My remote is the Pioneer AXD7381, which is a learning remote that came with my VSX-1015TX system. In order for this remote to send signals to the computer, however, I needed an infra-red receiver. Since I don't believe in classic serial ports, I opted to buy a USB IR device called the Tira, from a Toronto-based company. Lirc (the Linux infrared program) claimed to support it and so I figured I'd spring for the $50.
I'd hoped it would be trivial to get this thing going, but I severely underestimated the Lirc documentation. I don't know if I've ever tried to read a less helpful doc. The documentation assumed that you already knew how to set up Lirc, that you were using a serial device (is anyone still using serial devices?), and that you were installing lirc from source. None of those things were true for me, but I managed to get things working after much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In the end, all I needed to do to get the Tira working was tell Lirc to use the Tira driver. On Fedora 8 you edit the
/etc/sysconfig/lircfile and specify the
-H Tiracommand line parameter:
Easy enough, but the lirc documentation doesn't mention Tira other than to say it supports it. Specifically it doesn't tell you that Lirc won't need any of its usual device nodes, which means you don't need to waste time writing udev rules like I did. I wasted a lot of time because for some reason the Tira would sometimes be recognized as USB device 1, and Lirc refuses to work unless it's device 0 (
/dev/ttyUSB0for those of you who understand what I'm talking about). Once I unplugged/re-plugged the Tira a few times things magically started working.
Then I ensured that Lirc started with
/sbin/chkconfig lirc on
/sbin/service lirc restart
Anyway, the executive summary of Tira is thus:
1. It's a USB device that shows up in the kernel as a serial device.
2. Lirc supports usb serial devices but the documentation doesn't seem to want to admit it.
3. Once Lirc starts talking to your tira you need to set up some kind of action to take place. I did this using KDE's IRKicker, a
Now I have another problem, which is that a universal remote control and a universal device (such as Lirc) don't really get along; the remote doesn't know what to say and Lirc doesn't know what to do. Since both devices speak any language, they need to be made to agree as to which language they should be speaking to each other. My remote was originally programmed to control (among other things) a CD Changer, which I no longer use, so I told Lirc to answer to the CD Changer's remote. But that makes it annoying to control things because, among other things, the CD remote doesn't have separate play and pause buttons. At least now it's just a matter of making the right thing happen when you press a button.
What would make this whole process a lot easier is if there were 1. A better installer/auto-detection for IR devices; 2. A standard way of mapping remote buttons, so that if the remote has a "play" button it "plays" the current application, such as a movie player or music player; Also it would be really nice if the Lirc mouse/keyboard control mode was better integrated with standard lirc and programs like IRKicker. But now I can play my mp3s and skip to the next song without getting up and pressing a key. And my music sounds GOOD on my stereo... I never knew how bad my computer speakers were.