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Building Your Own IrDA Interface? 18

agdv ponders a cool sounding project: "I am interested in giving my desktop PC IrDA capabilities, as it has an IrDA header in its motherboard. While not very useful for my current needs, it would allow me to play some and have it ready should I ever need to transfer stuff to it from say a PDA. I know I can get one for about 25 bucks from eBay, but I was wondering if it could be reasonably easy to make one myself."

"I know it would be way more fun, possibly cheaper, and I presume I can get all the necessary materials from RadioShack or Mouser (I made a cable for direct serial connection and one for connecting my TI computer to my PC that way, but I don't know if this would be a bit out of my league). Has anybody tried something like that? Is it feasible? Do you have instructions, or hardware to reverse-engineer?"

If only more PC makers would make this a standard port, IR would be very useful. As it is ... does anyone have any successful projects to reveal?

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Building Your Own IrDA Interface?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This site has all the info 1 would ever need...
  • dude, you can get IR RX/TX modules at radioshack... well not at, but you can order them through radio shack, and they will be in your mailbox, in a few days (That how i got the pci slot that I soldered into my alpha.)
  • [] And go to the girder hardware pages, there a number of links to actually building a two way ir device for your serial port. Girder is a windows program that you can use to control damn near anything in windows via IR, or any external input device for that matter.. It's has a framework to allow for custom plug-ins... All good stuff.

    I use it on my laptop in my car which has IR hiding in the dash, and I use girder to support the funky IR keyboard and remote from a web TV..
  • The always present Google answer is as follows: Right Here. []

    For the copy and pasters: A+desktop&hl=en&safe=off

  • Timothy, he's talking about connecting a IR transceiver to the IRDA header his desktop's mainboard.

    The IRDA header is a standard port, there are five connections:

    key (no connection)
    IRRX (recieve)
    IRTX (transmit)

    Some older mainboards have the recieve connection split into two connections; slow speed recieve and high speed recieve.

    You can find more info in your mainboard's manual, or if you lost the manual (like I did), the manufacture's site.

    Basicly everything's already on the mianboard except the IRDA transciever.
  • Just because the USB handles higher speed doesn't mean you'll get it - IR is pretty slow. It's like people who pay extra for a 100Mb ethernet printserver - the printer is still connected via a slow <1M parallel connector, and thats how fast the printer will get the info.
  • There are many websites which have schematics and ideas on how to do this.
    This German Site [] has plans to build a very small one that you could throw in a bay, or add to your baybus if you are so inclined. Try Google [] if you need more ideas.
    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
  • It sounds to me like the problem is that you are not skilled at surface mount soldering. I can solder 2mm spaced leads without a microscope. With a microscope it is possible to solder 1mm spaced leads by hand. But no matter how good you are, you will never be able to solder 14 awg solid copper to anything meant to be surface mounted, they are decided to be soldered onto a pcb. When i have to solder wire onto things that small, i use wirewrap wire, usualy 36 awg copper. Another tip, glue things down before you solder them, and just because your rig goes to 50 watts, doesnt mean you need to use 50 watts, a lot of these components have low heat tolerences.
  • by Matt_Bennett ( 79107 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:28AM (#2190524) Homepage Journal
    Microchip [] has a new part, the MCP2150 [], which is designed to fit between a microcontroller's serial port and the infra-red transducers. Here [] are a bunch of application notes that apply. Earlier this week my local Microchip representative got me a couple samples of the MCP2150. I'm looking to make an interface between my Palm Pilot and a datalogging microcontroller. When will I get to it? Who knows- it might just add to my stack of sample parts...

    One thing I really like about Microchip is that they are pretty committed to distributing free samples and free/low cost tools for development. If you've ever priced the development hardware from Intel or Motorola, you can see why this is such a big attraction to the small time/home developer.
  • I've been looking to do this too;

    I find the prices for these things a bit too steep. So i set out to make one, but i hit the problem when i tried finding these components in local electronics shops.

    anyway here's an address: rd a.htm
  • by idgrad ( 137342 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:30PM (#2190526)
    I've been looking at this same project for a while now, and have run into several dead ends. The big problem is getting a hold of an IR TX/RX that is soderable. Most of the ones available are meant to be board mounted, and are FAR too small to be of any use to anyone using a sodering gun (no matter how small the tip, TRUST ME).
    Here are some very usefull links I managed to track down regarding this project. If anyone finds a source of breadboard mountable/soderable IR RX/TX's, please post!

    The best page (diagrams and all):
    Another project page: re motectrl.html

    Retail systems:

  • Hmm, I've never had any trouble soldering 1 mm pitch surface mount parts. 2mm really isn't challenging at all. No microscope needed, its really quite simple. Just lightly flux the pads, put the part in position, tack down the legs on the opposite corners by pressing the new, conical tip of your 15-30W iron down on them for a moment to melt the tining. This will hold the part in place while you quickly solder each pin. Only use enough solder to hold it down, you shouldn't see much solder at all. If your board isn't tinned, put a thin coating of solder on each pad, then flux lighly again (using too much flux will make it all look crappy). If you do it right you won't need any more solder.

    For finer pitched parts you generally have to flux lightly, get a big glob of solder on the iron, then drag it across the correctly positioned pins. The solder will heat the pins, which are very tiny so they heat almost instantly, and wick under. The solder mask tends to repel the solder, so you usually don't get solder bridges. When you do its easy to remove them. Takes practice, but done correctly you can do a 100+ pin chip in less than a minute or two.
  • There's also a bunch of companies which do USB versions, which have the advantage of supporting higher speeds than a serial port solution. Probably more expensive though...


    Its a much better (simpler and easier) design
    than the ones shown. It only requires the IRDA module, 1 resistor and the MoBo socket.

    A friend of mine has bought a heap of modules and we are about to install them.

    Wireless palm sync - WOW.
  • Standard db9 serial, works out of the box, costs less than you could make the thing for.
  • Why not just buy an IrDa cable and connect it up the pins on your motherboard? I bought one from HP, and it works great.
  • I have been looking for a program that will let me control my t.v. using the IR port on my laptop.

    I have found lots of software that lets you control the computer with a remote but none to let me control things from the computer.

  • The only program I ever found to use your laptop IRDa port as a remote was RemoconCon [], which I never got to work on my laptop. Also the other problem I've read is that the IRDa LEDs are tuned to a different IR frequency than remote LEDs so an IRDa port has a very poor working distance of only a couple feet. You'd have to stand in front of the tv holding your laptop to use this. Kinda defeats the point! Another program to check out is OmniRemote [] for the Palm. While the Palm has the same IRDa/distance issues as a laptop, PacificNeoTek sells an attachment that "boosts" the signal and gives it decent coverage. It turns your Palm [] into a Pronto []!

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