First, lirc is packaged for all major linux distributions. If you
just want to use lirc, you should be able to install it like any
other package. This way, you don't have to look at the
dependencies, build and installation description found here.
However, here is also some testing notes which applies if you
have built your own device.
- Several scripts need the python3 PyYaml package at
- Overall, python3 is.required for the build
- The build also needs man2html.
- The configuration script needs python3-gi and thus also the Gtk
libs. It's not required for the build, though. .
If you want to compile and use all tools, you also need an
installed version of the X
Windows header files (needed by irxevent and
xmode2) The configure script will notify you if
some necessary files are missing and the according tools won't
Irman (=UIR) : To use your Irman with LIRC you need the
libirman library. At the time this has been written
the current libirman version was 0.4.3. To build, the irman
library must exist as a dynamic .so module. At the time of writing
this is true for the Fedora package, but not for Debian.
As of 0.9.1+, lirc uses the kernel modules from the official
kernel. Some of these are formerly lirc modules which are
now part of the kernel. Thus, building lirc does not involve
building kernel modules (as it used to be).
Some of the former lirc modules are part of the official kernel
and should be available on any reasonably updated system. However,
some are in the staging area; if they are part of your kernel
depends on the distro you use (unless of course if you compile
your own kernel).
If you want to use a home-brew receiver, an Anir Multimedia
Magic, a Packard Bell receiver, the IRdeo or if you want to use
the SIR IrDA driver, I suggest that you use the lirc_serial
or lirc_sir module. Usually the serial port driver grabs all
ports it auto-detects as soon as it is loaded and the LIRC
modules won't be able to use any of them.
There are two solutions for this problem. Either you load the
LIRC module before the kernel serial port driver is loaded
(that's why you have to compile it as a module) or you call
setserial /dev/ttySx uart none to release the according
port. setserial usually is already called during boot-up in some
init script whose location depends on the distribution you
use. If you tell setserial to
configure a port that is already claimed by a LIRC module, the
kernel serial driver will steal the port from the LIRC module
and LIRC will stop working. So check your setserial
configuration to only configure available ports. Debian users
should adjust their /etc/serial.conf.
TV cards: To use any remote control receivers connected
directly to a bttv based TV card you will need a working bttv
setup in your kernel. For most TV cards we rely on bttv
autodetection. That way you don't have to give any parameters to
the module as they are selected internally depending on the
information the bttv module gives us. This means that you should
pay attention that your TV card is detected correctly by bttv.
Generally speaking everything that can receive or send infrared
signals can be supported by LIRC. The project began with support
for home-brew receivers and transmitters for the serial port and
later support for analogous hardware for the parallel port was
added. At that time the focus of the project was to provide an
infrared solution that is both very cheap and easy to
assemble. The following links point to instructions how to build
your own receiver/transmitter.
Current versions of LIRC now support many more commercially
available solutions. Examples are the Irman, built-in IrDA ports
or TV cards. Drivers for even more hardware are likely to appear
in the future. If you are a programmer who wants to maintain
such a driver you are welcome to join the project.
You should locate your device in this list
of supported devices and see if there is additional
information available regarding the setup of your device.
Compile and Install
Since 0.9.1+ , lirc loads drivers dynamically. This means that
that the build system is redesigned to always build all drivers.
The former setup.sh script is dropped in favor of a standard
./configure, make, make install sequence.
When running the configure script, please pay attention at its
output. After having configured the package just type
make and lean back.
Note: You won't find a configure script in the source repo
version of LIRC. You will have to generate it first by executing
Installing the compiled programs is really easy, just type
make install. All binaries and configuration
files should be copied to its proper destination
The core program of LIRC is lircd, the LIRC system
daemon that does all of the decoding of infrared signals. LIRC
comes with a second daemon program: lircmd. lircmd
depends on lircd and translates remote control activity to mouse
movements. Just like all other daemons both lircd and lircmd
should be started at system boot time and do their work in
Formerly, lirc was configured during build where the setup.sh script
was used to select driver, configuration file. Also, there was was
little support for starting and running the services from boot. From
0.9.1+ the configuration is instead done after the build. The
configuration steps for the main lircd program involves:
This is described in the
- Selecting the driver and device.
- Selecting configuration file.
- In some cases e. g., serial devices setting up kernel module
options in /etc/modprobe.d.
- Configuring and using systemd to run the services.
When you are using devfs or sysfs with your
kernel, the /dev/lirc device node will disappear again once you
reboot your machine. In that case the LIRC kernel module will
generate the required entry every time it is loaded. But the
device node won't be visible as /dev/lirc, but might be located
in a different location like e.g. /dev/lirc0. Please be aware
of this when starting programs that access the device node
like mode2 or lircd. You will have to use the --device command
line option of these programs to point them to the correct
Now you should adjust the file permissions of
/var/run/lirc/lircd (this is the Unix domain socket that clients
use to connect to lircd) so others than root can
connect to lircd. Either edit lirc_options.conf or use the
--permissions command line option e. g.,
lircd --permission 666
should do. You can also create a special group for this purpose.
Finally you might want to add /usr/local/lib to
/etc/ld.so.conf so the lirc_client library is
found by the run-time linker. Don't forget to call
ldconfig afterwards for the change to take effect.
Testing your hardware & configuration
If you have build the infrared hardware yourself you are
probably eager to find out if it really works. If you have not
build the hardware yourself you can skip the first test. For
most receivers it even won't work because it makes no
Type su to get root privileges and start mode2
(Warning: don't confuse mode2 with mode3: mode3 will set
your video card to a vesa mode using the vesa bios
calls...). This should load the kernel module into the kernel
and display the infrared signals. Hold your remote control to
your infrared receiver and press some buttons. You should see an
output like this (the values of your remote will probably be
If you don't see anything, try to find out: (a) if you selected
the correct driver with the correct settings (I/O base address,
IRQ), (b) if you use a remote which works and (c) if your
hardware works. The voltage input of the infrared receiver
should be 5V +/- 0.5V, the output pin of the receiver should be
about 0.5V less than the input voltage.
From time to time there should be long spaces (>30000). If you
can see very long pulses this usually means that sense auto
detection of your serial port IR receiver circuit has
failed. You can override sense auto detection by loading the
device driver with the following option:
modprobe lirc_serial sense=0 if your receiver circuit is active
modprobe lirc_serial sense=1 if your receiver circuit is active
Well, the driver seems to work, now let's test if lircd also
does its job. This only works, if lircd uses a config file which fits to
your remote control. Use irrecord in the case the LIRC
distribution doesn't provide a config file suitable for your
remote and it still is not available at the LIRC homepage. A
more detailed discussion of creating new config files is
available in the section about, you guess it: Adding new remote controls.
Then start the decoder daemon with (make sure it is in your
path): lircd [config file]
The following program dumps the decoded key codes from lircd to
This looks like this (depending on your remote):
0000000000f40bf0 00 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000f40bf0 01 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000f40bf0 02 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000f40bf0 03 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000f40bf0 04 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000f40bf0 05 1_DOWN ANIMAX
0000000000748bf0 00 1_UP ANIMAX
0000000000748bf0 01 1_UP ANIMAX
0000000000748bf0 02 1_UP ANIMAX
0000000000718ef0 00 RED_BUTTON_UP ANIMAX
If the driver test did work, but you now see nothing, then check
/var/log/lircd. If you still see nothing suspicious
add a --debug=10 option and look at the log file again.
Sending infrared signals
The LIRC package contains the irsend tool for
sending infrared signals to e.g. your TV or CD player. For
reliable transmission a good config file is even more important
than for receiving. A discussion of all the infrared protocols
is way beyond the scope of this manual but when creating a
config file at least read the hints at the end of this
manual. You can find exact timing specifications for most common
inside the remotes/generic/ directory of the LIRC package.
If you want a graphical interface for controlling your devices
using LIRC, you might have a look at xrc. You can download the
xrc package from the LIRC homepage. xrc is a Qt based
program. Setting up xrc and Qt is a bit tricky so if you don't
manage to compile it you can still use irsend. It has the full
functionality you need.
- Remove the installed binaries, and device nodes:
- Remove the config files, if you don't need them anymore:
rm /etc/lirc/lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircmd.conf /etc/lirc/lircrc ~/config/lircrc
Updating from older versions
Each new release contains a NEWS file which describes the changes since last
version. Normally, upgrading from a previous version should not be too
painful. However, if you have to update a really old version it's probably
better to make a fresh install.
The LIRC Manual, last update: 10-June-2014