@madpilot rants

IR-blaster with CEC – Stripping a Raspberry PI

I had a couple of the original Raspberry PIs on my desk, and since they were just sitting gathering dust they seemed like the perfect candidate for this project.

I don’t know why, by the composite port really irks me. I’m never going to use it, and it really juts out, and realistically this was going to be WiFi only, so I could get rid of the network port. Also, plugging in a Wifi adapter made the board unnecessarily long.

Time to trim it down a bit.

First, I removed the composite port by clipping the leads and desoldering the remains.

Then I removed the network plug. The two holes that held it in will come in handy later…

Finally, I removed the USB sockets.

Much neater! And regular shaped. Of course, there is now no way to interface with it. I took a perfectly good USB WiFi module and gutted that.

And then direct soldered it to the PI.

Now I have a minimalist WiFi-enabled RaspberryPI! If I need to make any changes, I just ssh in and do it via command line. If I really need a keyboard, I’ll just put the SD card in another PI that is more fully featured, and do it there.

Next up: the IR blaster board

IR-blaster with CEC – Project (log) kick off

Full disclosure: I started this project a while ago – according to the photo app on my phone, almost 12 months ago! I originally wanted to build it so I could control my TV, Yamaha receiver, Foxtel set-top box and Apple TV from my phone and watch. I like to listen to music while I cook, but changing the song, or the volume is a pain – I have to stop, wash and dry my hands, then walk over to find the remote.

The project got shelved for a while (Oooh! shiny things!), as I worked on my garage door project, but then I had an excuse to resurrect it.

My wife casually mentioned that she wanted to be able to stream music, and listen to the radio at the back of the house. And even in the front room, she found turning on the Apple TV to stream Spotify annoying. She also hated having to turn on the TV just to play.

There was only one solution I could see: Purchase a Sonos!

I actually purchased two: A Sonos Play:1, that we can move around the house as we need it – it usually lives in the bedroom, but we can easily take it outside when we have people over; and a Sonos CONNECT – I already have a perfectly good receiver and speaker setup, replacing all of it sounded like over kill.

Now we could stream music around the house easily without it stopping if the phone rang, and without draining our phone batteries. There was still a small issue though: the Play:1 turns on as soon as your press play on the phone app, as does the CONNECT. Unfortunately, my receiver didn’t.

Time to dust off the IR blaster.

The CONNECT publishes uPNP data, which homeassistant.io already listens to. This in turn fires an event when ever the devices starts playing music, which I consume using node-red, which makes an API call to another node app I have running on a Raspberry PI, which in turn blasts out some IR via LIRC.

Simple really :)

I’ll write up the different parts over the next couple of weeks.