R2DI PCI IR blaster card

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
A while back I was looking around for a way to help us create CQC platforms with as much stuff 'in the box' as possible, i.e. to have as much of the automation specific hardware (ports basically) inside the box instead of being external. That's easy enough for serial ports, but for IR it's always involved an external box of some sort.

Well, after looking around a lot, I ran across a company called R2DI. I contacted them and found out that they sell a 4 zone IR blaster product. And that it comes in a serially connected box, an IP connect box, and as a PCI card. We were going to just buy some of those for our own use in our CQSL boxes, but in order to get a good price you have to order a fair number of them and we just couldn't afford it. It's not a product that they sell off the shelf, they will just make them upon demand in batch lots.

So, I wheedled Kei at Digital Connections to invest in a good order of these guys. Since I talked her into it, I figure I should do a little work to make sure she sells them, both so that she'll keep getting more stock in and so that the company will move enough of them to want to stay in the business.

They are now taking pre-orders:


I did a CQC driver for this guy using the serially connected version and it works fine. The PCI board uses a virtual serial port driver so it looks like it's a serial port, and the same driver will work with it. I've not been able to use a PCI version yet, but it's the same product just attached a different way.

It's a 4 zone card, where each zone can be configured either as a blaster or as a sensor (i.e. to sense whether a device is on by triggering on the LED lights.) It also has some onboard smarts, but that probably wouldn't be used if you are using it with most automation systems, since that smarts would be in the automation system instead in most cases. If you need more zones and have the slots, you can obviously put in another if needed. THey'd just look like two serial ports to the automation system.

Anyway, it's an excellent way to get yet another box, cable, and wall wart out of your system, and get that functionality inside the box where it's going to have the maximum robustness and be the most self-contained. I guess at some point they'll need to do maybe a single lane PCI-E version of it or something. But if you've got a standard PCI slot available, and you are doing IR control, it's something to consider.

If you don't use CQC, then just smack your automation vendor of choice around until they do a driver for it. It's not a terribly complex device. As with pretty much any such device, you can convert from Pronto codes to their codes, so it's easy to create convert over codes for just about anything you want.