Home > Android, Hardware > Transform Your Smartphone into a Universal IR Remote Control with ZaZaRemote

Transform Your Smartphone into a Universal IR Remote Control with ZaZaRemote

You can plenty of electrical appliances controlled with their own infrared remote control around your house or/and office, and wish you could just control then with one and only remote. There are already universal remote controls for sale, and they may be great for devices in the same room, but not so convenient to control device in multiple rooms. The good news is that you can now transform you phone into a universal infrared remote control thanks to ZaZaRemote app available for Android or iOS, even if your phone does not come with a built-in IR transmitter.

ZaZaRemote with 3.5mm IR Transmitter (Top left), USB OTG IR learning (Top Right) , 3.5mm IR learning (Bottom Right)

ZaZaRemote with 3.5mm IR Transmitter (Top left), USB OTG IR learning dongle (Top right) , 3.5mm IR learning dongle (Bottom right)

There are three accessories available to add IR functionality to your smartphone:

  • An IR transmitter than you can connected into the 3.5m,m audio jack of your smartphone.
  • A USB OTG dongle that’s both an IR transmitter and receiver used to learn the remote control. (40 mm long)
  • An IR transmitter and receiver dongles that connects to the 3.5mm audio jack of your smartphone

The audio jack IR transmitter sells for just $1.09 on tinydeal, and since it cannot learn the IR code of your remote control, you have to relies on the remote control database in ZaZaRemote app that contains between 58,000 to 160,000 remotes depending where you read. The database is user generated, so it evolves everyday.

If you want to play it safe, and make sure it will support your remote, you’ll need to USB OTG or audio jack dongle with IR Learning function, the former is sold for $10 on Aliexpress + 2 or 3 dollars for shipping. I could not find the audio jack dongle on Chinese e-retailers site in English, but it’s available on Taobao for 68 RMB (~$11). Bear in mind that you can to make sure your phone supports USB OTG for the OTG dongle to work. The company also posted a disclaimer saying the audio jack may not work on all smartphones.

ZaZaRemote App ScreenShot (Click to Enlarge)

ZaZaRemote App ScreenShot (Click to Enlarge)

The application allows to control all sort of devices including TVs, set-top boxes, media players, amplifiers, air conditioners, cameras and more… You can also re-arrange the remote button on the screen as your please. If you have one of the dongle with IR learning functionality, you can also submit your device’s remote control to the service using the “Synchronise Configuration” menu of the app.

ZazaRemote is designed and manufactured by a company called Tiqiaa (Shanghai) Information Technology.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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  1. ben
    July 21st, 2014 at 13:02 | #1

    Do all 3 solutions shown above use the ZaZaRemote app software?

    As an english alternative to buying the 3.5mm ZaZaRemote from Taobao, seems like you can get it on ebay, although it’s $26.

    I wonder if it’s possible to transmit IR signals on the ZaZaRemote hardware, but without the use of their software/database.

    For example, can I use open source software (OpenRemote/IRule/IrScrutinizer/IrMaster/AnalysIR/Audacity/etc) to generate the exact pattern and carrier frequency (38khz, 56khz, 60khz, 455khz) I want to transmit?

    Although for the higher frequencies, I doubt the audio jack (3-30khz?) will work, and instead will need an ir specific solution (globalcache etc)

  2. July 21st, 2014 at 14:31 | #2

    @ben
    Yes, all three solutions works with ZaZaRemote.

    I don’t know if you can use another app with it.

  3. Franek
  4. July 21st, 2014 at 18:31 | #4

    How phone recognizes IR transmitter connected to headphone input? If as non-existing headphones then it’s useless as you cant use your phone and ir remote functionality at the same time.

  5. July 21st, 2014 at 21:47 | #5

    @Stane1983
    It should work just like Pressy (http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/08/30/pressy-adds-a-physical-button-via-your-phones-headphone-jack/), or this NXP development kit (http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/05/29/nxp-smartphone-quick-jack-solution-connects-to-your-smartphone-audio-jack-and-interfaaces-with-sensors-hmi-devices/)

    The NXP kit says:
    “Transmission uses the familiar Manchester Coding format to ensure convenient, reliable operation. The microcontroller automatically identifies microphone (MIC) and ground (GND), for quick and easy operation. The energy-harvesting block uses the right channel of the audio jack to output a 21.3 kHz sine waveform. The block rectifies the signal and generates a DC output.”

  6. Tired_
    July 22nd, 2014 at 04:01 | #6

    I’ve been looking for exactly this kind of device (HTC One envy, I think). Thanks for the post!

  7. ru4mj12
    July 22nd, 2014 at 07:49 | #7

    @cnxsoft

    I’m trying to think of, aside from a cool factor, when you would need to use your phone for a spi/i2c/gpio interface?

    For quick debugging maybe, but how much harder would it be to whip out a laptop with a bus pirate or similar to do any serious debugging..

    As for a general interface solution, I imagine most sensor devices will be accessible via bluetooth le, nfc, or wifi..

    What would be some good uses for the NXP 3.5mm jack platform?

  8. July 22nd, 2014 at 09:18 | #8

    @ru4mj12
    By using the audio jack, you can make products that are much cheaper than any Bluetooth, NFC or Wi-Fi equivalent… e.g. $1 button, $1 IR transmitter…
    The NXP devkit can be used to experiment and develop such products.

  9. TonyC
    July 30th, 2014 at 03:38 | #9

    Can anyone advise how to set the zazaremote app to English?? Mine is in Chinese and I have no idea how to change it.
    Many thanks.

  10. July 30th, 2014 at 09:44 | #10

    @TonyC
    The app is in English in my phone (Android 4.2.1), so I guess it should just automatically detect the locale set in your phone. If you default language is not English, it could be possible it defaults to Chinese.

  11. TonyC
    July 30th, 2014 at 12:41 | #11

    Thanks for the reply. I have installed the app on the iphone (downloaded from the Apple app store) and it has defaulted to Chinese. Because I can’t read it, I cannot find any button or menu to change it. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  12. John
    October 18th, 2014 at 18:16 | #12

    Zaza remote in English how to.
    To get this app to work in English on iPhone, all you have to to is go to settings, general, language & Regions then select English (not English UK). Now your zaza remote will now be in English. Hope the info helps it took me ages to find this out.

  1. August 11th, 2014 at 20:40 | #1