Multi-room control with USB-UIRT

Even though the USB-UIRT might be connected to your PC with it's relatively short USB cable, you aren't limited to only controlling IR devices that are in range of its IR blaster (which is pretty powerful, I might add). I'm a big fan of the USB-UIRT, and one of the reasons is the handy built-in IR emitter jack in the back of the device. This allows you to connect those mini stick-on IR emitters to control equipment that might be stored out of direct line of sight of the USB-UIRT. Yes, very handy. But what would be even MORE handy would be to take those mini stick-on IR emitters and stick them on devices, say, in another room, or in another building, wouldn't it? Well, with a few inexpensive parts and a little elbow grease, that's exactly what I did....and you can too!!

 

My Windows Home Server running TouchControl Server is located down in the corner of my basement next to my whole house audio equipment. So I can easily control those pieces using the USB-UIRT's IR blaster. However, my home theater is across the basement in another room, and the equipment is in a nearby closet. So first I had to run a length of CAT5 cable between my home server and my theater closet - all through mostly unfinished basement, so no problem. Then I connected a 3.5mm mini jack keystone wall adapter (http://www.cablestogo.com/product.asp?cat_id=2255&sku=37035) to each end of the CAT5. Then all I did was connect the USB-UIRT's auxiliary jack to one keystone adapter with a short male-to-male mini-plug cable, and plugged the mini stick-on emitters into the keystone adapter in the closet, and voila, I just extended the USB-UIRT (and thereby TouchControl) into my home theater.

 

Actually, once I got it into the closet, I needed quite a few emitters to cover everything, including one into the theater room for the projector, so I ended up splitting the cable (just using simple 3.5mm stereo mini-plug splitters) 3 or 4 times, and used the dual mini emitters, and it's all working flawlessly with no loss of signal that I can tell (at least the TouchControl remote commands work reliably every time).

 

So I thought....why stop there? So I split the cable coming out of the USB-UIRT and ran another length of CAT5 upstairs to my family room and now I control my TV & DVD player there with the same instance of TouchControl Server. But wait...I've got a whole house audio keypad out in a building in my yard with some outdoor speakers, so I split the cable coming out of the USB-UIRT AGAIN and ran another length of CAT5 out the side of the basement, buried in conduit across the yard, and stuck an IR emitter onto the audio keypad and now I control the outdoor speakers with TouchControl too! And all of this is working wonderfully (and has been for several months) with no weak signal issues that I have noticed.

 

Those of you controlling a single location with TouchControl may have wondered why it even allows you to configure multiple locations, and this is where that concept came from. I hope that you too can take advantage of this type of setup and extend the use of TouchControl throughout your house...and beyond!

 

Enjoy!

 

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