Sorry this is long overdue, it’s taken a bit of time and research and evaluation to work it out, so I’m sure you know the answers already.
In our hacking, maker and technologically creative world, it’s inevitable that some enthusiasts would love to add their AV system to their smart home empire and much like the units mentioned in Part A it’s possible to communicate with your electronics using the widely accepted RS-232 standard over serial.
There are many options available to hobbyists and programmers everywhere, but the one I’m mentioning today is the Raspberry Pi (created by the foundation of the name name). Whilst the Pi board itself lacks a physical serial port installed, it does come with a bank of GPIO pins which allows you to expand the connectivity and capability of the board easily. The name itself whilst a reference to the number constant is a phonetic play on words for the Python language – popular for its readability and ease to learn, which through expansion with libraries such as the one accompanying the GPIO pins turns it into a powerful tool to interacting with the world online and off.
In terms of hardware you have a number of connections available. You can go down the USB route and enable this option in terminal on Linux. Alternatively you can follow the same instructions to enable access through expansion boards. Once you’ve bought everything and set up your Pi, you’d need to configure a few things first to enable your serial port for communication use beyond simply logging in. After this you can use the serial commands or GPIO library in Python to send your commands to your devices.
In terms of End user control, you’d be looking at using a physical or digital interface. Again this could be done with pre-built boards for your pi, expanding out into other boards that communicate such as the Arduino/Genuino, BeagleBoards or even with simple electronic components such as push to make switches that are read as on/off states by Python or C. The alternative would be to use a software interface such as one built in the PyGame library and ran fullscreen on the official 7″ touchscreen or any of the 3rd party variants that can take advantage of the HDMI port or alternate pins on the GPIO board (or all of them if you’re using serial over USB).
In short, the possiblities are pretty wide open with rolling your own, but is it worth it? Maybe if you’re a hobbyist itching for a challenge or a very specific person with the need to control things down to the nth degree. But as a standard home system, it’s definitely not an out of the box solution.
With that we’ve come to the end of our short series on replacing the many remotes in your living room and managing your AV. I hope these posts may have been useful to some of you and if they were, please feel free to let me know! If you have any other scenarios you’d like me to look through too (doesn’t have to be centred on electronics – it could be web, audio, visual or educational!) please also let me know and I’ll consider it 🙂
And for those looking for a conlcusion, it’s up to you. I can provide an honest opinion for each scenario, but given the diversity of the topic, it’s down to your skill level, patience and application as to which of these 5 routes you could choose.