Introduction

Note: Please note that this tutorial is for WRL-15031. If you are using SPX-15000, please refer to this tutorial.

With the advent of WiFi-connected “smart” devices, IR remotes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Why sort through a coffee table-full of remotes when you probably have a much smarter, WiFi-connected device device sitting conveniently in your hand?

The WiFi IR Blaster is designed to connect all of those old, legacy IR-controlled devices to a WiFi network – exposing them to a new method of control. Want to control your TV via a web-browser? Want to ask Alexa to mute your stereo? Want to schedule triggers to your IR-controlled LED strip? These are all applications that the WiFi IR Blaster is perfect for.

SparkFun WiFi IR Blaster (ESP8266)

SparkFun WiFi IR Blaster (ESP8266)

The WiFi IR Blaster combines an ESP8266 – a powerful WiFi/microcontroller SoC – with IR emitters and receivers. With built-in WiFi support, the ESP8266 can be programmed to provide an interface between HTTP, MQTT, TCP, etc. and infrared-controlled devices.

This tutorial will explain how to assemble the WiFi IR Blaster and it will detail how to program the ESP8266 using the Arduino IDE. Once complete, you’ll have a simple web server than can emit infrared signals at the click of a browser-page.

Required Materials

The WiFi IR Blaster includes the board, an infrared emitter and an infrared receiver. You’ll need a handful of other tools and components to get it powered and programmed:

SparkFun Beefy 3 - FTDI Basic Breakout

SparkFun Beefy 3 - FTDI Basic Breakout

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

Infrared Remote Control

Infrared Remote Control

Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

The SparkFun Beefy 3 - FTDI Basic Breakout is primarily used to program the ESP8266, but it’s also able to supply the 3.3V/300mA power required by the Blaster. Although you can use any 3.3V USB-to-serial converter, this is the one we recommend.

Headers – either right-angle or straight are the recommended interface between your board, the programmer, a breadboard, perfboard, etc.

If you don’t have an IR remote handy, the SparkFun IR RemoteControl is a useful tool for testing. It may even accidentally work with your TV!

In addition to those components, you’ll need a soldering iron, solder, and general soldering accessories.

To add, you’ll also need a local WiFi network that you can connect your ESP8266 up to. It also helps to have a second device – smartphone or computer – that’s also connected to that network.

Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

IR Communication

This tutorial explains how common infrared (IR) communication works, as well as shows you how to set up a simple IR transmitter and receiver with an Arduino.

IR Control Kit Hookup Guide

How to get the most out of the infrared receivers and transmitters included in the IR Control Kit.

Interactive Hanging LED Array

Learn how we converted 72 lightbulbs into an interactive LED array for our conference room.

nRF52832 Breakout Board Hookup Guide

How to hookup and program (in Arduino!) the nRF52832 Breakout -- a development board for Nordic's BLE/ANT/2.4GHz system on chip.

SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini Hookup Guide

A hardware overview and hookup guide for the SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini -- a breakout for Nordic's impossibly cool Bluetooth/ARM Cortex M4 SoC.

nRF52840 Development with Arduino and CircuitPython

How to use Arduino or CircuitPython to develop applications for the nRF52840 Cortex-M4 Bluetooth SoC.