It’s great to have devices in your smart home that you can control over your network or with a smart home/IoT-designed protocol like MQTT, Z-Wave, or Zigbee. But what about the devices that don’t use these protocols? Do your radio frequency and infrared (IR) devices have to be left out of your smart home’s awesome automation and control power? Of course not! I’ve written before about how to integrate RF devices into your smart home. The BroadLink RM4 Mini gives you the ability to control IR devices over your network and can integrate with your smart home. Does it do a good job? Does it integrate well with Home Assistant?
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What is the BroadLink RM4 Mini?
The BroadLink RM4 mini is a small IR blaster that connects to your Wi-Fi network. You can use their app to send IR signals to control IR devices like TVs, A/V receivers, set-top boxes, streaming devices, portable heaters, fans, etc. You can also use control it using Google Assistant and Alexa. It has an up-to-date IR controls database that allows you to program it for almost any device out there. And, if for some reason you can’t find your device in its database, it also can learn (copy) IR signals from remotes. Here are the specs:
Buy on Amazon
|IR blaster:||360-degree blaster on top, 8m range, 38 kHz|
|IR database:||50,000+ IR devices (constantly updated)|
|IR learning capability:||Yes|
|Input Voltage/Current:||5V/1A via micro USB input|
|Wi-Fi protocols:||802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)|
|Mobile App Support:|
iOS 9.0/Android 4.1 and above
|Dimensions (inches):||1.89 x 1.89 x 1.70|
|Security Updates:||Through April 30th, 2024 with extended support possible after that|
The device comes with a micro USB to USB A cable, but no power brick. You can also purchase an additional temperature and humidity sensor that plugs into the RM4 Mini. This allows you to use the app to get the ambient temperature and humidity readings. BroadLink provides a good YouTube video that gives an example of its capabilities:
Additionally the RM4 Mini integrates with Home Assistant, which I’ll discuss later in this article.
BroadLink RM4 Mini set up and configuration
The setup is pretty straightforward. Download the BroadLink app and follow the instructions for device setup. Note that you will need to create an account to set up the device. After creating an account you’ll add the device by connecting it to your Wi-Fi network (stop here if you want to use your BroadLink with Home Assistant, see the next section for more details) and then naming it adding it to your account. Then you can configure the device to your heart’s content. You can add IR devices, set up timers and schedules for firing commands, learn IR codes from other remotes, and control all of your IR devices using the app. Here’s another YouTube video that walks through set up and configuration:
Home Assistant RM4 Configuration
I’m a big Home Assistant fan. It runs my smart home. I don’t buy devices anymore unless I can integrate them and control them with Home Assistant. And luckily, Home Assistant has a BroadLink integration that works with RM4 Mini. To do this, all you need to do use the BroadLink app to configure your device to connect to your Wi-Fi network and then stop configuration there. After that, you simply add the BroadLink integration in Home Assistant and your RM4 Mini should automatically be discovered. Then you can use
remote.send_command to learn and send IR commands. For example, the following script will learn a code to turn on the power to your television:
script: learn_tv_power: sequence: - service: remote.learn_command target: entity_id: remote.bedroom data: device: television command: power
Remember to use the entity_id name you used for your BroadLink device. After executing this code, you have 30 seconds to go and point a remote at the RM4 Mini and press the button you want to learn. You can also execute the
remote.learn_command in the services area of the Home Assistant developer tools. To send a command you can use the following code:
script: tv_power: sequence: - service: remote.send_command target: entity_id: remote.bedroom data: device: television command: power
We have some infrared faux candles in our living room. You can program them to come on and off with the remote, but we noticed they don’t keep time very well. So, I use our RM4 Mini to turn the candles on at sunset, and off late at night. Through Home Assistant’s connection to Google Assistant, we can also turn the candles on and off via voice command.
Alternatives to the RM4 Mini
The BroadLink RM4 mini isn’t the only way to control your IR devices over the network. There are many more devices. I was only interested in ones that work with Home Assistant like:
- Bond – works with radio frequency (RF) and IR signals
- Global Cache IP2IR ITach – I actually have one of these and I detailed its set up in my original Home Assistant customization from a beginner article. To use it with Home Assistant, though, you need to know the IR codes for your device in Pronto hex format!
- BroadLink RM4 Pro – Like the RM4 Mini, but also works with RF signals.
Shop related products:
|Works with Home Assistant||No 5Ghz Wi-Fi Support|
|Works with Google Assistant and Alexa||No RF support (Get the Pro version)|
|Workes consistently and well|
|Good IR transmission range|
|Large device database|
The BroadLink RM4 Mini is a very reliable and relatively affordable way to add IR control to your smart home. The IR blaster covers a good range in a room, and learning and sending commands is easy. Also, it directly integrates with Home Assistant, which is always a big plus for me. If you’re looking for smart control of your IR devices, make sure to include the BroadLink RM4 Mini or other BroadLink products at the top of your list.
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