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How to add remote control to a BT Internet Reciva Radio

Created 6th May 2010.  Last updated: 16 May 2010

 

I do not accept any responsibility for any damage you may cause to your radio.   Proceed at your own risk.

 

Contents:

 

 

 


Introduction

 

This mini project is based on the work previously undertaken by kayser59 with assistance from dogmatix back in September 2009 to try and equip a Strong internet radio (Logik IR100 clone) with the remote control functionality from an Intempo GX-01 radio.  However, he came across what appeared to be a hardware problem and was unable to progress any further.  

To cut a long story short, I believe the IR receiver circuit used by kayser59 had inverted the digital signal going to the Samsung ARM processor.  As a consequence, the received data stream could not be decoded correctly when Lirc config files for an Intempo GX-01 remote were utilised.

 

The Ebuyer/Vistron MX-200i and Intempo GX-01 are manufactured by King Champion, and I believe they share the same slim remote controller.  After studying my MX-200i, I wondered whether the IR receiver module could be wired directly to the ARM processor without the need for any buffer circuitry - the application notes for Vishay made IR receiver modules suggested they were 'microprocessor compatible'.

  I can confirm I am able to remotely control my BT internet radio using my OneForAll universal remote controller by completing the modifications described below.  Volume control, Mute, access to 99 station presets, and other functions expected from an MX-200i remote all appear to work.

In theory, other 'remote-less' Reciva based radios such as the AE Radio and Magicbox Imp could be modified in a similar manner.

I am not sure whether there is any advantage to modding the Logik IR100 as it does not have a digital volume control which is commonly found on other Reciva radios, although the ability to access 99 station presets would be useful. 

 

 

 


Where can I buy a compatible remote controller ?

 

In theory, any OneForAll Universal remote control will work provided it has sufficient number of buttons on it to reproduce all the functions of an original Ebuyer/Vistron MX-200i/Intempo GX-01 slim remote.  Provided the OFA remote supports TV device setup code 0435 and 'Key Magic', it should be compatible - 0435 is the device code for brands 'Elbe', 'Kennedy', 'Kneissel', 'Seleco', 'Singer' and 'Stern'.

You can find all you need to know about replacement OFA remote controllers for the MX-200i by clicking here.

 

The more expensive Logitech Harmony range of programmable remote controls are also apparently compatible as the Intempo GX-01 is supported.  I have not personally verified this myself.

 

 


Firmware Modifications Overview

 

Do NOT attempt these firmware modifications unless you have access to another different model of Reciva radio fitted with a Barracuda module (It must not be another BT radio).  If you make any mistakes, you will brick the BT radio.

 

Ensure you have a recent release of firmware installed.   I used   v257-a-865-a-476 beta   release in this project.  However, earlier versions to v257-a-615 may be compatible too.   The original MX-200i shipped with v257-a-421 firmware but this is known to be a wee bit buggy on the remote control functionality.

 

You will need to install the Sharpfin base patch, to be able to telnet the BT internet radio and edit/create two configuration files.

 

The BT Internet Radio has Radio Hardware ID: 1003.  It's corresponding config.txt file is called config1003.txt

(If you are modding a different radio, you can find the Radio Hardware ID under the 'Version' menu.)

 

Use vi and edit the file        /root/hwconfig/config1003.txt

Scroll to the end of the file and copy & paste the following lines to the end of the file and save the changes.

# Infrared Remote related modules
LIRC Module: /root/lirc_dev.o
LIRC Module: lirc_barracuda

 

Now create a new file called        /etc/config/lircd_config1003.conf    by making a copy from:     lircd_config825.conf
 

Double check all your amendments before power cycling the radio.   Hopefully the BT radio has now booted up okay and you have not bricked it!

 

 

 


Step-by-step Telnet instructions

 

Newbie instructions for editing config1003.txt and creating lircd_config1003.conf files for a BT Internet Radio.  Windows XP screenshots shown below:

 

Original instructions on how to edit the config.txt can be found on the Sharpfin website.   I have reproduced it here with amendments when using Windows XP:

# Infrared Remote related modules
LIRC Module: /root/lirc_dev.o
LIRC Module: lirc_barracuda

(Tip:  the vi command  ":q!"  appears to forcibly quits vi if you run into trouble)

 

 

 

The software modifications are now complete.

 

 


Hardware Modification (Version 1)

 

You need to use an IR receiver module which operates at 38kHz, and in particularly, it must be able to operate at 3.3 Volts.  The Ebuyer/Vistron MX-200i uses such a device.

 

List of UK suppliers of IR receiver modules.

Supplier Part no., Retailer stock no. & cost Compatibility
cpc.farnell.com TSOP34838, SC09302, 2 + p&p Not yet verified. Vishay Datasheet
www.rapidonline.com HRM138BB5100, 55-0902, 0.60 + p&p Yes. TruOpto Datasheet
eBay (US seller: rc97378) TK1838, TSOP1838, ??.  1+ week delivery to UK. Yes. The ones I bought seem to work at 3.3v even though Datasheet states they are rated for 5v operation only. One comment quoting they were rated at 5v but operate fine at 3.3v.
Maplin.co.uk No suitable products.  
eBay You may be able to find a suitable device.by searching for 'TSOP1838' or '38kHz receiver'.  

 

 

Connection points on the rear of the main PCB are shown below.   Take extreme care when soldering wires to the points shown below to avoid short circuits.

Regardless of the make/model of Reciva radio, the +3.3v and Gnd connections ought to be pretty easy to find using a multimeter - I suggest taking the power from the PCB which carries the Barracuda board.  Similarly, the PCB carrying the Barracuda module will have the same layout of connector pins, so identifying J2 pin 5 along the longest connector shouldn't be too difficult.

 

You need to wire the IR receiver module to the points shown above.   The pin labelled  'OUT' from the module goes to J2 pin 5 of the Barracuda module.   Take extreme care with the wiring and how they are terminated at the sensor.  The new cable you install will be carrying 3.3v power which is also used by other parts of the radio.  If you accidentally short circuit the wiring, the radio won't start and you may even blow the voltage regulator.

Double check the pin out of the IR receiver module you have purchased.  It may differ to the picture shown here.

The ARM processor seems to expect an Active-Low output stream from the module.

 

 

The existing blue Power LED can be easily removed.  I then tucked the LED behind the speaker leads which runs along the bottom of the case near the ventilation grill.  A blue glow can then be seen from underneath the radio.

Next, I superglued a wire wrap DIL socket to the case.  The IR module then just plugs into the socket.  Using a detachable cable is convenient if you frequently need to dismantle the radio.  The cable is a surplus internal shielded audio cable which is normally used to connect a CDROM drive to a motherboard often found in older PCs.

 

 

 

 

 

The HRM138BB5100 and TK1838 IR receiver modules both perform very well and can be recommended.

 

Early indications are everything is working fine and the radio is unaffected by the modifications.

I will test my radio over the next few weeks and report any issues. 

 

 


Testing blog

 

The BT Radio has dual function buttons on the control panel as do most Reciva radios.   For example, the buttons for Station Presets 1, 2, 3 and 4 also double as 'Stop', 'Prev Track', 'Pause Play', and 'Next Track' when used with the Media Player and when listening to On Demand programmes supporting transport controls.

On my original MX-200i radio, if I am listening to a BBC On Demand programme.  Depressing any of the numbered buttons, 1 to 3, on the remote, causes the radio to switch automatically to the radio station preset defined on those buttons.

If I press any of the buttons, 1 to 6, on the remote when using my BT radio to listen to an On Demand programme, the device assumes I am using a transport control such as 'Next Track' etc.  If I use 7 or above, the radio changes to the radio station defined on the preset.   I should add I can use the 'Recall Preset' button on the remote to access station presets 1 to 6.

 

(10 May 10):  Observed the Wifi signal strength dropping to 0% on two occasions and failing to automatically reconnect to the wireless network.  This is first time I've witnessed these particular symptoms on this radio.   It may be as a result of other changes I've made to the radio, or a combination of all the changes.    (Update 11 May 10):  0% wifi issue may have been caused by my wireless router.

I also removed the following lines from config1003.txt as a brief test expecting to disable the remote control:

# Infrared Remote related modules
LIRC Module: /root/lirc_dev.o
LIRC Module: lirc_barracuda

To my surprise, the remote control function was still working after I rebooted the radio.  I'm guessing the config.txt file is used to instruct the firmware to add new modules to the radio's startup, and cannot be used to remove them.

I also removed the Sharpfin base patch as a precaution in case this was contributing to the wifi issue.

 

(22 May 10):  All working fine.  Nothing new to report.

 

 


Modding other radios

 

kayser59 has advised he may look again at modding his Strong radio.

Here are some of my thoughts about modding other radios with the minimal of cosmetic damage.

 

Googling the Sharpfin Google forum, I found some tips with regards to enabling the digital volume control on Logik IR100.  These Options entries will need to be added to the config1012.txt file.

Option:
volume-control
on
 

Option:
has-volume-buttons
on
 

Option:
aud-soft-mute-in-adrvg
on

The 'has-volume-buttons' option is only required if you want to stop the Dial/Select knob becoming an additional volume control!

  How I may fit an IR sensor to a Logik IR100.

There is no obvious place where the IR sensor can be located.  I was thinking of drilling a small hole perhaps into the front panel behind the square metal speaker grill provided one corner of the loudspeaker mounting bracket doesn't cause an obstruction.

 

  This is a Bush TR2015 radio (Hardware ID: 1006).  The bass reflex port inside the radio gives access to the front grill.  This looks like an ideal position for the IR sensor to be located.  Whether the holes in the speaker grill are large enough to allow the IR signals to pass through is the only other concern.

 

The AE Radio has an elongated bass reflex port too.  It may be possible to fit an IR sensor into the port, but the size of the holes in the speaker grill may be detrimental to IR reception.

 

The Magicbox Imp utilises surface mounted sockets for mounting the Barracuda module.  Connecting to J2 pin 5 may require soldering directly onto the Barracuda module if the solder pads for the socket are too difficult to reach.  There is no obvious location for an IR sensor, but I am wondering whether the top panel is translucent to IR signals - a sensor could be fitted in the space alongside the Tuning dial.  

 

Solder points on Barracuda module  

Barracuda module pinout

 

 

 


References

 

Original Reciva forum thread

Sharpfin page describing remote control modification