Monthly Archives: August 2013

Update: The kits have landed, roll-out plans & Arduino vs Raspberry Pi performance

We posted another update a couple of days ago covering many of these points, but it seems to have evaporated (Maybe I forgot to hit the ‘Post’ button).

We know some of the kits have arrived locally in Ireland. However, one backer reported that the packaging was ‘compromised’  but that the components were OK. He sent us some photos & we will now update packaging on all future kit shipments. If any backer experiences a problem with the packaging, email us and we will sort it out. We plan to post the next batch of kits over the weekend or early next week.

On the Raspberry Pi front we have learned some differences compared to Arduino. For what we are doing with AnalysIR, Arduino appears superior, which was initially surprising considering the 16MHz vs 700Mhz CPU speed. But apparently, it’s because Arduino is dedicated exclusively to IO & RPi is a linux based OS doing lots of other things simultaneously. I believe RPi may perform better with kernel patches or over-clocking, but we don’t want to go there yet.

Yesterday we got the measurement of IR modulation frequency working on RPi using GPIO. This may be a world first for both Arduino & RPi. The only downside is that we cannot decode the signal & measure the modulation frequency simultaneously on the RPi, which we can on the Arduino. So for now, we will just provide a command line facility on RPi for measuring modulation Frequency. We have also written a script to take the raw output from LIRC on the RPi and convert it to AnalysIR format via LAN, which means we can also use LIRC as a real-time recording mechanism on RPi. (In theory, it should be easy to extend this to every other Linux platform with LIRC installed)
One bonus with the RPi is that we can already decode & analyse IR signals over the LAN, a feature which the Yún will also provide via WiFi. We also read the blog post on the upcoming Arduino Yún release and can’t wait to get AnalysIR running on it…… The Yún should work out of the box, via serialUSB as it also has a Leonardo on-board and we will have to write up some small script to enable the WiFi part (Oct+ time-frame for WiFi).

Regarding our planned roll-out (circa 9th Sep), we plan to stick with a 2 phase approach as outlined on the main campaign page. If there are additional slots available for the initial phase we will contact backers directly. The reason is to avoid wasting time for 100+ people with a new release.

I would like to finish off by thanking you all for supporting AnalysIR.

Update: AnalysIR network enabled, Kits, RPi, Yún

The first set of kits has shipped today and because we were able to get a discount on the components we also included some bonus components as a gift (2 x npn transistors, 4 x 100 ohm resistors & 4 x 4k7 ohm resistors). These extra components may be of use to those who want to build their own IR led Driver circuit with the TSAL6100. We didn’t realise that shipping components was such an ordeal (individual Customs & Air Safety declarations depending on destination). The shipping cost was more than budgeted, but was also offset by the discount achieved.

On the Raspberry Pi front, AnalysIR is now running well without any noticeable glitches. The approach we have adapted is to connect to the RPi over the network. The solution was to pipe the output over the LAN to a virtual serial port on the Windows PC. The virtual serial port utility is freely available for Windows and the network stuff on the RPi is just standard shell commands. I should point out that we haven’t yet tried to measure the modulation frequency on the RPi, just straight decoding though the IR Receiver. When idle we are using only 1.3% CPU on the RPi, when recording a single signal it goes to 1.6% CPU & when full out recording IR it goes up to ~ 4.9% CPU usage. This is pretty good as it doesn’t impact on other processes; considering our first attempt was using 99% CPU when idle 🙂

The potential to decode & analyze over a network may lead to some interesting features in future – ideas welcome. As a minimum, the work with the RPi will make the port to the Arduino Due easier (we are expecting a Due next week) and also when the Arduino Yún is released with WiFi

Update: Campaign reaches 100 backers, RPi & News

We have now reached 100 unique backers for AnalysIR and we would like to thank you all for your generous support & welcome our latest backers. In particular, we would like to give a special thanks to those who made donations without perks.

And now for the News:

  • The components for the Starter Kits have arrived as expected; the envelopes are already printed with addresses taken from IGG & we plan to drop them off at the Post Office sometime on Monday. Hopefully, most people will have received them before AnalysIR is released to backers (circa: 9th September, which allows1 week after the campaign ends to eliminate as many glitches as possible). Remember, to get the full use of AnalysIR you will need the components in Kit A, as a minimum. However, just having an IR receiver is sufficient.(+ of course an Arduino).
    So far, everyone has chosen ‘Kit F’, which is probably a good idea.
  • Regarding the Raspberry Pi ‘stretch goal’, it looks like we may not reach this goal, based on the current trajectory. However, we decided to purchase a Pi with the IGG (aka your) funds released to date & it arrived yesterday. After a lot of ‘wasted’ time trying to get it set up without a display we eventually succeeded. So today we had a go at porting our Arduino code over to the RPi. For the initial attempt, we have decided to use the WiringPi library & we have good success so far. So here is an exported trace image of the first successful NEC IR signal decoded by AnalysIR from a Raspberry Pi.
    SignalTraceImage
    First successful NEC IR signal decoded by AnalysIR from a Raspberry Pi

    use CTRL+
    On the top you can see the same IR signal recorded directly by AnalysIR at the same time (via 2 different IR receivers – one connected to an Arduino & the other connected to an RPi pin)

  • We haven’t fully finished with the RPi coding yet & there are some minor glitches, but we are happy with it as a first attempt. At the moment we are using interrupts & are only dumping the information to a terminal screen via a network connection & then manually pasting the output into AnalysIR’s import facility. We have to do some further study to see how we can best get ‘serial’ data from the RPi to the Windows PC. The simple solution is to use a USB serial adapter connected to the Rx/Tx pins of the RPi, but given it already has an Ethernet port we are going to investigate if a more elegant solution is feasible.

That’s all for now……… Next week = Documentation update

Update: Kits, IR Compression, Serial Hack etc….

As we are approaching the last 10 days of the campaign we would like to share the following updates:

● Today we were informed that the kit components were shipped via UPS to us here in Dublin. Hopefully, they will arrive within a few days, which means we should be able to start posting them out over the weekend or early next week.

● We have been busy this week with preparing the Windows installation package and it seems to be going well – so far.
● We also improved the Arduino code and increased the effective RAM available for AnalysIR.
● We have also integrated the IR modulation measurement into the GUI and it works well with the Modulation frequency being updated ‘at least’ once per IR signal. As we mentioned previously, we have not seen an example of IR modulation frequency being measured on an Arduino before, and particularly not simultaneous with IR decoding.
● We have also added support for compression of IR when importing or exporting in Global Cache format.
● Yesterday we had an interesting experience with the Arduino. As we were swapping out one IR receiver and held the signal line in the hand – a signal received by AnalysIR. We inspected the signal and it seemed to be pretty consistent, so it was analysed quickly using excel and it turned out (not surprisingly) to be mains hum which in this part of the world has a frequency of 50Hz (vs 60Hz elsewhere). That then got me thinking about the following hack!
● We then tested sending a series of serial signals from another Arduino into the IR rx pin and voila the serial trace appeared in the display of AnalysIR. We successfully tested up to 38400 BAUD and bit higher. So even though we do not plan to ‘officially’ support serial protocols at this time, it means that you could potentially use AnalysIR as a pseudo Serial analyzer or even a basic digital signal/logic analyzer of sorts. The limit would be somewhere between 40-50kHz, on a 16MHz Arduino. Not bad a hack before release  🙂

● We have recently come across several new IR protocols including:
Denon
Motorola
Samsung
Daewoo
Japanese Code

– To date we have completed all the investigations needed to decode them and add them to AnalysIR. However, we will have to defer this until after the initial release has settled down & we can get reliable source signals to verify against. Once we complete these new signals we will be heading towards an even more comprehensive list of supported protocols.

 

……stay tuned

Infrared Component Kits

We have decided to offer a small number of Infrared Component Kits to help users of AnalysIR get started quickly. As a minimum you will require 1 IR receiver to use AnalysIR, plus we highly recommend the ‘IR Learner’ below if you also want to measure modulation frequency.

(Note: This is an updated copy of the original document from the crowd-funding campaign. The original document can be found here.)

IR receivers/emitter in Infrared Component Kits:

ModelFrequencyDescriptionGainTypical Application
TSSP403838kHz1 x IR receiverFixed GainBarrier + AnalysIR
TSMP5800020 -> 60kHz1 x IR receiverLearner + AnalysIR
TSOP443636kHz1 x IR receiverAGC 4RC5/6
TSOP3443838kHz1 x IR receiverAGC 4NEC
TSOP484040kHz1 x IR receiverAGC 2SONY
TSOP225656kHz1 x IR receiverAGC 2RCA
TSAL6100All1 x IR emitterIR LED transmitter

AGC 2: Standard Applications
AGC 4: Very Noisy Environment

Kits do not include AnalysIR

Select one or more kits from the following:

ItemKit AKit BKit CKit DKit EKit F
TSSP4038YYYYYY
TSMP58000YYYYYY
TSOP4436YYYY
TSOP34438YYYY
TSOP4840YY
TSOP34156Y
TSAL6100YYYYY
Bonus Giftsee 11
below
YYYYYY
Shippingsee 9
below
YYYYYY
Student TipYYYYYY
Perk Price$8$10$10$12$13$15

 Y = Included

Instructions:

  1. Select the kit you want based on the items included
  2. For example, Kit A contains 1 x TSSP4038, 1 x TSMP58000, plus shipping (see 9 below) and a small tip/gratuity for the student.
  3. Then purchase the kit or kits you want by contributing the relevant cost (or sum for multiple kits)
  4. To purchase Kit A just make  an $8 payment  via the PayPal button on this page. To purchase multiple kits just make one contribution to the same perk for the total amount.
  5. If you select Kit B or Kit C then include  a message on PayPal to clarify which perk you want.
  6. These component Kits do not include AnalysIR.
  7. Cost increased (Sep 2014) due to increase in postage.
  8. TSOP4438 replaced with more modern TSOP34438.
  9. Shipping: is included in price above, provided you are also buying AnalysIR or have bought AnalysIR previously. Otherwise, add $5 to the prices above (once only) for worldwide shipping.
  10. Delivery, usually takes from 5->10 working days. There may be some exceptions to this – depending on location.
  11. Bonus gift: We also include a selection of useful components, with all kits, to help with your IR projects. (2 x NPN + 8 x resistors … enough to complete a good Infrared emitter circuit for longer range)

Notes:

  1. Please feel free to order these parts directly your-self. We won’t be offended in any way. We are not offering these to make any $$$ at all. In fact it is much less work for us if backers have or supply their own components.
  2. Kit A, B or C is more than adequate for most users.
  3. Standard shipping worldwide for owners of AnalysIR is included, Otherwise add an extra $5, as per Instruction 9 above.  Postage is not tracked or insured. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any replacements for items mislaid in the post or delivery failures. Due to the low value, we do not expect that there would be customs charges etc.  and if there are any you will have to cover this cost.
  4. We have included a small tip/gratuity for the student who has agreed to pack & post these perks.
  5. This perk is intended as a quick start aid for backers.
  6. These perks will be posted from Dublin, Ireland and typically take 5-10 working days depending on worldwide destination.
  7. You can select multiple kits.
  8. All kit IR components are from Vishay, who are a leading supplier of high quality components. We use them all the time for IR components.
  9. We have allowed for the Sales Tax, IGG, PayPal, Currency & inward shipping charges which will be levied on us for these components.
  10. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to alter or replace any component if it is not available when we order them. However, we will do our best to match functionality as much as is reasonable. Hopefully this won’t be an issue.
  11. We have not included any Arduinos as they are freely available online. Many of these kit components are not easily available in quantities of 1, without excessive mark-ups, high minimum orders or postage.
  12. Shipping will be to PayPal registered address. (Let us know, immediately, if you want it sent to an alternative address)
  13. Use the Contact Form to contact us, directly.

E.&O.E.

Update: New IR component kit perks & 80+ backers

Today we have added a new perk of IR starter kits and retired some of the other perks.

The kits are provided as a quick starter aid for backers who dont have IR receivers to hand. Please note that a learner IR receiver is required to measure the modulation frequency and at least one IR receiver is required otherwise (=Kit A).

Of course you can still use the powerful import/export feature without any Arduino or IR receiver connected.

Please feel free to purchase your own components directly. Otherwise we have a student ready to do all the leg work for a small bribe (oops I meant Tip).

On the technical side of things – we have greatly improved the performance, design & implementation of the Arduino based code along with some User Interface improvements, over the last few days .

Finally, a big welcome to our latest backers and thanks again to all our 80+ backers.

Update: AnalysIR Auto-clean feature for IR signals

Here is a screenshot showing the new automatic signal cleaning feature in AnalysIR. You will notice in channel 2 (yellow & red) where I have overlaid the recorded signal from CH1 (green) on top of the cleaned signal in CH2 (yellow). The green & red signal is the recorded signal & the yellow signal is the ‘cleaned’ signal.

AutoClean_screenshot
Screenshot of AnalysIR – Auto-clean feature

Note: Use CTRL+, CTL-, or CTRL0   –   to zoom in & out on most browsers
The reason for the signal degradation in the first place is due to the way all IR receivers work. Typically, marks will be shorter and spaces will be longer. Also, weak IR signals will also alter the duration of marks/spaces.

Combined with AnalysIR’s sensitivity setting for decoding it is possible to rebuild a perfect signal from a really poor signal.

With this new ‘Bonus Feature’, we can export almost perfect signals from AnalysIR and re-import the exported signal to compare against the original recorded signal. This will be a great benefit when designing IR devices or circuits.

Update: IR signal clean feature & news

After the great news of reaching the initial target on IGG today, I wanted to give a few more updates.

1: AnalysIR has been invited by one of the leading IR equipment manufacturers to join their global partner programme. We hope this will open up access to a potentially huge user base for AnalysIR gong forward with great benefits for both partners. This would not have been possible without the great support from our backers.

2: We wanted to update everyone on our progress with export in Global Caché command format. Well after some initial mistakes using IRremote to generate the signals for a SKY HD remote, we finally succeeded in verifying that the export works with GC equipment, with the help of one of our backers, who happens to have this equipment installed. (Unfortunately, we didn’t have a SKY remote control available)

As part of the debugging process in this exercise, we decided to implement a new feature, to clean up the recorded signal, which means that we can now export almost perfect signals from any signal decoded by AnalysIR, even if it is imported via another format. With this additional ‘Bonus Feature’, we can record or import a very poor signal and recondition it into a perfect signal for export – automatically. We believe our methodology for this could be patentable, but unfortunately we don’t have the resources for this, at this time.

The really good news is that AnalysIR played a key role in debugging & identifying the silly error we made initially.

So now AnalysIR can import & export in the following formats:

–  IRremote

–  IRLib

–  Pronto

–  Global Caché GC-100

–  Global Caché iTach (*)

–  Global Caché GC-IRL (*)

–  Global Caché GC-IRE (*)

(*) = Export not yet verified with physical device.

3: As we indicated just over a week ago, we are now implementing a feature freeze on AnalysIR from today. This will allow us to complete some ‘in-progress’ features and allow us to concentrate on testing, documentation & packaging AnalysIR for release. We would still like to hear any new feature requests from backers for inclusion in later releases & additional import/export formats. Just send us a comment, message via IGG or email.

Finally, we are considering adding some new perks over the next few days and may be retiring some of the existing perks. ….more later

Update: Minimum campaign target reached today, with 70 backers!

Wow – A big thanks to all of our 70 backers, we have now reached the minimum target, which means that AnalysIR will be released.

….more later.

Well another truly amazing day – have now reached 60 backers for AnalysIR.

Today we tested out the new export feature with one of our backers who had lost a remote control for a cool RGB light, but had previously recorded the NEC (extended) codes using IRremote. As a first test of the new export facility, we were able to read the NEC codes into AnalysIR & then export them into Pronto format because our backer had a smart-phone app & IR blaster that only takes Pronto codes as input.rgblamp

 

Getting the codes into AnalysIR was easy, because we happened to have a similar remote in our collection, which had many of the same codes. Otherwise we would have used an Arduino IR library to generate the IR signal for AnalysIR.

What was really impressive is that this all worked first time. Happy us & happy Backers.

We hope to do similar tests with all the other export formats this week, including Global- Cache commands.

Finally, a big welcome & thanks to all our new backers!