Build an ESP8266 IR Remote Control with LOLIN IR Controller Shield for D1 Mini Board

Infrared remote control are still widely with TVs, set-top boxes, air conditioners, and all other sort of appliances with the end result of having many remote control around the house.

If you want to cut on the number of remote controls, there are several solutions:

  1. Get a smartphone with a Built-in IR transmitter like Xiaomi Mi A1.
  2. Add an IR transmitter to your smartphones’s headphone jack using ZazaRemote or USB type C port with ROCK USB type C IR transmitter.
  3. Get a WiFi IR blaster in order to control devices remotely, or maybe buy several try control any IR devices from anywhere
  4. DIY your own solution for more flexibility, for example using ANAVI Infrared pHAT and a Raspberry Pi board.

The smartphone solutions (1 & 2) works as long as you are in the room, but the WiFI IR blaster allows you to control devices even if you are not present, or even schedule times to turn the device on or off.

The DIY solution offers even more flexibility as you can install sensors, and so on, and customize or design your own web interface. However using a Raspberry Pi for only controlling IR devices is a bit over-engineered, and larger than needed, even when using a Raspberry Pi Zero. Another solution is to go with ESP8266, and while you have several choices when it comes to hardware, using Wemos D1 mini with the recently launched IR Controller Shield should be one of the easiest, cheapest, and most compact solution available.

LOLIN IR Controller

Wemos LOLIN IR controller specifications:

  • 4x IR LEDs (940nm) pointing in four different directions
  • 1x IR receiver (38 kHz) for learning function
  • Tx/Rx mode selection – Sender – D3/GPIO0, Receiver – D4/GPIO2
  • 2x 8-pin headers compatible with Wemos/LOLIN D1 mini board

The header are not populated by default, but the controller comes with two headers that you ‘ll probably want to solder yourself.

Software-wise, you can use IRRemoteESP8266 Infrared remote library for ESP8266, and play with Wemos’s Arduino sketches made for the IR controller shield. The schematics and datasheets of the IR Tx/Rx chips can be found in the wiki.

LOLIN D1 Mini IR Controller Shield
Bottom side of LOLIN IR Controller Shield (left) and LOLIN D1 Mini board (right)

LOLIN D1 mini sells for $3.50, and the IR controller shield for $1.40. Shipping is not included, but only adds a few dollars, as for example the total price for both board with shipping to my location in Asia would be $7.14. In case, you want something battery powered you can add the battery shield for $2.20 from the same shop, since the shields are stackable.

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5 years ago

what are all those unpopulated pads on IR board bottom side?

5 years ago

The stars are 4-way solder-bridges to reroute the recv and send diodes to one of the 8 (2 x 4) different I/O pins from the esp.
Very neat and really uncommon for such a cheap pcb.

5 years ago

Didn’t knew of the Zaza and full DIY solution before, thanks for mentioning.

Chris M
Chris M
5 years ago

They should have done a shield for their EPS32 boards instead. That would then open up the use of Bluetooth to control it, which is nice if you’re having to power it all with a battery (I’m not running power cables to the coffee table that it will have to rest on).

Khadas VIM4 SBC