We are excited to announce that Flirc’s legendary collection of silent, passively cooled Pi cases will be expanded once again to support the Raspberry Pi 5. In fact, pre-orders for the Flirc Raspberry Pi 5 case are already available at Flirc.tv.
If you haven’t heard the news already, the Pi Foundation is releasing a newer, far more powerful Raspberry Pi 5. You can find a full specs rundown of the Pi 5 with a focus on media center issues over on LibreELEC’s site. And if you’d like a video review of the Pi 5’s abilities, thermal issues, and more, check out the video by Jeff Geerling, a friend of the site.
Preliminary tests of the new Pi 5 board show that the new Flirc case looks great, ensuring your Raspberry Pi 5 runs at peak efficiency at all times without the annoying whir of a fan.
With that said, what you will not find available for pre-order yet is a Kodi edition of the Flirc Raspberry Pi 5 case. That’s because we need your help. Samfisher, from the Kodi Foundation, has put together a series of awesome new designs for the case, and we need help picking the best one.
You can vote for your favorites over at the Kodi forum. Be sure to vote to vote, and let us know your thoughts on the new designs in the comments! Currently, boxes 4, 5, and 6 are the top voted boxes, so we’ve created some 3D renders to give you an idea of how awesome they look!
We are excited to announce that Flirc’s legendary collection of silent, passively cooled Pi cases will be expanded once again to support the Raspberry Pi 5. In fact, pre-orders for the Flirc Raspberry Pi 5 case are already available at Flirc.tv. If you haven’t heard the news already, the Pi Foundation is releasing a newer, […]
When we first launched the Skip 1s, we thought it was clear that the state of the universal remote control industry was lacking. We listed many problems, but the most prominent one was that the existing marketplace didn’t understand the power of the community.
If you’ve recently visited the forum, you may have noticed a growing community of people who have found most of their devices showing up and working just fine with the existing Skip App Library. However, there might be a small problem with an existing entry, like a device that’s missing a button.
Before the latest release, the Skip App could only import new devices. This could result in duplicate entries in your local database, which didn’t really address the problem mentioned above. But with the most recent 0.9.93 Beta, we’ve taken steps to address that. Now, you can make changes to your existing devices locally and share them with the community, and it’s really easy.
Before proceeding, make sure you’re familiar with our JSON file formats for adding custom devices. When added, these devices seamlessly appear in our software.
Adding, removing, or modifying existing devices is extremely easy. You can do this on two levels: the device level and the button level.
A prerequisite is to first match the Manufacturer and Device fields exactly for this feature to work.
“collision”: “DELETE” || “REPLACE” || “MERGE”, // Default is “MERGE”
Below is an example of a Device Level JSON file that would remove the Apple TV Gen 4 from the library.
Below is an example of a Button Level JSON file that would replace the POWER button on a Topping PRE90 device.
Don’t worry. Even without this field at either the device level or button level, imports will still work. We will apply the specified defaults, which is the least destructive approach.
Prior to v0.9.93, adding and updating existing devices was extremely cumbersome. The process involved importing a JSON file and then walking through the wizard to update codes on your remote, even if these codes were already assigned to buttons.
However, this is no longer the case. Now, if the existing manufacturer/device is currently assigned to any remote in your ‘cubby’, you will be prompted to update these codes directly.
We plan to provide better and easier tools within the Skip app for recording new devices, modifying existing devices, creating your own devices, and directly sharing and receiving feedback from the community. However, the next major update in development aims to unlock learning without the need to create and import files. Like everything else, we are working hard to simplify what has always been a challenge. As always, thank you for the support, feedback, and stay tuned.
When we first launched the Skip 1s, we thought it was clear that the state of the universal remote control industry was lacking. We listed many problems, but the most prominent one was that the existing marketplace didn’t understand the power of the community. If you’ve recently visited the forum, you may have noticed a […]
In a recent Youtube video, Paul Hibbert showed off a novel use of the FLIRC USB receiver. For most of us, FLIRC is great for controlling a media center or a Pi, or maybe expanding control on an Android box with a more powerful remote.
But for Paul, that simply wasn’t enough. His channel focuses on automation and voice control, and he wanted to turn his PC into a full fledged Echo Show, and just like on a Fire TV, he wanted to be able to launch apps with his voice.
The first part of this process was simple enough: Alexa is actually an installable app for your Windows 10 PC, and it can respond to the Alexa wake-word just like any Echo device. This works great for tasks like playing Amazon music, using Alexa smart skills, or maybe controlling lights around the house.
But why stop there? This is a fully fledged PC. Why not control the rest of it with your voice too? Oh, sure, a person could shut down Alexa and go back to controlling things the old fashioned way with a mouse, but what if this PC is in the living room? Old fashioned controls are so awkward from the couch!
Or more correctly, enter FLIRC, the Broadlink RM Blackbean, and EventGhost. Here’s where things get WILD. With Alexa, you can tell the Blackbean to send IR blasts of any kind. And with FLIRC, you can translate those blasts into any standard keyboard command or keyboard combination, like control+shift+5. Then, with the app EventGhost, whenever the FLIRC USB dongle sends that special key command, you can launch any app of your choice, like Steam, or Minecraft, or anything else! You can even navigate those apps, if they’re something like Plex.
To see how it works, check out Paul’s video:
We were so impressed with this idea that we sat down with Paul to talk about how he came up with it all.
What came first, the idea or the FLIRC? More broadly, how long have you had your FLIRCs and when did you get the idea to use them this way?
A year or so ago I started looking into ways of controlling my NVIDIA Shield with Alexa, but was sorely disappointed at the lack of functionality, so I figured I would start looking for a way to control the shield with infrared so that I could marry it up with a Broadlink RM pro. Initially I just wanted to be able to control the shield for navigation and Alexa didn’t have a way to do this natively. I knew the RM pro could send infrared using Alexa so I did a quick google search to see if there was any way to convert the Nvidia shield to Infrared. I thought it would be a lost cause, but I was amazed when I found FLIRC! I then realised I could create keyboard shortcuts on the Shield to do all sorts of things using button remapper, and if I paired this process with the Aberto Sonorus skill I could open individual apps too and have total control! I made a video about that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjDMfY348rU
Had you used Eventghost before?
I actually cut my teeth on two pieces of Windows software when I first started my home automation journey. One was Vox Commando, which is an incredibly powerful piece of voice software, and Eventghost. I linked the two together before Alexa even existed so that I would be able to control Kodi (which back in those days was called XBMC). Vox Commando was incredible for that, but it couldn’t control my lights. That’s where Eventghost came in; I had a USB dongle called a Tellstick that could blast RF frequencies to turn my RF light switch on and off. I used Vox commando to broadcast a request to Eventghost which then sent the Tellstick request using an eventghost plugin, I was probably literally the only person in the world using their voice to control an RF switch because at that point everyone was using X10, which was way too nerdy and expensive for me. Very few of us were using our voice at that point.
I was lucky enough to witness the birth of the modern smart home and it was a really exciting time. I did some pretty crazy things with Eventghost considering I have no clue how to code!
Have you ever used Flirc for any other kind of home automation tasks?
Just the Nvidia shield project at this point. I have two Flircs now, one connected to my PC, and one connected to the Shield. I have recommended them to people for their Playstations though. It really is a remarkable little stick. The simplicity of it really appeals to me as a non-coder. I’m always looking for ways to cheat myself out of learning how to code hahaha.
When interacting with Alexa or other voice agents, are there some things you find yourself preferring to do by voice and other things you prefer to do using physical controls like a keyboard, mouse, or remote?
Definitely. When Neesha is asleep she would kick my ass if I even whispered to Alexa! I have a button by the side of the bed from a company called Xiaomi, and that links to a Homey hub which in turn sends a http request to my Nvidia shield which is listening using a piece of software called the RM plugin which in turns tells my Broadlink RM pro to turn my plug sockets off. Insanely convoluted, but it’s flawless! It’s actually one of very few ways to control a Broadlink RM pro locally without connecting to Broadlink’s server, at least without a raspberry Pi.
I also use a button by a company called Flic in my studio to turn my studio lights on and change the main lights from warm white to cool white for filming. The button is preferable to voice simply because it’s mindless, I don’t have to think of a phrase I just mash a button next to my camera.
From your videos, it’s pretty clear you’re a big fan of home automation and gadgets that can be used in that way. Any especially great suggestions for home media center users this holiday?
Without trying to desperately plug my own videos I would definitely suggest checking out the Nvidia shield video if you’re an Alexa fan, it’s the cheekiest of hacks and yet it’s so simple. I’m a bit of a rebel at heart, and I love anything that breaks the rules. Somebody somewhere doesn’t want you to have proper control of your Nvidia shield with Alexa (probably google) and this is just a little rebellion on my part. I love that it’s just a little hole in their plan that anyone can crawl into without having to part with hardly any cash.
Thanks to Paul for agreeing to chat with us, and if you’d like to roll your own version if this trick, see the links below to pick up the necessary tools!
In a recent Youtube video, Paul Hibbert showed off a novel use of the FLIRC USB receiver. For most of us, FLIRC is great for controlling a media center or a Pi, or maybe expanding control on an Android box with a more powerful remote. But for Paul, that simply wasn’t enough. His channel focuses […]
It’s with great excitement to finally announce a partnership that was years in the making. Felix, the creator of Remote Buddy, and I have been working for over a year on an extensive collaboration. While I give him the majority of the credit for the bigger piece of the collaboration, I am nevertheless honored to have worked with him.
Remote Buddy 2.0 is available for download, and packs a punch of features. It’s not only powerful, extensive, but it’s beautiful.
Remote Buddy 2.0 is built on an incredible architecture, with support for a number of receivers, and a number of remotes. But being the creators of each, gave us the unique opportunity to work on features together not found anywhere else. Flirc and Remote Buddy work together in concert and with incredible integration and advanced features.
Flirc has a number of USB interfaces. The normal ones you are already familiar with. The pairing interface, and the HID (keyboard/misc) interfaces. Alongside this interface sits the new remote buddy interface, and it’s been there since version v4.6.0 of the flirc firmware. It’s been shipping for 9 months, and is already enabled on all existing and new devices. When the remote buddy interface is active, the HID interface is not, so only one interface is supported at a time. The Flirc GUI will not interrupt Remote Buddy’s operation, and allows easy upgrades without the need to quit Remote Buddy.
Since most post processing is done through remote buddy, Flirc passes up the data as quickly as possible for the lowest latency and best experience on the market.
New to Remote Buddy and Flirc is a new feature for customizable wake support. You can pair a single apple remote, a range of apple remotes, or a unique key from any remote to wake up a computer From S0/S1/S3 sleep states.
To try this out, grab the latest beta firmware from the forums here. Remember to give us feedback.
We’re already hard at work on adding more new features, but would also love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment here or through the forums, or send Felix an email.
We worked hard to create the best IR receiver for Remote Buddy. And we want as many people as possible to enjoy the level of detail, functionality and integration we’ve achieved.
So we’re making an offer so good it’d be financially stupid to pick a different, inferior product:
Remote Buddy users with a license valid for version 2.0 will be able to purchase one Flirc for only $9.95 (excluding shipping). This offer will not expire and only be valid through the flirc.tv store.
Felix and I are working together to make this offer available through a new Benefits page that will roll out as soon as possible.
Should you have eagerly purchased a Flirc in advance from our store, around the time of this announcement, please get in touch and we’ll work together to extend the discount to you.
It’s with great excitement to finally announce a partnership that was years in the making. Felix, the creator of Remote Buddy, and I have been working for over a year on an extensive collaboration. While I give him the majority of the credit for the bigger piece of the collaboration, I am nevertheless honored to […]
Head on over to the flirc store and enjoy discounts up to 50% off today and through next week. Happy Holidays!
Head on over to the flirc store and enjoy discounts up to 50% off today and through next week. Happy Holidays!
Cases came in and we’ve started shipping them Monday. Orders are flying out, and customers should start getting email notifications with tracking.
Kodi cases are shipping to us this Friday, and will go out as soon as they arrive. Because both cases are so different, their manufacturing processes are also distinctly different. One had to be done before the other.
Orders were supposed to start shipping out about a week ago. However, as soon as I got the first units back, I did a lot of thermal testing.
This new pi runs hot. I started testing with various benchmark scripts, python, etc. But results were generally inconsistent across tests. Much depended on the initial starting conditions. Should the pi have started cooler, I’d see much different results than if I had it running idle. If I just finished a test, results were different as well.
I tried other tests and settled on cpuburn-arm.
Results were consistent. I felt like I saw the most consistent and highest power draw. Which means we could theoretically get temp as quickly as possible.
Without any case, in 26-27C ambient, I got a naked raspberry pi to nearly 90C in 5-10 minutes. Okay great. Now with the Flirc case, I get it to 80C in 25 minutes. I saw the temp hang around 80C +/- 2C for 30 minutes. Seems like we hit steady state, but I think we can do better.
So we started studying the design, the gap, and the thermal material, and simulated. I ordered some new thermal pads and did some more tests that looked great. I got some arctic cool pads off amazon with a much higher thermal conductivity, and started testing.
In my lab/warehouse 26-27C which is really hot, it took 90 minutes of cpu burn before it got to 80C. Ambient matters. I ran another test on Monday, where it was 24-25C, and in 3 hours, it never went above 77C.
But let’s talk about something important. cpuburn is meant to burn as much power as possible, it’s not realistic of any situation. Yes, cpu utilization could get up to 100%, but that doesn’t mean the processor is going to burn the same power. Cpuburn is meant to try and draw the most power. Depending on the software that’s running, power will not only be different, but it will be dynamic. Even running cpuburn, on stopping, I saw a 1C drop every second. So in actuality, a real load alleviates the stress on the cpu, allowing it breathing time to cool.
I’m confident in the case and the new pad. Confident in saying that any strenuous situation will be fine without the need for active cooling or worrying about overheating.
I got in touch with arctic directly, and were shipping with their pads.
Cases came in and we’ve started shipping them Monday. Orders are flying out, and customers should start getting email notifications with tracking. Kodi cases are shipping to us this Friday, and will go out as soon as they arrive. Because both cases are so different, their manufacturing processes are also distinctly different. One had to […]
It is with great excitement that alongside the Raspberry Pi 4’s release today, we are announcing two brand new Raspberry Pi cases to accommodate all the changes of this amazing new hardware.
We’ve been hard at work and have started high volume manufacturing of a brand new case. We kept all the details that made the original case one of the top selling raspberry pi cases, and along side our own case, we’re releasing a newly designed and limited edition Kodi case, for the same exact price.
We expect to ship both in roughly 3-4 weeks. Pre-order now for special pricing and save 30%.
It is with great excitement that alongside the Raspberry Pi 4’s release today, we are announcing two brand new Raspberry Pi cases to accommodate all the changes of this amazing new hardware. We’ve been hard at work and have started high volume manufacturing of a brand new case. We kept all the details that made […]
Today, I’m saying goodbye packagecloud. They had an amazing unique service that solved a huge headache. I spent a lot of time trying to host my own repositories, and it was too much of a headache to constantly keep up. Packagecloud was an amazing, affordable service that solved this problem with elegance. But they decided to tripple their price which made the service no longer worth it.
So today, I’ve changed my build system, installation instructions, and scripts to use gemfury. A great alternative and free for public packages.
You can head over to the linux downloads section, and re-run the installer script to add the new repository. Sorry for the inconvenience. More announcements next week, stay tuned.
Today, I’m saying goodbye packagecloud. They had an amazing unique service that solved a huge headache. I spent a lot of time trying to host my own repositories, and it was too much of a headache to constantly keep up. Packagecloud was an amazing, affordable service that solved this problem with elegance. But they decided […]
Come visit our booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire. Were previewing some unreleased products and we love chatting.
Come visit our booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire. Were previewing some unreleased products and we love chatting.
By far the coolest update for flirc, was today. Everyone’s flircs just got a lot cooler. Today, I’m happy to announce the addition of long presses and macros. Two features that I’ve been planning on for quite some time, and they are definitely worth the wait.
Macros allow you to assign more than one function to a single remote control button. Basically, I can have a string of text or a bunch of commands, etc, all execute when I press a single button on my remote. That’s now possible with todays firmware. There is currently no limit on the amount of buttons, but you might see some issues with anything more than 16. We can always change that, the limit is artificial right now.
Some of my favorite remotes don’t have a lot of buttons. Specifically, the apple remote. This update will allow you to assign a second function on any remote control button if you hold it down for more than half a second. Tapping on the button as normal will do the first function, holding it for half a second will not send out the first function, but send out the second.
Long Presses + Macros
You can also combine the two features. Press a button and have a single action, press and hold that same button, and do a macro. Check out the short demo video
One of the coolest silently released features was plugin support. All thanks to Yawor who did all the work. He did a fantastic job, and has posted a few items on the forums. This will be formalized into the release soon, and more documentation will be created. Basically, this allows you to create an SVG and XML file, and the graphics and functionality will be dynamically loaded into the GUI. Users will be able to share theirs to help other setup unique setups.
Also thanks to Yawor, a lot of the important GUI items have been re-written to be a bit more dynamic and cleaned up a lot of issues. I’m in debt for his help, he’s a fantastic engineer.
I’m giving up on hosting packages. It’s a pain in the ass and took a lot of time and work. I found packagecloud and they take a lot of the work out all the security related issues. If you have the old repo in your distro, make sure you remove that and install the new ones. You can find instructions on the downloads page.
I’ve migrated all the build and release to travis, which although a bumpy start, was absolutely the right thing to do. It’s not a great idea to do build releases on a development machine for many reasons, but I held all the tools on my laptop. No other employee or partner could do a release without me, that’s no longer the case.
Because we have everything built on Travis now, the SDK library build and release tools have fallen behind. I should have these built into travis by next week or shortly after.
Not quite sure how to do pi release yet on travis, so those have fallen behind. I’ll manually update these versions soon.
A very happy holidays and a happy and healthy new years to everyone. Feel free to leave comments, shoot me emails, or start forum discussions.
Long Presses and Macros Released By far the coolest update for flirc, was today. Everyone’s flircs just got a lot cooler. Today, I’m happy to announce the addition of long presses and macros. Two features that I’ve been planning on for quite some time, and they are definitely worth the wait. Macros Macros allow you […]
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