Tonight's Arduino Project: An Apple Remote Controlled Buzzer

09 January 2013

I received a package today from Adafruit and I decided to tinker with some of the things that I ordered. Two items were a Piezo Buzzer - PS1240 and an IR sensor - TSOP38238.

I decided to see if I could read the button presses from an Apple Remote.

Apple Remote

I was able to using Ken Shirriff’s IRremote library and the example IRrecord.

Button         HEX        
-------------- -----------
Pause/Play     0x77E12047 
Menu           0x77E14047 
Volume Up      0x77E1D047 
Volume Down    0x77E1B047 
Rewind         0x77E11047
Fast Forward   0x77E1E047

I wanted to use each key press to do something. I did Pause/Play to stop and start the buzzer, volume up and down to change the tone, rewind to slow down the frequency of tones and fast forward to increase the frequency.

The Code

I mashed up Adafruit’s Playing a Scale code and the receive code example IRrecvDemo.

I added in some extra logic and variables to customise various aspects of the application. This is by no means a polished piece.

#include <IRremote.h>

#define MENU 0x77E14047
#define PLAY_PAUSE 0x77E12047
#define VOLUME_UP 0x77E1D047
#define VOLUME_DOWN 0x77E1B047
#define REWIND 0x77E11047
#define FAST_FORWARD 0x77E1E047

int RECV_PIN = 11;
int speakerPin = 2;

int numTones = 10;
int tones[] = {261, 277, 294, 311, 330, 349, 370, 392, 415, 440};
int i = 0;
long previousMillis = 0;
long maxTime = 2000;
long between = maxTime;
long beeplength = 50;

boolean isOn = false;

IRrecv irrecv(RECV_PIN);

decode_results results;

void setup()

void loop() {
  unsigned long currentMillis = millis();
  if(currentMillis - previousMillis > between + beeplength ) {
    previousMillis = currentMillis;  
      tone(speakerPin, tones[i]);
  if(currentMillis - previousMillis > beeplength) {
  if (irrecv.decode(&results)) {
      case MENU:
      case PLAY_PAUSE:
          isOn = !isOn;
      case VOLUME_UP:
      case VOLUME_DOWN:
      case REWIND:
        between= between + 100;
      case FAST_FORWARD:
        between= between - 100;
    if(i > numTones) {
      i = numTones;
    if(between > maxTime) {
      between = maxTime;
    if(i < 0) {
       i = 0;
    if(between < 0) {
      between = 0;


I got this compile error:

core.a(Tone.cpp.o): In function `__vector_7':
/Applications/ multiple definition of `__vector_7'
IRremote/IRremote.cpp.o:/Users/andrew/Documents/Arduino/libraries/IRremote/IRremote.cpp:311: first defined here

In order to use tone() with the IRremote library I had to modify IRremoteInt.h in the libraries/IRremote folder on to use IR_USE_TIMER1 on line 66 and commented out IR_USE_TIMER2. I don’t fully understand this yet, other than there was some sort of conflict going on, but that’s how I got it to work, and that’s the important thing!

So now I have the following:

    #define IR_USE_TIMER1 
    //#define IR_USE_TIMER2

Code Download

The code is available on GitHub.

The Circuit

I wired up the buzzer to pin 2 and ground. It doesn’t matter which leg of the buzzer goes to which. With the curved surface of the IR sensor facing toward me, I wired the first leg to pin 11, the second leg to ground and the third to power (5V).

Bread Board Diagram


It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a few bucks of electronics with an Arduino and I am starting to feel that less and less things are beyond my grasp, which is a great feeling. I feel I’ve learned a lot already and have made mistakes along the way, but without those mistakes I wouldn’t have learned so much!

I plan on documenting my little projects as I go along with a few more epic, thorough guides like The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Arduino along my way.

What would you do with an IR sensor and a remote you’ve got kicking about?