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LIRC stands for "Linux Infrared Remote Control", a program to use infrared devices (like your remote control from your TV) with linux.

This article covers using LIRC with serial or USB infrared devices.


First install LIRC with pacman:

# pacman -S lirc

This will also install the lirc-utils package as a dependency.

Serial receivers

Now there might be a problem: the module lirc_serial is build to use ttyS0 (COM1), if your device is not connected to ttyS0, you will have to either change the module-options or rebuild the LIRC module. If your device is connected to ttyS0, you can skip this step

To change the options for the lirc_serial module, you edit /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf and add this line:

options lirc_serial io=0x2f8 irq=3

You should change the values after io and irq to reflect you serial port settings, the values above may work for you if you are using ttyS1 (COM2) to connect your IR-device. But you will find the correct values by checking dmesg:

$ dmesg | grep ttyS

Building the lirc_serial module for another ttySx

Update abs

# abs

Copy the LIRC files to a directory you choose yourself:

$ cp /var/abs/extra/system/lirc /some/dir
$ cd /some/dir

Edit the PKGBUILD in that directory.

Replace the line:

./configure --enable-sandboxed --prefix=/usr \
    --with-driver=all \\
    return 1[/code]


./configure --enable-sandboxed --prefix=/usr \
    --with-driver=com2 \
    || return 1[/code]

Where you replace com2 with the com-port you need.

Build and install the package:

$ makepkg
# pacman -U lirc-version.pkg.tar.gz


Now try to load the serial module:

# modprobe lirc_serial

If this produces an error which says your serial port is not ready, you have the problem that your serial port support is build into the kernel and not as a module (in the default arch kernel it is build into the kernel)

If it is built into the kernel you will have to do the following (remember that it is built into the kernel, you will need to make some changes later too)

You will have to release the serial port:

# setserial /dev/ttySx uart none

(Replace x with your port number)

Load the module again:

# modprobe lirc_serial

Now it should not show any errors, and the modules lirc_serial should be listed in lsmod

USB receivers including most onboard devices

This outlines the general procedure, the mceusb module which is used by many devices is used as an example.

# modprobe mceusb

Start the LIRC daemon:

$ /etc/rc.d/lircd start

Test it with irw, it will output the commands received by the IR receiver that match your lircd.conf file. So start irw, point your remote and start pressing buttons.

$ irw
000000037ff07bfe 00 One mceusb
000000037ff07bfd 00 Two mceusb
000000037ff07bfd 01 Two mceusb
000000037ff07bf2 00 Home mceusb
000000037ff07bf2 01 Home mceusb

The above procedure however has been simplified and may not work that easily. One of the reasons the lircd daemon may not be working is because it expects to be run at startup and needs root permissions because it will create device nodes in /dev. Try "man lircd" for more information.

Continue with #Making a configuration file

Setup a HID device with LIRC

Some remotes are supported in the kernel where they are treated as a keyboard and mouse. Every button on the device is recognized as keyboard or mouse events which can be used even without LIRC. LIRC can still be used with these devices to gain greater control over the events raised and integrate with programs that expect a LIRC remote rather than a keyboard. As drivers are migrated to the kernel, devices which use to only be useable through LIRC with their own lirc.conf files become standard HID devices.

Some HID remotes actually simulate a USB infrared keyboard and mouse. These remotes show up as two devices so you need to add two LIRC devices to lircd.conf.

First we need the /dev/input device for our remote:

 $ ls /sys/class/rc/rc0

One of the files should be input#, where the number matches the event# of the device. (To clarify you can check that directory, it will have an event# file.

Note: If you have more than one ir device then there may be multiple directories under /sys/class/rc. Under event# cat name to verify which device you are looking at.

then go to /dev/input/by-id

 $ ls -l /dev/input/by-id

You should find a file that symlinks to the input# above, and possibly others with a similar names for mouse events.

 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 10月 14 06:43 usb-3353_3713-event-if00 -> ../event9
 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 10月 14 06:43 usb-3353_3713-event-if01 -> ../event10

Here 'usb-3353_3713-event-if00' and 'usb-3353_3713-event-if01' are the Linux input device event for our HID device, one for the keyboard, another for the mouse.

Then, we need to edit /etc/conf.d/lircd.conf. This file contains the parameters for LIRC daemon

 #Parameters for daemon
Note: Here we set up a LIRC device with the id 3353_3713, you should replace it with your own device input event name, whatever it is.

The latest version of the config file for HID remotes exists in the LIRC git repository [1]. Simply save it as /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.

In order to launch the LIRC daemon for HID remote, You must enable evdev module first

# modprobe evdev
Note: LIRC 0.8.6 has changed the default socket location from /dev/lircd to /var/run/lirc/lircd, but many applications still look for the socket in the old location. Since lirc-utils 0.8.6-3 the /etc/rc.d/lircd script creates a symlink from /dev/lircd to the /var/run/lirc/lircd socket when it starts the lircd daemon and removes the link when the daemon is stopped.

Making a configuration file

You need a configuration file for your remote control copied or symlinked to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf. A number of devices have already been included with the lirc package, they can be found in /usr/share/lirc/remotes. If your specific device is not included, the LIRC site offers configuration files for a large number of extra devices.

If your device does not already have a config file, you can create it yourself with the command:

# irrecord -d /dev/lirc0 /tmp/my_remote

Just follow the instructions. The resulting file, /tmp/my_remote, should then be copied to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf. If you want to use several remotes, you repeat the irrecord step with each remote and different filenames, and then concatenate all the resulting files into /etc/lirc/lircd.conf:

# cat /tmp/my_remote /tmp/my_remote2 /tmp/my_remote3 > /etc/lirc/lircd.conf
Note: As of lirc-0.8.6 the default location of lircd, lircmd and lircrcd config files was moved to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf, /etc/lirc/lircmd.conf and /etc/lirc/lircrc. If the config files are not found in that location, they are still searched at the old location in /etc/.


First start the lircd daemon:

# /etc/rc.d/lircd start

A good way to see if LIRC is running is to run irw.

$ irw

When you press a button, you should see something like this:

0000000000000001 00 play sony2
0000000000000001 01 play sony2
0000000000000001 02 play sony2
0000000000000001 03 play sony2

In this case the remote is called sony2, the button is called play, and LIRC has seen it 4 times.

Run LIRC at bootup

Remember if you had to execute the setserial command while loading the module?

If so, your serial port support is compiled into the kernel

Your serial port support is compiled as a module in the kernel

This is rather easy: you will just have to add lirc_serial to the modules list and lircd to the daemons list in /etc/rc.conf

Your serial port support is compiled into the kernel

This is more complicated, you cannot just add the lirc_serial to the modules list in /etc/rc.conf, as the serial port should be released first.

So I created a custom startup script to fix this problem.

#releases ttySx and loads lirc_serial module
. /etc/rc.conf
. /etc/rc.d/functions
case "$1" in
    stat_busy "release ttySx"
    setserial /dev/ttySx uart none
    #load lirc module
    modprobe lirc_serial
    stat_busy "unload lirc module"
    rmmod lirc_serial
    $0 stop
    $0 start
    echo "usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
exit 0

Now load the daemons: add "start_lirc" and "lircd" to the daemons list in /etc/rc.conf

Program specific configuration

Generate your own lircrc with Mythbuntu's lircrc-generator

mythbuntu-lircrc-generator is intended to be started from a system with LIRC installed. It requires that you choose a remote via the LIRC package or have a lircd.conf handy prior to running. It will then produce a sane .lircrc for the current user.

Mythbuntu's Lirc/Lircrc Generator is available on AUR
Man page

Enable LIRC support in xine

Now LIRC works, but you have no program that can communicate with LIRC. This section will explain how to make xine work, but you can use xmms and mplayer (and probably a lot of other programs too) to work with LIRC.

Compile xine with LIRC support

Download the xine-ui pkgbuildTemplate:Linkrot from the cvs tree.

Add " --enable-lirc" to the ./configure line


$ makepkg

Uninstall old xine-ui and install the new one

# pacman -R xine-ui
# pacman -U xine-filename.pkg.tar.gz

Configure xine to use LIRC

Let xine produce a default .lircrc file. In your home directory, type:

$ xine --keymap=lirc>.lircrc

Now, in order to have a functioning xine+lirc, edit the .lircrc file to your preferences.

However, you may choose to configure LIRC to control more than just xine. If this is the case, you will need to manually edit the .lircrc file, and add elements.

Xine-ui Mplayer Totem Vlc Rhythmbox

All work with LIRC, but you must enable LIRC support in the program in some cases, such as VLC. Simply copy the vlc packagebuild and edit it so that "--enable-lirc" is one of the compile options for VLC not FFMPEG!

Configure Amarok2 to use LIRC

Depending on your controller model, the following configuration works with Amarok2-svn. This configuration file will work with the MCEUSB controller.


button = Play
prog   = irexec
repeat = 0
config = qdbus org.mpris.amarok /Player Play

button = Pause
prog   = irexec
repeat = 0
config = qdbus org.mpris.amarok /Player Pause

button = Stop
prog   = irexec
repeat = 0
config = qdbus org.mpris.amarok /Player Stop

button = Skip
prog   = irexec
repeat = 0
config = qdbus org.mpris.amarok /Player Next

button = Replay
prog   = irexec
repeat = 0
config = qdbus org.mpris.amarok /Player Prev

Configure Audacious(2) to use LIRC

Depending on your controller model, the following configuration works with all versions of Audacious, including the mercurial builds. This configuration file will work with the MCEUSB controller.


     prog = audacious
     button = Play
     config = PLAY
     repeat = 0

     prog = audacious
     button = Pause
     config = PAUSE
     repeat = 0

     prog = audacious
     button = Stop
     config = STOP
     repeat = 0

     prog = audacious
     button = Skip
     config = NEXT
     repeat = 0

     prog = audacious
     button = Replay
     config = PREV
     repeat = 0

     prog = audacious
     button = VolUp
     config = VOL_UP
     repeat = 1

     prog = audacious
     button = VolDown
     config = VOL_DOWN
     repeat = 1

Additionally, there are other values that may be set according to the model set forth above. This was taken from the lirc.c file from audacious-plugins source code:


Configure Mplayer to use LIRC


    button = PLAY/PAUSE
    prog = mplayer
    config = pause
    repeat = 1
    button = FWD
    prog = mplayer
    config = seek 5
    button = REV
    prog = mplayer
    config = seek -5
    button = MAXIMIZE
    prog = mplayer
    config = vo_fullscreen

only change PLAY/PAUSE, FWD etc. on keys from your /etc/lircd.conf

Device Specific Examples


There is a dedicated wiki page with information about X10

Asus DH Deluxe series motherboard

Check the output of:

$ cat /dev/usb/hiddevX

where X is 0,1 or bigger, and press some buttons on remote. If you can see reply, device works fine, follow steps:

1. In file /etc/conf.d/lircd.conf add:


2. Reload LIRC:

/etc/rc.d/lircd restart

ASRock ION series (Nuvoton) quickstart

$ ln -s /usr/share/lirc/remotes/lirc_wb677/lircd.conf.wb677 /etc/lirc/lircd.conf
$ /etc/rc.d/lircd restart

Streamzap PC Remote (USB)

Note: Xorg now auto recognizes this remote as a keybaord!

To disable this behavior, add the following to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-streamzap.conf:

Section "InputClass"
  Identifier "Ignore Streamzap IR"
  MatchProduct "Streamzap"
  MatchIsKeyboard "true"
  Option "Ignore" "true"
  1. Install both packages (lirc lirc-utils)
  2. Modprobe both kernel mods (lirc_dev and streamzap) (add these to your MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf to survive a reboot)
  3. Create your /etc/lirc/lircd.conf (for this remote, copy /usr/share/lirc/remotes/streamzap/lircd.conf.streamzap to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf)
  4. Start lircd via /etc/rc.d/lircd start (add lircd to your DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf to survive a reboot)
  5. Test the remote/lirc with irw
$ irw
00000000000028cc 00 CH_UP Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028ce 00 CH_DOWN Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028c8 00 8 Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028c5 00 5 Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d2 00 OK Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d1 00 LEFT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d1 01 LEFT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d1 00 LEFT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d3 00 RIGHT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d3 00 RIGHT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d3 00 RIGHT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d3 00 RIGHT Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d4 00 DOWN Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d4 00 DOWN Streamzap_PC_Remote
00000000000028d4 00 DOWN Streamzap_PC_Remote
Note: When the batteries in this remote are low, it may stop working even though the red LED on the received still flashes when you hit buttons!


Buttons processed several times when pressed

Problem in module ir_core which processes IR commands with LIRC at the same time. Simply blacklist it by creating the following file:

# Prevent processing button several times when pressed
blacklist ir_core

After upgrading or installing Arch, an existing configuration stopped working

Kernel module change

As of kernel 2.6.36, LIRC modules have been included in the kernel. Arch's lirc package has included the older kernel modules, which work with lircd without any additional configuration. However, a recent update removed those older modules, which results in the stock kernel modules being used. Unfortunately, these kernel modules treat the remote as a keyboard by default, which is incompatible for lircd. To correct this, put the following line to /etc/rc.local:

echo lirc > /sys/class/rc/rc0/protocols

You may also run that command as root to enable LIRC for your current session.

Note: It is also a good idea to remove the old LIRC kernel module from your MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf, as it is no longer present.

External Resources -- MythTV wiki main LIRC article -- MythTV wiki on MCE remotes -- Gentoo wiki LIRC how-to -- Lirc/Lircrc Configuration Generator