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JoeA

Flexible Flirc - One way to set up a Flirc to power up your HTPC

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Hi:

I discovered this amazing product about a month ago.  The best thing I like about the Flirc is that the HTPC is programmed to the remote's output, and not vice-versa like "universal remotes" are set up.  This means that the smarts are where they belong - in the PC.   I thought I would share the hurdles I had in setting up a unit the way I wanted it to run, and how I got around them.  

 

A couple words of warning - this is a little DIY. I CAN IN NO WAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESULTS OR OUTCOME OF THIS PROJECT.  If you proceed to follow these directions - you do so at your own risk,

 

My system is custom built like most enthusiasts.  It is nothing special except that it has a very porous case with lots of cooling.  I do this because I have 12 TB of storage for all my movies, songs and what not.  I've lost a lot of equipment in the past by letting it overheat, and that has been painful. 

 

This setup can be kind of noisy and collect a lot of dust, so I have it in a cooled entertainment center cabinet behind glass - and therein lies the problem.  As you know, IR equipment does not like to work through glass.  Even the BEST remotes I could find were only 85% reliable through it. In addition, the USB dongle Flirc offers did not have the ability to turn the system on and off via the IR remote from the S5 state, which meant that I STILL HAD to open the door to turn the unit on.  I still wanted to use a Flirc, but I needed a receiver that could be placed away from the system outside the cabinet.  

 

Enter the Flirc SE  (http://www.streacom.com/products/flirc-se-adaptive-ir-receiver/).  This is a version of the Flirc made for Streacom Cases. It is a simple circuit board with the IR receiver elements on it and  a couple of header connectors - AND IT HAS THE ABILITY TO ACTIVATE THE PC POWER SYSTEM.  So with the Flirc SE, an old power supply box, a couple of 10 ft USB 2.0 cables (Type A Male to anything else), and an external power bracket, I was able to build something that fit my needs. 

 

 

STEP 1: I stripped the old Toshiba power supply keeping only the box.  Pick a box which has a good size window for the IR receiver/transmitter elements in the Flirc.  In addition you'll need the Flirc, a couple of 10 foot USB cables, an external power bracket, and some odds and ends including some colored acetate for the window, Epoxy, and a small standoff/other means of holding the circuit board in place.  

 

STEP 2: Epoxy the standoff in the box so that the Flirc elements are in the window and you can get at the header connectors after assembly.  Set it aside to dry well.

 

STEP 3: You'll need to be good at soldering here - The Flirc SE comes with some cords that help with installation.  We will need to use the connectors from these cords.  Remove the miniature ends from the 10 ft USB cord and the header connectors that came with cords on the Flirc SE, and solder the two together.  CAUTION: Be sure to follow the color code/pinout standards FOR USB that can be found throughout the web.  This will be how the Flirc will communicate the normal IR commands to the Flirc software.

 

This will give you a 10 Ft. cord with a 4 pin Female USB header connector on one end and a Type A USB male connector on the other.

 

STEP 4:  Remove the ends from the 2nd USB cord and the power switch cord that came With the Flirc SE, and solder them together.  The correct wiring diagram can be found at the Strecom website above under user manuals section.  CAUTION: Be sure to keep track of the Positive (+) and Negative(-) terminals all the way through to the connection to the motherboard.  For my setup, I used some old Molex ® connectors I had around to match the multi-Molex ® external power bracket I had already installed for some fans in an empty slot.

 

This will give you a 10 Ft. cord with a 4 pin Female header connector on one end and (in my case) Molex connector on the other.

 

STEP 5:  Assemble the box.  Be sure the tie knots in the USB cable just inside the box for strain relief.

 

STEP 6:  Wire the inside of the computer.  One pair of the power switch leads from the Flirc power plug will go the computer's power switch, the other pair will go to the motherboard.  CAUTION:  Be sure to observe polarity throughout if there is one marked.

 

STEP 7: Download and install the latest Flirc software and firmware. At this point in time, you will have to run the "flirc_util" command line software to record the key you wish to press to turn power on and off.  That information can be found by searching out "flirc_util.exe record power" elsewhere in the forum.  

 

Please see the attached photos.  Hopefully they'll help.  You'll see I have an iRainey pictured here, but it doesn't matter WHAT remote you use. You're free to use any remote you want! 

 

That's about all I can think of.  I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but this one worked for me, and it was FUN!

 

Good Luck!

 

JoeA

Edited by JoeA

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I don't know if I understand step 3 correctly. Did you desolder the header pins from the Flirc SE board? If yes, then why don't just use female header connector? Also I'm not exactly sure about step 4. Maybe some pictures would help better understand these steps.

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Yes, I've taken quite a few pics, but I haven't been able to upload them.  The Pics help explain.  If anyone can help, I'll repost with them.

Edited by JoeA

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I also have to say that I've been using this for about a month, and I"M LOVING IT.  The 10 Ft. cord allows me to put the box just about anywhere, and it's barely visible.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, POWER OF THE REMOTE AND IT'S ANGLE IS ABSOLUTELY NOT A PROBLEM.  Even in direct sunlight.  The SE seems to be super sensitive.  

 

In a word - It's Perfect!

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I see you've updated your post. Now it explains more clearly what have you done. Previously it sounded like you'd desoldered the male pin header connector from the Flirc board :) and soldered the wires directly.

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