Building the Arduino Interface for older remotes

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Background

When it was discovered that you could connect a computer to a UEI One For All remote that had 6 pins available inside the battery cover, it was possible to make a lead which connected via the printer port on your computer. As time went on, UEI changed the type of interface behind those six pins, which required a different interface. We called the original interface "JP1", because some of the remotes had that printed on the circuit board on which the 6 pins were mounted. The new interfaces were called JP1.1, JP1.2, and so on. We tend to call them JP1.x because although they are quite different from each other, they all work through the same USB interface. We've described that interface in this wiki. *JP1 Cables

As more and more printers used USB ports, computers came without the old printer port. This caused a problem for those of us trying to control the old JP1 interface. For a while, there was a dongle that sat between the JP1.x cable and the old type JP1 remotes, but this is no longer available. The best way to connect your old JP1 remote to your computer is by making an interface based on the Arduino Nano (with an Atmel 328P chip). This method has been known for a long time, but I found the ASCII art diagrams confusing and intimidating. Then someone posted a drawing on the forum which made it look much easier, so I had a go. And I was able to pull some very old remotes out of retirement!

The drawing

This is based on the drawing that was posted, with some alterations I made, in order to make it easier still!

Arduino-wiring3.jpg

The Arduino Nano comes with a strip of pins matching the holes down each side, plus a 3x2 connector matching the 6 holes on the right-hand edge of the Nano as shown. They can be supplied soldered in or loose as part of the Nano. If they are soldered in, you have no soldering to do. If not, you can break off the pins you actually need. Break off two together, plus two singles. You can put a strip of pins through all the holes from D12 to TX1, and put the pair and one of the singles in A4, A5 and GND on the opposite side. This will enable the board to keep still while you put a small bit of solder on the pins to attach them. You can then connect the other pin to the GND on the other side in the same way.

The other thing you need is a pack of female-to-female Dupont-type jumper wires. They normally come in mixed colours in packs of 40. You may also be able to get hold of a 3x2 Dupont connector. They're cheap enough, but you often have to buy them in bulk. It's possible to superglue the single Dupont housings together to make a 3x2 connector. As my board came unsoldered, I used the 3x2 pin block to hold the single housings together while I glued them. You can do this if the pin block is soldered to the Arduino board, but be careful not to glue the connectors to the board!!

Pins 2, 4 and 6
Pins 5, 3 and 1

You will need 5 wires from your pack of jumper wires. I used one each of White, Black, Blue, Green and Mauve. I put a tiny drop of superglue on the back of one end of the white wire, and stuck the back of the other end to it. Then carefully stuck the black and blue wires to that, finally sticking the mauve and green wires. The little exposed bits of metal on the sides are where you can clip and unclip the wires, so make sure they are on the outside. Alternately, if you have a 3x2 Dupont connector, you just unclip the wires from the single terminals and push them into the 3x2 connector. Whichever method you use, it should look like these pictures.

You can see where I have stuck a small piece of a label to mark the end with Pins 1&2.

Now the other ends of the wires can simply be pressed onto the pins on the board. Connect blue wire to A4, green to A5, and the mauve and black to the two GNDs (it doesn't matter which way round as they are connected internally on the Arduino Nano).

Wires connected to Arduino board

Uploading the Sketch file to the Arduino

The Arduino project and its program are open-source, so is available free, but this does mean that there can be different builds. The sketch file you need to upload is in the RMIR folders when you download a new version and unzip it. The folder is JP1EEPROMSupport, subfolder JP1_Arduino, and the filename is JP1_Arduino.ino. The program, simply called "arduino", can be downloaded for Windows and Mac. For Linux users it may be in the repository of your distribution. On its menu bar, under Tools, you have to select the type of Arduino you are using. On one build I have, you have to select your board from a long list, the correct one being "Atmel atmega328p Xplained mini". On another build, there is a shorter list where you select "Arduino Nano", then separately select the processor "ATmega328P". There are two alternatives for this, but if you select the wrong one, the program just won't upload your sketch file and you can try the other one! Use the usual "File > Open" to open the sketch file, then the Right Arrow icon on the bar underneath the menus to upload your sketch. Your sketch will remain uploaded so this is a one-off.

I'm sure that by now you can't wait to get connected to your old JP1 remote so ... enjoy!

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