MSL Digital Solutions

What is it ?

The RemotePi Board is an intelligent infrared remote controlled power switch add-on board for the Raspberry Pi.
The board is mainly intended to remote control and power off/on a mediacenter system. i.e OpenELEC, Raspbmc, XBian, RasPlex, Raspbian.
It solves two problems at the same time :

  1. Enabling an infrared remote to be used with the mediacenter, 100% compatible with standard simple GPIO IR receiver.
  2. Letting you switch the power of the Raspberry Pi on and off with the remote or the pushbutton.
You do not even have to buy an additional remote !
There are two different versions of the RemotePi Board available :

The reason why two versions of the RemotePi Board exist is, because the Raspberry Pi model A and B is physically different from the model B+ and A+. Mounting holes and connectors are in different positions. The two versions of the RemotePi Board would work with any model of the Raspberry Pi (i.e. A, B, B+, A+), but they physically do not fit well on the Raspberry Pi model they were not designed for. 

    The board piggy backs on top of the Raspberry Pi and should fit into most cases (after some case modifications). You can as well purchase an acrylic case specifically designed for the RemotePi Board on this site.


    How does it work ?

    Instead of feeding the power directly into the RPi the power is connected to the RemotePi Board. The board contains a microcontroller managing the power line to the RPi, which is switched on and off according to the command received by an infrared remote control (or by the pushbutton on top of the board). When switching off the power to the RaspberryPi, the power is not immediately cut off, but the RPi is first notified via a signal on the GPIO port. A script running in the background is picking up the signal, and is initiating a clean shutdown of the operating system to avoid data corruption. After a successful shutdown the RemotePi Board then completely cuts off the power to the RaspberryPi, reducing the power consumption to a few mA standby current.
    The type and button of the infrared remote control you want to use to switch the power of the Raspberry Pi is ‘learned’ by the microcontroller software. For this you enter a learning mode, then point your existing remote control towards the infrared receiver on the board and then press the button you would like to use in the future to power cycle your RPi. This process can be repeated anytime to use a different remote or button. The learned button is stored in flash memory on the RemotePi Board, it is not 'forgotten' when you disconnect power from the RemotePi Board.
    You can even use two different buttons on the remote control, one for power-on and another one for power-off. Almost any existing infrared remote control will work (i.e. your existing Blu-Ray, DvD, TV, etc. remote).

    In addition to controlling power, the RemotePi Board forwards any received infrared signal to the Raspberry Pi, so this can be used to remote control the mediacenter as well (using LIRC ). The popular XBMC based mediacenter distributions all have support built-in for LIRC.


    Watch the video to learn more...


    Use the RemotePi Board ...

    • With any old spare remote control that you may already have but do not use anymore.
    • With an existing remote control that you use, for example your Blu-Ray remote. Then use an unused button on the remote (for example a karaoke or recording button) as the RPi power cycle button. In this case if the Blu-Ray player is off you use it for the RPi, when you switch off the RPi, you use it for your Blu-Ray player.
    • With an existing media center remote control that you may already own and use for your RPi mediacenter installation.
    • With a Logitech Harmony or other universal remotes.
    • With a new replacement remote that you can order from this site.

    Advantages

    • Make your mediacenter setup more user friendly for technically less advanced members of your family.
    • Power saving ! Although the RPi does not draw a lot of power it is always desirable to switch off devices when they are not in use, especially when it is not used every day. The RemotePi board reduces the standby current to a few mA needed for the microcontroller and the infrared receiver.
    • No wearing out of the RPI micro USB socket due to constant plug in / unplug.
    • Clean RPi OS shutdowns to avoid data corruption.
    • Regular rebooting of the RPi to clear memory leaks and do automatic updates.
    • Does not occupy a USB port.
    • 100% compatible with the simple GPIO IR receiver. If you have this set up, you can replace the IR receiver with the RemotePi Board and re-use your configuration without changes.
    • Very easy to install, fully assembled, no soldering required.
    • Piggy backs on the Raspberry Pi, no loose cables.
    • Raspberry Pi does not have to be modified in any way.

    The hardware

    The board contains a polyfuse and a transient voltage suppression diode (TVR, similar to the power supply circuit of the RPi itself), to protect against overcurrent and overvoltage. A low RDS-on MOSFET is used to feed the power to the RPi via the GPIO connector. The infrared receiver used ( TSOP38238 ) has a long range (rated typ. 45 meters / 49 yrds from the datasheet). Power consumption during standby is less than 10 mA.

    Every single board is fully tested before it is shipped.

    Which infrared remotes work with the board ?

    The board uses the excellent IRMP library (in German language) for the detection of infrared remote commands. IRMP decodes the signal and identifies which brand / protocol / variant is used, it does not just record and play back the raw data stream from the IR receiver. This results in a perfectly reliable IR command recognition of a learned-in command, because the software can cope with slight timing variations of the infrared signal.

    About 90% of the commonly used remotes should work with the RemotePi Board :

    • LOGITECH HARMONY and other universal remotes (these remotes can be configured for one of the supported IR protocols below. If you can still choose the device you configure on the Harmony we recommend choosing a Philips DVD player or a Microsoft MCE remote for your Raspberry Pi mediacenter, these use the RC5/RC6 IR protocol)
    • SIRCS (Sony)
    • NEC, NEC16, NEC42 (NEC, APPLE, Pioneer, JVC, Toshiba, most No Name brands)
    • SAMSUNG
    • MATSUSHITA
    • KASEIKYO (Panasonic, Technics, Denon and other japanese brands, which are members of the ‘Japan's Association for Electric Home Application’)
    • DENON (DENON, Sharp)
    • RC5, RC6 & RC6A (Philips and other European brands)
    • JVC
    • IR60 (SDA2008) (many European brands)
    • GRUNDIG
    • RECS80 (SAA3004) (Philips, Nokia, Thomson, Nordmende, Telefunken, Saba)
    • RECS80EXT (SAA3008) (Philips, Nokia, Thomson, Nordmende, Telefunken, Saba)
    If you have a DVD/Blu-Ray/TV remote from the above brands, or a No-Name brand, it will most certainly work. Another good indication is, if your remote already works with your RPi mediacenter using LIRC, then it will most certainly work with the board as well.
    If you want to be absolutely sure you can order a low-cost replacement remote control from this site, which has been tested and confirmed to work with the board.

    Some of the remotes we have tested that work with the RemotePi Board

    IR Remotes tested with the RemotePi Board, a remote controlled power switch add-on board for the Raspberry Pi

    Which Infrared remotes do NOT work with the board ?

    Remote controls for Bose, Kathrein, Nubert, Bang & Olufsen, Siemens Gigaset, Nikon, Lego, Thomson, Ruwido will not work, these protocols are supported by the IRMP library, but have been disabled due to program space limitations of the microcontroller.


    Requirements

    In order to use the RemotePi Board you need...
    • For the RemotePi Board + 2015 : A Raspberry Pi Model B+ or A+ .
    • For the RemotePi Board 2013 : A Raspberry Pi Revision 2.0 Model A or B. The easiest way to find out if you have a Raspberry Pi which will work is to check if there are mounting holes as in this picture :

      If you see these mounting holes, then your Raspberry Pi will work with the Remote Pi Board 2013.
      We can confirm from customer feedback that the RemotePi Board 2013 even works with the older Raspberry Pi Rev. 1.0 Models without the mounting holes. In this case you cannot use the provided screw to mount he RemotePi Board though, you could use a piece of plastic as a spacer.
    • An existing RPi power supply with the standard micro USB plug.
    • An existing infrared remote control (or order one from our site).
    • You will need a bit of skill to create your own lircd.conf file, if you use your existing remote and want to control the mediacenter with it (if you use your remote only to power the RPi on and off then this is not necessary. If you order our remote we supply the lircd.conf file, so you do not need to create it by yourself) This file tells the OS how to understand the keys on your remote and it is different for every IR remote model.
    • As the board occupies the GPIO connector and covers the DSI (Display Serial Interface) connector of the RPi, these connectors cannot be used for other hardware when the board is connected. The RemotePi Board + covers only part of the GPIO connector of the Raspberry Pi B+ or A+, so the unoccupied part can still be used for other hardware extensions.
    • Either no case or a modified case, preferably transparent (for the dual-color LED and the IR receiver). The case shown in the picture below is called MC-RP001-CLR for the Raspberry Pi model A and B, and is widely available at Amazon and many other shopping sites. For this case only two modifications are necessary, one is to drill a hole for the pushbutton, and the other one is to remove a bit of the plastic to make the RemotePi Board power connector accessible.
      RemotePi Board in Raspberry Pi case
      You can as well order a clear acrylic case for the RemotePi Board 2013 or a clear acrylic case for the RemotePi Board + 2015 with Raspberry Pi B+ from our site, which were designed to host the RemotePi Board and therefore require no modifications.
    • An OS that can be shut down by a GPIO signal. Currently we provide shutdown scripts for OpenElec, Raspbmc, XBian, RasPlex, Raspbian (see the support pages), we will add more in the future. You can still use other OS with the RemotePi Board, but will have to adapt the shutdown script.

    If you have any questions or suggestions, please Contact Us

     

    Back to the product page for RemotePi Board + 2015

    Back to the product page for RemotePi Board 2013

     

    This page was last updated 27-Nov-2014

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