Posts Tagged ‘IR’

Arduino – Redefining the TV Remote

We use them every day, but has no one got bored of pressing buttons on a stick, it’s far too much effort pressing buttons! Surely there are better ways to control a device? After doing some work with my Nikon camera using IR to control it, I wanted to do the same with other devices. Check out the video at the bottom of this post…

However, unlike the Nikon remote, my Samsung TV remote has many many buttons so each IR sequence sent from the remote will be different. This can be a problem when you want to decode the signals, which while not impossible I am lazy, so thankfully Ken Shirriff has built a library to do just that and while its built for TV remotes you can decode an IR signal to its raw pulses using it. Essentially the library senses IR and notes each pulse and gap between pulses, Kens library saves a lot of time and its well coded – I’ll cover the basics of it in a bit.

My idea is to capture the IR sequences and then using the Arduino send them by using different inputs other than buttons. My first idea is to use my SRF05 distance sensor (You can use any distance sensor) and the premise being that different distances from the sensor send different signals to the TV. So rather than pressing a button you just wave your hand above the sensor. Of course this is slightly limited but since I only have 5 channels (yep – only 5!) so it turned out to be quite feasible.

There are drawbacks to this of course – the main one being that you can only define so many actions in the sensors dectection range. But there is plenty of range to do the basics, power, sound and channel and by constantly measuring distances we can even say the direction of movement, up to down and vice versa, can have an effect on what signal to send. For example moving your hand closer to the sensor will change the channel down.

So first of all you may want to read some of my other tutorials/projects concerning IR and the SRF-05 and Sharp IR (it should also work well).
Arduino Nikon IR Intervalometer Camera Remote
– contains handy wiring diagram!
Arduino and Sharp GP2Y0A02 Infrared distance sensor

(Other Arduino projects and tutorials)

OK, next take a look at Ken Shirrifs IR library and guide here:

Arduino TV Remote Components

IR Diode
3pin (NPN) Phototransistor/ IR receiver (
Radio Shack 276-640 IR receiver, Panasonic PNA4602, Vishay TSOP4838 – or just get one out an old mouse)
SRF-05 (or any distance measuring device e.g. Sharp IR GP2Y0A02)
Jumper wires

Oh and stating the obvious but you’ll also need a T.V with working remote to steal the signals from – course you can use other remotes (stereos etc..)

The circuits themselves are very very easy to build, an IR LED to pin 3, a IR receiver to pin 11 and the SRF-05 I’ve plugged into pins 2 and 4. I have all of them in one breadboard and it works very well (see below).

Using Kens Arduino TV Remote Library

If you download the library and then unzip it to your Arduino/Libaries directory (older versions, I think its Arduino/hardware/libaries). The library assumes that your phototransistor/ IR receiver is on digital pin 11 and your IR diode is on digital pin 3. Typically you want a IR receiver with a 38Khz range – they seem to work best for me.

How to get our TV infrared/ remote codes

First of all use Ken’s IRrecvDump example (should be in your examples menu) load this into your Arduino and begin to capture your remotes codes. My Samsung wasn’t recognised so I used the Raw codes – there’s plenty of documentation on Ken’s site for this – it’s really simple, even I could figure it out. You need to note how many pulses etc.. it decodes in the raw signal which helpfully is outputted e.g. Raw (68):

Now we process the codes slightly and put them in an array for each one now that we have our codes and the information we need to use them – since mine are in the raw format I need to clean them up slightly ready to be put in my code – just adding commas etc…

Now we can test the remote codes to make sure you can control your TV

Now using the IRsendDemo example, altering it my case to send the raw signal, we can test the codes to make sure that we can control the T.V – just use the basic sketch to send the codes which I edited slightly just to use an array for the raw code. You can check out the library files themselves to see the functions.

 * IRremote: IRsendDemo - demonstrates sending IR codes with IRsend
 * An IR LED must be connected to Arduino PWM pin 3.
 * Version 0.1 July, 2009
 * Copyright 2009 Ken Shirriff


IRsend irsend;

// just added my own array for the raw signal
unsigned int powerOn[68] = {4450,4500,550,1700,500,1750,500,1750,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,1700,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,600,500,1700,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,1750,500,1750,500};

void setup()

void loop() {

      // altered the code just to send/test my raw code


Add the distance sensor

This is actually the hardest bit and it’s not that hard really I just used my previous work and adapted it and wrote a few statements concerning the detected distance. You just have to spend some time debugging and getting your values right to ensure that your commands are only sent at the right time and that it doesn’t get confused. My code is still a little buggy if you’re not used to how to move your hand but it does work well once you’re used to it.

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    Larrys alternative TV remote - oops no buttons!
    Sends signals to TV based upon sensor readings

    Makes use of Kens Shirriffs IRremote library
    An IR LED must be connected to Arduino PWM pin 3.
    Version 0.1 July, 2009
    Copyright 2009 Ken Shirriff

    This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program.  If not, see .

IRsend irsend;

const int numReadings = 5;   // set a variable for the number of readings to take
int index = 0;                // the index of the current reading
int total = 0;                // the total of all readings
int average = 0;              // the average
int oldAverage = 0;           // the old average
int echoPin = 2;              // the SRF05's echo pin
int initPin = 4;              // the SRF05's init pin
unsigned long pulseTime = 0;  // variable for reading the pulse
unsigned long distance = 0;   // variable for storing distance

// setup my arrays for each signal I want to send
unsigned int powerOn[68] = {4450,4500,550,1700,500,1750,500,1750,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,1700,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,600,500,1700,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,1750,500,1750,500};
unsigned int soundUp[68] = {4450,4500,550,1700,550,1700,500,1750,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,1750,500,1700,550,1700,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,550,600,500,1700,550,1700,550,1700,550,1700,500,1750,500};
unsigned int soundDown[68] = {4400,4550,500,1750,500,1700,550,1700,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,1750,500,1750,500,1700,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,1700,500,600,550,1700,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,550,600,500,1750,500,1750,500,1700,550,1700,550};
unsigned int channelUp[68] = {4400,4550,500,1700,550,1700,550,1700,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,1750,500,1700,550,1700,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,1700,550,600,550,600,500,1700,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,1700,500,600,550,1700,550,1700,550,600,500,1700,550,1700,550,1700,550};
unsigned int channelDown[68] = {4450,4500,500,1750,500,1750,500,1700,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,1700,500,1750,500,1750,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,600,550,600,500,650,500,600,550,600,500,1700,550,600,500,650,500,600,500,1750,500,1750,500,1750,500,1700,550,600,500,1750,500,1750,500,1700,550};

void setup() {
  // make the init pin an output:
  pinMode(initPin, OUTPUT);
  // make the echo pin an input:
  pinMode(echoPin, INPUT);
  // initialize the serial port:

 void loop() {

    // loop for a number of readings on the SRF-05 to get an average to smooth the results. Much like all my other examples
    for (index = 0; index<=numReadings;index++) {
      digitalWrite(initPin, LOW);
      digitalWrite(initPin, HIGH);
      digitalWrite(initPin, LOW);
      pulseTime = pulseIn(echoPin, HIGH);
      distance = pulseTime/58;
      total = total + distance;
    // store the previous reading
    oldAverage = average;
    // store the current reading
    average = total/numReadings;
    // debug to check for spikes in the sensor etc..

    // now the fun part...
    // if my distance is less than 5...
    if (average <= 5) {
      Serial.println("Power Off");
      // use Kens IR library to send my signal (array, number of items in array, Khz)
      // these delays depend on how long it take my device to recognise the signal sent and to act - I don't want to send signals that aren't getting read etc..
      // otherwise if my hand is higher
    } else {
      // check to see if my hand is in the registered space above the sensor
      if (average <=20 && average >=10 && oldAverage >=10) {
        // the below statement is our sensitive the readings are so if the current and previous readings are different with a tolerance of +/- 1 we can look at the direction of movement
        if ((average != oldAverage)
        && (average+1 != oldAverage)
        && (average-1 != oldAverage)) {
          // if the current reading is higher than the previous, then my hand is moving upwards
          if (average > oldAverage) {
            Serial.println("Channel Up");
          } else {
            // otherwise if it is below then my hand is moving downwards
            if (average < oldAverage && oldAverage <=20) {               Serial.println("Channel Down");               irsend.sendRaw(channelDown,68,38);               delay(2000);                        }                  }          // otherwise my hand must be stationary so check where it is.         } else {           // if my hand is stationary between 10 and 15 cms away from the sensor           if (average >= 10 && average <=15) {             Serial.println("Sound down");             irsend.sendRaw(soundDown,68,38);           } else {             // if my hand is a bit higher up...             if (average >= 16 && average <=20) {               Serial.println("Sound up");               irsend.sendRaw(soundUp,68,38);             }           }         }         }     }        // clear our index and total for the next reading just in case     if (index >= numReadings)  {
      index = 0;
      total = 0;

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Arduino + Processing – 3D Sensor Data Visualisation

Arduino 3D scan

So following on from my previous posts about visualising sensor data in Processing, I’m now looking at drawing 3D representations of the data recorded from the Sharp IR sensor – although can be any kind of range finder.

I started by rigging 2 servos, one to pan left to right, the other up to down. The latter is limited to only 60 degrees of movement. I’m going to represent each servo position in a grid to start with, so a grid 180 wide (x) by 60 tall (y). The distance measured from the sensor will form the z index position so how far/ close a point will appear.

The setup is pretty much the same, Arduino records and sends the sensor data to the serial port buffer along with the X and Y position of the servos. Processing then picks this up and populates an array. Now this time I’m using multi-dimensional arrays, that is one array that stores other arrays. I could make just one array of 10800 items (180 * 60) but its far more efficient to make an array of 180 items, each item being another array of 60 items to store the distance measured. So for every 1 degree I move left to right, I record the 60 positions of the up/ down servo and the reading taken.

To visualise this I started drawing squares using the QUAD_STRIP shape to produce a grid layout (image at the top of the post). Of course because I’m actually using polar co-ordinates (degrees) instead of cartesian (x, y) then what the sensor is reading can’t really be translated to a flat grid. Because when it measures something vertical the measurements will all be different and when translated to my flat grid, it would make anything vertical look slanted. Trouble is now we’re trying to view something in 3D space so it doesn’t look all that great – so I’ve added in some animation to rotate the object slightly, looks fine when you zoom in close enough to one section but otherwise it’s just a random shape.

There are 2 ways around this, firstly we can convert our co-ordinates to cartesian. Or we can alter the grid used to display our data, the shape needed is basically a 60 degree arc thats lathed 180 degrees – so it kind of looks like a tyre wall. The radius used to draw our 60 degree arc is calculated by the distance taken from the sensor.

Arduino 3D Sensor Data Parts

SRF05 Ultrasonic range finder or Sharp GP2Y0A02 IR sensor (basically any kind of distance sensor)
Arduino Deumilanove w/ ATMEGA328
Breadboard / Prototyping board
Jumper/ Connector wires
2x Servos (has to need no more than 5v supply)
C shaped Servo brackets (If anyone can make these cheap enough let me know!)

Arduino 3D Plotter Circuit

Using the below posts you should be able to figure out how to wire the sensor and how to use the servos. I use digital pins 9 and 10 for the servos and analog pin 1 for the sensor reading.

Arduino SRF-05 Tutorials
Arduino Servo Tutorials
How to use the Sharp IR range finder

Arduino Sketch

We use the servo libary and a couple of FOR loops to control 2 servos, for every degree panned we tilt the other servo through 60 degrees taking a series of sensor readings for each position and averaging them. We output these values with the X and Y position in degrees to the serial port buffer. At the end of each loop we reset the servo position. If the sensor reading is outside the range of operation of the servo we also handle this.

3D Scan Visualisation for Sharp GP2Y0A02 IR range finder
Sends sensor readings for every degree moved by the servo
values sent to serial port to be picked up by Processing
#include             // include the standard servo library
Servo leftRightServo;         // set a variable to map the servo
Servo upDownServo;
int leftRightPos = 0;         // set a variable to store the servo position
int upDownPos = 0;
const int numReadings = 10;   // set a variable for the number of readings to take
int index = 0;                // the index of the current reading
float total = 0;              // the total of all readings must be a float to allow totaling of float values
int average = 0;              // the average
int IRpin = 1;                // analog pin for reading the IR sensor

/* setup the pins, servo and serial port */
void setup() {
  // initialize the serial port:

/* begin rotating the servo and getting sensor values */
void loop() {
 for(leftRightPos = 0; leftRightPos < 180; leftRightPos++)

  for(upDownPos = 60; upDownPos < 120; upDownPos++)

      for (index = 0; index<=numReadings;index++) {            // take x number of readings from the sensor and average them
        float volts = analogRead(IRpin)*0.0048828125;   // value from sensor * (5/1024) - if running 3.3.volts then change 5 to 3.3
        float distance = 65*pow(volts, -1.10);          // worked out from graph 65 = theretical distance / (1/Volts)S -
        total = total + distance;                              // update total
    average = (int) total/numReadings;                               // create average reading
        if (average < 20) {
         average = 20;
        if (average > 150) {
         average = 150;
        //average = 0 - average;
    if (index >= numReadings)  {                               // reset the counts when at the last item of the array
      index = 0;
      total = 0;





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Processing Sketch

We now listen to the serial port and each time there is an event we take the values and populate an array based on the X and Y values sent from the Arduino code. We add this value on to the existing value and then for each complete mapping we work out the average value – so the longer it runs for the more normalised the results should appear.

Using some basic trigonometry we have a class that makes an arc. Our draw() method calls this arc and translates/ rotates it for each of the 180 degrees. The arc itself is calculated from using the distance reading from the sensor as its radius.

If using a grid instead of this shape then we just say at point X,Y set the Z value instead of worrying about radius’s etc…

3D Scan Visualisation for Sharp GP2Y0A02
Maps out an area of what the GP2Y0A02 sees into a 3D view
import processing.serial.*;     // import serial library
Serial myPort;                  // declare a serial port
int x, y, z;                     // variable to store x and y co-ordinates for vertices
int value = 0;                  // value from sensor
int[][][] data = new int[181][61][1];  // create an array to store each new sensor value for each servo position
int count;
int average = 1;
PFont myFont;                   // setup fonts in Processing
int numberOfSegments = 179;
createArc Arc;                  // create an instance of the Arc class
float radius = 150;
float angle = 0;

void setup(){
  size(640, 360, P3D);
  Arc = new createArc();        // assign the Arc classes to an object
  myFont = createFont("verdana", 12);
  // setup the serial port and buffer
  myPort = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[1], 9600);


void draw(){
  float tempX = 0, tempY = 1, tempZ = 0;
  translate(width/2, 200, 110);
  angle = 180.0 / numberOfSegments;
  rotateY(count * PI/10800);
  for (int j = 0; j < numberOfSegments; j++){
      tempZ = cos(radians(angle))*radius;
      tempX = sin(radians(angle))*radius;
      translate(tempX, tempY, tempZ); // move each instance we create of the arc object to a slightly new position and rotation
      angle += 180.0/numberOfSegments;

// creates an arc object using QUAD_STRIP
class createArc {
// pass values to create method to know which array to load 1 to 180...
  void create(int degree){
    for(int a=60; a < 120;a++) {
      float x1 = cos(radians(((90+a))))*(data[degree][a-60][0]/average);
      float y1 = sin(radians(((90+a))))*(data[degree][a-60][0]/average);
      float x2 = cos(radians(((90+a))))*(data[degree+1][a-60][0]/average);
      float y2 = sin(radians(((90+a))))*(data[degree+1][a-60][0]/average);

/* get values from serial port */

void serialEvent (Serial myPort) {
  String xString = myPort.readStringUntil('\n');  // read the serial port until a new line
    if (xString != null) {  // if theres data in between the new lines
    	xString = trim(xString); // get rid of any whitespace just in case
    	String getY = xString.substring(1, xString.indexOf("X")); // get the value of the servo position
        String getX = xString.substring(xString.indexOf("X")+1, xString.indexOf("Z")); // get the value of the sensor reading
        String getZ = xString.substring(xString.indexOf("Z")+1, xString.length()); // get the value of the sensor reading
    	x = Integer.parseInt(getX); // set the values to variables
    	y = Integer.parseInt(getY);
        z = Integer.parseInt(getZ);
        data[x][y][0] += z;
        //println(z); // for debugging
        if (count > 10800) {
          count = 0;

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So here’s a quick screen grab of the 3D object that represents what the sensor sees, looks pretty confusing but if you zoom in and take a small section of it then it’s a bit better. Other than that its just a random shape!


Arduino – IR remote/ intervalometer for Nikon D80 DSLR (that means timelapse photography yarrr!)

Nikon D80 + Arduino remote trigger/ intervalometer

I’m cheap and skint, yet I want to do timelapse photography with my Nikon D80 DSLR. Unfortnately that requires spending some cash on an intervalometer for time lapse photography which will set me back a sizeable chunk of cash. Or I could get a remote or get the trigger system then create a delay mechanism to do the timelapse. But again it’d cost a few quid to even get a remote…

Thankfully I already have an Arduino board and a bag of Infrared emitter diodes which I was wondering what I could use them for. So I had a quick scout round the interweb and saw various projects where people had written programs to allow Arduino to work as a TV remote etc.. and I stumbled up on this site: which listed the very IR timing sequence and frequency I would need to trigger my camera. I’m guessing you can find other sequences/ frequencies for other bits of hardware too.

There is no point in me writing up a circuit diagram or parts list for this as you just need an IR diode and an Arduino board. Oh and check that your camera has an Infrared remote port on it or else this is pointless!

Arduino Nikon Intervalometer Remote Code

You will see that basically we blink an IR LED for a set time, wait and repeat to create our signal. The only complicated bits are working out the delays to create the pulse cycle/ wave. Turns out Arduino isn’t so hot at measuring delays in Microseconds so we need to give it a hand keeping track using the micros() function – so we just create a counter to do this and specify an end time for it to count up to.
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LUCKYLARRY.CO.UK - IR Remote control for Nikon using Arduino

Mimics the infrared signal to trigger the remote for any Nikon camera
which can use the ML-L1 and ML-L3 remotes. Can be used as an intervalometer
for time lapse photography.

The IR sequence I used is originally taken from:

You should be able to use my pulse methods to alter to suit other cameras/ hardware.

micros() is an Arduino function that calls the time in Microseconds since your program
first ran. Arduino doesn't reliably work with microseconds so we work our timings by
taking the current reading and then adding our delay on to the end of it rather than rely
on the in built timer.


int pinIRLED = 13;                                      // assign the Infrared emitter/ diode to pin 13

void setup() {
  pinMode(pinIRLED, OUTPUT);                            // set the pin as an output

// sets the pulse of the IR signal.
void pulseON(int pulseTime) {
  unsigned long endPulse = micros() + pulseTime;        // create the microseconds to pulse for
  while( micros() < endPulse) {
    digitalWrite(pinIRLED, HIGH);                       // turn IR on
    delayMicroseconds(13);                              // half the clock cycle for 38Khz (26.32×10-6s) - e.g. the 'on' part of our wave
    digitalWrite(pinIRLED, LOW);                        // turn IR off
    delayMicroseconds(13);                              // delay for the other half of the cycle to generate wave/ oscillation


void pulseOFF(unsigned long startDelay) {
  unsigned long endDelay = micros() + startDelay;       // create the microseconds to delay for
  while(micros() < endDelay);

void takePicture() {
  for (int i=0; i < 2; i++) {
    pulseON(2000);                                      // pulse for 2000 uS (Microseconds)
    pulseOFF(27850);                                    // turn pulse off for 27850 us
    pulseON(390);                                       // and so on
  }                                                     // loop the signal twice.

void loop() {
  takePicture();                                        // take the picture
  delay(5000);                                          // delay in milliseconds which allows us to do timelapse photography - 1 second = 1000 milliseconds

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Ok, so one other thing when using your camera and thats a quick modification to the remote timer, if like mine your infrared camera remote port is set to be active for less than a minute then you'll need to edit the settings accordingly - just check your owner manual. For me it's in the menu screen, custom setting menu, then option 30: Remote on duration.

Now I just got to take some cool timelapse stuff like my friends here:

Which also reminds me to look into CHDK and my Canon Powershot A530 and see what I can do there. 🙂