Make an Infrared Remote Control for PC

A friend of mine came yesterday to me asking if I can do something for him to control WinAmp via a Remote Control. After some searching I found a very simple to build IR receiver using the serial port on LIRC official page so I started to gather the components from our local electronics shop. It costed me around 1.5$ so it was also cheap enough 😀 .
The schematic is


and the components are as follows :

  • IC1 = 78L05, 5V regulator
  • IC2 = TSOP1738 , IR receiver
  • D1 = 1N4148
  • C1 = 4.7uF
  • R1 = 4.7K
  • one male or female (depends on your configuration/cables) serial (DB9,RS232) connector

I choosed to put all components on air and in the serial connector’s box (photos below).
The pinouts of the 9-pins connector are :

  • 1 = DCD (Carrier Detect)
  • 2 = RXD (Receive Data)
  • 3 = TXD (Transmit Data)
  • 4 = DTR (Data Terminal Ready)
  • 5 = GND (Ground)
  • 6 = DSR (Data Set Ready)
  • 7 = RTS (Request To Send)
  • 8 = CTS (Clear To Send)
  • 9 = RI (Ring Indicator)

TSOP1738 pinouts

the starting materials

during construction

inside the box

the final product

the remote controls I use

For the software part you can use :

(Edited) As a remote control you can use almost all universal remote controls (you must know its working code for the TSOP1738, for the one from the attached picture the code is 081) and most of the domestic (videorecorder, tv …) remote controls. To see if one is working open WinLirc, press Reconfigure and then Raw Codes. If when you press a button on your remote control you see lots of numbers there then it means it is working.

(Edited) To add a status LED to your receiver, just make the schematic below (I tested it last week and it went ok). The disadvantage of this is that you’ll need a battery so it can run ok.

IR Receiver with LED status
Just click the image to see it larger

References :

184 comments on “Make an Infrared Remote Control for PC

  1. Hi,

    Not being an electronic engineer, and the electronic website I wish to purchase from has an infinite amount of capacitors, diodes, and resistors (See, can you narrow down the properties of each?

    I am guessing the following:
    1. Capacitor = 5 volts input.
    2. Resistor = 10 Volts input.
    3. Diode = 10 Volts input/output.
    4. Regulator = 10V input.

    One further thing. There does not seem to be a 5 volt capacitor with 4.7 uF, on the site, but there are 4.5 v, 6v 7.5 volts etc.

    Or guidance to a site in the UK with exact specs for the capacitor would also be welcome.

    I hope to avoid spending money and time on parts that don’t work. I am v broke, so it means a lot.

    Any guidance would be very gratefully received.

    Many thanks in advance.


    Lucas (aka Bearslumber)

  2. Hi Lucas,

    Basically you need this :
    – capacitor at 16V (common value)
    – resistor at 0.25W (0.5W is also ok but it comes in a bigger package)
    – diode (from your website : 512-1N4148TA, but any 1n4148 is ok)
    – regulator : 78L05 (this means a 5V regulator)

    Hope this helps


  3. Sorin,

    I’m ever so grateful.

    Many thanks.

    I shall write a note when I get it all built and working.

    Thanks again.


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  5. can I use the TSOP 1736 and maxwell remot controle please and I need help for winlirc use
    thank you a lot

  6. They sell IR remotes for windows, just plug the receiver into the USB port and go, no drivers needed. Mine cost $12.99 at a local electronics store and it came with new batteries. I came here looking for information to hack one and use the parts to convert a dauphin keyboard into a remote. Guess I’ll have to take it apart and poke around…lol.

  7. thanks for your information…

    instead of 4.7uF i took 10uF capacitor. after pressing keys of remote nothing is coming in hyperterminal. i checked for 1200 baud rate. please any body can help me out.

  8. Hi, I’m very new in electronic, but I would like to know if its possible and not too difficult to make a “digital keyboard” (yeah, the ones with lasers and IR lights), I don’t need the laser part, I only want to know how to make the sensor and adjust it to recognise where’s each “key”

  9. Thanks Trimbitas for such a simple and lovely idea. In about 5 hours of work I was able to detect the IR in the WinLirc raw code viewer. I used Silan SM0038 IR receiver, supposedly an equivalent of TSOP1738. In dollar terms it cost me about 65-70 cents (in India). Now I have to work on detecting the actual key stroke bit patterns. I used a Philips 7805 TV equivalent remote (about USD 2.5).

  10. Sorin,vreau sa-mi spui daca as putea conecta receptorul infrarosu fara diode,fara regulator s.a.m.d adica direct.Un raspuns aici sau pe mail.Multumesc!

  11. thankyou man works like a charm im tryin with pic microcontroler like when we press a key in the remote a shortcut key is executed if any1 have a hex file for that please upload
    thanks in advance

  12. please help me.. the out put of pin 7 is -12 volts(approximately) and the ic 7805(rectifier) can’t produce the desired output of 5 volts.. what should i do..

  13. Hi, Sorin, I live in India. I have a IR receiver called PC3388. Actually, It came bundled up with my TV Tuner Card( Intex TV TUNER). I also have a remote for it. I wanted to know, can I use the PC3388 Instead of TSOP173 ? Will the bundled remote work for it? Please reply soon!

  14. Salut ! Am facut cu succes schema de mai sus, in winlirc functioneaza bine, insa nu reusesc sa-l fac sa mearga cu girder (fara instalarea pluginului “winlirc” si interconectarea pe tcp ). Oare functioneaza direct cu Igor plugin ?
    PS. Felicitari, un supertutorial !

  15. Salut Leo,

    Nu mai am montajul din pacate si a trecut mult timp de cand ma jucam cu telecomanda si nu mai tin minte exact cum mergea Girder (eu foloseam doar WinLirc) … scuze.

    ,toate cele bune


  16. I am using Windows XP and Girder and Igor.dll and this IR receiver works great, but do I have a problem – when I don’t use the remote for a while (like watching a 2 hour movie) the com port “goes to sleep” and won’t respond to signals from the remote. The only way to bring it back online is to close and restart Girder. Have you seen this before and is there a fix (like maybe connecting pin 1 to pin 3 so that the port always stays active?

  17. hello trimbitas, can i use a usb-db9 serial adaptor to use your circuit on regular computar with usb port only????

  18. hello trimbitas, can i use a usb-db9 serie adapter for ths circuit??? i only have a normaly computer with usb port… thanks

  19. Hola que tal, queria saber si alguien a trabajado con el codificador de infrarojo cmp2120, es que no encuentro algun circuito con el cual puedo ponerlo a trabajar, a y otra peticion donde lo puedo conseguir(cmp2120) soy de México. gracias

  20. Hello there,
    Question: does any one know an example (code in delphi 4,5 or…) how to create a program for RC5 receivers.
    I have a Philips universal remote controller (RC5) and a usb (RC5) receiver and Windows XP Pro sees the device but… then?

  21. I had a problem with my circuit and I got confused the same way “chandu” did (voltage was coming from GND, leaving output of Pin 7 – RTS with -12v).
    This happens because the COM port is not activated/in use. Once you configure WinLIRC to use the correct COM port and leave it open, RTS will output the correct voltage.

    My problem turned out to be my cheap unknown “Philips’ TVs IR receiver” (yeah, that’s how the vendor sold it to me), which uses Pin 1 for OUT and Pin 3 for GND.
    When assembling the circuit as shown in the schematics and activating the COM port, 78L05 was outputing very low voltage (I can’t remember now, I guess it was 2.39v) and I was receiving constant 0.78v from OUT pin of the IR receiver.
    After inverting pins 1 and 3 it’s working now 😉

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  23. I modified the circuit.
    First, no capacitors are needed. The receiver does not use that much current.
    Second, I replaced the 4.7 k Ohm resistor with a 470 Ohm resistor and a LED. The LED does indicate power and IR data by it’s brightness.

    BTW: This serial receiver does not output text data (for hyperterm), but it will toggle control lines instead. You need a program like LIRC to decode the data. And the decoder won’t work with USB adapters, they are crippled. You must use a ISA or PCI (includes PCMCIA) serial port.
    The PC3388 does look like it should work.

  24. I want to know how to built a ir remot for home appliance. Signal tx and rx. Complete diagram and programming which can help me. Thank you very much.

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