Adding Consumer IR to the box

The f@milynet hardware contains a lot of stuff that the french producers of the box didn't bother to enable physically. For example the ITE8712F IO chip has support for serial ports, IrDA, smartcard reader and Consumer IR with boot-on-ir capabilities. The later is a great advantage when the box is supposed to be used as a DVD/(S)VCD/MP3/PVR combo.

The basics

Scheme describing the components placement and connections.

The only component missing before Consumer IR could be activated was an IR reciever. These components are pretty cheap and can be bought in almost any electronic component store and we decided to add one to the hardware ourselves. The only obsticle was that there was no connector attached to the motherboard to be used for this purpose. We had to solder the out pin from the IR reciever to the chip directly. The ITE8712F chip is not very big and it has a whole lot of pins so this was a task that required some skills in soldering.

The components were bought at ELFA in Gothenburg, Sweden.
IR Reciever: ELIRM-8601
Capacitor C1: 4.7uF
Resistor R1: 320 Ohm

The connecting cable (a very thin one) soldered in between pin 85 and 84.

Oops! The soldering was as described above not a simple task and we ended up soldering the line in between pin 84 and 85 on the ITE8712F chip. This was not planned from the beginning but the first attempt to solder the line to pin 85 only did not succeed so this was an permanent interim solution. Pin 84 is a pin used for the smartcard option in the ITE8712F chip and is an input pin so this did not really affect anything (as far as we know ;-).


The component board glued to the chassi with some plastic in between.

Next we had to mount the IR reciever and make it look not too ugly. We first soldered the components to a board with an old connector from floppy drive to hook up to the power supply for the 5V needed. To the board we also added an old CD to Sound card cable to be used to connect the small IR reciever we later mounted on the inside of the front panel. This was to be able to pick the pieces apart without having to cut any lines.

The ELIRM-8601 IR reciever glued on the inside of the pront panel. First we drilled a hole through the front panel in the same size and position as the three led holes.

We had to be very careful drilling the hole and afterwards we used a "Dremel Multi" to shape hole as the led holes. Note: The plastic inside the frontpanel is not as dark as the front panel itself.

The result. A forth hole in the front.

Then we just put the things together again. The only time the machine was shut off was during the soldering. Maybe this is not recommended but we were doing some software tests using lirc at different times through the modification and had to be sure that we didn't break anything.

The result

Viola. Freevo had to be altered a bit to work as expected on the machine (only to switch TV mode and stuff like that). The remote in the picture is not ultimate for the purpose but it works.

Did it, done it, liked it, loved it.

The result is a remote controlled PC in the shape of a DVD or VCR. Using Freevo to watch movies, play music, look at pictures (of Ulriks daughter) or see the TV listings the machine is ready to be placed in the living room. If we were users and not geeks we probably would ;-).

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