IR LEDs From Junk

Introduction: IR LEDs From Junk

Do you need IR LEDs for your next remote control project? Or is it a night vision system?

In this instructable I will show you how to get IR (Infra-red) LEDs and IR phototransistors for free!

Step 1: Get Some Old Remote Controls.

IR LEDs are found in most remote controls. So you will have to find plenty of remote controls if you need plenty of IR LEDs. Remote controlled appliances can also have IR receivers if you would like to pair them with your IR LEDs.

DVD Players, Home theater sound equipment, TVs and even RC toys can have these IR phototransistors or receivers.

Materials needed:

  • Old remote controls (can be laying around your house, can be asked from your neighbor, garage sales, or dumpsters)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Soldering equipment (Soldering iron,desoldering pump)
  • Coin cell (for testing the IR LEDs)
  • Digital camera
  • Multimeter (if no coin cell and camera)

Step 2: Dismantle the Remote Controls.

Remove the battery cover and use the flat head screwdriver to pry the plastic case off. Follow the notes on the pictures.

Step 3: Desolder the LED From the Board.

Straighten the pins of the IR LED , then desolder the LED from the PCB. Now you already have one free IR LED. Do this for the other remote controls and you will have plenty of Free LEDs. You can also desolder the IR receivers on the DVD players if you would also like to have them.

Step 4: Test Your LEDs and Phototransistors.

Test your IR LEDs by a multimeter or a battery while using a camera. Remember that you have to use the DIGITAL camera or the cam on your phone. See if it gives a little glow. The IR receiver I found has no part number on it. So I tested the IR receiver by tracking the PCB traces. The first pin was connected to the power supply, so it was the VCC, then the second pin to an IC, so it was the OUTPUT, and the third pin was GND. I made a circuit with a +5V supply and a red LED. When I pressed a button on my remote control, the red LED would blink. So I concluded that the receiver works.

Thank you for reading this instructable. I hope you liked it.

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    3 years ago

    I've been told by two 'experts' that my old bed remote did not NEED the bulb. My remote worked immediately before bulb broke and not after.
    Sent it to Winston Salem experts , and it came back missing the stem bulb was on...and no bulb. It did NOT work I might add.
    Any thoughts on that?
    Old irreplaceable remote.