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