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Bought two FLIRC, neither works on my devices, please help


Oddworld
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I bought two FLIRC with the intent of using them on two different computers: (1) a raspberry Pi model B running Xbian and (2) a "regular" x86 computer running XBMC frodo 12.0 on Debian 7 wheezy. 
 
Both FLIRC run firmware v3.1
 
RASP PI
 
1.) I am experiencing weird issues on the R-PI (model B  ). I did some research and believe it might be the common power issue (makes sense to me, I am an electrical engineer). Oddly, moving from the 5W "iphone" PSU to the 12W "ipad" PSU did not solve it. Key presses are not being entered and when they do, there are usually like 10 key presses entered. 
 
I tried to solve this by purchasing a powered USB hub, and then plugging the FLIRC into the hub. This did not work at all. 
 
This FLIRC seems to work in the computer I used to program commands. So I think its weird that it wont work in the R-PI. 
 
x86 Computer Running Debian Wheezy and XBMC 12.0 Frodo
 
2.) For the second FLIRC ordered, it seems the FLIRC is having trouble recognizing button presses, maybe due to IR pollution. I originally isolated the FLIRC on a different computer to confirm there is no hardware error with the unit or the remote. I can give a quick breakdown of all the items unique to this setup, maybe you can recognize something to help me diagnose the issue:
 
Computer: x86 computer running debian x64 wheezy, XBMC 12.3 frodo. 
The included IR receiver seems to work fine in this room and with this computer
TV: Samsung 50" 720p plasma
 
FLIRC placement: 
--On top of or below the TV: poor. Only works when remote directly aimed at the FLIRC and only up to 4 feet. I believe this is an "IR pollution" problem, but I defer to you
--Side of TV: same as above.
--Behind TV: sub-par. Only works when I can "bounce" IR off the wall and behind the TV. Very challenging. 
 
FLIRC firmware: initially said firmware v16 (which does not exist...maybe some weird driver issue?). I updated it to v3.1 and programmed / tested without an issue. 
 
Ambient Lighting in problematic room: one incandescent lamp, 60W; two candles; one plasma TV (above). 
 
I think this might be an IR pollution problem, please let me know what I should try. Would a "stronger" (more powerful IR emitting) remote help? Does the plasma TV emit IR which may interfere with the FLIRC? Not sure.
 
This FLIRC seems to work in the computer I used to program commands. So I think its weird that it wont work in this XBMC x86 computer. 
 
 
Thank you for your help, I do appreciate your expertise. 
Edited by Oddworld
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Hi,

 

1) Is your setup properly grounded? Does your MicroUSB PSU have a ground lead? There were already two cases where grounding RPi's USB port metal shield made the repeating key problem go away. You can follow the discussion here

 

2) Plasma TVs are known to produce IR pollution. The problem here is that Flirc is an universal receiver. Because of that it is very sensitive to all kinds of IR signals to allow a wide variety of remotes with different protocols. You can try covering its casing with some IR opaque tape or something like that to allow the IR signal to go in only from single direction (the opposite side from the USB plug) and place it in a way that it doesn't "see" the TV screen.

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Whoah, weird. Quick answer, no it is not grounded and I can try that. Thank you for your response. Now, this begs the question, what needs to be grounded? 

Three things come to mind: 

1.) GPIO

2.) the USB shielding on the R-PI (maybe they share a common ground... not sure)

3.) the USB ground line on the powered USB hub I recently installed (maybe this is no longer necessary)

 

There is one small wrinkle, I live in a very very old house, which was wired before ground lines were common. As a result I don't think I have a traditional "ground" line. Even if I did, it is pretty difficult to find grounded USB power supplies. So, is there a way I could create a fake "ground" by adding a large resistor somewhere? That's all "ground" is... infinite resistance. Could I add a few resistors somewhere in the GPIO (or elsewhere) to emulate a ground line? Please let me know your thoughts. And thanks again for your help. 

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Ground should be common for the whole setup. It shouldn't matter where you attach it but I'm not electrical engineer. If you look at the thread I've linked you can see that in both cases those two users grounded the USB metal shield plug/socket part (shield).

 

I don't think that putting a very large resistor will work as a ground connection. I don't know if this is universal across different countries but in Poland you always have a phase wire and zero wire. In 2-wire installations the zero wire can also be used as a ground. As a electrical engineer you should know how this work in your country and you should be able to check which wire is for the zero if you have one.

 

I hope you understood my explanation. English is not my primary language and this subject involves some technical language I may be not familiar with.

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The problem was the grounding issue you mentioned. 

 

So, the HDMI and USB grounds are common. In my case, the TV's HDMI ground lead was properly run to ground. What this means is, if you ground the TV, you ground the HDMI shield, thus the R-PI's HDMI shield, and thus USB (and FLIRC).

 

Now.... to work on the other FLIRC. 

Edited by Oddworld
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