IrDA (infrared) data transfer on Ubuntu

irda-ubuntu.pngMany mobile phones in Japan (still?) come equipped with IrDA ports which allow for data transfer with other IrDA enabled devices. It’s a cheap and easy way to send contact details from one phone to another, or to transfer content from your phone to your computer, and it’s a lot easier to set up on Linux than I had expected. In fact, I finished backing up my phone data so quickly that I had some spare time left and decided to write this short tutorial on how to set up IrDA on Ubuntu.

This has been tested on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) and 10.10 (Maverick) with a SigmaTel IrDA dongle (“SigmaTel STIr4200″, according to dmesg) and a SoftBank Samsung 730SC mobile phone.

  1. First, install the necessary software packages irda-utils and ircp-tray. You can do this through Synaptic or by opening up a terminal and typing:
    sudo apt-get install irda-utils ircp-tray
  2. Now run: gksu gedit /etc/default/irda-utils
    In the configuration file which opens up, change the line reading DEVICE="/dev/ttyS1" to DEVICE="irda0"
    and the line reading SETSERIAL="" to SETSERIAL="/dev/ttyS1"
  3. Now run: sudo /etc/init.d/irda-utils stop
    sudo /etc/init.d/irda-utils start
  4. Connect your IrDA dongle and run: sudo irattach irda0 -s
  5. Now start the IrDA manager by running: ircp-tray
  6. ubuntu-irda-01-th.pngTry sending a file from your phone to your computer. Make sure you put your mobile phone close to the IrDA receiver on your computer, so that line of sight is guaranteed. Ircp-tray will pop up and ask you where you want to save your file.

Unfortunately, ircp-tray wouldn’t let me save files to a folder other than my home folder. Also, trying to transfer more than one file at once would result in a “segmentation fault”. But this may be related to my mobile phone, and not necessarily the software. If you know a fix or a workaround for this, please let us know in the comments section below!


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2 comments to IrDA (infrared) data transfer on Ubuntu

  • Thank you for commenting IrDA technology. Unfortunately, the trial and error stage of IrDA technology in early 90′s set the tone in US and Europe market but the new IrDA specifications are really easy to use and gain its popularity in Japan and growing its demand in Korea and China. I appreciate your tutorial. We are adding our Facebook feature on our website so make sure to link to some of the resourceful information like yours.

  • stefan.a

    Thanks! Glad you liked the post.

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