Sharing IR emitter/blasters?

Is sharing IR emitter/blasters between two different devices possible?

I would like to be able to use the same IR emitter connected to IP2IR and my MRF350 Base Station. The reason I wanted to set it up this way was incase my tablet dies I can use my regular universal remote instead of iRule to control my setup. They wont be used at the same time, just one or the other. Is this possible? Im not sure if it will send the signals ok.

To connect them I can use 3.5mm jack plugs Stereo Audio Y Splitter 1 Female to 2 Male Adapter



One male end plugs into the IP2IR and the other plugs into the MRF350... then the emitter/blaster just plugs into the 1 female connection. Then I can control my setup two different ways.
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  • 1
    Xantech has a device that accepts two IR inputs. It then distributes to an IR block that you would have all your equipment attached to.

    You can research on their site for info. I've had many clients ask me to do this.
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  • This is a good idea, I'm planning a similar setup due to the fact that sometimes you really just want to pick up a physical remote because it's tactile and doesn't require you to look at it to use.

    I love iRule, but there are times when a remote with buttons is real nice. It would be awesome to see an iRule branded hardware remote that you could program through the interface...
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  • That cable itself could send current from one of the devices to the other, which might damage the second device.
    You need, at a minimum, a diode on each output to make sure there's no back current.
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  • Does this Stereo Audio Y Splitter that you picture work for you to share control of a single IR emitter?
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  • Hi Chris,

    Yes, that's exactly what ThaDraGun was asking about - using the splitter to share control of a single emitter with two separate IR sources. However, as Jon pointed out, it would allow output current from one IR sender to drive the input of another, which isn't a good thing, and why Blake suggested the Xantech device.

    The Xantech device Blake was referring to is the ZC21:
    http://xantech.com/Infrared/Infrared/...

    It's not as cheap as a Y-cable splitter, but much cheaper than replacing a piece of damaged hardware.

    Regards,
    SC
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  • Hi,
    I'm trying to do the same thing with my iTach IP2IR and a URC MRF260.
    I have the ZC21 with the MRF260 connected to zone1 and the Itach connected to ZONE 2. The URC remote works perfectly. However, the irule remote using the iTach does not. It seems to be only able to power 1 single or dual emitter connected to the "common" port.

    So I need the GC-CGX cable which GC site describes as GC100 to Xantech? If so, how does that connect to ZC21 since it does not have 3.5mm inputs?

    I eventually want to connect 7 devices to the Common port so I think I need to add a 78944 (1 zone 10 shared "common" devices) after the ZC21.

    Blake, could you point me in right direction please on what I am missing?

    Thanks
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  • Yes that helps. Thanks :-)
    I assume I need to cut off the tip of GC-CGX cable to connect it to the ZC21? or possibly use an old-headphone cable.
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  • By the way to connect an IR output from an iTach device to an IR connecting block (Xantech IR block in my case) the GC-CGX isn't absolutely necessary. I was able to make a cable by just matching up the correct pins to each other.
    What's interesting is that I got the pinout info I needed right from the GC-CGX product page:
    http://www.globalcache.com/files/docs...

    The GC-CGX might be recommended to use but you can make your own passive cable that's work.
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  • Buco:

    I'm going to try and do the same thing, and wanted to run it by you to see if this seems correct. I gleaned the following from the GC file doc:

    The pin out for the 3.5mm connector for the GC100-xx emitter output is: Data IR - Tip; N/A - Ring; Ground - Sleeve.

    The pin out for 3.5mm connector for the Xantech IR input is: Data IR - Tip; Ground - Ring; Power - Sleeve.

    The cable I'm using is correlates the following wires with 3.5mm: Tip - white; Ring - Black; Sleeve - Red.

    I plan on splicing two 3.5mm stereo mini cables (I bought them with one side already bare because the gauge of the internal wires are a little bigger) connecting: White (tip) to White (tip), Red (sleeve) - Black (ring), Black (ring) - Red (sleeve). The first side goes to the GC100 and the other to the Xantech.

    Is this how you did it? I appreciate any and all comments. Thanks. --Mario
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  • Yes you got it, that's exactly it.
    Once spliced as you described it's not going be a directional cable. You don't have to worry about which side goes where, it'll work either way.

    As a word of caution just make sure there is no power plugged into or applied to IR connecting block.

    Cheers

    Buco
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  • Thanks Buco! I will be sure not to have power plugged in to the connecting block (Xantech 791-44). --Mario
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  • The IR emitting devices are Diodes or Light Emitting Diodes to be specific. They should be wired in series so the same current limiting resistor in the driver sees the same current flow and thus provides the same voltage drop across both diodes. The Y splitter is designed for head phones and will incorrectly connect them in parallel. The Xantech device actually drives each LED separately with its own transistor and limiting resistor. Much cleaner but not required for two LED's. They actually sell "dual" IR emitters already wired in series to the same 3.5mm plug.
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  • Buco,

    I have a need to connect a GC100 output to a Speakercraft preamp's IR input. The preamp uses those little green 4 pin terminal block connectors (see http://image.dhgate.com/albu_24385871... for an example) But not enough of a need to pay $35+ per cable for 5 of the special optically isolating GC-CGX cables :)

    On the preamp where the connectors go it shows from top to bottom: signal, status, power, ground, so I know what to connect on the preamp. Since the GC100 has mono 3.5mm outputs, I assume mono 3.5mm cable will work the same? I have a spare 3.5mm mono cable I can sacrifice for this experiment. I could strip the end off it, figure out which wire is which with a multimeter, then connect the wire I identify as ground to the terminal block's ground screw, and the other wire to the terminal block's signal screw.

    On the preamp, the power screw is connected to the remote IR receivers I'm currently using, but I would not connect that to the GC100, of course. Will this work, or might it be a problem since you said you can't have power plugged into or applied to the connecting block. Obviously the preamp will have power, but the screws for power and signal would be left unconnected.

    Will the 5v signal provided by the GC100 be enough to register? If not, would there be any way to increase the voltage to do so? I know the GC100 can't output with a higher voltage, maybe there's some simple voltage doubling circuit that could bump the power to 10 volts, which would probably be close enough to 12?
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  • Hi Doug,

    I currently control a Sonance Navigator Harbor multi-zone preamp by connecting the GC100 to the Navigator via a 3.5mm stereo plug-to-bare wire cable (the same green connectors as your preamp are on the Navigator). I connected the Tip cable to Data/Signal, Ring cable to 12v and Sleeve cable to Ground. I don't know if the GC100 sends anything through the Ring conductor, but that's how I initially set it up and it worked.

    According to the power requirements listed by Sonance, the signal strength should be a minimum of 7.5 volts from an IR control device to work consistently, however, I have never had a problem with the IR signals from the GC100 to the Navigator. I think that, as long as the distance isn't that far, you should be ok. The cables I use are 4'.

    Hope this helps.

    --Mario
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  • Thanks Mario. I suppose it can't hurt to give it a try. I have one IP2IR that I use for testing and to capture signals so I can grab a few remote codes for the preamp and give it a try. The preamp is located just below the stack of GC100s, so I can use a pretty short cable.

    The manual I have for the preamp doesn't specify what the minimum voltage is, but there is an indicator LED at each port that lights up when IR is being received. I'll probably make up the cable first, send any old signal through, and see if it lights up. If it doesn't 5v probably isn't enough to trigger it, but if I see something I'll proceed further.

    I'll post my results, hopefully I'll have the same success you and Buco have.

    The GC100 has mono jacks, not stereo, so it doesn't use the ring. You're lucky that it doesn't, otherwise you'd pass 12v through to the GC100 and probably fry it. There isn't any reason to have that 12v connected, I'd disconnect the ring if I were you, just in case.
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  • I tried it yesterday and saw the LEDs light up faintly, but it didn't work.

    I'll need to try emitting the codes at one of the remote IR receivers to double check that the codes I captured work properly, but I'm using other captured codes so I doubt that's the issue. 5 volts may not be enough for the Speakercraft. Anyone have any ideas for way to increase the voltage?

    For what it would cost to buy five global cache cables I'd be halfway to buying a new 6 zone preamp that has network control, so that's not really an option and I wouldn't want to spend that much on a 10 year old preamp. I guess I could tape the emitters to the receivers and locate them nearby, but that's not exactly the most elegant solution...
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  • Hi Doug,

    "then connect the wire I identify as ground to the terminal block's ground screw, and the other wire to the terminal block's signal screw."

    That's it, as easy as that.

    "On the preamp, the power screw is connected to the remote IR receivers I'm currently using, but I would not connect that to the GC100, of course. Will this work, or might it be a problem since you said you can't have power plugged into or applied to the connecting block. Obviously the preamp will have power, but the screws for power and signal would be left unconnected."

    That precaution is just to make sure not to send 12V to the IR output portion of the device sending the IR.
    In your case that's would be hard to do as long as you follow above which you obviously did.

    I know of no reason for 5V not to be enough to drive the preamp's IR input.
    If it doesn't work you should test your IR code first, like you mentioned, and make sure your premap will respond to the IR command and do what it's supposed to do.
    Test the code from the learner you used first.
    When that works test the set up with an IR emitter first and once you have that working try your 3.5mm to phoenix connector.

    Buco
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  • hi guys have a look at this product on ebay have used it several times to do the same thin

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Kit-IR-Rem...

    this unit has 3 inputs so you can use a GC and a hard button remote,

    Barry
    MiRemote
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  • I tried outputting the signal directly into the remote receivers that are wired into the preamp and it didn't work - but in a very odd way.

    The emitter flashed so I know it was getting the signal, and I held it up to and against the front of the receiver, trying all sorts of places but never got it to light up at all! Somehow the signal it was sending was completely ignored by the receiver. Which is very odd, because normally these receivers flicker from any sort of IR source. Other remotes, plasma TVs, windows.

    Is the signal being output by a normal emitter (I'm using Calrad 92-152-2 dual emitters) so much weaker than what a remote control puts out that the receiver can't "see" it even when I stick the emitter directly on it? Maybe I should have tried sticking both emitters on it or something...
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  • "I tried outputting the signal directly into the remote receivers"

    What is the source of the code you're sending, learned code?

    Bottom line you just need to confirm you're sending a tested and working IR code.
    Some IR learners have a very hard time capturing codes. A lot of the times it will capture a corrupted code so the sending device will be sending a code that the receiving device hasn't got a clue what to do with.
    Sometimes I'd have hell of a time trying to learn a command that I can't find existing codeset for, taking a long to capture a working code.

    Some things to try when learning a troublesome code:
    -vary the distance between remote and learner: bring a remote closer to learner, bring a remote farther away from learner, and anywhere in between
    -it might be getting ambient light so try covering both remote with a paper or something else as you're learning the commands
    -varying length button presses; very short, long, longer etc.
    -sometimes this worked for me: start pushing a button on the remote and then initiate "learn" on the learner device so the moment the learner is ready, it's getting the burst from the remote, let go of the button on the remote, vary the length of sending the burst this way too.
    -and when you manage to learn the first working code repeat with the rest in exactly the same manner

    Have you tried looking for IR codeset for this premap?
    For example the remotecentral has this:
    http://files.remotecentral.com/pronto...
    Then you can paste hex codes into irule.

    Buco
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  • I saw those Pronto codes for the Eazy6 on remote central when I looked for codes on google, but I have no idea what to do with the files contained in the ZIP I downloadeed. They are in a binary format, not something iRule can use, so I think I would need to find some way to convert it to standard hex or GC format.

    I should have time to mess around with it again tomorrow, I'll try capturing the same code a dozen times from different distances, angles, length of press etc. and add them all into iRule and try them one at a time. Hopefully one of them will work, then I can try capturing all the other codes using the same method. Thanks for the tip of trying it different ways, I didn't realize the learner was so picky. Or I suppose maybe it is that remote which is picky or the preamp is picky about the codes it will accept.

    Once I get just ONE code that will work when I feed it into the remote receiver, I'll be able to properly check whether I can feed codes into the preamp with the GC100 output wired to the 4 screw terminal block.
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  • I see, didn't realize that file contains binary codes.
    There are utilities that will do conversion to hex, but as far as I know none of them is "plug in one-get the other" type, they all require some knowledge about the IR code theory, protocols etc.
    Here's one I found on remotecentral:
    http://files.remotecentral.com/collec...
    It's of more recent date so maybe the process is more automated.
    I personally never managed to learn and apply all the theory behind hex codes, conversion from binary to hex etc so can't help you there in detail.

    I think the problem with some learners is that some are not able to decipher what the exact code is, from start to end, and learn only that or "hi there-here's a code-OK I'm done". Instead they learn the entire burst for as long as you have the button pressed which then gets lost in the translation and component doesn't have a clue what to do with it. That is besides possible environmental issues, too strong of a signal from the sending remote, too weak etc.
    I've worked with some excellent IR learners and some that take forever to learn anything.

    But to get back to what you're trying to do, which learner are you using?
    Can't you test each code as you're trying to learn it?
    Vs learning a bunch, adding to iRule and then testing.

    Buco
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  • I am using the learner on a IP2IR, and GC's iLearn software. I figured I could use the IP2IR for testing since it is small and portable (I have the GC100s racked) and a learner cable for the GC100 cost almost as much as the IP2IR did and would have been much less convenient to use.

    Due to the location of the receivers I wasn't able to test as I learned, but I had successfully learned codes for other devices so I assumed it "just worked". I was finally able to get working codes for the preamp today, it turns out I had two problems on my previous attempts.

    The first was that for some reason, no matter what I do, I can't use a code for this preamp when I save it in global cache format. I know that doesn't make sense since it is just the difference between decimal & hex and an extra header, but that seems to be the case somehow. I also found I needed to hold the button down for about 1/2 a second, shorter codes "look OK" don't seem to register properly. Once I knew the trick I was able to get working codes for all the rest of the functions using the same method and saving in hex.

    I tested the new codes with the 4 screw terminal block and found they work perfectly. Despite the faint LED indicator on the preamp the IR signal works 100% of the time. Thanks for the help, looks like I'm keeping this preamp for a few more years at least :)
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  • Hey great news!
    And good catch about codes in global cache format.
    Quality audio gear doesn't go out of fashion, keep it going.
    Good stuff,

    Buco
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  • One further question about this. Would there be any issues with wiring my GC100 into the same 4 screw terminal blocks being used by the remote IR receivers? I'd prefer to leave the remote receivers in place for a while as a backup until I feel confident that the GC100 / iRule solution is stable.

    I am concerned this might be a problem since the IR receiver will output 12v IR, and that would be connected via the terminal block to the GC100's IR output. Similarly the GC100 will output 5v IR and that would be connected to the remote receiver, though I'm less concerned about that since the voltage is lower.

    I'm pretty sure this is not a good idea, so I haven't tried it. Is there a way I could safely use both or do I need to just make the switch and be ready to switch back if there are problems?
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  • You're saying you wanna connect IR (signal/ground) from GC100 and parallel connect that with signal/ground IR coming from someplace else to your preamp's IR input connector?
    That's OK, that should work.
    In any case there is no harm in trying, 12V should be separate from signal/ground.

    Buco
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  • The 12v power from the preamp is separate and not connected to the GC100, so that's not my concern. However, the 12v IR output coming from the IR receiver would be connected to the 5V IR output coming from the GC100. So the GC100's IR input would have 12v delivered to it whenever the remote IR receiver was triggered. That's what I'm concerned about as a possible issue.

    Maybe that's at a small enough amperage it isn't matter. I suppose I could try to measure the power on my cheap multimeter. It seems to be OK for measuring voltage and resistance, but I haven't had much luck in the past using it to measure amperage.

    If I had a 3.5mm M/F jumper with a diode between the ends that allowed voltage to flow in only one direction that would probably do, but short of making that myself I probably couldn't get such a thing at a reasonable price.
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  • Hmmm, I'm not sure I'm quite getting this scenario.
    In the IR network there are 3 wires: 12V power/signal/ground.
    From your IR receiver you have all 3 above wires going to the preamp terminal,
    from your GC100 you have only signal and ground wires.
    So I don't see how would 12V wire connect to the signal wire.
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  • You're correct, the 12v 'power' wire on the preamp isn't connected to the GC100. It connects only to the remote IR receiver to power it.

    What I'm concerned about is that, when the remote receiver detects infrared, it sends a IR signal (at 12 volts and perhaps a few hundred milliamps) back to the preamp on the 'signal' wire.

    Therefore, if I have the signal wire on the GC100 and the signal wire on the remote IR receiver connected together on the terminal block to enable sending signals from either one, then some of this IR signal will go to the preamp and some to the GC100. 12 volts will be hitting the GC100, coming in the 'signal' wire via the signal wire output of the remote receiver.

    That is what I'm concerned about, and think I need to find a way to avoid, because it may damage the GC100. If I can't find a way to do this safely I'll need to abandon the idea to try to connect both devices simultaneously.

    If only the preamp had a way to specify a zone in its commands, I'd only need one connection from the GC100 and could use the unused zone's IR input for this purpose. I suppose I could play around with the IR command structure a bit and send some experimental signals at it and see if I can manage to find a way to affect a zone other than the one the terminal block is connected to. As far as I know, this model wasn't designed to have that capability, but it is possible the ability was designed in but never used. Can't hurt to try.

    I emailed Speakercraft tech support once with a couple questions but they refused to talk to me since I wasn't a dealer. Apparently you're expected to go through your dealer for support! I understand this is common in the audio world, which seems like pretty archaic in 2013.
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  • Yeah, lots of companies don't wanna hear it unless you're an approved dealer.
    Lots of dealers support this so companies aren't changing it.
    I don't think it would affect dealers all that much in a large picture but a lot of people are sensitive about it and think it does affect them.
    I think if a famous chef gives you an exact recipe for a great dish, you can try as you might it'll never be as tasty as at that chef's kitchen table.
    If you mess up the ingredients and ruin the dish, well, you'll just have to go out and buy new ingredients.

    In the above you're correct except that there is going to be 5V or so going down the signal wire path as you've already mentioned elsewhere, not 12V.
    You could get an IR connecting block with multi-zone input (there's a post above with a link to one sold on ebay) that would solve that but it doesn't hurt to try paralleling the signal/ground wires from GC100 and infra-red receiver on the preamp terminal.

    Buco
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  • Speakercraft uses Xantach IR protocol, which is 12v signaling, not 5v like Global Cache uses. So there would be 12v delivered to the GC100's input, 5v delivered to the remote receiver's input.
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