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#format wiki #language en

This page is part of the Ubuntu's LIRC Distribution Installation pages. If you are looking for LIRC support on a different release, choose from these pages:

Setting up Remote &/or Transmitter

Lirc can be used for IR and RF sending and receiving for many IR and RF remote controls and senders (blasters).

As installed, the default Lirc init scripts are properly setup to handle one receiver and possibly one transmitter. They can be adapted for additional receivers or transmitters, but the setup gets more complicated when doing this.

Setup Repositories

In order to install lirc, you will need to have universe enabled. See Ubuntu documentation for more information on enabling these repositories.

Install LIRC

You will only need to install lirc once to handle a remote and possibly a transmitter. It can be later reconfigured to choose a different remote control.

On a system with a command line only, you can install via:

  • $ sudo apt-get install lirc

On a system with a GUI, you can install LIRC via the Synaptic package manager.

Choose Remote and Transmitter

Depending on whether you had a GUI available to you, you will receive a dialog for that appropriate configuration frontend.

install_dialog.png Choose your remote and/or transmitter from the list provided upon installation. If your device is not listed, don't fret, you can still likely get support, but you should file a bug so that it can be fixed for future users. If your remote or transmitter isn't listed, choose "Custom"

Listed Remote

When using a listed remote, the package will setup the configuration in /etc/lirc/hardware.conf and /etc/lirc/lircd.conf for you. You will only need to set up a .lircrc file for any users using the remote.

Unfortunately, as of kernel 2.6.22+ (the kernel shipped with Ubuntu 8.04), all GPIO devices don't work using the standard lirc_gpio module. Choose your remote as you normally would, but look at the notes below to complete setup.

Unlisted Remote

For an unlisted remote, you will either have to manually create a lircd.conf or find an existing lircd.conf elsewhere. See the section at the bottom about unlisted remotes.

Test Lirc

If you chose a supported remote during installation, lirc will already be started for you and ready to test.

  • $ irw

The terminal should 'appear' to hang, (not return a command prompt). Press buttons on your remote, you should see key presses then come up on the terminal. When you're done, testing press <crtl> + 'c' to quit.

If irw returns immediately, and gives you another command prompt some of your modules aren't loading correctly. Try rebooting your computer. If this doesn't work check dmesg for clues as to which module isn't loading.

  • $ dmesg | grep -i lirc

Create a .lircrc file

A .lircrc file stores the mappings for all of your remote buttons to applications for your user name. Each user that will be using the remote will need a .lircrc file in their home directory. There are 4 methods available for generating your .lircrc file.

Mythbuntu LIRC generator

The Mythbuntu Team has developed a python script that will generate a sane remote control mapping to use or at least start from. It grabs all of the possible buttons and remotes from /etc/lirc/lircd.conf and maps them over for MythTV, Xine, MPlayer, VLC, Totem, & Elisa.

Install the application as follows:

  • $ sudo apt-get install mythbuntu-lirc-generator

To run, simply run:

  • $ mythbuntu-lircrc-generator

By default, all 6 application configurations are generated for the currently logged in user. Any old configurations will be renamed.

Web Generator

The web tool LIRC Config creates customized .lircrc files for MythTV, Xine, and Mplayer from a web browser.


If you're a KDE user, you may find it more convenient to set up functionality using irkick. This requires you already have your lircd.conf and hardware.conf set up, but you won't need an lircrc file if you take this approach.

First, you'll need to install a couple packages:

  • $ sudo apt-get install lirc-x kdelirc

Next, start up IRKick - It's in the Utilities menu.

IRKick contains extensions to easily setup the remotes functions with Amarok, Kaffeine, Noatun, and Konqueror, but can be made to perform any terminal command or dcop call.

To add functionality for a button - just click add (on the right-hand side). To add a new mode for the remote, click on the left add and give it an appropriate name. Note: when adding a new mode, you'll also need to assign a button to switch to that mode. This allows you to have buttons do different things in different modes. Select the mode on the left before adding new functions for buttons.

Click apply when you're done making changes, and that's it, no configuration files to play with Smile :)

Standard Method (By hand)

For information on how to manually write a .lircrc file, see the section below.

Drivers needing extra effort

The Hardy packaging will handle some of the extra work required for some remotes. The parts necessary for these are detailed here.

Serial Receiver or Transmitter

An extra dialog will be presented to you upon installation to enable the first or second serial port for LIRC usage.

GPIO Devices

Kernel 2.6.22 no longer allows the lirc_gpio driver to be used. Instead all gpio devices will load from the dev/input native lirc driver. You will be asked for what "event" device you want to use for your remote. This information can be found via

  • $ cat /proc/bus/input/devices

Apple Remote

You will need to find your event device in /dev and set the DEVICE item in /etc/lirc/hardware.conf

IR Transmitting

IR transmitters can be used to control external devices such as cable boxes or television sets. They are very useful in home theatre automation by reducing the number of remotes necessary to control your devices.

Supported Transmitting Devices

The following drivers have support for IR transmission:

  • Serial IR Transmitter (Supported by lirc_serial module)
  • Command IR Receiver / Quadruple Transmitter (Supported by lirc_cmdir module)
  • Microsoft Media Center Remote Version 2 (Supported by lirc_mceusb2 module)
  • Hauppauge PVR-150 (Supported by lirc_pvr150 module)
  • USB-UIRT (Supported by native lircd binary)

Device Specific Setup

The following section outlines the specifics for setting up the different types of IR transmitters. After preparing the device specific items, proceed on to the general IR transmitter setup.

Serial IR Transmitter

Hardy packages will present you with questions related to what serial port you are using. Follow the dialogs and it will configure for serial port properly.

CommandIR IR Receiver and Quadruple-Transmitter

One site has automated the above procedure for their CommandIR Mini transceiver, which has a remote receiver and 4 IR blasters. The device's emitters allow control of multiple devices and do not require different codesets since each emitter can be individually selected for transmitting using irsend set_transmitters.

It is possible to use their script to setup LIRC on Ubuntu for CommandIR then make minor modifications for other hardware.

MCEUSB2 IR Transmitter

Hardy packages include support for the mceusb2 IR transmitter.

PVR-150 IR Transmitter

firmware and codesets

You need to download the Hauppauge firmware and add the appropriate codeset to your lircd.conf for the device you want to control.

The firmware can be found here. Download it and put it in /lib/firmware

The codesets can be found here. This file contains the codesets for every device in the database. You will need to extract the information for the device you want to control, and append it to your /etc/lirc/lircd.conf -- but for now, just save it someplace safe.

When you have downloaded and moved the firmware and have the codeset file, Reboot before continuing.

Adding the blaster codeset

You will need to determine the codeset of your device. To help you determine the possible codeset, consult the list here: here. Note that finding the correct codeset for your device can be tricky- but the master list can usually help you track them down by process of elimination.

Once you have determined a codeset, you need to extract those codes from the master file you downloaded and add them to your /etc/lirc/lircd.conf as another remote.

For example, to blast a Power Button a Motorola DCT6200 series cable box, you would use the POWER button raw code from codeset 85. If you are linking it to a key on your remote, you want to change the button name to the name reported by irw.

  • $ sudo nano /etc/lirc/lircd.conf

First, add the blaster header:

  • begin remote
      name          blaster
      bits          32
      flags         RAW_CODES
      eps           0
      aeps          0
      plead         0
      gap           333333
      repeat_bit    0
      begin raw_codes

Next, find the power button in codeset 85- since this is a cable box, it is prefixed in the master file as 0_85:

  •     name 0_85_KEY_POWER

then make it conform to how irw reports the keypress- in this case, irw reports it as POWER, so that is what to name it:

  •    name POWER

Keep adding your buttons (only the ones you want to control with the blaster). When you are finished, add:

  • end raw_codes
    end remote

to close out that remote definition. In this example, the entire remote definition for the power button only looks like:

  • begin remote
      name          blaster
      bits          32
      flags         RAW_CODES
      eps           0
      aeps          0
      plead         0
      gap           333333
      repeat_bit    0
      begin raw_codes
      name 0_85_KEY_POWER
     end raw_codes
    end remote

After saving the new lircd.conf, restart lirc:

  • $ sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart

and test it. In the example the command:

  • $ irsend SEND_ONCE blaster POWEROFF

turns the DCT6200 cable box on and off. Even if it does not control the device as intended, you should see the blaster flashing.

Troubleshooting codeset selection, blaster placement, etc. is beyond the scope of this guide. A wealth of information is readily available via Google

General Setup & Usage

After completing the device specific setup for your transmitter, there are multiple steps that must be done for all remotes.

Append lircd.conf

You will need to find (or create) a lircd.conf that represents the remote that you will be transmitting. You can store a configuration for this remote anywhere on your system. Simply modify the system wide file /etc/lirc/lircd.conf to add an extra "include" line with the entire path to the configuration. See the Unlisted Remotes section for more information on obtaining or recording a lircd.conf

Restart Lirc

  • sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart

Test transmission

This is the syntax for transmitting is as follows:

  • $LIRCDPROCESS represents the lircd device from /dev that you are using for the transmitting.
  • $REMOTE represents the name of your remote as described in your /etc/lirc/lircd.conf

  • $BUTTON represents the button that you are attempting to transmit.

Here is an example:

  • irsend -d /dev/lircd SEND_ONCE my_favorite_remote power
  • This will transmit the power button from your remote entitled my_favorite_remote using the primary lircd process.

If the transmission isn't immediately working, the best method to start diagnosing is via a digital camera. Turn on the digital camera and via it's viewfinder look at the IR LED that you are attempting to transmit from. You should see a momentary bright purplish flash coming from the IR LED whenever you issue a transmit. If you don't see anything, your device is not transmitting.

Unlisted Remotes

If your remote isn't listed in the lirc installation, you should file a bug on Launchpad.

Using a premade lircd.conf

$ wget "<download link>" -O lircd.conf
  • For other remotes, a good place to start looking is the Lirc Website Remotes list.

  • The online remote configuration tool LIRC Config also maintains a customizable database of lircd.conf's.

Replace /etc/lirc/lircd.conf with this lircd.conf that you have found or add an include line for it:

$ sudo cp <name of downloaded.conf> /etc/lirc

If you have found a remote, skip the next section.

Otherwise, continue, and you will record a remote using irrecord.

Recording a Remote

Insert the module that you intend to record from.


  • $ sudo modprobe lirc_mceusb2
  • Record the remote using irrecord
    • $ sudo irrecord -d /dev/lirc0 lircd.conf
  • Once you have completed your configuration, move this lircd.conf to /etc/lirc/lircd.conf
    • $ sudo mv lircd.conf /etc/lirc
  • Add the modules for the remote to /etc/lirc/hardware.conf under MODULES==

Additional lircrc information

Multiple applications can be listed in the .lircrc file, but you will need a seperate begin and end block for each button in each application.

  • MythTV lircrc

If you are using this for mythtv, you will either need to create a standalone lircrc for mythtv in ~/.mythtv/lircrc or create a symbolic link to this file and place all the lircrc related content in /.lircrc.

  • Creating a symbolic link. [ All mythtv buttons will need to be placed in ~/.lircrc with the rest of the applications you use lirc for ]

    • $ ln -s ~/.lircrc ~/.mythtv/lircrc
  • Creating a standalone file. [ All mythtv buttons will be placed in ~/.mythtv/lircrc ]

  • IRexec

irexec is able to interpret keypresses and launch applications when the keys are pressed. The syntax is:

  • begin
        prog = irexec
        button = REMOTE_BUTTON
        config = APPLICATION

APPLICATION is simply the path and name of a file marked executable.

An example lircrc using the mceusb remote for using kaffeine without irkick is attached KaffeineLirc. Download the file to .lirc/kaffeine and add the line include ~/.lirc/kaffeine in ~/.lircrc.

Configuring a lircrc by hand

If you are intending on using lirc for only IR transmitting, you don't need to create a ~/.lircrc file. If you are going to use it for IR receiving, you will need to create a ~/.lircrc file describing what each of the buttons does for each application you will use lirc in.

The basic syntax is as follows:

  • begin
        prog = PROGRAM
        button = REMOTE_BUTTON
        config = ACTION


  • PROGRAM is the program you are recording buttons for. Some examples for PROGRAM are mythtv, mplayer, xine, vlc, and irexec.

    REMOTE_BUTTON is the name of the button in accordance with what is listed in your /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.

    ACTION is the action that will be performed when this button is pressed. You can find a list of actions in the attached .lircrc example file.

    • For a mceusb2 remote, you might need to change the button names from "chan-", "chan+", "vol-", "vol+" to "chandown", "chanup", "voldown", "volup".

Restarting Lirc

Should you ever need to restart lirc due to adding a remote, or after a suspend or anything like that:

  • $ sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart

Adding support for more remotes

If you run into a situation where you think your remote "should" be working, but no /dev/lirc0 is being created, you may have to add the USB id to the LIRC source file. Follow these directions:

1. Start out by looking at lsusb output.

  • lsusb
    • Take note of the Vendor:Product IDs.

2. For the sake of this example, these are the IDs of the receiver we are trying:

  • 0471:060d Philips

3. Install lirc-modules-source.

  • sudo apt-get install lirc-modules-source

4. Switch into the /usr/src/lirc-* and backup your driver.

  • cd /usr/src/lirc-*/lirc_mceusb2
    cp lirc_mceusb2.c lirc_mceusb2.c.old

5. Edit the lirc_mceusb2.c file and add in your particulars. Scroll down to where the remotes are listed. If your vendor is not listed than you'll have to add that in. (eg define VENDOR_PHILIPS 0x0471) NB. Philips is already listed as above.

Now add in the particulars for your remote. In this case;

  •         /* Philips SRM5100 */
            { USB_DEVICE(VENDOR_PHILIPS, 0x060d) },

NB. Note from the code you noted down that the first bit is the vendor code (0471) and the second the remote id. (060d)

6. Now it's time to rebuild the modules. We'll start by clearing out the old one.

  • sudo dkms remove -m lirc -v 0.8.3~pre1 --all

7. Now it's time to build your new one.

  • sudo dkms add -m lirc -v 0.8.3~pre1
    sudo dkms -m lirc -v 0.8.3~pre1 build
    sudo dkms -m lirc -v 0.8.3~pre1 install

8. Update the modules and reinstall LIRC

  • sudo rmmod lirc_mceusb2
    sudo modprobe lirc_mceusb2
    sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart

9. Test a few buttons.

  • irw
    • You should get output when you press a few buttons.

10. Make sure that you send a patch upstream to LIRC so that it can get into the next LIRC release. If you would like to also see it show up in the next Ubuntu release (in the case that LIRC upstream does very infrequent releases), then submit a bug to launchpad referencing the LIRC CVS commit.

InstallLirc/Hardy (last edited 2013-05-02 00:18:32 by moergaes)