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My Kingdom For A Remote Volume Knob! can this be made?

itai

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@MattHooper i am on the same quest since over a year now, and want something that looks and feels good, but ain't that easy... I even bought a surface dial that is waiting in a box until i find out the way to make it work (only to manage to pair it with a raspberry pi was already an adventure). I don't have roon.

But i don't loose hope, very recently minidsp anounced that it will be possible to use the dial to control the volume of the shd (why a discontinued product???), so it must be possible. Maybe i will have to end up buying a shd to give my dial something to do :D

I did get the Microsoft Dial and got it connected a Raspberry Pi Zero W (wireless). Basically, I have a little application that runs on the Pi and listens to the Bluetooth commands from the Surface Dial (Left, Right, Down, Up) and relay these commands over TCP to my control system. For me, this was the perfect solution and it has a nice look and feel.
 

somebodyelse

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It can certainly be done if you have the aptitude.
There are loads of online examples on how to use an arduino (or similar) and infrared parts to make a learning remote. There are many examples of how to read input from a rotary encoder too, although many of them will miss steps if you turn the control too quickly. You can either pick one that can do proper hardware assisted quadrature decode, or use an external chip to turn it into 'up' and 'down' pulses on separate lines. Infrared remotes are usually limited to up/down rather than setting absolute volume anyway. You can use a nice encoder like the one used in the Monome Arc (or the open source copy) and a heavy knob if that's the feel you want, and pick one with or without detents.
You could also use a board that can do WiFi and bluetooth like the many ESP32 variants, and send volum control commands direct to LMS or other network capable devices, or bluetooth human interface device signals for volume keys.
 

MarcosCh

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It can certainly be done if you have the aptitude.
There are loads of online examples on how to use an arduino (or similar) and infrared parts to make a learning remote. There are many examples of how to read input from a rotary encoder too, although many of them will miss steps if you turn the control too quickly. You can either pick one that can do proper hardware assisted quadrature decode, or use an external chip to turn it into 'up' and 'down' pulses on separate lines. Infrared remotes are usually limited to up/down rather than setting absolute volume anyway. You can use a nice encoder like the one used in the Monome Arc (or the open source copy) and a heavy knob if that's the feel you want, and pick one with or without detents.
You could also use a board that can do WiFi and bluetooth like the many ESP32 variants, and send volum control commands direct to LMS or other network capable devices, or bluetooth human interface device signals for volume keys.

Thanks. Would you mind posting some examples? I would be specially interested in sending commands to LMS

I have not seen many ir volume knobs, the few I know are bluetooth like the ms dial, could you link to any you know too? Thanks a lot!
 

Berwhale

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Also, Ikea make a rotary remote for Sonos... https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/symfonisk-sound-remote-white-60370480/
 
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MarcosCh

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Also, Ikea make a rotary remote for Sonos... https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/symfonisk-sound-remote-white-60370480/

I guess the ikea one is bluetooth... but might be arylic is into something. If they would make it work with for instance the wiim mini (aren't they the same people?), it could be very cool:

 
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IPunchCholla

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I totally missed that you are running a pre with IR. Here is a guide to various ways to make an Arduino remote using various inputs. A guide that breaks down adding a dial encoder. Then its a matter of spending time on Mouser to get parts and machining a solution…

edit: sender instead of receiver tutorial.
 
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Kal Rubinson

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I've used a Microsoft Surface Dial with my server/streamer but the range is limited.
UPDATE: I recently moved to a newly configured PC-based server and the Surface Dial works just fine with it. I do not know if that is due to it being BlueTooth 5.2 or simply to having a more capable antenna/receiver. Any way, I get volume control and Pause/Resume and its all I need.
 

IPunchCholla

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UPDATE: I recently moved to a newly configured PC-based server and the Surface Dial works just fine with it. I do not know if that is due to it being BlueTooth 5.2 or simply to having a more capable antenna/receiver. Any way, I get volume control and Pause/Resume and its all I need.
And somebody has written a Mac driver, for those of us on that OS. Now I just have to overcome my superstitious refusal to use software volume controls.
 
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MattHooper

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Just dropping in for a moment to thank everyone for the excellent replies! There's a lot to take in.

I'll get back to this thread later!
 

somebodyelse

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I guess the ikea one is bluetooth... but might be arylic is into something. If they would make it work with for instance the wiim mini (aren't they the same people?), it could be very cool:

The Ikea one is a ZigBee device - note the need for the separate tradfri gateway and Ikea's app which will do the translation between the control and the network messages needed by the Sonos devices.
 

Kal Rubinson

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And somebody has written a Mac driver, for those of us on that OS. Now I just have to overcome my superstitious refusal to use software volume controls.
As long as you admit it is a superstition, you are headed in the right direction.
 

somebodyelse

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Thanks. Would you mind posting some examples? I would be specially interested in sending commands to LMS

I have not seen many ir volume knobs, the few I know are bluetooth like the ms dial, could you link to any you know too? Thanks a lot!
See #26 for examples of infrared and rotary encoder use with arduino. You can find details of the APIs for controlling LMS by going to your LMS instance and following the links Help->"Technical Information" to find details of its web interface, CLI and xPL interface. You can call these from the ESP32 in a similar way to that used in tutorials like this:
https://randomnerdtutorials.com/esp32-http-get-post-arduino/

I don't know of IR volume knobs for sale - I'm just saying they can be built reasonably easily if you have the aptitude.
 

MarcosCh

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See #26 for examples of infrared and rotary encoder use with arduino. You can find details of the APIs for controlling LMS by going to your LMS instance and following the links Help->"Technical Information" to find details of its web interface, CLI and xPL interface. You can call these from the ESP32 in a similar way to that used in tutorials like this:
https://randomnerdtutorials.com/esp32-http-get-post-arduino/

I don't know of IR volume knobs for sale - I'm just saying they can be built reasonably easily if you have the aptitude.
Hey thanks somebody else!

I don’t want to appropriate the thread but I think it is an interesting subject, so let me explain a bit further my view.

I still don’t see it is any easy (not for me at least) to make a working remote volume knob. The first link in post #26 describes how to build the IR receptor, fair enough, but besides the programing, I consider the receiver side the easy part. I use a flirc dongle that is very small, available and very cheap, probably cheaper than the parts needed to build any diy solution. The second link in post #26 describes how to build in the knob, but I still see a cable there. If the solution needs a cable (the guy in the link in post #24 explains this further), well, there are many options available already built and not expensive. I think the objective here is a remote and wireless solution.

So far the only complete solution is that in post #24, that is great, but a couple of levels beyond my skills. The guy even printed his own PCBs…

I am still aiming for an easier solution. So far I have gathered:
  • Bluetooth based: there are available knobs (i.e. the surface dial), and for instance raspberry pi, that can run many different streamers and players, already has the receptor built in. So all the hardware is there, it is a matter of making it work. But besides what minidsp did with the SHD and a “DIY/commercial” solution available only for Roon, I am not aware of an easy way of making one of these work with any other streamer/player.
  • IR based: the problem here is the sender. Again, I am not aware of any existing IR volume knob. Post #24 looks great, I would instead print a round and as small as possible PCB and have a good quality round enclosure 3D printed, but that is definitely not something I know how to do or get done. But hey, if someone is up to a shared project, I am in!:D
 

Berwhale

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somebodyelse

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Hey thanks somebody else!

I don’t want to appropriate the thread but I think it is an interesting subject, so let me explain a bit further my view.

I still don’t see it is any easy (not for me at least) to make a working remote volume knob. The first link in post #26 describes how to build the IR receptor, fair enough, but besides the programing, I consider the receiver side the easy part. I use a flirc dongle that is very small, available and very cheap, probably cheaper than the parts needed to build any diy solution. The second link in post #26 describes how to build in the knob, but I still see a cable there. If the solution needs a cable (the guy in the link in post #24 explains this further), well, there are many options available already built and not expensive. I think the objective here is a remote and wireless solution.

So far the only complete solution is that in post #24, that is great, but a couple of levels beyond my skills. The guy even printed his own PCBs…

I am still aiming for an easier solution. So far I have gathered:
  • Bluetooth based: there are available knobs (i.e. the surface dial), and for instance raspberry pi, that can run many different streamers and players, already has the receptor built in. So all the hardware is there, it is a matter of making it work. But besides what minidsp did with the SHD and a “DIY/commercial” solution available only for Roon, I am not aware of an easy way of making one of these work with any other streamer/player.
  • IR based: the problem here is the sender. Again, I am not aware of any existing IR volume knob. Post #24 looks great, I would instead print a round and as small as possible PCB and have a good quality round enclosure 3D printed, but that is definitely not something I know how to do or get done. But hey, if someone is up to a shared project, I am in!:D
The aptitude part is key here, and I know it's not for everyone, but for hobbyists who have used arduinos or similar boards it shouldn't be too hard. It's more or less what I proposed as an ASR open source project, but not something I have a direct need for as I'm happy with open source phone apps, and nobody else has taken it up.

The IRremote library contains examples for both receive and send. I hadn't spotted that the tutorial linked didn't include sending.
https://github.com/Arduino-IRremote/Arduino-IRremote/tree/master/examples

In the rotary encoder example the wire is only needed because the example sends a message down the USB serial connection when you turn the knob. For a remote you would be sending the infrared code for volume up/down instead, so you just need to provide power.
 

MarcosCh

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In the rotary encoder example the wire is only needed because the example sends a message down the USB serial connection when you turn the knob. For a remote you would be sending the infrared code for volume up/down instead, so you just need to provide power.
Yep, as i understand it that's what the guy in the link in post #24 does + add batteries as power source. That one is a really cool and complete project, too bad it is not explained in detail for noobs like me...
 
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somebodyelse

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Yep, as i understand it that's what the guy in the link in post #24 does + add batteries as power source. That one is a really cool and complete project, too bad it is not explained in detail fot noobs like me...
Yes - somehow I missed that project the first time round and only noticed the ikea link below it. It's got everything you need if you're already familiar with everything involved, but no easy entry for beginners. The semiconductor supply issues also affect that processor - RS don't even give a backorder date for it.
 

Loathecliff

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a big ol' physical volume knob to control volume, right at my listening position. Ideally one that looks super high quality and lux, and feels that way.
Please Matt, anything to release me from the tyranny of an smsl re - "I'll respond when I damn well feel like it!" - mote :facepalm:
 

mononoaware

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Your post convinced me to login and share this video I recently watched showing a "remote volume interface" from the 90s.

I must say I sat through the whole thing. It must be the production value, the relaxing voice and the dry humor. I enjoyed it. Their other videos might make the channel worth subscribing to. . .


Oh and would you look at that someone here wants to buy one haha.

Another bonus video that is off-topic, but I enjoyed watching. Enjoy.
 

IPunchCholla

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Hey thanks somebody else!

I don’t want to appropriate the thread but I think it is an interesting subject, so let me explain a bit further my view.

I still don’t see it is any easy (not for me at least) to make a working remote volume knob. The first link in post #26 describes how to build the IR receptor, fair enough, but besides the programing, I consider the receiver side the easy part. I use a flirc dongle that is very small, available and very cheap, probably cheaper than the parts needed to build any diy solution. The second link in post #26 describes how to build in the knob, but I still see a cable there. If the solution needs a cable (the guy in the link in post #24 explains this further), well, there are many options available already built and not expensive. I think the objective here is a remote and wireless solution.

So far the only complete solution is that in post #24, that is great, but a couple of levels beyond my skills. The guy even printed his own PCBs…

I am still aiming for an easier solution. So far I have gathered:
  • Bluetooth based: there are available knobs (i.e. the surface dial), and for instance raspberry pi, that can run many different streamers and players, already has the receptor built in. So all the hardware is there, it is a matter of making it work. But besides what minidsp did with the SHD and a “DIY/commercial” solution available only for Roon, I am not aware of an easy way of making one of these work with any other streamer/player.
  • IR based: the problem here is the sender. Again, I am not aware of any existing IR volume knob. Post #24 looks great, I would instead print a round and as small as possible PCB and have a good quality round enclosure 3D printed, but that is definitely not something I know how to do or get done. But hey, if someone is up to a shared project, I am in!:D
If all you want is volume, wouldn’t the Surface Dial (or custom and Pi) work for controlling system volume? Are you using any solution now for controlling multiple app volumes?
 
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