$4 DIY TV-B-Gone

Introduction: $4 DIY TV-B-Gone

About: Hi! I've loved electronics and electricity for as long as I can remember, and electric projects are something I do in my free time for fun. Everything I've learned about electricity is either from experience...
A TV-B-Gone is a neat little device that can turn almost any TV on or off. It uses a microcontroller hooked up to IR LEDs to output a library of on/off codes. I wanted one but they retail for $20, and I thought I could make one. Adafruit sells akit, and has the code as well as the schematic on their website.

UPDATE! New version available with full building instructions! https://www.instructables.com/id/350-DIY-TV-B-Gone-Mico/

This is a simple TV-B-Gone made completely out of parts I had lying around. It has no circuit board, and all of the parts are just soldered together. I'll include some brief instructions because some people will want to make one themselves.

I have no external oscillator, but the internal one seems accurate enough and has worked on every TV I have tried. It may vary with extreme temperature conditions, though. I got the internal one to run Ladyada's code unmodified by turning off the fuse for the "divide by eight" clock option.

  • Attiny85v-10pu
  • 8 pin IC socket; not required
  • Filter capacitors; not required but I used them
  • Small tactile button
  • Visible LED and resistor; also not required
  • 4 IR LEDS with 2 resistors, you could only use one if you didn't care about range.
  • 2 AA battery holder
So if you are on a bare minimum budget, you could only use the microcontroller, switch, and one IR LED.

  • Soldering iron with solder
  • Helping hands (recommended)
  • Computer with programming software and an AVR programmer
You can look at the pictures to figure out how to solder it together, just make sure you put the code on the chip before hooking it up!

Mine has a pretty decent range considering that I used very low power signal LEDs, about 10 meters (33 feet) or so.

If anyone makes this, please send pictures! Comments, questions, and ratings are appreciated!



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    30 Discussions

    Hey I read your little description of yourself and I laughed alittle cause it sounds like some thing I'd say. Hey also nice job on the project. If you mind a suggestion encasing it in an "Altoids" tin would make it look cool and it would also make it less obvious when you pull it out.

    Mainly I did it to lower the cost. I did this by changing the fuses, bits of memory in the chip that determine how it behaves, to tell it to use its internal resonator. If you look at my micro TV-B-Gone Instructable I explain part of this there.


    Encase the whole thing in surgu (including the button but except the LED's) and just mark on the surgu where the button is then it would be almost perfectly discreet but just slightly hard to change batteries unless you cut a hole and get a battery holder :)

    An excellent idea that I wished to do on my new model (https://www.instructables.com/id/350-DIY-TV-B-Gone-Mico/) but I didn't have any at the time...

    Great idea. The only thing I’d change is to use all SMT devices to make it smaller and more robust. I found some new flex pcb SMT adapters at www.protoflex.net. These are flex pcbs with an adhesive backing you just stick on. Too cool!

    4 replies

    Awesome! I was already thinking the same thing without sugru but the sugru is a great addition for both durability and aesthetics!

    I have a working prototype! After a long time of wondering why it wasn't working I discovered the true value of filter capacitors :-)

    Okay, thanks! Due to the demand for an Instructable, I ordered more parts from Mouser (should arrive tomorrow) and I will make multiple versions of the DIY TV-B-Gone in Instructable form for all to enjoy.

    That's actually a really good idea. Try it and see if it works! You could also convert the TV-B-Gone signal library to a sound file directly (is there an app for that?). Have any idea if a mini-usb from a cell phone would work to power IR LEDS? Good luck!

    Will this really work? The IR signal is modulated at 38-40kHz. Are you sure that both the input and output audio stages can handle such high frequencies? Audio generally stops at around 20kHz and there may be filter networks to dump any frequencies higher than this.

    it'll work. i did that loads of times as a kid. (i had so much fun doing that using a cassette voice recorder and hiding before playing it back!) It probably won't work with an mp3 unless you set a high bitrate. as for the modulation, most mp3's are sampled at 44100 hz, many higher quality ones are sampled at 48000 hz. you should get good results if you record it /losslessly/ at 48khz, crank up the gain, then encode it to mp3 at 192 kbps.

    I am rather doubtful that that would work. I'm pretty sure that computer audio cards have bandpass filters to prevent those high frequency signals. Even if not, you'd have to record in very high quality audio. According to the Nyquist theorem, at a modulation of 40kHz, you'd need to record at a minimum of 80kHz. Computers can do (I think) 96kHz, so that is possible, but I still think the sound card won't let that through. However, I'd love to be proven incorrect.

    Good idea, but I wanted this to be a stand-alone device that could be reproduced cheaply.

    or, make magazine suggested putting it in a sweatshirt and making the switch a zipper. I forgot the issue, but you probably could look up the schematics on google.