Hacking a Boxee Box remote to work with a PC/Mac

I’ve had a Boxee Box for a few years and while it has served it’s purpose, it’s definitely on it’s last leg. However the remote is a work of genius and I thought I’d see if I could salvage it.

If you crack open the case, you’ll find a board holding both the WiFi card and a Nordic Semiconductor chip that receives signals from the remote.

Boxee Wireless Board

Boxee Wireless Board

Both chips connect to the motherboard over a standard USB connection.

Boxee Wireless Card Pinout

Boxee Wireless Card Pinout

You can try to solder a USB cord directly to the board, or splice into the existing cord. Since I had no use for the WiFi chip, I only spliced into the wires for the remote receiver.

Spliced USB Cable

Spliced USB Cable

WARNING

Both chips on the wireless board require 3.3V while USB supplies 5V. I haven’t looked up the datasheet for the receiver chip, but my guess is that supplying it with 5V would let the smoke out. To remedy this, I added two IN4003 diodes in series. These diodes have a 1.6V forward voltage drop bringing the 5V supply down to 3.6V — much safer.

 

 

Once you have the cable, it’s just a matter of plugging it in and begin typing on the remote. I tested on Linux (3.11 kernel), OSX Mavericks and Windows 7. I’ve read that it will also work with Android. Below are the interesting bits under Linux.

dmesg:

[206798.157442] usb 1-1.6.1: new full-speed USB device number 8 using ehci-pci
 [206798.254222] usb 1-1.6.1: New USB device found, idVendor=1915, idProduct=20d9
 [206798.254227] usb 1-1.6.1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
 [206798.254230] usb 1-1.6.1: Product: D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15
 [206798.254233] usb 1-1.6.1: Manufacturer: D-Link Boxee
 [206798.256424] input: D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15 as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.6/1-1.6.1/1-1.6.1:1.0/input/input18
 [206798.256616] hid-generic 0003:1915:20D9.0007: input,hidraw4: USB HID v1.11 Keyboard [D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.6.1/input0
 [206798.258966] input: D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15 as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.6/1-1.6.1/1-1.6.1:1.1/input/input19
 [206798.259300] hid-generic 0003:1915:20D9.0008: input,hidraw5: USB HID v1.11 Mouse [D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.6.1/input1
 [206798.262802] input: D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15 as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.6/1-1.6.1/1-1.6.1:1.2/input/input20
 [206798.263041] hid-generic 0003:1915:20D9.0009: input,hidraw6: USB HID v1.11 Keyboard [D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.6.1/input2
 [206798.264747] hid-generic 0003:1915:20D9.000A: hiddev0,hidraw7: USB HID v1.11 Device [D-Link Boxee D-Link Boxee Receiver d.15] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1.6.1/input3

lsusb

Bus 001 Device 008: ID 1915:20d9 Nordic Semiconductor ASA

2 thoughts on “Hacking a Boxee Box remote to work with a PC/Mac

  1. Max

    Nice one! But the pinout-pic is down 🙁 Do you still have this somewhere? Trying to connect the board to my raspi with kodi…

    • Heath

      Fixed!

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