Universal remotes are a handy tool to have on hand if you have many devices that would otherwise all have their own remotes. Merging them all into one device results in less clutter and less frustration, but they are often not truly “universal” as some of them may not support all infrared devices that have ever been built. If you are in such a situation it is possible to build a true universal remote control insteadprovided you have a microcontroller and some infrared LEDs on hand.
It was the situation that [Matt] found itself when its Amazon Fire TV equipment control feature didn’t support its speaker model. To work around this problem, he programmed an Arduino to essentially translate the IR codes from the remote control and output a set of compatible codes to the speakers. This requires both an IR photodiode and an IR LED, but nothing more than the codes for the remote control and the equipment in question. With all of this configured and programmed in the Aruino, [Matt]The remote is a little closer to being truly “universal”.
While [Matt] was able to use existing codes in the Arduino library, it is also possible to capture the required codes manually by pointing a remote at a photodiode and programming a microcontroller to capture the codes you need. [Matt] used a Raspberry Pi to do this while debugging this project, but we’ve also seen this method used with a similar build that uses an ESP8266 to control an air conditioner via its infrared remote control capabilities.