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Ir Emitter Ir Blaster

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This might and probably is a noob question, but before I go and set something up I prefer to be safe than sorry with my set up. I am very interested in the iRule set up, and I would require a gateway that then send out an IR signal. Disregarding that, I would like to be able to have one IR wire in the room that will send the signal all over the room and be able to cover all the equipment on my rack and possibly a second one of that sort to cover the projector. My question is, is that what a blaster does? Is there a difference between a blaster and an emitter? I certainly do not want to connect one of those stick IR diodes on my AVR and other equipment. I rather have one emitter that will have a wide spread.
post #2 of 21
Yes, a blaster is typically a term for an IR emitter that is used to send out a command to multiple components. An emitter typically means the stick-on type.

You can get by with a blaster if you don't have any identical components and have line-of-sight between the blaster and all your devices. If you don't have line-of-sight then you either need another blaster or a stick-on emitter. If you have duplicated devices then you typically put an IR emitter on each device and cover it up so it only receives IR from the emitter. You then set the IR extender to route IR out of a particular port.
post #3 of 21
You said you do not want to stick an emitter on your AVR. Have you checked to see if it has in IR input on the rear of the unit? It is usually a small Jack like a headphone jack and obviously a direct connection like this would be the most reliable.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Some of the components have an IR input. However, wanting to control IR lights, projector and things like a simple cable box, i rather kill two birds with one stone and have one blaster to cover the whole rack.
post #5 of 21
Most blasters also have the emitter ports as well. It's not like you can't have both. If my device has a direct IR input then I'm going to make sure I use it.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Definitely, why not use a hardwired connection for a fool proof application.

Thank you for your help on a simple matter like this.
post #7 of 21
ok how can you tell if its a blaster or an emitter

people use the words interchangable
post #8 of 21
I'd call a blaster something that you place somewhere to have line-of-sight to multiple devices (also called a flasher). I'd call an emitter something that you use for a single device and typically would cover the IR receiver of the device and attached with adhesive.

Most blasters also have emitter ports, usually 3.5mm mono connections, that allow both IR from the blaster and IR from ports using IR emitters or direct connection with 3.5mm mono cables.
post #9 of 21
I agree with Bryan's translation. A blaster is an ir bulb that "blasts" the signal to all devices while an emitter is usually a connecting port where you run the wire to a single device.

I know it's confusing which is why it is always best to clearly understand what you expect the system to do. A perfect example is if you have two of the same cable boxes in a room a blaster will always send the commands to both. But, if you have adressable emitters you can control cable box 1 from the emitter port one and cable box 2 from a separate emitter and they can be controlled independently.
post #10 of 21
Hey, not sure if this is an active thread still... but I'm tryingt o fully understand how to properly connect up my devices to make iRule work... one question I have is... Global Cache GC-100-12 (http://iruleathome.com/the-hardware/product/10-global-cache-gc-100-12) vs Global Cache iTach WF2IR (http://iruleathome.com/the-hardware/product/2-global-cache-itach-wf2ir)

It's my understanding, that these two devices do the same thing... but the iTach WF2IR only allows you to connect 3 devices, where as the GC-100-12 allows you to connect 8??

So question part 2, if you have an IR output on the back of the device (not sure if this exsists... because I haven't looked, but if it does!), you can wire it directly to one of these... without having to use an IR Emitter? Thus keeping the system pretty and less wires having to be seen? Or am I completely missing something?

So if my basic understanding about this process accurate if I say.... the device (GC-100 or WF2IR) receive the command from my iPhone, they then send it through the corresponding emitter, which is overlaying the IR receiver on the device, so that it can receive the command? In which case, if you use the blaster (which can send signals to multipel DIFFERENT devices, how do you program it to know which one to send to? Or is that where the configuring of iBuilder comes in, as the devices run different codes, so if shoots out a signal to everything, but only the devices that have the correct coding respond? And if that hold true, that means you could setup 2 blasters, in different locations of your tower/housing (whatever phrase you use to describe what is holding all your devices) and you could control everything, instead of having 9 IR Emitters running around?

Please let me know where my young mind is steering wrong.

Edited by SeanKosmann - 10/18/12 at 7:26am
post #11 of 21
Hi Sean,

I'm not sure I have answers to all your ?'s, but can hit a few of them:

The GC-100 is an older model than the iTach - you're correct on the '8' ports versus '3' situation (these don't necessarily have to equate to 8 vs 3 devices - as you mentioned later, using an IR blaster will allow you to use one port to control multiple devices). One key difference that isn't immediately obvious is that the GC-100 can only handle one 'session' at a time; you can run into issues with multiple devices that provide continual feedback or if you have multiple iPads/Touchs trying to utilize the connection. I personally have a GC-100 controlling a stack of equipment and it has never been an issue - it just depends on your intended implementation. I went with the GC-100 because of the range of IR/2323/contact options it offered. Certain iTach models can offer great placement flexibility (such as not having to be physically connected to you network), so that might also influence your buying decision.

Regarding hardwiring IR connections - yup, very doable, in fact, preferable to going 'airborne' but restricts you to a 1:1 relationship between ports and devices (unless you use a splitter) - I have several hardwired devices and this type of connection eliminates all the issues with tx/rx alignment and having an emitter coming unstuck, etc.

Your mental model of how things get setup is correct - iTouch/iPad/Android accesses your home wifi and communicates with your GC device which uses IR or RS232 to talk to the target device (many devices are IP-controllable, in which case you don't need the GC unit). Using an IR blaster can make for a cleaner install, as long as you have good line-of-sight access to whatever needs to be controlled. Usually there are not issues with one blaster controlling multiple devices - manufacturer's typically use unique IR code sets for each model, so you don't have to worry about multiple devices responding to the same squirt of IR code (and there are ways around this too, if needed). As long as you've configured in the right device, the control app will take care of associating the appropriate device-specific commands with a specific button.

Hope some of this help!

Edited by DGF - 10/18/12 at 10:35am
post #12 of 21

Thanks! It definitely does... I figured as the best practice is always smaller to bigger. I was going to start with my bedroom setup, as it will be much simpler to design/setup, then expand to the upstairs (real system). So in my bedroom I have a 50" LCD, Sony Blu-Ray Player, Sony Receiver/5 Disc player, and soon an AppleTV. If I'm understanding everything, these seem to be my options...

1) Get a GC-100, hard wire all of the devices to it... thus giving me the option to hide the box if wanted (or all the devices for that manner)

2) Get a iTach WF2IR, set it up on the opposite side of the bedroom, using a blaster (mounted to teh ceiling?) to trigger all the devices

These seem to be the two best options for this specific setup.... I'm guessing option 1 would be the best as I will never have to worry about LOS?

Ok, so I keep seeing people say you get "feedback" with you use IP or RS232.... well if I'm using the iTach... I'm making everything IP, right? Or is this for the iPhone directly controling a device that is natively IP capable? Thus not using a iTach?
Edited by SeanKosmann - 10/18/12 at 11:46am
post #13 of 21
Glad it helped!

In your "Option 1" I presume that by "hard wire" you're talking about individual emitters (versus wiring a GC port to an IR socket on each device)? If so, that'll work nicely. I have some devices with IR emitters stuck in their front panels and, as long as you're careful with emitter placement, there are no issues with also using the standard remote as well. You obviously need wired access to your home network, but it sounds like you have that taken care of. FWIW, I bought my GC-100 from a seller on eBay and got GC to do the firmware upgdate - worked out great. .......I just took a quick look at listings on eBay - there are a couple of used GC-100s going for a steal! ....and no, I have zero connection with the sellers!

The AppleTV is a strange beast - one would assume that it could be fully controlled using IP, but this isn't the case - you have to use IR.

Your option 2 is also viable, but it sounds like it wouldn't look too great! Having said that, IR bounces nicely! ......I have a blaster that controls equipment where there is not a direct LOS, but I bounce it off a facing wall and it works flawlessly. The downside is that you might have to commit to purchasing equipment in order to play around with placement before knowing 100% that it will work.

Your final question/statement about getting feedback using IR and IP is correct - I'm not aware of any devices that will provide feedback using IR (but I'm open to being corrected!) - if you want feedback you have to go with 232 or an IP-based device.

post #14 of 21
For hardwiring... can I use a cord out of the device and have it plug directly into the iTach? or do I have to have the emitter stuck over the receiver? And do the GC's not come wireless? Or do I have to run an ethernet to it?

As for feedback... if I have a Onkyo receiver for example... and I connect it to the iTach... I am now controlling it with IP not IR... so can I get feedback? Or is the logic as such... I send IP command, iTach picks it up and changes it to IR... therefore I'm still controlling it using IR which means no feedback?? frown.gif
post #15 of 21
The only way to control a device with 'IR' and avoid using an emitter is if it has a socket specifically designed to receive IR signals electrically. You might see if anyone else on the forum has mentioned controlling the same equipment you have - certain models use the Xantech spec, but most of the time you can get away with a simple two-conductor cable (typically 3.5mm male-to-male). If your equipemt doesn't have the IR hardwired function (you'll be able to see very quickly by looking) you'll have to run an emitter/blaster.

Regarding having to run ethernet to the Global Cache' units - the GC-100 definitely needs to be physically cabled to a hub/router, as do certain of the iTach models; however, there are at least two iTachs variants that connect wirelessly, so they give you more placement flexibility.

As for getting feedback - even if you are using 'psuedo IR' (by going 100% wired and avoiding using emitters, etc.) the IR spec just isn't designed to carry any feedback data, so unfortunately, as you suspected, you're out of luck.

Edited by DGF - 10/18/12 at 3:52pm
post #16 of 21
Just for the sake of completeness - I talked about the GC-100 having eight ports (6x IR + 2x RS232), as this is the model I have; but there are variants within the GC-100 range that give you slightly diiferent permutations.

Also, I checked on the GC site and the iTach nomenclature appears to be that all wi-fi enabled devices use a "WF" prefix and wired models use an "IP" prefix (kinda makes sense!). So the two iTach models I think you were alluding to are the WF2IR (wireless IP to IR) and the IP2IR; the latter obviously needing a wired ethernet connection and the former just needing to have a decent wi-fi signal.

post #17 of 21
Thanks a lot DGF! I think i'm going to take the plunge and spend this weekend setting up the bedroom, so if you watch the news and see a guy that was throwing iTachs in the air and shooting them in his parking lot... you'll know I couldn't get it working!

Ok, random question, I think I know the answer to, just want to confirm... there is no limitation on what emitter I use correct? I could use a single, double, triple or quad right? As long as I setup iBuilder correctly i should be fine??

Oh oh! I just thought over another possibility.... so if I hardwire the device to the iTach... so i don't have to use an emitter or a blaster.... can I get a splitter for for the iTach... so instead of having 3 input slots, i can have 6?? or even 9?!?!?! Is it weird that I'm getting excited about potentially actually having this work!! Something like this?!?! http://infrared-resources.com/9inch-3.5mm-Mono-Plug-to-Dual/M/B003UKU9FS.htm?traffic_src=bing_shopping&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=bing_shopping
Edited by SeanKosmann - 10/19/12 at 6:23am
post #18 of 21
Very cool! Delighted you're taking the plunge!

Emitters are all pretty similar - the original intent of this thread was to debate the differences between emitters and blasters - they all do the same thing, but can vary in their power, angle of coverage, etc. The single/double/quad heads should behave identically - I think the iTach has sufficient output to drive any of the variants successfully, so pick what makes sense for your own install.

Using a splitter on a hardwired connection should be fine too - the 2-conductor IR cable is very unsophisticated and you can run the signal over pretty substantial distances, so I suspect splitting it, with decent quality connectors, won't cause a problem. (I don't have first-hand knowledge here, but you're really not pushing the envelope electrically)

I've seen some issues where running hardwired requires a bit of playing around with the cable & config - nothing insurmountable, but sometimes not quite immediately plug-n-play. If you do get in the situation where a hardwired device isn't responding, you'll be able to temporarily switch to using a regular emitter to check that your iRule logic and device codeset are both correct, and then can focus on getting the hardwired connection to work in the knowledge that everything upstream is configured correctly.

So all that leaves now.....is to go for it!! When everything works like it says on the tin, it's truly a wondrous thing!

post #19 of 21
I lost the auction on ebay! But I didn't find a site HomeSears.com that sells the WF2IR devices for $89! Just in case anyone else is looking to start or expand their setup wink.gif
post #20 of 21

Happened to come across this thread, may I know if there's any specific IR blaster to be used with this iTach IR?

I'm using "On Controls" WIFI-IR3 which is similar/identical (don't know if there's any relationship in between). I'm actually trying to transmit my IR commands from the output to an IR blaster via the 3.5mm jack.

Ideally i would like to have this IR blaster to be mounted on the ceiling, is there any particular IR blaster that is highly recommended or tested that is powerful enough, in terms of range for a conference room?

Really appreciate if I could gather some advise here.wink.gif

post #21 of 21
All the IR blasters are pretty much the same. Differences would be if they have an LED that flashes when sending a signal or multiple IR emitters branching off the same 3.5mm cable.
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