Instructables
Picture of Double the Range of Your TV-B-Gone
With a handful of parts, a solder iron, and about an hour, you can double the range of your TV-B-Gone (R) universal remote control.

TV-B-Gone remotes work great to turn off TVs anywhere you go. But they work even better when they have more power.

We will be adding one more IR emitter to a TV-B-Gone remote, and powering the resultant two IR emitters with larger batteries than the small coin cell battery in the stock TV-B-Gone.

(There is also a more complex yet Ultra High Powered TV-B-Gone Instructable.)

This Instructable grew out of workshop that I did at 23C3, the hackers conference in Berlin in December, 2007. FoeBud, a German organization that educates the public about privacy issues with technology, let me use their workshop bench to teach people how to solder, using this project as an example.

Thanks to Rena Tangens, of FoeBud, who took all the photos.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Parts:
A -- TV-B-Gone (1)
B -- 940nm IR emitter (1)
C -- Battery Holders that holds two batteries (2)
D -- Batteries (4)
E -- Solder

Tools:
F -- Solder iron
G -- Small Phillips screwdriver
H -- Needle nose pliers
I -- Diagonal cutters

Not shown:
-- Wire, several inches of two different colors
-- Wire stripper
-- Solder Wick (or a Solder Sucker)


This photo has Notes -- roll the mouse over the parts with squares to see these important notes.

Step 2: Take apart TV-B-Gone

Picture of Take apart TV-B-Gone
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Unscrew the small Phillips screw on the back of the TV-B-Gone. (See 1st photo.)

Take off the back. (See 2nd photo.)

Take the PCB out of the plastic housing. (See 3rd photo.) (PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board -- it is the board that all of the components are soldered to.) Your modified TV-B-Gone will not fit into the cute batman-like keychain after you are finished, so please recycle or re-use the plastic and metal pieces for some other project.

Take the battery out of the battery holder marked B2. (See 4th photo.) Save this battery, as we will need again later.

Take the battery (or batteries) out of the battery holder marked B1. (See 5th photo.) This battery (or batteries) will not be needed for the modified TV-B-Gone, so please re-use or recycle.

Step 3: Prepare Battery Holders

Picture of Prepare Battery Holders
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Cut 1 1/2" of wire (I used red) and strip 1/8" off of each end. Solder it between the positive terminal of one battery holder and the negative terminal of the other. (The negative terminals of the battery holders are the ones that look like springs.) (See 1st photo.)

Cut 4" of one colored wire and 4" of the other colored wire. Strip 1/8" off of each end of each wire. Solder one wire (I used Red) to the unused positive terminal of the battery holder and the other wire (I used Blue) to the unused negative terminal of the battery holder. (See 2nd photo.)

The result is that when the batteries are installed in the battery holders, there will be 4 batteries in series, making 6 volts to power the IR emitters.

Step 4: Prepare original IR emitter

Picture of Prepare original IR emitter
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Unsolder the IR emitter from the PCB. To do this, hold onto the plastic part of the IR emitter with your fingers of one hand and pull gently, while using you other hand to melt the solder pads on the PCB with a solder iron. You will need to go back and forth, first melting one pad and pulling gently, then melting the other pad and pulling gently, then back to the first, etc., until the emitter comes out. (See 1st photo.)

Use Solder Wick (or a Solder Sucker) to open up the two holes on the PCB for the emitter. You should be able to see through the two holes. (See 2nd photo.)

Bend up the negative lead of the IR emitter as shown in the photo. (See 3rd photo.)

Solder the positive lead of the IR emitter (the one you did not bend up) into the pad marked "+" as shown in the photo. Now the IR emitter is in the same position it was in originally, but with the negative lead bent up. (See 4th and 5th photos.)

Step 5: Install 2nd IR emitter

IR emitters come with one lead longer than the other. The longer lead is the positive lead and the shorter lead is negative. (See the first photo.)

Bend up the negative lead (the shorter lead) of the IR emitter as shown in the 2nd photo. There should be about 1/8" of lead sticking out from the emitter before the bend (as you can see in the 2nd photo).

Push the negative lead (the one you just bent) into the empty emitter pad on the PCB and solder it. Be sure to solder it on the opposite side of the PCB from the original IR emitter. (See the 3rd photo.)

Clip the excess lead that sticks up through the PCB. (See the 4th photo.)

Bend the positive lead of the new emitter around as shown in the 5th photo.

Continue bending the positive lead of the new emitter around the bent up lead of the original emitter as shown in the 6th photo.

Solder this connection between the positive lead of the new IR emitter and the negative lead of the original IR emitter. Then cut the excess lead. (See the 7th photo.)

Step 6: Attach batteries

Solder the negative wire (I used blue) from the battery holders to the pad on the PCB shown in the 1st photo.

Solder the positive wire (I used red) from the battery holders to the pad on the PCB shown in the 2nd photo.

Insert the 4 batteries into the battery holders, making sure the negative of each battery is at the spring in the battery holders, as in the 3rd photo.

Insert the CR2032 coin cell in battery holder B2 on the PCB, with the side marked "+" facing out. (See 4th photo.) Do not insert any coin cell batteries into battery holder B1 on the PCB.

As soon as you insert the coin cell into B2, the visible LED on the PCB will blink (see 5th photo) -- 6 times for European database, or 3 times for North American database (see Step 9 for changing between North American and European databases). If it does not blink, then there is probably something wrong with the voltage from the new battery holders you added (see the next step, Step 7, for testing & debugging tips).

See the 6th and 7th photos for two views of the finished high-power TV-B-Gone.

You can use your High Powered TV-B-Gone as it is, or you can put it in a new case (it won't fit in the original, cute batman-like case any more). Some people have used a cigarette box.

Step 7: Testing and Debugging tips

Picture of Testing and Debugging tips
The IR emitters emit very bright light! But the light they emit is invisible to our eyes (IR stands for Infra Red, which means that its frequency is below visible red light). IR remote receivers in TVs can "see" IR, and so can digital cameras.

To test your new high-powered TV-B-Gone you can point it at a TV, push the button on the TV-B-Gone, and keep it pointing at the TV until the TV turns on or off. To test it more thoroughly, push the button on the TV-B-Gone and point it at a digital camera -- if your high-powered TV-B-Gone is working you will see the three blinking lights on the camera: the visible LED, and both IR emitters (even though you will not see the IR emitters blinking with your eye).

If the visible LED didn't blink when you inserted the coin cell into B2, or if both IR emitters do not blink when viewed with a camera (and you can't turn a TV on or off) then you will need to debug the circuit. There are only two areas that can go wrong: the voltage from the new battery packs, or the orientation of the new emitter.

If you have a volt meter, measure the voltage where the wires from the battery holders are soldered to the PCB -- is there 6 volts, with the correct polarity? One of the battery packs I bought at Conrad in Berlin was defective (they are made pretty cheaply), so I had to replace it.

If the voltage is OK, the only other problem could be with the IR emitter -- maybe it is a freaky one with the polarity reversed (one that I bought at Conrad in Berlin had the negative lead longer than the positive lead, unlike any LED I had ever encountered before). If so, then remove the new emitter, reverse it, and test again.

Step 8: Use it!

Picture of Use it!
Go out into the world and enjoy the satisfaction of making it a better place by turning off TVs everywhere you go.

Step 9: North American vs European TV-B-Gone

Picture of North American vs European TV-B-Gone
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Since there are so many different makes and models of TVs around the world, with hundreds of different POWER codes, TV-B-Gone has a different database for Europe (EU) and for North America (NA). The NA model also works well in Asia. TV-B-Gone determines whether to use its EU or NA database by looking at the jumper in R5 (see the red circle in the photo -- the photo shows an EU TV-B-Gone). R5 can be anywhere from 0 ohms through 15Kohms. If the jumper across R5 is present then the TV-B-Gone uses its EU database. If the jumper is absent it uses its NA database. You can change your TV-B-Gone from one to the other by removing or adding the jumper (but please remove all of the batteries while soldering). Some people have installed a small switch to make it easier to change between databases.

Step 10: Schematic diagram

Picture of Schematic diagram
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Although you don't need it to follow the previous steps, here is a schematic diagram for those who want one.

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I really want to make one of these, but I'm bad at soldering. Do you have any tips? On a less related note, would a lens array work to increase range even more?
Wow, great idea sami. It would be cool to have one of these dressed up like a flash drive powered by the usb port. People would think you were fidgeting with your port on the computer. :)
ajroudsami3 years ago
Nice tutorial but I'm wondering if it's possible to replace your AA batterie with a 5V USB port .I mean that I want to power up the TV B Gone with my laptop.?
mitch (author)  ajroudsami3 years ago
You can power with USB from your laptop, but depending on your laptop's USB port, your computer may limit the current it sends out its USB port, so it may be less powerful than using two AA batteries.

Try it and see.

Mitch.
mxlabs3 years ago
that`s funny. i listend to an older ccc podcast (24C3 2214 - Make cool things with Microcontrollers - Hacking with Microcontrollers) a few minutes ago and stumbled upon this tutorial.

thank you for putting this useful tutorial guide on.


mitch (author)  mxlabs3 years ago
Sure! Happy hacking! And, please turn off lots of TVs!

Cheers,
Mitch.
Tesla Joe4 years ago
A word to the wise: The TV-B-Gone does not just work on TVs but almost any device that uses IR communications. I discovered this by accident when I decided to try mine on a TV in the room and accidentally caused the my roommate's iHome stereo to play music loudly. I regret not trying this for April Fool's Day.
mitch (author)  Tesla Joe4 years ago
Thanks for pointing this out. 

A more accurate description: 
TV-B-Gone remote controls have only TV POWER codes in its database.  There are actually very few devices that will respond to these codes besides TVs (in the over 5 years of using and selling TV-B-Gone remotes I've only heard of a handful of cases where a TV-B-Gone has had any effect on devices other than TVs (most of them are for one company -- I can't remember which -- that uses the same POWER code to control their DVD players and their TVs).

Mitch.
My TV-B-Gone turns on the LED lamp in my room, which uses an infrared remote. http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/831e/
mitch (author)  dark sponge4 years ago
Cool. That lamp probably uses a pretty simple IR encoding scheme, and so might have a few false triggers. I'm curious -- does it also respond to other TV remote controls? Does the TV-B-Gone make your lamp go through lots of nice colors? Mitch.
Actually, no. It always turns on right after the fifth code, and none of the other ones do anything to it. No TV remotes in my house affect it. I'm guessing they didn't make sure the on/off signal they used wasn't the same as a TV's. It would be really annoying if you had it in the same room as the TV with the code that triggers it...
mitch (author)  dark sponge4 years ago
The 5th code is for Philips TVs. So, for whatever reason, they used a Philips on/off toggle code.
That's odd.
Tesla Joe mitch4 years ago
I stand corrected! I guess the TV-B-Gone doesn't mess with the majority of IR communication systems. However, I still regret not using it for April Fool's Day.
hotrod11114 years ago
Recycling Generator
447za4 years ago
Im using 6 IR Leds  and I soldered led like this +- +- +- +- +- +-
positive to negative and so on...
I did same as u did but doesnt work, Only I know its ON because little red LED is blinging
Help me ASAP plz
mitch (author)  447za4 years ago
I made a comment after yours on the Batteries page, but I'll comment here, too:  to use 6 IR LEDs you need more voltage -- 3v per LED.  So, for 6 LEDs you need 12 AA batteries in series for B1.  (But be sure to keep B2 at 3v, since B2 is for the microcontroller.)

Mitch.
Kamokaki4 years ago
It works. Nice job. I made one 5 min ago. The IR sems to be stronger or something now!
mitch (author)  Kamokaki4 years ago
Yes, the IR is twice as powerful with two IR emitters and the bigger batteries.  Please turn off lots of TVs with your new power!  :)

Mitch.
447za4 years ago
Hi, I made exactly what did u showed us.
It dont work ??
What I did wrong I putted 6 IR Leds but when I measured there doesnt come any Voltage to the leds ??
mitch (author)  447za4 years ago
It won't work with 6 IR LEDs unless you use a more batteries.  Each LED needs 3v to function, so if you want 6 LEDs, you will need to put them in series with each other, and then use 12 AA batteries in series with each other (for B1).  But make sure that you keep the B2 battery the same, since this powers the microcontroller, which can only function with voltage between 3v and 5v.

Mitch.
Kamokaki4 years ago
How meny nm is the IR-LED in a TV B-GONE. Can you change the IR-LED without any other stuff that you have too change.-
mitch (author)  Kamokaki4 years ago
TV remote controls all use 940nm.  If you use any other wavelength, it will probably work, but with greatly reduced range.  The IR emitter I use for TV-B-Gone is made by Everlight, part number:  IR333/H0/L10.  You can get it at Mouser.com -- here is the part number for Mouser:  638-IR333/H0/L10.  This is the most powerful IR emitter that is available, and it is also really cheap:  $0.29 each for 1 piece, in the US (and probably comparable elsewhere).

If you use another IR emitter, it will work, but the range will be less.

Cheers,
Mitch.
Highjump445 years ago
can u put 850nm vs the 940nm LED currently in the device
Noodle god5 years ago
1.Watch 2.Do 3.??? 4.Profit!
soyo47 years ago
Can you put a link with the schematic diagram larger, please. With the image I can't read nothing. (Sorry for my english, but I'm learning it) PD Very good this instructable, very nice
mitch (author)  soyo46 years ago
I just uploaded a higher-resolution schematic. I have also put it on my Flickr account:
http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1980643045&size=l

Sorry it took so long to update it.
mitch (author)  soyo47 years ago
Sorry for the fuzzy schematic. I can't seem to find my source files for these. I'll have to create them again. Please give me a few days. In the meantime, here's a description of the relevant parts of the schematic: The IR signal from the microcontroller comes from pin 12. That goes through a 120 ohm base resistor into the base of a 2N3904 transistor. The transistor's emitter is tied to ground. The collector goes to the cathode of the stock IR emitter (which is an Everlight IR333-A), and the anode of this emitter goes to the cathode of the added IR emitter (same as the stock emitter, available at Mouser.com, part number 638-IR333-A). The anode of this added IR emitter goes to +6v (which comes from four AA batteries). Be sure to remove the battery (or batteries) that are in battery holder B1 of the TV-B-Gone, and do not use these together with the four AA batteries.
jimmyw mitch6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
mitch (author)  jimmyw6 years ago
Well, you're in luck. Together with Ladyada, we just came out with a TV-B-Gone Kit! And it costs $20. You need to create your own case, however. But it turns off TVs under ideal circumstances at 30 yards. :) I'm also working on a TV-B-Gone Pro that I hope will be available for presale before xmas.

You can check the TVBGone.com website, or sign up for our email list on the website to be informed of when both these will be for sale.

I'll have a bunch of the TV-B-Gone Kits at the Austin Maker Faire (20-October and 21-October -- if you happen to be there), and have them up on my website shortly afterwards. Ladyada's site may have some even sooner

The regular TV-B-Gone remote has OK range -- about 20 or 30 feet, depending on the TV and the angle of the TV from you. (The Ninja is somewhat weaker.)
Hmmm now if only there was a way to focus these beams into a longer range system so either an IR based laser pointer (no idea if that would work at all) or possibly a couple of lenses or something similar to give superlong range and accuracy
mitch (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
I've also been thinking of using an IR laser to get super-long range. What troubles me is making it safe -- a highly focused laser beam that momentarily reflects off of a shiny surface might permanently damage someone's eyesight. If the beam were difussed a little, however, then it could be safe. Now, how to safely guarantee a difused beam, and how to modulate the laser at the proper frequencies? Also, I'm not sure if there are 940nm IR lasers, which is the IR wavelength of TV remote controls. Laser's aren't really my forte. If anyone knows about this stuff, please let me know.
if you found the laser a piece of slightly brushed glass would diffuse it nicely but i see the dangers involved
Also, a laser will be VERY directional. You'd need to diverge the beam so it has spread. It'll be easier to aim and still have great range. A better alternative is to amply the electrical signal with a fast Darlington and an LED array, like those IR security lights. Or, that "ultra-TV-B-Gone project. I devised something even more wicked: a Cable-B-Gone hat. Cable boxes from one monopoly cable operator are "keyed alike" - they all use the same remote. Hack the code for your town's cable boxes, and have fun! I need to post my remote control hat as an instructable.
mitch (author)  wi-fi astronomer7 years ago
Please do post your remote control hat as an instructable! And please post it as a comment here. I'm working on a Super-High-Power TV-B-Gone now. It goes well over 50 meters! I use 6 IR emitters, each with their own transistor driver (PN2222A with a 120 ohm base resistor and no current limiting resistor in series with the emitter and collector, with the emitter tied directly to ground -- this is the same circuit as the emitter and driver for the regular TV-B-Gone), and four AA batteries to power the emitters. I have successfully turned off huge-screen TVs facing out of very thick plate-glass windows, from across a very wide street! Very satisfying. I'll post an instructable about this soon. I'll also have them available ready-made from TVBGone.com later this year.
maxhaxs mitch7 years ago
You can get a 940nm IR laser for 60 USD from digikey.
maxhaxs7 years ago
should i get a Tv b gone or a ninja remote
mitch (author)  maxhaxs7 years ago
That's up to you. Of course, I know which one I like -- TV-B-Gone, the way cooler one that works way better, and that isn't in it only for the money. :)
maxhaxs mitch7 years ago
thank u made my mind
oshidutako7 years ago
thats pretty cool. now if i can just find a tv-b-gone. i'll probably use 3-4 leds all pointed at the same spot though instead of two and a 9-volt battery instead of the 4 AA.
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