[Advanced] Configuring LIRC 0.10x in Ubuntu 20.04

By charm, 23 November, 2020
Our KODI media centre

LIRC is a software package that lets you use common remote control with certain programs like KODI. Ubuntu 18.04 used to use LIRC version 0.9x. LIRC was recently upgraded and the new version is vastly different than the previous version. When LIRC was installed in earlier versions it specifically prompted the administrator to select which remote to use (usually something like Windows Media Centre Edition (MCE) remote). This doesn't happen with the new version, 0.10x, in Ubuntu 20.04. This problem seems to be one that a lot of people have. Here's what worked for me. My remote looks like this:

HP Media Centre Edition remote control

I opened my remote control's battery compartment and discovered it has a model number of RC1804905/06. When browsing through the LIRC configuration file at: /etc/lirc/lircd.conf I noticed it mentioned two programs: irdb-get and lirc-setup. The lirc-setup program did not work for me, but irdb-get did do something. If you type it on its own you get a list of options:

Usage:
    irdb-get update
    irdb-get find  <string>
    irdb-get info  <id>
    irdb-get find-driver <string>
    irdb-get download <id>
    irdb-get list [pattern]
    irdb-get yaml-config
    irdb-get <-h | --help | -v | --version>


If you use the irdb-get list command without a pattern after you get a list of all the remotes irdb-get can download a configuration file for. It's a long list, so use more or less to pause the output after 1 page:

irdb-get list | more

In the list of remotes I couldn't find the exact model of my remote RC1804905/06, but I did find a similar remote RC1804912/06. I knew it was similar by Googling the model and looking at the images (the 912/06 just colours the top buttons differently). The next step is to download the config file:

irdb-get download hp/RC180491206.lircd.conf

I also noticed in /etc/lirc/lircd.conf that all .conf files in the folder /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/ are read into configuration, so it made sense to move the newly downloaded configuration file there:

sudo mv RC180491206.lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/

Lastly I started the LIRC service:

sudo systemctl start lircd

You could simply reboot and lircd would start on boot. This worked for me. I hope it helps someone else.