Getting started with sending IR signals & controlling them via node red

I had a lot of fun setting up my 433Mhz transmitter/receiver and configuring control of a bunch of Etekcity RF outlets via Node-Red. Now I'm starting to look into doing something similar with infrared signals. I know very little about the topic and so I'm looking for advice on which path to take in setting something up.

First, what hardware can be controlled via node-red without having to code up a node or interface and has the flexibility to learn IR signals from existing remotes? Do people typically do this with a chip attached to a breadboard or some device connected to the network (like an iTach IP2IR device)? Is there a node that can communicate with an IP2IR device like that and instruct it to transmit signals?

Second, I know this is a bit off-topic here, but I ask it in terms of compatibility with existing node-red nodes and being able to set up a node to control a device. From what I've read, there are 2 types of IR devices: an IR emitter and an IR blaster and I've heard different explanations as to the difference between them. Does there exist a node that can control either/both? And what's the difference between them?

With my RF setup, all I needed was an antenna attached to a transmitter chip on the breadboard to be able to control outlets all over the house. I used the exec node to issue pilight-send commands using the raw protocol and an RF transmitter on the breadboard. With IR, it seems like a different type of configuration. I've seen that there are wired emitters that you attach directly over an IR receiver, but is there a similar piece of hardware that sends a stronger signal like a chip on the breadboard? Like, is an "IR blaster" something that would send IR through walls to control IR devices all over the house like with RF or would I need an emitter running via wire to every device I want to control?

Has anyone here setup IR control of a bunch of devices?

My initial goals are to control a large 220V window-unit air conditioner, but ideally, I'd be able to control a bunch of stuff like my TV (what I cannot do via CEC, like volume, channel, etc), an LED projector, EyeTV, an IR-controlled AV switch, possibly my thermostat (if it can receive IR commands), maybe some other things in my AV cabinet, - stuff like that.

well I will be following this thread with interest! At one point I wanted to create a device that would work with Alexa so an elderly person could control their TV by voice.

As for any nodes existing, the best thing to do is go to the flows tab on this site and search to see if someone has written one.

If no one has, it might be possible to use another device t communicate between the IR and NR.

There is always a way, figuring out what that way is is the challenge and joy of discovery.

Well, not a bunch of, but did some experiments earlier. I have a USB-UIRT IR device and I used LIRC. This was discussed in a thread in the earlier forum!searchin/node-red/LIRC|sort:date/node-red/PSw2XFyOg40/lE8ohB54AwAJ

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No way, you need a clear sight between the IR transmitter and the device to be controlled. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the signal can bounce or be reflected in mirrors. But in general, a closed door is blocking the signals


Regarding IR controllers if you are open to DIY route, you can go with an arduino and irremote library or an esp8266 and irremoteESP8266 library. The second one is well maintained and evolve regularly.
You can interface both to Node RED with MQTT.


Well, if you are happy and fine with how easily you create & build functionality in NR, be prepared for a major change if you enter the world of esp stuff.

It is a very different environment you are entering. Basically, if you would like to change the tiniest thing, be familiar with and understand a bit of C, be prepared to build the downloadable image after every little change you may do. A bit time consuming at least

However, no doubt, those esp based devices are neat, I have played a bit myself with the ESP-EYE, a camera module with built in wifi. It works fine but it will require the above mentioned know-how if there is an interest or need to modify certain things. Not really my preferred cup of tea but it is a personal choice of course

For IR communication there are ready-made products you can purchase, the USB-UIRT is just one I happened to have around, you can use LIRC to do serial communication

Actually things can be quite easy. Take a look at ESPeasy. Once you have it installed you can select all sorts of devices to connect to the esp2866 (I like the WeMos) to work with. The toughest part is installing espeasy in the first place, but if you take good notes, you should only have to do it once.

And ESPeasy supports IR emmitters and receivers you can put together yourself.

In my initial attempts to google this topic, I saw "lirc" mentioned a few times. I read that it's for sending and receiving IR commands. I hope you guys don't mind if I ask a few simple questions, which may seem dumb. There's a depth of stuff to read on it, but not much in the way of broad-scoping high level explanations (that I could find).

Does lirc come with send & receive commands (for the command-line) like (if I use pilight as an example) pilight-send, pilight-receive, and pilight-debug? Does it have a function to "learn" commands by pointing an existing remote at a receiver? (Note, I wrote my own learn script for pilight for 433Mhz RF using the debug output.) Does it have a supported GPIO interface for Raspberry Pi, i.e. a wiring diagram and commands that assume it's wired in a certain way?

If I decide to go with some commercial device (e.g. iTach IP2IR or WF2IR), does lirc have a way to communicate with a device like that? If not, has anyone used such a device controlled by RPi? How did you issue the commands to it?

I kind of want to go the GPIO or IP2IR route because I only have 1 spare USB port. However, can one breadboard support an IR device if I already have an RF transmitter and receiver on it?

And a general IR question... I assume that IR is a directed beam as opposed to RF which goes out in all directions...?

If you went with a commercial device like an Itach, they are boxes that sit on your LAN.
There is a node for sending commands from Node-RED to them

They have a database of codes to be used with their boxes
I picked mine up on eBay

Cool! That may be the way to go. Not sure yet. Since IR doesn't pass through walls, putting 1 or 2 of these on my network would allow me to control devices on multiple floors without running a bunch of wires (using either the WF2IR or using an IP2IR connected to a couple cheap WiFi network devices I previously stopped using due to latency). But there's really only 1 device on another floor I want to control (a projector we use to watch TV on the ceiling in bed). Everything else is in 1 room except for the air conditioner I want to control.

Are there any other similar devices that have nodes that people prefer over global cache?

I had been playing around with ir to control TV, heater and heat pump with arduino 8266 (espeasy) and node red, after hrs of frustration, deciphering codes, wiring HW, etc, I came across Broadlink, its all done in a very nice package there is one model that even in-cooperate both ir and rf. Just works out of the box with alexa and works with most ir products or it can learn codes easily. There is also a NR node for broadlink, which interacts with other broadlink products, all for less than $30. Now my aircon, heater, TV, radio, lights(rf), alarm is all controlled by this $30 device.

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I almost asked specifically about broadlink! I wonder if it also have a homebridge plugin... Do you know?