Remote Control X10 (Pollin) and LIRC

I bought the Remote Control X10 from Pollin, because it is radio-controlled (not infrared), really cheap and seems to work for lots of people with LIRC on an Ubuntu machine. There are really a lot of tutorials out there, but must of them for older versions of ubuntu/lirc and for another version of the rc. Mine has a “Medion” label and a scroll wheel.

Because all configuration files by others didn’t work for my setup, here is what I did to make it work. This tutorial assumes, you are using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and lirc 0.8.7.

1. Install Lirc:

sudo apt-get install lirc

At the end of the installation, there’s a menu, where you have to choose your remote. Select “ATI/NVIDIA X10 RF (userspace)” and “None” in the second dialogue. If you made a mistake here, just fire up the config dialogue again by typing

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc

2. Edit the configuration files

Now you goto to the directory, where the main LIRC configuration files are located.

cd /etc/lirc

Here you have to edit the file hardware.conf according to my file, that you can find on gist:

Note that you don’t have to load kernel modules like lirc_dev and lirc_atiusb like lots of old tutorials suggested, if you use this hardware.conf.

Before doing anything else, you should stop the lirc daemon with

sudo /etc/init.d/lirc stop

Next you have to edit the file lircd.conf, located in the same folder. If you really have exactly the same remote, you might try to use my lircd.conf first:

If this doens’t work perfectly (you can test your configuration with the steps described below), you should try to create this file with the handy utility tool irrecord. Start it with

irrecord -n -H atilibusb ~/lircd.conf

and follow the onscreen instructions to give a name to each key on your remote. If everything worked out, just backup the old lircd.conf and copy your newly recorded one there:

sudo mv /etc/lirc/lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.bak
sudo cp ~/lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf

3. Test the connection

At first we have to restart lirc:

sudo /etc/init.d/lirc start

Now we make use of the handy tool irw, that comes bundled with LIRC and shows, what you are receiving. Start it by typing:


If you hit buttons on your remote now, your terminal window should react to every button and look a lot like this.

irw shows, which button on your remote control was hit

4. Configure <program-name> to be controlled by your remote

If everything worked out until now, you are finished with configuring lirc. Now you should look out for a tutorial on how to make it work with the programm, you want to control. There are tutorials out there to remote control media centers like XMBC or MythTV, media players like Amarok, Rhythmbox and Exaile and nearly every other programm, where a remote control makes sense. With irexec, which also comes bundled with lirc, you can execute everything you can type on a terminal window with the press of one button.

I’m currently still experimenting, but I’m going to control at least Exaile and Totem on my box and I also want to shut it down with my remote. In the next days, I will post an update here, that shows how to do it. Stay tuned.


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