Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've got an idea to make a remote-controlled PC (using TV remote controller). After a brief googling session all I found were lots of references on DIY versions of IrDA adapters.

But is it possible to use a cheap USB IrDA adapter for this task? In specification it mentions 1 meter maximal distance, but as far as I understand remote-controls do not need to receive any kind of data from the TV, am I right?

Thanks in advance.

Cheap IrDA adapter

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Very unlikely it will work. IrDA <> 'Consumer IR'

I suppose there's some chance the dongle is a basic IR transceiver wired to a USB-to-serial converter, but it more likely it is a IrDA specific component -- especially if it supports the higher bit rates (above 115k2bps).

I'd ask at LIRC for device recommendations if you're going to use it.

LATER: from "Please note that for technical reasons it's not possible to use USB IrDA dongles with LIRC."

share|improve this answer
Yet, here's someone from Ask Different who confirms it worked for him with Apple Remote and a similar USB to IrDA adapter:… – ILIV Nov 27 '13 at 8:46
@ILIV The one in the answer is not IrDA, it's most probably a CIR receiver. – Dmitry Grigoryev Oct 19 '15 at 5:21

Your correct that the Remote does not recieve anything back from the TV, however most IR Adaptors like the picture have the ability to send data as well as recieve as there designed to communicate with other devices (i.e. mobile phones, old HP PDA's) that have the same style adaptor built in.

I suppose it depends on your level of willing to DIY / tinker with the IR Adaptor if it does not work out of the box for what you want..

Just having the adaptor installed in your PC will not give you any control over the PC, as it depends upon what the software that came with the IR Adaptor is capable of and if its able to understand the signals being sent from your remote control.

Before spending any money i would check that the IR adaptor your going to buy supports your TV remote, then do a bit more digging about the adaptor to find out what software if any it comes with and what that software is able to-do.

I would also have a look on google for anyone else that has done a similar thing with one of these adaptors, read into how they did it, what if any software they needed etc, the best thing to-do then is try and mimic what they have done, or at the very least get the same type of adaptor so you know that at the least will work for you.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot for a detailed answer. The adapter on the photo is a generic "data transfer adapter" used to transfer files between old IrDA devices (phones usually) and PC. Will it work with the remote or are the protocols totally different? – bezmax Dec 9 '11 at 9:58

Yes, This is what i do for xbmc on linux. Mine comes on the end of a cable, but its essentially the same tech.

I did at first try an ir reciever from an xbox, and that didnt work but it may be due to the xbos'es weird usb wiring.

share|improve this answer
What LIRC driver does it use? SIR (Serial InfraRed)? – bezmax Dec 9 '11 at 10:23
Can you confirm Sirex that the device you use is a IrDA dongle, and plugs into a USB port. – alanjmcf Dec 10 '11 at 23:08
Also, could you please tell us what is the maximum range you get with your remote and IR adapter? – ILIV Nov 27 '13 at 8:29
I don't know to be honest, it's longer than the room is big, so it's in the order of many meters. one thing I have found though is that I now own an actual xbox and use an xbox remote with my linux box so I can't use the power button else it turns the xbox on also. – Sirex Nov 27 '13 at 18:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.