A large portion of home automation is the automation of your TV, VCR, Stereo, CD, and other A/V components. Last issue, you saw how easy it was to use the OFA (One For All) line of Infra-red universal remote controllers to accomplish this, but those remotes are scarce. Also, Universal Electronics has stopped manufacturing them and has never supported the RS-232 protocol which they primarily use for diagnostics and programming. This project will show you how to you can build or buy your own Universal Remote Controller which is designed to work with your PC. Because this remote is designed for this application, it is compatible with HomAtion 2000, CyberHouse, or your own applications.

The PC-Remote is a small infra-red transmitter which connects to your PC via one of the PC’s available COM ports and performs commands based on RS-232 requests. You can connect it to an Infra-Red distribution system, so your PC does not need to be near your A/V equipment. This remote is preprogrammed with hundreds of device manufacturers so you do not need to train it. Click here to see those devices that are supported. Once you set it up, you are good to go! When used with the Home Automation Gate Way, the system is compatible compatible with many available Home Automation Systems. Click below to see how to use the PC remote with one of these systems.

Purchase Kits or Assemblies



Using with CyberHouse

Using with HomAtion

Visit Smart Electronics

ASCII Protocol

Devices Supported

Parts List


Building the PC Remote is simple when following these instructions. You can purchase a kit which includes all the components and a pre-fabricated circuitboard, or build it yourself from scratch using the included Layouts. A single sided board is available through Smart Electronics Corporation.

Reference the Component placement diagram below when following these steps.

Step 1: Connectors
Begin with the connectors: Populate the power connector (Ctr1), the Gate Way interface connector (Gateway), the external IR connector (IR OUT) and the RS-232 Com Port connector (DB-9)

Step 2: ICs
Now, populate the IR Transmitter U1and the voltage regulator (U2). Note Pin 1 on the voltage regulator is closest to Ctr1.

Step 3: IR Transmitter support circuitry
Populate the oscillator X1, resistors Rrst, Rprg, RIRtx, RIRL, Rpu1, Rpu2, Rpu3, Rpd1, Rsci1, Rsci2, Transistors QIRTX1, QIRTX2, Qsci1, LED IRprg, Capacitors Cpwr, C1, Crst. IR LEDs IRLED1, IRLED2

Step 4: External connection to IR distribution system.
The three pads inside the IRout box are for a connection to a 2.5 mm phono jack. With this jack, you can connect the PC Remote to your infra-red distribution system. Pin 1 is marked with a small dot on the left. If you do not wish to use the PC-Remote with an external IR distribution system, simply short pins 2 and 3. Similarly, if you only wish to use the PC-Remote with an IR distribution system, you do not need to populate RIRL, IRLED1 and IRLED2.

Step 5: Circuit Board Jumper:
To maintain usage of a single sided circuitboard, two jumpers must be added to the circuitboard. See the Topside diagram in the ‘layouts’ section. For Jumper 1, connect pin 10 of U1 to Rsci4. For Jumper 2, connect the base of Qsci1 to pin 1 on the GateWay connector.

Power Up:
Connect the power supply and RS-232 cable (available from the source list). The IR transmit indicator should blink twice quickly and once long. This tells you that the IR transmitter is okay.

Setting up the PC-Remote to work with your AV equipment.
Find your device’s set up codes from the device page.

Testing with Windows Terminal:
Using a terminal program like Windows Terminal, configure the com port to communicate at 2400 baud.

See the Protocol section for a complete description of all the keys.