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Remote control infrared signal receiver programmed in VHDL for a Terasic DE1-SoC board.


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infraRed Remote Control Receiver and Decoder

This project aims to capture a signal from a remote control and decode it.


In this project, an infrared frame is collected through a receiver and decoded in an FPGA, showing the result obtained in the LEDs. To do this, you must know the communication protocol used by the remote control and program a module in VHDL capable of decoding the signal. The connection of the devices is shown in the following figure.

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The infrared sensor is a circuit that is powered at 3.3VDC. The third pin corresponds to the output of the circuit, and has been given the name "irSignal". This line will connect to the development board through a GPIO. A module will be made in VHDL that has irSignal as input, and it will be in charge of decoding the signal and displaying its binary value, graphically, through some LEDs. This output has been given the name "frame". The circuit diagram for the iR sensor is as follows:

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It is a photoreceptor that converts the light signal received through infrared into an electrical signal. This circuit will be connected to the development board, as shown in figure 1. Keep in mind that when the circuit is not receiving an infrared signal, the irSignal line will have a voltage of 3.3VDC, instead , when infrared light is detected, the photoreceptor will go into cut-off state and the voltage on that line will be 0VDC. In summary, when there is no signal, the active line will be kept at '1', on the other hand, when a beam of light arrives in the infrared spectrum, the line will be at '0'.

The following image represents how a remote control sends a frame. When the signal is at '1' it means that at that moment the infrared led diode of the remote control is emitting light, and when it is at '0', it is off. As explained in the previous paragraph, the sensor will collect this data in reverse, since when light is emitted, the photoresistor goes into cut-off, generating a logical '0'.

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The figure above shows a data frame from an infrared emitter. The plot begins with a start condition, which consists of keeping the led on for 2.4ms. The first bit that is sent is the least significant (LSB), and the last is the most significant (MSB). To send a logic '1', the LED is kept off for 0.6ms and on for 1.2ms. In the case of wanting to send a logic '0', the LED remains off for 0.6ms and then turns on for 0.6ms. After sending the frame, a period of time is allowed to complete 45ms, period in which the LED is off. Once this wait is over, the data is sent again, this time without a start condition.

Once the communication protocol is known, the peripheral hardware will be connected to the development card and a module will be designed to analyze and decode the sent frame. A Sony remote control will be used to generate the signals.


Next, the material that will be necessary to carry out the project is listed:

  • Hardware - FPGA Development Board (Terasic DE1 SoC in my case) - InfraRed Receiver Circuit - Remote Control according to the frame specifications - Oscilloscope and tools for debugging
  • Software - VHDL synthesizer (Quartus Prime 18.1 in my case)

What does the code do?

An infrared receiver and decoder module has been designed. It has been called irReceiver, and its scheme can be seen in the following figure:

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The module has 2 input signals and an output vector. A 50MHz clock is being used to apply the internal logic. The sensor signal reaches this module through the irSignal input, and, after decoding, an output vector is generated with the value received in binary notation. In the following paragraphs the internal operation of the module will be explained.

The irReceiver module consists of a control unit and a process unit. For the acquisition of data and its subsequent decoding, the following state machine has been designed, which appears in the following figure.

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Four states have been defined:

  • Idle: Idle state. The system is waiting for a change in the “irSignal” signal.
  • Start: transitory state. There has been a change in the irSignal signal. It is checked whether it is the start condition.
  • Decoding. Acquisition status. The signal is decoded and its 12 bits are stored in a displacement vector.
  • Finish. Transitory state. The “frame” output is updated with the new information from the displacement vector. The acquisition is completed and the state is returned to inactivity.

In the event that the signal is interrupted or the frame is not as expected, the “failled” flag will be activated, which will return the system to the inactivity state.

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The picture from above represents the module's processing unit. In the idle state, all system signals are restored to their original state. When there is a change in the irSignal signal, it goes to the start state and the time in which the signal is at '0' is measured. If in 2ms the signal has risen to '1', it is understood that there has been a failure, and it returns to the inactivity state, otherwise, it is expected that 2.4ms have passed and that there is a transition of '0' to '1'. This is the condition for entering the decoding state.

To decode the signal, the time in which it is at '0' is counted. If the time to '0' is greater than 1ms, it is considered to be a logical '1', and if it is less, it is a logical '0'. For each decoded data, the bit is added to the displacement vector called myData, it is an internal signal. When the vector is completed, that is, when the NB signal is 12, it goes to the finish state, and the value of myData is assigned to frame, which is the output vector of the system. Finally, it returns to the standby state.


If you have an Intel/Altera Cyclone V FPGA you can download or clone this repository and open it as a Quartus Project.

git clone

I have used the Terasic DE1 SoC development board, but if you have another board, you will probably have to change the FPGA and modify the pin planner. The main clock of this project is working at 50MHz, if you have another frequency perhaps you have to adapt the code to comply with the timing requirements.


You can run the test bench to test this project.

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Remote control infrared signal receiver programmed in VHDL for a Terasic DE1-SoC board.








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