Need learning remote with timer

Linwood

Active Member
I have an LED light over an aquarium which I would like to control with a timer.  At the moment it has a standard AC timer in the outlet, but when off the light's remote of course can't turn it on.
 
What I want is to send, based on time of day, the "off" IR signal to the light.  This could be either from a standalone universal remote (if any of them had a timer built in), or an IR blaster on a PC, though it needs a learn capability in either case as clearly "Aquarium light control" is not on most universal remote code lists. 
 
I've found reference to lots of USB IR Dongles, but most seem either out of business or in someone's basement and a bit iff-y on software compatibility and still a bit pricey (like $50), or pretty expensive (Global Cache iTach for example is awfully pricey (> $100)  but mainstream). 
 
Any recommendations or thoughts? 
 
Frankly I hoped there was just a "IR Universal remote with timer" but logitech and others don't seem to think a timer is useful. 
 
I don't want to spend a lot of money as I can just get up and walk over to the wall timer, but it is a bit annoying when the timer is off and someone wants to see the fish. 
 
PS. The reason for the remote is lots of "scene" modes - colors, dynamic effects, etc.  in the light itself.  WHY they didn't build in a timer either is beyond me, as every aquarium light has a timer.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Shame they are on the expensive side of your range, but an Ocelot would (to me) seem perfect for this application.  Maybe look for a used one.
 

hedg12

Member
A PC running eventghost (free) with a USB-UIRT ($50 + shipping) would do what you want easily. I have 4 of the USB-UIRTs that have worked flawlessly for years & certainly don't hesitate to recommend them.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
What is it you're trying to accomplish?  If you're looking to save power it might be a fool's errand, as any sort of controller is likely going to consume more power than just leaving the light running!  
 
Another way to approach it might be to use something like a Raspberry Pi or other small computer.  Have that interface directly with the LED lighting instead.  That or have it send the desired IR signals.  That's likely to be your least expensive solution (both from a power consumption and a cost standpoint).
 

Linwood

Active Member
Sorry about the delay guys, I thought this was set up to notify and didn't get any, just happened to see I had responses.
 
hedg12 - I had see the usb-uirt, but didn't want to depend on my PC being up all the time, for lots of reasons.
 
wkearney99 - I started down the Arduino path, but then saw a Pi starter kit at Radioshack while I was looking at their Arduino stuff, and I need to learn more unix, so I picked it up.

The Pi draws a lot more power than the Arduino, but not much in an absolute sense, and it's much, much more powerful.  In a couple days I had a headless pi web server set up (both wired and wireless), had the signals from the OEM remote decoded (great package called lirc did all the heavy lifting), and now have a web based remote that works with the unit, and today and hooking up a cron job to schedule light changes.
 
The biggest problems now are finding other things for it to do (e.g. useful sensors that don't break the bank), and finding a case and daughter board for the individual components I'm using that all fit together to hang on the tank.
 
The Pi itself is downright amazing -- it's a very full featured unix server running off an SD flash card, time synched to NTP over the internet.  And so far (admittedly only a few days) rock solid, no flakiness at all.
 
Still a bit surprised no universal remotes have real time clocks, but I guess DVR's and TiVO did away with all that need.  Just as well, this was a LOT more fun.
 
Wish I could find some interesting sensors that were similarly cheap as the computer.  Imagine -- the computer to connect it to costs a PH meter or flow meter. 
 

Linwood

Active Member
wkearney99 said:
What is it you're trying to accomplish?
 
By the way, I should add this is more entertainment and OCD than "need".
 
It started by having a LED light with lots of special effects (colors, sequences), but which lacked a timer to have it turn off automatically.  A cheap AC timer then turns it completely off where the remote control can't turn it on, it was THAT I originally wanted to fix.
 
But the engineer in me took over, and now I want to be able to control the tank from anywhere, even though there's nothing really TO control, it's happy just sitting there.   This is all sort of like connecting your toaster to the internet -- one does that for entertainment not to fix a problem.   :unsure:
 
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