Remote Pi Infra-red power switch board - recommended

Hi all

I thought I’d pass on my experiences installing and using a Remote Pi IR power switch board with Volumio/Pi. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it seems to do exactly what it promises without any fuss - I recommend it.

I wanted something that would allow me to switch the Pi off when not in use, and start it up again without having to unplug/replug the USB power cable. The Pi has no power controller, so can’t do this by itself. And if I could do all that from the IR remote for my Yamaha amp, that would be a bonus.

After some research, I came across this very good comparison of the alternatives: http://ddurdle.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/adding-power-switch-to-raspberry-pi.html. I chose the Remote Pi board from MSL Digital Solutions (http://msl-digital-solutions.myshopify.com/) - it’s pricey (€18.90 plus postage), but looked like what I wanted, particularly with its ability to learn the IR command to use to switch on/off, and to pass IR commands to the Pi for use by LIRC.

The board seems to be well made, and installed easily on the Pi. It’s got a pushbutton on top for manual on/off control, and also has its own USB power socket - you plug the USB cable into the Remote Pi board, rather than the original Pi socket. I’m using an Element 14 case on the Pi, so I had to drill a hole for the pushbutton and enlarge the slot for the USB power connector - about 10 minutes work.

As well as controlling the power supply, the board passes a signal using one of the GPIO pins, so you need to install a script which polls the pin, and shuts the Pi down cleanly when it signals. You then need to call the script from /etc/rc.local. WARNING: Volumio keeps a copy of rc.local in /var/www/_OS_SETTINGS/etc, which it restores on start-up, so make sure you change that too - otherwise, you’ll lose your changes.

The board claims to support most (but not all) IR remotes - there’s a list here: http://msl-digital-solutions.myshopify.com/pages/more-information. The only sticking point for me was that my Yamaha remote can be programmed to emulate lots of other manufacturers’ remotes, so I had to choose one that worked with the Remote Pi board. After checking a friend’s Panasonic remote with the board, I set the Yamaha remote to emulate that, and it all worked just fine.

I haven’t yet tried installing LIRC to control MPD from the remote, so I don’t know how well that works.

Overall, this is a very good product, and I’ve been very happy with it.

Cheers … JD

Hello JD,

i also decided to get the RemotePi PCB you´ve suggested - unfortunately i did not manage to adapt one of the scripts which are floating around to activate the GPIO signal…

Woukd you please point me to the right direction where to get a working script for Volumio 1.51 & RemotePi ?!?

Thank You !!!

EDIT:

Matt from MSL Digital Solutions just updated the script site which now also includes a working script for the RemotePi solution :wink:

http://www.msldigital.com/pages/support-for-remotepi-board-plus-2015

Enjoy !

…EDIT:

Everything now is working like a charm :wink: The RemotePi Board 2015 is absolutely working flawless and powers up / switches down the Volumio “Rig” - futhermore (…Matt, thanks for the stunning support !!!) with adding LIRC to the Volumio distro, even more keys like Play, Pause, Skip FWD / RWND of the remote are now working, which comes in very handy and comfortable ! My unrestricted recommendations for adding this nice AddOn-Boad to an existing Volumio / HiFiBerry setup :wink:

http://fs1.directupload.net/images/150131/7r6bzhy7.jpg

I also added the RemotePi to my Raspberry B with DigiPi from Audiophonics. I had to remove the IR reciver from the DigiPi as it uses GPIO18 that is also used by the RemotePi. Instead all IR comands received by the RemotePi are passed to the Raspberry. I didn’t even have to change any LIRC configuration.

To make the double stack possible I replaced the 2x13 header on the DigiPi by one from adafruit http://www.adafruit.com/products/1112. This is also available here (especially for those from Germany):http://www.flikto.de/products/stacking-header-for-raspberry-pi-2x13-extra-tall?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=458758005&gclid=COrpl5KGwcQCFcPJtAoduEEALA

The two spacers on the adafruit header have to be removed to make mechanical fit with the DigiPi.

Setting up the RemotePi itself is a 15 minutes task. Including installation of the shutdown script provided by Matt from MSL. Everything works perfect and I would like to recommend this product!

But there’s one open point:

Shutdown of the RemotePi can by initiated by a dedicated sequence on GPIO 15 as described here http://www.msldigital.com/pages/support-for-remotepi-board-plus-2015

So I wonder how Voluion handles shutdown if chosen from the web UI and how to modify it to have this sequence being send to the RemotePi via GPIO15. I also made a post herehttps://volumio.org/forum/how-does-volumio-perform-shutdown-t2885.html but didn’t get any response so far. I’m sure that you clever Volumio developers know the answer. So come on…

BR

Michael
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