Turning on an air conditioner remotely

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
I'm not sure where to post this, but it seems like this sub forum would make the most sense.

I have a digital air conditioner (uses a remote), so I would like to be able to mimic the signal the remote sends via something hooked up to my PC so I can write software to be able to turn on the AC from anywhere (so when I'm on my way home from work I can turn it on via my phone).

I've heard of a product called the IR Blaster which is typically meant for TV based solutions but I'm wondering if it can learn the signal from any remote. I have a Logitech Harmony 550 which can learn anything and this is the exact functionality I'm looking for except it needs to be controllable via software.

Would the IR blaster here work? If not, are there any other suggestions for something (hopefully cheap, $20 or so)? My buddy has this same predicament and is attempting to wire a relay up to the scroll lock LED indicator on a keyboard and connect the relay to the switch in his gutted AC remote to mimic a button press each time the scroll lock LED turns on and off. Fairly ghetto, but a cheap solution.

Thanks guys!
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
Nope, when I unplug it and plug it back in all my settings are lost and it doesn't turn back on.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
Thanks for the links, but I'm not really looking for software. I'm looking for a hardware device that can learn IR signals from any remote (in this case, an A/C remote) and then output them on command via either a command line utility or some other API. I am a software developer so it really doesn't matter much to me whether it is a complicated software solution.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
That would be the ultimate if I had a real thermostat but I'm in a studio in NYC... It really comes down to being able to transmit the IR signal to power on/off the A/C via the computer. If I wanted to spend enough I could even buy a Mindstorms robot that just sits there holding the remote and hitting the power button on command, but that's a waste of a Mindstorms. :)
 

krupted

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
3,244
i dunno... if you did a mindstorms home automation theme you could make your house run by a small army of robots that do things like change the tv channels and draw the blinds. sounds hella more cool then a bland x10 setup!
 

Cre8ive

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
77
Just grabbing stuff out of the air...but I think wiimotes have been used to do this.
 

madcoder

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
288
I feel your pain. I have a remotely placed media server/home server, and I was concerned about power outages. I was planning to use a small "window" AC to make sure the server area stays cool (as it is outside of the normal home area). When I went to Home Depot to get it, I tested several and all of the digital ones fully reset, losing their settings after a simulated power outage (yanking the power cord and then plugging it back in). As a result, I went low tech, and bought a unit that had older style analog knobs on it. Problem solved!
 

ilikecake

Gawd
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
759
Since you know the software side of things, could you make a serial port IR reciever and listen to the output from your remote. Then build a transmitter to mimic that?

I honestly don't know how hard this would be as I am far from a programmer, but I have heard of people doing this.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
Since you know the software side of things, could you make a serial port IR reciever and listen to the output from your remote. Then build a transmitter to mimic that?

I honestly don't know how hard this would be as I am far from a programmer, but I have heard of people doing this.

That's what I am planning on doing, and was wondering if the IR blaster in my original post would work. I'd rather not fabricate a circuit to build the receiver but rather get a pre-made unit.

As a side note, my buddy ended up getting his solution working. He has a web app that triggers a win32 call to toggle the scroll lock on and then off quickly, which causes the scroll lock LED indicator on a connected keyboard to flicker, which triggers a relay connected to the LED to close the circuit in his remote control to power on the A/C. Super ghetto solution that was cheap and works perfectly. Only problem is he sacrificed his remote, but since I have a harmony to power my A/C it wouldn't be a problem.
 

ilikecake

Gawd
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
759
I am probably the wrong one to advise you, but it looks like that IR blaster is the transmitter circuit. I imagine if you could figure out the code to send out on the serial line, you would be all set. I was able to read IR codes in Linux a while back using the IR receiver that came with my TV card. I dunno how to do it in windows, but it outta be possible.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
252
I am probably the wrong one to advise you, but it looks like that IR blaster is the transmitter circuit. I imagine if you could figure out the code to send out on the serial line, you would be all set. I was able to read IR codes in Linux a while back using the IR receiver that came with my TV card. I dunno how to do it in windows, but it outta be possible.

Interesting... I have a P5W DH Deluxe and it came with a fairly worthless remote control and receiver. I wonder if I could use that to dump out any IR signal it's receiving and then buy the IR blaster to send it out. Does the IR blaster just let you input arbitrary but standardized IR codes? I don't really know how that stuff works.
 
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