How to Fix Any Remote at Home

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Introduction: How to Fix Any Remote at Home

About: Hello Guys, I am techgenie, an Electronics hobbyists, tech tinker and developer. I dedicate my free time in designing and making various creative and innovative projects, RC toys, Incredible Gadgets, Awesome...

Recently, i also found that the few buttons on my Tv remote had stopped working. The only solution i knew was to buy a new remote from market. Soon, i bought a new remote but found that its quality was nowhere near to the original remote and i was not able to find a good quality genuine remote.

I decided to do a bit of research and found that the bottom surface on the buttons of a remote is coated with a conductive paint, which over the period of time gets degraded and reduces the responsiveness of the buttons.

Do you know, you can just use a piece of food wrapping aluminium foil and make the remote as good as new? Many people don't, so, i decided to make an instructable, so that anyone can easily repair their remote controls in just few minutes at home.

Step 1: Watch the Video

As i always say, a video is a wonderful tool that provides deep insight to the procedure and makes it easy to follow. However, it is also recommended to visit next steps for additional details and images.

Step 2: Required Tools

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Tweezers
  3. Food wrapping Aluminium Foil
  4. Super Glue

Note: you can also buy a electrical paint from market and use it to repair the remote but it is very costly compared to a required tiny piece of aluminium foil.

Step 3: Identify Non - Working Buttons

  1. The first and most important step is to identify the non working buttons.
  2. On a piece of paper, write down the names of all the buttons.
  3. One by one press the buttons and check if it works fine or requires any fix.
  4. Carefully check and note down all the buttons.
  5. This step is important so that you don't have to repeat the process soon for other buttons that are about to stop working.
  6. Its better to repair any button that shows even slight non-responsiveness.

Step 4: Disassemble Remote

  1. Remove the batteries from the remote control.
  2. Look for any screws around the body.
  3. Generally, there will be only about 1 or 2 screws.
  4. Using the Screwdriver, unscrew all the screws.
  5. Hold the remote firmly and apply some pressure at the sides.
  6. You will find a side slightly moving in or out.
  7. That will the side to begin opening the remote case.
  8. Carefully open the case and separate the PCB.

Step 5: Completely Clean Dust

  1. Using a soft brush, clean the dust of the PCB.
  2. You can also use alcohol wipes or isopropyl alcohol solution to completely clean the PCB. (It's completely optional)
  3. If there is too much dust then you can also wash the remote buttons and the case (never wash the PCB).
  4. Keep the body case and button pad to dry for sometime.

Step 6: Cut Aluminium Foil

  1. Take a piece of aluminium foil.
  2. Using scissors, carefully cut pieces of the foil equal to the size of buttons.
  3. Apply a drop of super glue on the surface of button and paste the piece of aluminium foil.
  4. Make sure that the aluminium foil sticks well and is completely flat to the surface.
  5. Repeat the steps for all the buttons that needs to be fixed.

Note: Super Glue sometimes is not a very good option to use with rubber. If you have any other adhesive like fevibond or araldite, they might prove a better option on the rubber surface.

Step 7: Testing

  • After verifying, assemble the remote control together.
  • Insert the batteries and you will see that the remote control now works as good as new.

It is a very rare incident when the PCB of a remote control gets damaged. Mostly, there is always the problem with few buttons and because of which the remote has to be changed but now no more. Use this simple trick and easily repair any non-working buttons on a remote.

So Friends, this here concludes the tutorial. In case you might have missed, watch the video and see how i fixed non-working buttons on my remote control.

Use this method once and you will never have to buy a new remote again. Don't forget to share your experiences in the comments section below.

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We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.

7 Tips

I have used aluminum tape - the kind used for HVAC duct works.

LucD26! I want to compliment you on a very bright bit of Knowledge. A modern camera can see IR...whow!!

I used to repair remotes professionally for 30 years. If I can sum up my 30 year experience here:

1)

Most problems are caused by the battery terminals / corrosion from leaking batteries.

2)

Second most problems are caused by rum and coke, beer or just coke inside the remote.

3)

The crystal has extremely thin legs, and vibration / movement causes one to break off.

This is the only component I ever had to change in 30 years!

4)

Dust on the terminals / rubber pads causes no contact.

Solution.

a) Simple physical repair and soldering, sometimes using beer "tin" to make new contacts.

b) Wash the whole machine piece by piece in warm / hot soapy water except the rubber contacts strip. Dry, shake, swing and ( I use compressed air to blow) get rid of all the water, especially under the kokorotchi! Put in warm place to dry. Weak sun is OK.

c) Soap your hands and wash the rubber briskly for a few seconds and dry it with the towel, taking care not to rub the conductive paint of the contacts.

d) Reassemble and test with my unique Infra red detector, built from an old IR receiver LED and an audio amplifier. THIS IS NOW obsolete as it is EVER SO EASY USING YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA! thanks Luc D 26

I have repaired several thousand remotes and only gave up on a very few!

Andre Pensioner

You can check if a button is working with a digital camera. Point it at the leds on the remote, when you push a button you will see it light up on the screen of your camera.

If you use a pencil eraser Be Sure To Clean The Residue Off With Alcohol. Erasures are *highly* corrosive and will lead to early failure of your remote. You can test this with a shiny penny on an eraser for week. Erasures are really good at cleaning contacts - don't forget to neutralize when your done!

You can also you graphite from a pencil just by drawing on it or smash it to powder and add a bit of wood glue.

While you're at it, take a rubber pencil eraser and rub over the gold contacts on the PCB, the ones that the rubber keyboard hits, as well as the working buttons' contact points. That will clear off any gunk that has accumulated. Use a paper towel afterwards to make sure bits of eraser aren't left on either surface.

3 Questions

0

Thanks, will it work for Indian Remote?

Yes, if the remote can be disassembled then it will work for remote of any country.

Hi, Would this technique work with a remote car key.
I bought this old car. The key pad (rubber buttons) we're gone and the two circuits are expose)
Evidently the circuits must be working because -I guess- the central locking (with the key) still works
To get a new key would cost me half what I paid for the car.

Hello #Augusto Tamayo you can do a bit of cleaning but using aluminium foil in car key remote will not work. Disassemble the key remote and see, if there are contacts similar to that of a remote then it will work but mostly, the car keys have metal contacts that can work just by cleaning the corrosive residue.

1 more answer

IMO, for a car key its better to replace the whole key body if it is that bad, have you checked online? many of the bodies are available. If not there are generic equivalents you can pick up online for a fraction of the cost from a dealership. In my experience, I replaced a key with remote locking with a folding key, coded it to the door remotes myself and had it cut and coded to the barrel (another code) at an auto locksmith. After Mrs Curly lost one of the pair on the beach it needed to be at least recoded..

I have this same problem on my phone buttons. The '3' only works after pressing hard. Same solution?

No, this solution only works for the remote. Phone buttons are much more compact and sealed differently. You can remove the keypad but there is a metal contact beneath it which cannot be removed without damaging it.

26 Comments

Всем привет!

1) Foil is the solution, but not a panacea.

2) The sticky liquid inside (if not beer or coffee) is a plasticizer - a product of rubber breakdown. It must be washed off!

3) You can wash and you need everything. Dry necessarily, especially if the DIP chip.

3) Drawing graphite is sometimes very good, and sometimes useless. But better than foil.

4) It happens that the current-carrying layer is worn on the board itself. In this case, all is useless.

5) A good way: thinly cut the conductive rubber band on an unused button and paste instead of a bad button (also cut off the worn layer) onto the rubber glue.

6) Plastic cards and medics help to open.

7) With a complete malfunction of the console, all of the above does not help. This is another story.

Спасибо за внимание!

Very good instructs leave, I also had a problem with a few of my remote controls and I found that if I used a strip of double sided tape and stuck the aluminum foil to one side of the tape and then I used a ring binder hole punch to punch holes in the aluminum foil/ double sided tape which gives you perfectly round patches just the right size for the remote pads then just remove the backing from the tape and place it on to the pads that are not making a connection

1 reply

Yes, it seems like a great idea, i will surely give it a try.

Conductive glue for the WIN.

This method will only cause more problems down the road.

Super glue ISN'T FLEXIBLE!

Then, you'll have aluminum foil shards shorting out other things that you don't want to....

1 reply

Yes, may be you are right but using a double sided tape is a very good option.

Use a paper punch and make foil dots, and replace every button.

1 reply

Yes, that can be done but still it is recommended to replace only the non working buttons because it does take a lot of time to cut the foil and glue it to every button. Also, many buttons on a remote are not used much and they keep working well. Only the more frequently used buttons gets damaged.

I take the foil from the cigarette pack. it is with a paper substrate. This allows you to glue it more reliably.

1 reply

Ohh yes, this is a great idea, paper will surely help to glue more reliably.

I have done this in the past and it works well. But I used a hole punch to create the button contacts and double-sided tape to fix them into place. I think I got a strip of foil, applied the tape, punched out buttons, affixed them to the remote and finally, the fiddly bit, removed the backing tape. I think I loosened the backing tape beforehand, while it was still on the roll.

2 replies

Yes #StephenR28 using hole punch to make button contacts seems like a great idea, i will surely give it a try.

I like that idea, very clever :)

Super! there are many other devices that use this type of buttons and can be fixed. Thank you

1 reply

Yes, this method can be used on all the devices that use these type of buttons.

Very good idea. I worked at a company where we had to repair buttons on commercial telephones, and we used the conductive paint. The paint didn't always work either. I have fixed my share of remote controls, and sometimes they get really gummed up with sticky soda and candy sugary coating in the remote. As long as the BATTERY is removed, it is ok to run water over the whole DIS-ASSEMBLED circuit board and rubber button pads until all of that gunk is washed away. Be sure it is completely dry when re-assembling. I never thought about using aluminum foil, and I will give it a try next time. Great instructable.

1 reply

That was a very useful piece of information. I assume the same trick will work on Computer keyboards too?

1 reply

Thanks, I am glad you liked it. Although, i have disassembled a keyboard from PC, so i am unaware if this method can work. This method is not useful for laptop keyboard as the keys there use metal contacts.