.

I've tried the RMIR software but it is limited to devices where it has a mapping for button to function. Unless you find the right config / upgrade.

image.png.94371d145a94ec7d2e5125d2882e0163.png

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As I've mentioned in my previous reply, there are no macros (or key sequences) yet. You can only record a key with optional modifiers (shift, ctrl etc). At this moment you can't assign more than one key to a single remote button. This is going to be implemented but there's no specific ETA on when it may be available.

You can mix controllers in any way you want. Controllers are just sets of different keys and the selected controller is not being stored anywhere on the device. Only key info (key hid code + modifiers) and hash generated from the remote's IR signal are saved into the flash.

Regarding flirc_util record, you can use it to record any single character key (like a letter, digit, some non-alphanumeric symbols that are available on the keyboard like !@#$) and also you can use some keywords like return, escape, tab, space, F1-F12, etc. I can retrieve full list of supported names but not right now. In addition to record command you also have record_api one. This one takes a modifier value (sum of modifier values) and a HID key code. You can look up the HID codes for example on this page: http://www.freebsddiary.org/APC/usb_hid_usages.php. Scroll down to table number 7 named Keyboard. The codes there are hexadecimal so you need to convert them to decimal for record_api to work correctly. If you run the record_api command without arguments it'll show you how to use it.

You can also use first 255 HID codes (code values from 1 to 255 - some are undefined) from table 12 (Consumer). To do that you put the HID code as the first argument (as the modifier) and a value 102 as the key code (it's a marker value which means that you want to use Consumer table).

Regarding RMIR and macros on URC-6440, I think this is not really in scope of this forum. If you want to discuss on that matter send me a private message. I don't use URC-6440 as my daily driver anymore as I've switched to Nevo C2 (also RMIR supported), but I still have it and I can give you some tips.

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Thanks, I think I will need some time to experiment and get back to you. It might be that I'm hoping to use the remote to do things it's not really capable of. But I would at least like to get some keys that don't currently work working.

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Did you install an extender for your URC-6440? It's an extension for remote's firmware. It's really easy to install it on this remote and it adds a lot of cool features like long button press support or shifted keys. You can create macros without extending the remote, but with extender they are much more fun. The only downside of macros is the fact, that the macro is not a sequence of functions but a sequence of buttons, so you first need to have a function attached to the button before you can use it. With extender, you can attach extra functions to shifted and double shifted keys and use them inside your macros. Also the extender triples the number of devices and activities (from 4 to 12 devices, from 2 to 6 activities - thanks to shifting and double shifting).

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Extender is part of video 4 in the series I'm watching on YouTube. I've not go that far as I wanted to experiment with Flirc first. I think maybe it would be useful for me to have a wireless keyboard or IR keyboard of some kind with alphabet keys. At the moment I have set some useful general functions (tab, space, backspace, delete). I also set some media keys but they only seem to work with certain video playback software and don't work well in other Apps. I think I need to experiment really and find what works for me. At least I can now do some further customisation and assign keys I need. Perhaps I can map alt and ctrl functions to unused keys. I'm mapping general functions to number keys because I don't have a lot of spare buttons on the remote. I'm also not sure if it's better to map left / right / up / down or page up / page down which I currently map separately. I also use rewind and fast forward but might be better with previous and next track. I would like to use Kodi more but the Netflix Addon doesn't work too well with it, it basically just launches a separate Chrome process in a new window and puts it in Kiosk mode so it seems like it's running in Kodi. I use Google Play for Movies, TV and Music but these don't map well with Kodi so far.

UPDATE

I can see better how this works now, I was able to map Alt + F1 to key 5 for menu in my window manager, so I can now access my applications - e.g. Flirc config, Kodi, Firefox, Chrome, VLC etc. I also mapped Alt + Tab to key 6 and Ctrl + Q to key 9.

So now I have:

1: Tab, 2: Space, 3: Delete, 4: Backspace, 5: XFCE Menu, 6: Switch Application, 7: Page Up, 8: Page Down, 9: Close Window.

However Alt + Tab key doesn't work well because short press switches to next or previous App and long press cycles very fast through all Apps. Maybe this can be slowed down somehow.

Edited by edgi686

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