This article covers setup and usage of LIRC "Linux Infrared Remote Control" with serial or USB infrared devices.
LIRC is a daemon that can translate key presses on a supported remote into program specific commands. In this context, the term, "program specific" means that a key press can do different things depending on which program is running and taking commands from LIRC.
The Central Dogma of LIRC (an allusion to the flow of information in biological systems) is summarized below wherein the flow of information from the remote to the application is summarized with LIRC at the center of it all:
- User hits a button on the remote causing it to transmit an IR or RF signal.
- The signal is received by the receiver connected to the Linux box.
- The kernel (via the correct module) use presents pulse data from the remote on a device like /dev/lirc0, /dev/input/eventX, /dev/ttyUSBX or /dev/ttyS0.
/usr/bin/lircduses the information from
/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/foo.confto convert the pulse data into button press information.
- Programs that use LIRC translate the button press info from
/usr/bin/lircdinto user-defined actions according to
~/.lircrcor to program-specific mappings.
Install the package.
/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/foo.conf is the system-wide configuration translating scancodes --> keys. This directory may contain multiple conf files and each one is specific to each remote control/receiver on the system. These files are user-created config files and not directly supplied by .
The definition of scancodes to keymaps is required to allow LIRC to manage a remote. Users have several options to obtain one.
Identify which remote/receiver is to be used and see if there is a known config for it. One can use
irdb-get to search the remotes database or simply browse to the URL and do the same.
An example using
irdb-get to find a config file for a Streamzap remote:
$ irdb-get find stream atiusb/atiusb.lircd.conf digital_stream/DTX9900.lircd.conf snapstream/Firefly-Mini.lircd.conf streamzap/PC_Remote.lircd.conf streamzap/streamzap.lircd.conf x10/atiusb.lircd.conf $ irdb-get download streamzap/streamzap.lircd.conf Downloaded sourceforge.net/p/lirc-remotes/code/ci/master/tree/remotes/streamzap/streamzap.lircd.conf as streamzap.lircd.conf
Once identified, copy the needed conf to
/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/ to allow the daemon to initialize support for it.
# cp streamzap.lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/
Users with unsupported hardware will need to either find a config file someone else has created (i.e. google) or create one. Creating one is fairly straightforward using
/usr/bin/irrecord which guides users along the needed process. If using a detected remote, invoke it like so:
# irrecord --device=/dev/lirc0 MyRemote
The program will instruct users to begin hitting keys on the remote in an attempt to learn it, ultimately mapping out every button and its corresponding scancode. The process should take no more than 10 minutes. When finished, save the resulting file to
/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/foo.conf and proceed.
Depending on the application using LIRC, the following are optional. For example,
~/.lircrc are needed.
~/.lircrc- File containing an include statement pointing to each program's lirc map, i.e.,
~/.lirc/foo- User-level config translating of keys --> actions. Is specific to each remote and to application foo.
Test the remote using
/usr/bin/irw, which simply echos anything received by LIRC when users push buttons on the remote to stdout.
$ irw 000000037ff07bfe 00 One mceusb 000000037ff07bfd 00 Two mceusb 000000037ff07bfd 01 Two mceusb 000000037ff07bf2 00 Home mceusb 000000037ff07bf2 01 Home mceusb
irw gives no output, double check the config files in
/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/ for errors.
Program Specific Configuration
LIRC has the ability to allow for different programs to use the same keypress and result in unique commands. In other words, one can setup different programs to respond differently to a given key press.
- Decide which programs are to use LIRC commands.
- Create the expected files showing LIRC where the various program-specific maps reside:
$ mkdir ~/.lirc $ touch ~/.lircrc
~/.lircwith the program specific config files named for each program.
$ ls ~/.lirc mplayer mythtv vlc
~/.lircrcto contain an include statement pointing to
~/.lirc/fooand repeat for each program that is to be controlled by LIRC.
include "~/.lirc/mplayer" include "~/.lirc/mythtv" include "~/.lirc/vlc"
Remote functions as a keyboard
When using Xorg
Xorg detects some remotes, such as the Streamzap USB PC Remote, as a Human Interface Device (HID) which means some or all of the keys will show up as key strokes as if entered from the physical keyboard. This behavior will present problems if LIRC is to be used to manage the device. To disable, create the following file and restart X:
Section "InputClass" Identifier "Ignore Streamzap IR" MatchProduct "Streamzap" MatchIsKeyboard "true" Option "Ignore" "true" EndSection
Do not forget to alter the
MatchProduct property according to one shown in
Name from output of
$ cat /proc/bus/input/devices | grep -e IR
N: Name="cx88 IR (WinFast DTV2000 H rev."
On an ARM device not using Xorg
Blacklist the offending modules by creating
/etc/modprobed.d/streamzap.conf to suppress this behavior. An example is provided for the Streamzap remote.
install ir_sharp_decoder /bin/false install ir_xmp_decoder /bin/false install ir_rc5_decoder /bin/false install ir_nec_decoder /bin/false install ir_sony_decoder /bin/false install ir_mce_kbd_decoder /bin/false install ir_jvc_decoder /bin/false install ir_rc6_decoder /bin/false install ir_sanyo_decoder /bin/false
Changing default configuration
Users not getting any output from
irw may have the default configuration in
/etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf incorrectly setup (or might have been overwritten by an update).
First, check if
/dev/lirc0 is present:
$ mode2 --driver default --device /dev/lirc0
Watch the output while pressing buttons on the remote. If output is present, edit
/etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf changing the driver and device appropriately.
If no output is presented, the task becomes locating the correct driver/device combination. First check what combination lirc detected by default. Run
ir-keytable from the package. and check the output. It will look similar to this:
Found /sys/class/rc/rc0/ (/dev/input/event5) with: Driver ite-cir, table rc-rc6-mce Supported protocols: unknown other lirc rc-5 jvc sony nec sanyo mce-kbd rc-6 sharp xmp Enabled protocols: lirc Extra capabilities: <access denied>
In this case, lirc automatically detected
/dev/input/event5 as the IR device, which uses the
devinput driver. Check if this combination is working by running:
$ mode2 --driver devinput --device /dev/input/event5
Now try pressing buttons on the remote. If there is no output, try different driver and device combinations. Once a working combination has been identified, change driver and device in
An example configuration for a MCE RC6 compatible receiver:
[lircd] nodaemon = False driver = default device = /dev/lirc0 output = /var/run/lirc/lircd pidfile = /var/run/lirc/lircd.pid plugindir = /usr/lib/lirc/plugins permission = 666 allow-simulate = No repeat-max = 600 [lircmd] uinput = False nodaemon = False