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Blacking out the FLIRC


manutdbruin
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I got my FLIRC last week, and it has tested flawlessly so far with my TV's remote and my old WDTV remote (my Rii i25 is on the way). My question is regarding whether I can use a sharpie, or possibly some thin paint, to make the FLIRC as black as possible so that it blends in more with my HTPC and doesn't stick out (aesthetically-speaking). I quickly-browsed the forum and saw someone saying that electrical tape would block the IR signals; that's not what I want (plus I'm not sure a taped-up FLIRC looks great). But would sharpie or some thin paint also block IR signals?* Has anyone tried to do something like this with/without success?

My other option I guess would be to use a USB extension from one of the back ports and lay the FLIRC on the top of the HTPC as far back as possible while still functioning.

On a side note, is there a reason, other than this being a small business, that a black FLIRC is not an option? 

 

*My undergrad degree is a B.A., not a B.S., so I'm sorry if this is a dumb question.

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If the HTPC is not hidden or built-in into some cabinet or something you can just try plugging Flirc into the USB port on the back panel. Flirc's sensitivity is really good so it's possible the signal reception will still be very good.

I don't know how the ink in sharpie or other types of paint/ink affect IR signal. You would need to make some tests. For example get some clear plastic and paint it with your choice of paint/ink and then use it to try to block signal from the remote. You need to remember that some paints may dissolve plastic.

There's also a version of Flirc which can be built into the HTPC case (it comes without any case of its own). It's called Flirc-SE. But it would mean buying another device so it may not be a best solution for you. But you could also hide your normal Flirc inside the HTPC and make a little window in front which would be transparent for IR signal (like the windows on the remote controls which seems to be black but are transparent to IR light). Some HTPC cases already have such IR window built-in and are ready for IR receiver to be mounted inside.

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If the HTPC is not hidden or built-in into some cabinet or something you can just try plugging Flirc into the USB port on the back panel. Flirc's sensitivity is really good so it's possible the signal reception will still be very good.

I might try that first, but I thought I read on some fora that FLIRC really needs a direct line-of-sight (even if the line can have quite a long distance for IR). 

 

I don't know how the ink in sharpie or other types of paint/ink affect IR signal. You would need to make some tests. For example get some clear plastic and paint it with your choice of paint/ink and then use it to try to block signal from the remote. You need to remember that some paints may dissolve plastic.

That sounds like a good testing method, thanks. My local hobby store hopefully can point me in the direction of some 'thin' paints that won't dissolve plastic.

 

There's also a version of Flirc which can be built into the HTPC case (it comes without any case of its own). It's called Flirc-SE. But it would mean buying another device so it may not be a best solution for you. But you could also hide your normal Flirc inside the HTPC and make a little window in front which would be transparent for IR signal (like the windows on the remote controls which seems to be black but are transparent to IR light). Some HTPC cases already have such IR window built-in and are ready for IR receiver to be mounted inside.

I didn't get a Streacom case (way too expensive and I believe I had bought my big GPU by then so they didn't have a good option anyways). I also thought about buying the FLIRC-SE and drilling small holes for the IR receiver to show, but I figured I'd rather deal with the slightly-unsightly clear FLIRC than start drilling into my case. I have the SilverStone ML07 (no IR window).

 

Thanks for your response.

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I might try that first, but I thought I read on some fora that FLIRC really needs a direct line-of-sight (even if the line can have quite a long distance for IR). 

It depends on the environment like type of walls, paint or wallpaper on the walls, amount of obstacles etc. But if your HTPC is free-standing and is not covered much from all the sides then the IR signal can happily bounce around and Flirc should be able to receive it :).

I didn't get a Streacom case (way too expensive and I believe I had bought my big GPU by then so they didn't have a good option anyways). I also thought about buying the FLIRC-SE and drilling small holes for the IR receiver to show, but I figured I'd rather deal with the slightly-unsightly clear FLIRC than start drilling into my case. I have the SilverStone ML07 (no IR window).

You could still use something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-Motherboard-4-Pin-Header-USBMBADAPT/dp/B000IV6S9S

and connect Flirc inside the case. Of course you would still need to make a DIY IR window in it.

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It depends on the environment like type of walls, paint or wallpaper on the walls, amount of obstacles etc. But if your HTPC is free-standing and is not covered much from all the sides then the IR signal can happily bounce around and Flirc should be able to receive it :).

 

Yeah I'm going to try out to see if it will receive signals from the back of the HTPC (I'm pretty sure there is an 'always-on' USB port in the back like the one in the front is). If not, I might try running a USB extension from the back to the front of the HTPC, underneath it. The FLIRC is shorter than the rubber feet of the HTPC, and hopefully the FLIRC will be virtually unnoticeable from most viewing angles yet still receive a signal.

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