Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IRDA tech talk

IR Transmission is actually pretty complicated. It's been used for some time with TV remote controls. But without standard protocols and filtering it would not work nearly as well as it does.

For tech talk, check out this cool website about how it all works...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


So far so good.  I managed to find a "Universal" remote control model URC-R6 at Target.  It was under $20 so it fits well within my budget for goofy projects.  After purchasing the remote I did the unmanly thing of reading the instruction manual.

Teaching the remote to learn an IR command was moderately difficult.  For the first 10 tries I was unable to successfully teach it anything.  I kept getting the dreaded 5 flashes which decoded into an unsuccessful recording.

Then I thought of the possibility that the Toilet was trying to send IR messages back to the controller, thus screwing up the learning mode.  So I cupped my hands around the IR sensors and tried again.  Voila!  On the first try I managed to capture both the rinse and the stop commands.  So it works without having to design any circuits, or do custom programming. Any slob in a dirty tee shirt and jeans reading this blog now has the capability to take over commands of the Toto Toilet!

Stay tuned.  Later on I'll capture some video and play it for you.  That'll be fun huh?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Target - in more ways than one.

So one of the ways to actually pull off this gag of taking control of the toilet is to capture the remote controls IR signal.  I plan on using a relatively inexpensive "Universal" learning remote control.  So I googled "universal remote control" and voila!  Up popped a universal remote.  I mean Universal.  Like made from the Universal Remote Control Corporation. Like, um forget it.

Anyway here's a photo of the model I'm considering.  It's the model URC-WR7.  In the specs it says it has full IR capture capability!  And it's around $20.  I think I can get it from Target.  So this weekend may be the weekend I make my first attempt at IR capture!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fun with Toilets

Hi All,

This blog is to share some of my work in the development of a practical joke - I'm going to capture the IR signal of a Toto toilet so that I can control its operation remotely!  Apparently we are losing the advanced technology war with Japan as they seem to have digitized it.  Check out this Wikipedia link.

Anyway here's a photo of what a high tech toilet looks like.  The remote control on the wall allows you to flush the toilet, spray water (bidet) in various modes and locations, air dry and even control the temperature of the seat!

Notice the little black squares on both the toilet and the wall mounted control panel.  
Behind them are the Infrared Light Emitting Diodes that the toilet uses for communication. The black plastic apparently acts as a filter to reduce the influence of full spectrum light on the IR sensors.