Instructables

Repair your remote controls

I have repaired a quite a few faulty remote controls and most often they are repairable.
Getting a programmable remote is one way to solve the problem but the functionality and locations of the keys may not be satisfactory.
Repairing your remote should give you more satisfaction as you get to keep the remote you are used to.

Common faults are: some buttons not working, not working at all, corroded battery terminals. Often buttons are sticky because of some dirt accumulated over the years from the sticky little hands of your kids?
The hardest part of repair is often to open the covers. You do not need much experience in electronics repair to repair a remote. Also it is perfectly safe as there is no way to get an electric shock as they work with batteries.
 
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Step 1: Test your remote with Digital Camera

Check your batteries first or buy new batteries. Once you have good batteries, you can test with a digital camera by pushing the buttons and having camera on and pointing to the infrared led. You should see red light if the remote is working. If no light comes up you obviously have a dead remote but do not despair and procede to the next step

Step 2: Open the remote control but there is a catch or a few catches.

Remove the screws if any. Sometimes screws may be hidden under a sticker or rubber feet. Often there are no screws at all but just plastic catches hidden so you have to be clever to open it without breaking the case. Use something blunt and flat toclick the covers open. This is often a challenge but should not be too difficult.

Step 3: Take a picture of every phase so you remember how to re-assemble

Since you are using a digital camera you might as well take pictures of the disassembly so re-assemly will be easier.

Step 4: Pull everything apart

Did you take a picture of the keyppad layout? Sometimes keypad is just one rubber membrane but sometimes the keys fall away like pieces of a Lego puzzle. And if the buttons are marked with numbers and functions you may struggle to re-assemble them in right order?
Use a small plastic takeaway box or similar to store the bits so you don't lose parts.
itiered1 month ago
Thank you for this! Was able to repair a remote that was the last one in the house to run my cable box from Scientific America!
conundrum20635 months ago
Another method to fix these if the IR is flashing slowly but still no remote action is to replace the ceramic resonator on the board.
Don't worry too much if it isn't an exact frequency or colour match because the receiver in most if not all TVs has a wide range.
You may find that this fixes stubborn remotes where nothing else does :-)
conundrum20635 months ago
Hi, the camera test diagnosed a failed IRED on my Sony remote.
For those who run into this problem, the best bet is to either harvest one from another unit or simply use the ones sold on *bay for making night vision cameras.
You will need to solder it though unless you happen to have heatshrink and a steady hand to cut the wires to length.
I have also used tape sensor LEDs harvested from a defunct VCR before but these don't work quite as well as the correct part.
pellepeloton (author) 6 months ago
133196 views on 21 today so I must have helped to rescue a few remotes from the tip :)
msremote7 months ago
of course you can try to fix it, sometimes the problem is in the battery compartment,
the spring doesn't make contact with battery, you need to to pull the spring to make it longer. If the problem is in the circuit board, probably it doesn't make sense to fix it because solder is not that cheap. It is true that universal remote control is not your best choice, however you can get Miracle Remote for most popular tv brands, they work almost all functions of your original tv remote and you don't need to program them - fraction of the price of your original tv remote,
mbunda1 year ago
wow thanks no need to buy new f u can repaired the old one
pellepeloton (author)  mbunda1 year ago
You are welcome mbunda:)

Replacing the original with new one would cost a bit if you can get the original remote?
Getting an universal replacement remote is not good either as there would be missing functions and different design.
So repairing the original one makes a lot of sense. As it is faulty anyway, you got nothing to lose but time and patience perhaps.
Often the hardest part is how to open the covers?
In case of wireless remotes working with batteries the is no cjance of getting an electric shock. So have a go and let me know what you think was wrong with your remote?
klaviatury2 years ago
Your remote is blasphemy and should be shot. I recommend upgrading to the Yamaha MCX-RC100BL.
flobbie2 years ago
The remote for my Samsung STB has become unreliable (simply from wear and tear). I can fix it every time (so far) by removing the battery cover and squirting in contact/circuit board cleaner which comes in a pressure pack and has a fine tube you can insert in the hole revealed when you remove the battery cover. Squirting the stuff on and around the keys which are not working also works sometimes..
I squirt the stuff in until it is sloshiing around inside and coming out through the keys,
Sounds drastic, but it works (so far). The alcohol-based liquid evaporates quickly and does not have much odor.
http://fixing-ideas.blogspot.com/
bayyagg2 years ago
Hey! The problem usually some of the buttons are not working........ This 100% guaranteed to clean the carbon contact for that remote! Use ur soldering iron, heat it up, and get that hot iron tip into those carbon contacts ( don't worry nowadays remote are made of silicone and they don't melt with high temp. ). you will notice the glossiness of the carbon become matte black!
Hi there thought i let you guys know this... as i a a deaf tv engineer... as i wear hearing aids... if i put my hearing aid on to T for telephone setting.. and place the remote next to my hearing aid.... i can hear the blips or beebs of the remote button when pressed... i discovered another way if you have a old MW or AM radio tune it onto a static station and place remote near by and press buttons you should hear blips,beeps etc there are different beeps for all makes of remotes. hope that helps.. Rob in UK
pellepeloton (author)  roberthellier374 years ago
Thanks Rob, Interesting, I will check this one out. Maybe it is because remotes have a xtal which gives out radio frequency?
I can't say which radio setting is best all remote tend to be different.... I have used it on MW and AM frequency... just make sure there isn't a radio station coming through..... it has to be on static channel..... but not completely static.... try on LW setting too..... or buy a remote sensor with flashing LED.... you can buy them on a Key ring so thats useful for home visits... I couldn't just stick a remote on my ear in front of people or they think I am strange lol.
I've played with this using an old walkman by extending the audio-head and using that to detect the emf. Remotes don't use radiofrequency, the xtal is there as timing for the IC.
pellepeloton (author)  omnibot3 years ago
Most domestic AV remote controls use infrared LED's and some may use radio frequency? So those IR LED remotes are best to be tested with digital camera. My MB van remote key uses radio frequency so that needs preferably a spectrum analyser to test. As I do not have a spectrum analyser or do not know anybody who have one, I might try some radio receiver to test my MB remote?
pellepeloton (author) 3 years ago
Some young person could start a business repairing remotes. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes to repair one and sending remotes by mail is cheap.
neverlast4 years ago
A good way to open up remote controls without damaging them is to
use a guitar picku (thin-medium) since its flexible yet thin enough to get
into the gaps.
powerboxx164 years ago
you can also use the camera on your mobile phones
pellepeloton (author)  powerboxx164 years ago
Yes you are right, any digital or video camera will work.. Even you webcam on the laptop will work.
hanjwint4 years ago
i fixed it! yay! i didnt think i would actually be able to just fix my remote but all it was was a dry socket, woop woop! thanks!
Stew24 years ago
That camera thing to test the remote is so cool! I have kind of gained the rep of remote repair guy in my family over the years. Sure, it's easy to go out and buy a universal remote, but they never seem to have the same functionality as the original remote... Especially those for satellite receivers and cable boxes. Plus, I don't like throwing things out if they can be fixed. Only thing that never ceases to amaze me is the amount of crud/oil/soda that seems to accumulate in these things! Again though, digital camera tip is awesome! Thank you :)
I use to have a remote just like this but it was of a different brand and had less buttons. Those remotes I remeber worked nice and the numbers didnt fade away!
hoey785 years ago
step 5 worked for me. i.e cleaned the battery terminals and bingo! 1 remote fixed Thanks
STANMAR7255 years ago
I've repaired some old remotes and always give the metal switch contacts a good cleaning using one of those ink pen erasers. The grit on the eraser will not damage the metal contacts, but will clean up the tarnish/oxidation. You can tell if the contacts are cleaned because they will shine after you are done.
pellepeloton (author)  STANMAR7255 years ago
Good point, I have done the same but forgot to mention it.
edwb2195 years ago
Hi, I have found out where you can go to have your remote repaired. Simply go to The remote doctor and follow the 3 simple steps and its only $23.00. They where able to fix my remote and get it back within 10 days. They're great!!!
-smuli-6 years ago
Thanks from your tips, now my remote control is working again :)
MiniDIYGuy6 years ago
My Success with Faulty Buttons Repair
Sometimes even after thorough cleaning, I still find some buttons not functioning and have discovered that this has to do with a lost of electrical conductivity in the pad. A quick solution I've devised and implemented successfully is by using ordinary kitchen aluminum foils.

I've posted detailed info at my blog http://minidiy.blogspot.com/2008/02/repair-remote-control-faulty-buttons-in.html
This method is still helping me to sustain my favorite universal remote for over 7 years now.
pellepeloton (author)  MiniDIYGuy6 years ago
Thanks for that, I was wondering how to repair non-functional buttons?
I suppose you haven't read the blog in the link provided: http://minidiy.blogspot.com/2008/02/repair-remote-control-faulty-buttons-in.html

It specifically deals with repairing non-functional buttons. Hope it works for you.
clanger6 years ago
great instructable ,you can see if LED is working by viewing it through your mobile phone camera you will be able to see it flashing if its working
johncar7 years ago
Re the bulb. Can one safely test it with a continuity meter? I am concerned that maybe the power could ‘blow’ the filament.
Not really testable that way. IR LEDs don't have filaments, it is like a standard visible LED except in Infrared. So it will take about 2V to forward bias it. A standard silicone diode takes only about 0.7V. So your continuity checker may or may not give you a meaningful reading.
it should react like any diode, passing current one way and blocking it the other
comodore6 years ago
do you know how can I make a simple circuit that if i push a button on a remote, an led or something else turns on (wireless that is)
You may log on the following website to have a look on the IR detector circuit for reference. Since you use the TV remote, the IR receiver module may be of 38KHz instead of 40KHz. http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/IrProximity.html
http://www.simerec.com/Sharp_QH3031.html

You may find the electronic components through some on line shops like digikey.com or epartgrocer.com
pellepeloton (author)  comodore6 years ago
Dwarg6 years ago
Yes it is invisible to the naked eye but not the camera because it does not filter out infrared light in fact it makes it visible to the naked eye by translating it to the visible part of the electro magnetic spectrum
boocat7 years ago
I can test our remotes by aiming them at our old Furby. If the toy says:"Kitty,kitty,kitty" the LED is registering. That is the only simulus that ever causes the Furby to say that. It's very whiny and creepy, not its regular voice.
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