I was working with a man who very much wanted to use his Amazon Echo to control various devices in his living room. These included his entertainment system (TV, cable box, stereo) and his electric fireplace. All these devices happened to be IR controlled already via remotes, but in his situation the remotes were very hard to use and voice would be much easier. There are already some products on the market that address this specific need including AnyMote, Blumoo, and Harmony Hub that all work with Alexa, and other standalone products including VoiceIR. However for various reasons none of these was a great fit including price, ease of use, consistency, requirement of a smartphone. So in this case I decided to build my own. Here’s a video of what we ended up with.
For quick integration with Echo, I used IFTTT to trigger callbacks on a Particle Photon board. In response to IFTTT, the Photon will pulse the IR LEDs to send the desired IR commands. The Photon pulses the LEDs by driving 2n2222 transistors through a 1K resistor. The LEDs are connected directly to the 5V rail and the current is brought to ground directly through the transistors. Each of the 2 transistors is driving 2 LEDs in series each. Power comes in through a USB cable connected to a USB wall charger. Here are some closeups of the device:
Here’s the front wall with the entertainment system and electric fireplace:
Here’s the device stuck to a framed world map on the opposite wall:
You can grab the code here: https://github.com/bobparadiso/AmazonEchoUniversalRemote