ir-ctl - Man Page

a swiss-knife tool to handle raw IR and to set lirc options


ir-ctl [OPTION]...
ir-ctl [OPTION]... --features
ir-ctl [OPTION]... --send [file to send]
ir-ctl [OPTION]... --scancode [protocol and scancode to send]
ir-ctl [OPTION]... --keycode [keycode to send]
ir-ctl [OPTION]... --receive [save to file]


ir-ctl is a tool that allows one to list the features of a lirc device, set its options, receive raw IR, and send IR.

IR can be sent as the keycode of a keymap, or using a scancode, or using raw IR.

Note: You need to have read or write permissions on the /dev/lirc device for options to work.


-d,  --device=DEV

lirc device to control, /dev/lirc0 by default

-f,  --features

List the features of the lirc device.

-r,  --receive[=FILE]

Receive IR and print to standard output if no file is specified, else save to the filename.

-s,  --send=FILE

Send IR in text file. It must be in the format described below. If this option is specified multiple times, send all files in-order with a 125ms gap between them. The gap length can be modified with --gap.


Send the IR scancode in the protocol specified. The protocol must one of the protocols listed below, followed by a colon and the scancode number. If this option is specified multiple times, send all scancodes in-order with a 125ms gap between them. The gap length can be modified with --gap.

-K,  --keycode=KEYCODE

Send the KEYCODE from the keymap which must be specified with --keymap. If this option is specified multiple times, send all keycodes in-order with a 125ms gap between them. The gap length can be modified with --gap.

-k,  --keymap=KEYMAP

The rc keymap file in toml format. The format is described in the rc_keymap(5) man page. This file is used to select the KEYCODE from.

-1,  --oneshot

When receiving, stop receiving after the first message, i.e. after a space or timeout of more than 19ms is received.


When receiving, output IR in mode2 format. One line per space or pulse.

-w,  --wideband

Use the wideband receiver if available on the hardware. This is also known as learning mode. The measurements should be more precise and any carrier frequency should be accepted.

-n,  --narrowband

Switches back to the normal, narrowband receiver if the wideband receiver was enabled.

-R,  --carrier-range=RANGE

Set the accepted carrier range for the narrowband receiver. It should be specified in the form 30000-50000.

-m,  --measure-carrier

If the hardware supports it, report what the carrier frequency is on receiving. You will get the keyword carrier followed by the frequency. This might use the wideband receiver although this is hardware specific.

-M,  --no-measure-carrier

Disable reporting of the carrier frequency. This should make it possible to use the narrowband receiver. This is the default.

-t,  --timeout=TIMEOUT

Set the length of a space at which the receiver goes idle, specified in microseconds.

-c,  --carrier=CARRIER

Sets the send carrier frequency.

-D,  --duty-cycle=DUTY

Set the duty cycle for sending in percent if the hardware support it.

-e,  --emitters=EMITTERS

Comma separated list of emitters to use for sending. The first emitter is number 1. Some devices only support enabling one emitter (the winbond-cir driver).

-g,  --gap=GAP

Set the gap between scancodes or the gap between files when multiple files are specified on the command line. The default is 125000 microseconds.

-?,  --help

Prints the help message


Give a short usage message

-v,  --verbose

Verbose output; this prints the IR before sending.

-V,  --version

print the v4l2-utils version

Format of file

When sending or receiving raw IR, two formats can be used. The first is a list of integers representing pulse and space values. A pulse value can be prefixed with + and a space with -, but this is optional. The rc-5 scancode 0x1e01 is encoded so:

+889 -889 +1778 -1778 +889 -889 +889 -889 +889 -889 +1778 -889 +889 -889 +889 -889 +889 -889 +889 -889 +889 -1778 +889

The other format mimics the mode2 tool. This produces one line per space or pulse. For receiving it can selected by specifying --mode2. Here is the same message as above, now encoded in mode2:

carrier 36000
pulse 940
space 860
pulse 1790
space 1750
pulse 880
space 880
pulse 900
space 890
pulse 870
space 900
pulse 1750
space 900
pulse 890
space 910
pulse 840
space 920
pulse 870
space 920
pulse 840
space 920
pulse 870
space 1810
pulse 840

Note that in this format, the carrier can also be specified. This can only by done with a separate --carrier=38000 command line option with the first format.

Rather than specifying just the raw IR, in this format you can also specify the scancode and protocol you want to send. This will also automatically set the correct carrier. The above can be written as:

scancode rc5:0x1e01

If multiple scancodes are specified in a file, a gap is inserted between scancodes if there is no space between them (see --gap). One file can only have one carrier frequency, so this might cause problems if different protocols are specified in one file if they use different carrier frequencies.

Note that there are device-specific limits of how much IR can be sent at a time. This can be both the length of the IR and the number of different lengths of space and pulse.

Supported Protocols

A scancode with protocol can be specified on the command line or in the pulse and space file. The following protocols are supported: rc5, rc5x_20, rc5_sz, jvc, sony12, sony15, sony20, nec, necx, nec32, sanyo, rc6_0, rc6_6a_20, rc6_6a_24, rc6_6a_32, rc6_mce, sharp, imon, rc_mm_12, rc_mm_24, rc_mm_32. If the scancode starts with 0x it will be interpreted as a hexadecimal number, and if it starts with 0 it will be interpreted as an octal number.

Wideband and narrowband receiver

Most IR receivers have a narrowband and wideband receiver. The narrowband receiver can receive over longer distances (usually around 10 metres without interference) and is limited to certain carrier frequencies.

The wideband receiver is for higher precision measurements and when the carrier frequency is unknown; however it only works over very short distances (about 5 centimetres). This is also known as learning mode.

For most drivers, enabling carrier reports using -m also enables the wideband receiver.

Global state

All the options which can be set for lirc devices are maintained until the device is powered down or a new option is set.

Exit Status

On success, it returns 0. Otherwise, it will return the error code.


To list all capabilities of /dev/lirc2:
ir-ctl -f -d /dev/lirc2

To show the IR of the first button press on a remote in learning mode:
ir-ctl -r -m -w

Note that ir-ctl -rmw would receive to a file called mw.

To restore the normal (longer distance) receiver:
ir-ctl -n -M

To send the pulse and space file play on emitter 3:
ir-ctl -e 3 --send=play

To send the rc-5 hauppauge '1' scancode:
ir-ctl -S rc5:0x1e01

To send the rc-5 hauppauage '1' key from the hauppauge keymap:
ir-ctl -k hauppauge.toml -K KEY_NUMERIC_1


Report bugs to Linux Media Mailing List <>

See Also

To display decoded IR, or set IR decoding options, see ir-keytable(1).

The keymap format is described in rc_keymap(5).

Referenced By

ir-keytable(1), lirc(4), rc_keymap(5).

Tue Jul 5 2016 v4l-utils 1.20.0