Rule #1 - Be Patient - Rule #2 - Don't ask when, if you don't contribute - Rule #3 - You have coding skills - LinuxMCE's small brother is available: http://www.agocontrol.com
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I have got one on the way and plan to try and get an orbiter on it.
Have you tried a web orbiter on it?
IR Blaster Dongles are small IR led's attached to a wire to better position them in front of the device to be controlled for improved performance and accuracy. An example is on like in the link below:
My TV and entertainment rack are built into my wall at home. I have a dual-headed ir blaster dongle plugged into the back of my USB-UIRT. One of the heads is in the AV rack with the satellite receiver, AV receiver, and sirius receiver. The head on the blaster is powerful enough to hit all devices. The second head of the blaster is run behind the wall into the TV recess. I have it mounted over the TV's ir sensor.
On my MD I have a mce usb receiver with a single irblaster, that one I have run to a second satellite receiver, underneath the 27" TV in the same recess of my entertainment center, its blaster is strong enough to hit both the TV and the receiver.
However, if running a 64bit version of lmce, connected to the USB-UIRT, the ir blaster dongles are not required. I have done this with beta4, for whatever reason, running 64bit LMCE allows the internal ir blaster to function on the USB-UIRT.
But that is my layout. I made my own ir blaster dongles from radio shack parts, but there are other resources on line.
Good news, your mce remote/receiver will work on install. The USB-UIRT is used to control IR devices.
For example, my core, has a dish network receiver, a sirius satellite receiver, a RCA AV Dolby Digital receiver, and a 42" Big screen TV. Using the USB-UIRT to learn each one of those devices remote control (this is very simple to do through the web admin after install) once all of the codes are learned, no matter which device I use, it has all been consolidated to a single mce remote, so if I want to watch a dvd, it automatically changes the input on my AV receiver to DVD, puts the TV on the correct input, and does it all with a single button press on the mce remote.
I also use it to change the channels on my dish network receiver, and all I had to do was learn the receivers codes. LMCE knows exactly what device to control, and which inputs to use, all controlled by IR and the USB-UIRT.
This is the main feature for me of the USB-UIRT, the ability to learn and reproduce any IR code I throw at it.
After the receiver is installed, it is automatically set up, and allows you to use your existing mce remote. This gives you the option to put your other receiver on a future media director (MD) and just carry the remote back and forth, so you have 2 places controlled by the same remote, and if you are on an MD, and you want to change a channel on the STB for cable or dish the MD sends the commands to the core, and blasts them using the USB-UIRT, so you can be in another room, and still have access to your main core devices.
Definitely a worth while purchase.
jvaughn - Check this link out: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Gyration-Universal-Remote-Control-for-PC-GYR3101US/sem/rpsm/oid/178884/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do
Yes, it is $36.
tschak909 is correct about the incomplete mapping. The seems to be an issue with the PageUp and PageDown mapping, but I haven't missed those functions -- yet.
Maybe there are other buttons not mapped that I have yet to discover. Still better than the WIImote and way cheaper than the fiire remote.