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Communicating with RS 15-1994 over SERIAL
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Jack_Pollack



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:27 am    Post subject: Communicating with RS 15-1994 over SERIAL Reply with quote

I am new to JP1. I am trying to control a Radio Shack 15-1994 through the serial port on my computer. My ultimate objective is to be able to connect the remote to a Paralex Basic Stamp serial output pin and control it from that.

I have built a simple serial interface (3 resisters, 1 diode, 1 transistor http://www.hifi-remote.com/ziggr/schematic.shtml). I believe the the correct PC pinouts are Gnd Pin 5, TxD Pin 3, RTS Pin 7, CTS Pin 8, Rxd Pin 2.

I have tried to communicate with the remote using IR.exe, IRdcw 2.5, and also through VB comm control using info from http://www.hifi-remote.com/ziggr/9600.shtml (older & newer remotes). I have had no luck receiving any reply from the remote, or getting it to transmit IR (I have hit a key on the remote before sending to put it in 'on-line mode')

I have looked at the TxD line with a logic probe and it is definitely transmitting.

So my first question are the programs I tried compatible with the 15-1994, or is there other software I should be using (I tried all models listed since 15-1994 was not specifically listed)?

I have the remote pointed at a TV to see if I can turn it on, but I don't even know if the LED on the remote should flash if I successfully communicate a with the remote from the PC and tell it to send a key

Zigger's info does not mention my remote, is there a list of wakeup codes, etc for my remote somewhere?

Is the interface that I am using sophisticated enough (or correct) for what I am doing?

Is there a better (cheep & currently available) RS remote I should use?


any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated since I am at a stand still.

Thanks
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The stuff that Ziggr did was for the old OFA/RS remotes that came with a 3-hole interface port, not the current 6-pin interface. Ziggr himself stopped playing with remotes many years ago, so he certainly never tried to port his work to the newer remotes. In fact, you're the first to do so. So while we may be watching with interest, we can't be of much help.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
So while we may be watching with interest, we can't be of much help.


I think we can help by saying "forget this idea and try something else".

Rob, am I missing something here? Don't we know enough about the JP1 interface (in the remote) to be quite certain that it can't be used in this way.
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Jack_Pollack



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which part doesn't sound feasible?

The serial control, or the part about being able to send the remote a code to output data?

Isn't that what key-codes are for (http://www.hifi-remote.com/hack/keycodes.shtml)?

Rob's post regarding Ziggr's work with older remotes got me looking at my wiring again. I assumed that pins 1-3 were the only ones needed for the serial interface. looking at the pin-outs for the 6 pin I now see that I pins 1 & 2 are VCC and pin3 is ground. So my serial data was going nowhere!!

I know that if this has any chance of working I will have to use pin 4.
How do i define if pin 4 is IN or OUT ?

Any thoughts on clock or reset?

Thanks
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gfb107
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Serial Port to JP1 interface is described at http://www.hifi-remote.com/files/interfaces/SERIAL_PORT_INTERFACE_FOR_JP1.doc

Maybe that's where you want to start.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack_Pollack wrote:
Which part doesn't sound feasible?

The serial control, or the part about being able to send the remote a code to output data?


The JP1 connection gives the PC a way to read and write the eeprom in the remote. It was not designed to let the PC talk to the microprocessor in the remote.

In the older 3-wire design, only the microprocessor talked to the eeprom and the 3-wire interface let the PC talk to the microprocessor (and tell it what to write in the eeprom). They designed in commands on the same interface to let the PC tell the micro to send IR signals. (Then they documented those extra commands, but kept the commands needed to write upgrades to the eeprom secret).
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:
Am I missing something here? Don't we know enough about the JP1 interface (in the remote) to be quite certain that it can't be used in this way.

He won't be able to do it using the 6-pin, but he might be able to do it by running wires to the right points on the PCB (and I don't know what the "right" points are).

The reason I say this is this: the old 15-1918 and 15-1919 remotes have the old 3-hole interface, whereas the 15-1925 has a 6-pin. Internally these are exactly the same remote. So, as it's possible to control a 15-1919 using the old serial cable, you should therefore be able to control a 15-1925 too, just not using the 6-pin.

Having said that, all the old remotes used a Motorola 6805 processor whereas the newer remotes use the Samsung S3C8, so that could be relevant. Plus, it's quite possible that there's some functionality present in the old remotes' firmware that isn't present in the newer remotes.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Communicating with RS 15-1994 over SERIAL Reply with quote

Jack_Pollack wrote:
My ultimate objective is to be able to connect the remote to a Paralex Basic Stamp serial output pin and control it from that.


I don't have a clue what a "Paralex Basic Stamp" is. But I think you may want to restate your objective.

You don't want to control the remote. You want to control the devices that the remote controls. You jumped to the questionable conclusion that the remote is a good tool for that task.

What do you expect the remote to contribute? I have a couple guesses.

1) It has an IR emitting diode in it with the appropriate circuitry to provide that diode with the correct current (to send a strong IR signal without self destructing): I think you'll find it isn't very hard/expensive to buy or build something else that fills that role.

2) It has a giant library of setup codes, so it knows how to encode the right signals for the devices you want to control: If one of the old OFA remotes with the 3-wire interface were available and had the right signals in its (rather obsolete now) library, that would save programming, vs. generating the signals without the remote. But any solution with a JP1 remote would be both vastly harder than doing it without the remote and inferior.

Because of the work Jon and I have done recording IRP notation descriptions of many protocols, it is no longer all that hard to program some simple programmable device with IR output so it sends any of the commands a JP1 remote can (and more).

One useful thread on this subject is:
http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1775&highlight=irp+java
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
and I don't know what the "right" points are).


I hate such arguments with other experts, and I'm surprised that you aren't certain those "right" points don't exist on the 15-1994. I'm certain they don't exist.

But even if you aren't certain they don't exist, I expect you'd admit you don't have any evidence that they do exist.

I don't have the URL handy, but we've had several mentions of which specific kind of S3C80 chip is in the 15-1994 and where to get the Samsung document describing all the programmable I/O pins on that chip. It's pretty clear (if you look a 15-1994 PCB) which ones go to the keyboard, IR LED, visible LED, EEPROM, backlight, and whatever else I'm forgetting at the moment. The rather tiny set of unaccounted for I/O pins are the only places you should consider in looking for some hidden command interface (which would need GND and two I/O pins). It wouldn't take much of a look at the PCB to narrow that down to zero possible places.


Last edited by johnsfine on Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JUst to be fair to the viewpoint I'm arguing against here, I should mention that all these remotes have a simple closure matrix for the keyboard, so if you really must make an external device tell it which signals to send, you don't need more than reading its 8 scan lines lines and controlling its (don't recall if the 1994 has 7 or 8) sense lines.
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jon_armstrong
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't add anything of technical value, but assuming that there is some hardware that can read its 8 scan lines and control its 7 or 8 sense lines, then I would think there would be a lot of people interested in this solution/product, particularly if you made a usb interface available.

I think one of the big drivers is HDTV that has come way down in price but adds much complexity. There is also a growing trend towards media servers that are PCís with ripped CDís and DVDís as well as HDTV tuner cards that can turn a PC into an HD PVR.

There is no solution for PC controlled IR (with Win2k and up) under ~$50 and every PC based IR controller seems to have some real limitations. Most depend on learned commands and few can discriminate between one time and repeat commands. I don't think any can deal with toggle bits, and on and on. I only have personal experience with one, the Applied Digital Ocelot (~$150) and it's pretty slow executing macros, can't do a Zero frequency command, and definitely canít do a 2 second power on command required for NEC and several other projectors.

SmartHome sells a device Houselinc that was based on the older OFA remotes that used the three pin interface. I am pretty sure it still is. I use HomeSeer (home automation software), that supports the HouseLinc, Ocelot, sLinke, and many other IR controllers. In HomeSeer's forums, the HouseLinc user forum has a number of posts regarding the lack of current equipment upgrades. No surprise because, I think the last updates were done four or five years ago. While I think it supports learning, it is probably limited to the typical 25 or so commands.

You might consider using the 6011, since it can accommodate a very large EEPROM and you are going to modify it anyway. I can't remember how useful the additional memory is, but as a Home Automation IR controller you probably can use any additional upgrade memory since you could be controlling more devices and resort to more key moves.
Other thoughts would be to add some sort of zone system so you can send commands to different IR zones in case you have two Sony TV's etc.

The bottom line is that you would have a superb, upgradeable library and a set of tools to create almost any IR command out there. Finally, you have a built in user/support group.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jon_armstrong wrote:
I can't add anything of technical value, but assuming that there is some hardware that can read its 8 scan lines and control its 7 or 8 sense lines, then I would think there would be a lot of people interested in this solution/product.


I didn't mean to imply that was practical, just that it is possible.

I don't know what exists for cheap simple hardware to transmit IR from a PC, so maybe your claim of nothing under $50 is true, but it seems very unlikely.

A crude (non buffering) design might not need more than a couple IR LEDs and a resistor (though a few more components could make it more imune to the variety of serial ports. I guess we need some hardware engineer to comment.

I also don't know how bad a modern Windows system is at trivial real time tasks (like sending IR through unbuffered hardware). I haven't done that sort of thing in many years. A 1 Mhz micro with no OS is plenty of CPU power for the job. A 286 running DOS was also plenty. A 486 running Windows 95 was not enough. A real computer running XP, who knows?

Even if you needed some buffering chip between the PC and the IR LED, I doubt that gets the cost up to $50.

I still think the IRP stuff we've done makes the previously difficult software pretty easy.
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jon_armstrong
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:

I didn't mean to imply that was practical, just that it is possible.

I guess, I was guilty of the old cliche, "If you don't know what you are talking about, everything is easy." Smile
Quote:
I don't know what exists for cheap simple hardware to transmit IR from a PC, so maybe your claim of nothing under $50 is true, but it seems very unlikely.

I probably should have added more qualification like "AFAIK, no commercial product ..."
Quote:
A crude (non buffering) design might not need more than a couple IR LEDs and a resistor (though a few more components could make it more imune to the variety of serial ports. I guess we need some hardware engineer to comment.

I also don't know how bad a modern Windows system is at trivial real time tasks (like sending IR through unbuffered hardware). I haven't done that sort of thing in many years. A 1 Mhz micro with no OS is plenty of CPU power for the job. A 286 running DOS was also plenty. A 486 running Windows 95 was not enough. A real computer running XP, who knows?

I think that has been THE issue with Win2k/XP, the old designs were very simple, but at least from seeing comments on the HomeSeer forums, once poeple switched to Win2k for stability, simple IR devices were no longer working.
Quote:
Even if you needed some buffering chip between the PC and the IR LED, I doubt that gets the cost up to $50.

I still think the IRP stuff we've done makes the previously difficult software pretty easy.

I agree, if someone like you wrote the software. Most systems out there still seem to rely on learning and most PC systems seem to do that badly.

While not exactly relevant, take the example of the Pronto NG, where we (two guys who don't even own a Pronto) are out there thinking of ways to deceive the software from a Philips product into sending out the right command for the RC5 protocol that is used in most Philips products.
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Jack_Pollack



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:08 am    Post subject: Just to clarify some points Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for all your posts. Just to clarify some points:

1. A Paralex Basic Stamp is a microcontroller IC

2. Simulating a key press using the address & data lines would require a lot more circuitry that I would like to avoid.

3. It sounds like the 6 pin JP1 definitely won't work. From what I gathered from the posts the 3 pin JP1 should work. Is this correct? anyone know where I can get one (I searched on ebay for 15-1918, 15-1919 unsuccessfully)

4. Let me try to sum up what my objective is (a little long):

I have 2 cable boxes, 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the living room. The box in the living room is connected and controlled by Tivo. I can watch either source from either room (also have IR repeaters going to/from each room). Sometimes when Tivo is recording something I would like to be able to watch watch/surf in the LR using the bedroom box. The problem is that both boxes respond to the same IR codes. So if I were in the LR and tried to surf using the BR box I would be changing the channel on the Tivo cable box.

I thought about attaching the Tivo IR blaster to the cable box and then covering the IR window (with the Tivo emitter under the cover), but I sometimes need to be able to talk directly to the box (ie while using InDemand movies).

The remote in the LR is a Pronto (a programmable learning remote). So when I choose 'Control Bedroom box' from the Pronto and send say a CH+, the Pronto would be programmed to send a Sony VCR CH+ (I don't have a Sony VCR). My project (located in the BR, on the receiving side of an IR repeater) would receive the Sony CH+ and send (using the JP1 remote) just locally the cable box CH+ to the BR box. I would obviously have to set this up so that the cable CH+ is not repeated back to the LR.
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How would the Paralex receive and decode the Sony VCR signals?

What kind of cable box is it? Are you sure the cable box doesn't have a configurable unit number that would solve the whole problem?

Why do you think an old 3-wire interface UEI remote will include the setup code for you cable box?

How much programming are you intending to do for the Paralex?

You said the LR remote is a Pronto. What's the BR remote?

Here's an idea that I think is simpler than using the 3-pin JP1 remote:

After you tell us which cable box it is, we come up with a simple distortion of that cable box's signals (very wrong frequency would be simplest if that doesn't cause issues with the other equipment).

Put a simple IR receiver and simple IR LED output on the Paralex and program it to undo the "distortion" (a much simpler task than recognising and decoding Sony VCR signals) and relay the undistorted signal.

Program the remote to send the distorted version when you want to have the signal relayed by the Paralex.
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