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Toddler Video Remote for PC Video Player

Picture of Toddler Video Remote for PC Video Player
I build a remote control that connects to a PC with USB. The large remote control lets my toddler select and play videos on an old computer.

This is a relatively simple project. The core component is either a USB keypad or a wireless USB keypad.

Then I figured out which leads on the numpad correspond to which numbers, soldered wires on the circuit board and connect them to the buttons on the remote.

You will also need a PC, a monitor and speakers. Any old PC or Mac will do, as long as it capable of playing video (about 450 mhz and above). Basically any computer that's 8 years old or younger will be able to do this. I used VLC to play the media files, but you can use an media player that allows you to change the shortcut keys.

I finished the whole project in about four hours.
 
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Step 1: Parts Needed

The whole project cost me about $7. Depending on the items you have lying around you will spend more or less.

I went with the wired remote, because anything not bolted down in my house has a tendency to end up somewhere where you wouldn't expect it. Lego blocks in the cup boards, lunch boxes in the bedroom, wooden spoons in the living room etc. If you have a toddler, you know what I mean. Not very practical to have a wireless video player remote in your front yard. I already had the numpad, but you can buy one from newegg.com for $10, or $30 for a wireless one.

Once you have your numpad, it's wise to first connect it to the computer and configure the player and test to see if you can actually control the player with the numpad.

In addition to the numpad I used the following computer parts:

An old Compaq M700 laptop. The laptop has a crappy battery and the lid keeps closing by itself. My wife used it, but she kept complaining that it was too slow.

I salvaged a 17" Philips monitor with build in speakers. When i found it, it was not working. I opened it up and found bulging capacitors. $2.30 in capacitors and 30 minutes later I had a monitor to use for this project.

On the electronics side, you will need some wire, a couple of buttons, solder and a soldering station.

This is where you have to decide how many buttons you want to implement.

I went with 5 buttons, play/pause, next and previous and fast forward and fast backward.

The buttons I used were ordered from Jameco:
315441- 2x Black Buttons
315432 - 3x Red Buttons
bwente5 years ago
Great project!

But I think the controls could be a little friendlier for a toddler. Red stop sign or a green smiley face. Although I guess it is never to early to teach children arrow symbols.
There is a huge remote control at CVS. It's about a foot long and the buttons are huge. It costs $10. I think it was made for the elderly or maybe just as a joke? One thing is for sure, you can't lose it!
Yeah, we recently got one for a parent that kept misplacing his.

Here is about what it looks like:
jumbo-uni-remote.jpg
killerdark (author)  bwente5 years ago
I agree. Bigger buttons, preferably with icons ON the button and colored buttons would have been better. But the only bigger buttons that would be big enough to paint on that I could find cost $15 and up (each). The buttons you see in the project are $1 each. Play / Pause on this remote is one button (just like on a DVD/CD remote which is obviously what I copied) These functions could have (perhaps should have) been split into two separate buttons and that would have allowed for color coding Play and Pause.
at a local store they have big light up buttons that you can put a picture in for 1.95. i built somthing simlar except for flight sim controls
swartley3ga4 years ago
very cool idea! ....I have a feeling my kids would find a way to pull it off and still pull it in the toilet lol!
Wow thats great I never thought of that Hmm i suppose i could make one like it but use it for Djing Etc
ka1axy5 years ago
Box looks like it has pointy corners and sharp edges...might want to round those over a bit so nobody falls on them.
killerdark (author)  ka1axy5 years ago
I'll update the instructions to specifically include sanding down any rough or sharp edges.
killerdark (author)  ka1axy5 years ago
The picture you are looking at here in step 3 is before sanding, applying gloss and assembly (I just stacked it up for the picture basically). I haven't included a close up of the finished box, but the finished box has the sides and corners sanded down, although not completely round, more like 45 degrees If I had an electric sander I would have gone for big round edges as you suggest, I would have preferred that, if only for aesthetics.
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