After I made my water heater smart with the option to control it through WiFi I decided to do the same with my air conditioner. Smart air conditioners with a built-in WiFi controller cost from 500 to 1000$ and up, depending on their size. After a short research, I saw that there are many universal IR remote controls already available on the market that can be controlled via a WiFi network such as the Broadlink RM Mini3.
These universal remote controls, such as the Broadlink RM Mini3, connect to your WiFi network, and by using your phone's application, you can connect to your air conditioner, respectively, to all types of home appliances that use an IR (infrared) remote control signal. Such as the remote controls of most TVs, air conditioners, stereo systems and more.
In my search for universal remote control, in order to control my air conditioner through WiFi, I was looking for the most affordable option available on the market. In the end, the idea was quickly and cheaply to have a smart air conditioner. I opted for the Broadlink RM Mini3 as this universal wifi remote offered all the functionality I needed. As of the date of purchase (21.12.18), the price of Broadlink RM Mini3 was 12$.
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WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz
IR – 38 KHz frequency; omni directional (6 transmitters); 12 meters range; 1x IR receiver for learning function
Misc – Reset button, power LED
Power – 5V/500 mA via micro USB port
Power Consumption – Less than 0.85W in standby mode
Dimensions – 55 x 55 x 64.5 mm
Weight – 75 grams
Temperature Range – 0~50 degrees Celsius
The design of the Broadlink RM Mini 3 Universal Air Conditioning Remote Control is very futuristic. There is absolutely nothing unnecessary on the device itself. The only 3 things to see on the WiFi remote are an LED indicator, a USB input, and a reset button. The top cover of the device hides the infrared diodes that send the signal to the corresponding device.
Broadlink is a Chinese company that specializes in the production of smart home electronics. Its main activity is related to the production of WiFi remotes, WiFi controlled power outlets, light bulbs and more. The quality of the materials made of the Broadlink RM Mini 3 is at a good level in my opinion.
Personally, my goal with the purchase of the Broadlink RM Mini 3 was to have a smart air conditioner and control it over WiFi. For this reason, the main functionality I was looking for was the universal remote to have WiFi and an application with which the device could be controlled and configured. The Broadlink RM Mini 3 has both.
Another important functionality that this remote has is to learn from another remote. All you have to do is enter learning mode through the application and point the other remote at the Broadlink RM Mini 3 - it will recognize the signal and you will be able to save it in the application.
Another feature is the ability to create your own remote controls or download them from the Broadlink database. There are countless tailor-made remote controls out there and you will surely find yours. Another important detail is that when you or someone else creates their own remote it also uploads to the Broadlink database and anyone can use it. So you can use remote made by other users - such as Vivacom's IPTV remote.
Application: In general, the phone application has many features - creating remote controls that combined in categories for example in a room (such as a living room or bedroom), setting an on and off schedule, recurring events, and a calendar.
My personal impressions of the Broadlink RM Mini 3 are that the universal remote is a good widget with which you can have a smart air conditioner for only 12$. Overall, the device offers a lot of functionality and can be used for any device using IR (infrared) remote. My goal for having a smart air conditioner was to be able to switch it on before I get home from work and thus to get in a warm apartment in the winter months and cool in the summer. I also wanted to be able to schedule the air conditioner to turn on at night to save on my electricity bill. Overall, the Broadlink RM Mini 3 allows you to do all of these things.
As I wrote above, there are some things to be desired from the software part of the universal remote and the application in particular. Because quite often the device loses connection to the servers and cannot be accessed through the phone. Sometimes commands are delayed and setting on or off commands for the air conditioner on a certain day and time does not always work.
My setup for the Broadlink RM Mini 3 was as follows - since the universal WiFi remote only came with a USB cable (no charger) either I had to look for one or find another solution. Then I remembered that I could just buy a power outlet with USB inputs, which I did. I placed the remote control at about 4 meters from the air conditioner and so far I have not had problems with the range. The signal always reaches the air conditioner.