TV-B-Gone Coffee Cup

Like many folks who have either made or purchased a TV-B-Gone, I didn't want to seem too suspicious when using it. I could've concealed it in either a hat or a hoodie, but wanted something a little easier. Enter the lowly coffee cup, which provides both warmth and caffeine during the winter months here in NYC. Now it will provide amusement! Here's a link to the video.

The TV-B-Gone coffee cup is very simple to construct and shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.

You will need:
-a clean, dry medium-sized coffee cup with lid.
-TV-B-Gone kit from Adafruit Industries
-an X-acto blade.
-a sheet of newspaper.
-a small piece of white paperboard, similar in color to the coffee cup.

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Step 1: Cut Out a Hole for the IR Emitters....

Using the X-acto blade, cut a oval shaped horizontal hole at the bottom of the cup. This is where the four IR emitters from the TV-B-Gone will peek out. It's better to make the hole on the smaller side and expand it as needed.

Step 2: Place TV-B-Gone in Bottom of Cup and Test Fit...

Place the TV-B-Gone in the bottom of the cup and test the fit of the IR emitters in the oval hole you cut out in step one. Widen the hole as needed. You might also need to bend the IR emitters slightly to line them up.

Step 3: Cut Out Hole for Button Access...

Cut out a hole in the bottom of the cup where the pushbutton and green LED are located.

Step 4: Make a Cover....

Using the tape and the white paperboard, construct a little cover that shields the pushbutton switch and LED. This is so that you won't raise eyebrows when drinking your coffee.

Step 5: Crumple Newspaper and Place in Cup.....

Tear the newspaper into thirds, crumple and place in cup until it reaches the top. This will secure the TV-B-Gone in the bottom and provide enough resistance when you press the switch from the bottom.

Step 6: Have Fun!

Test the TV-B-Gone and adjust the IR emitter alignment as needed. I found that the cup really didn't work well at my local mall because the TVs were well above eye level. I still have to try the cup at other locations.

Here's what I might change:
-desolder the pushbutton and mount it on the side of the cup so takes a gentle press of the thumb to activate - a much more natural action.
-take a picture of a cup of coffee from the top and lay it over the top of the newspaper.

A video is forthcoming. Please leave any comments about how you would improve this project! Thanks!

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    25 Discussions

    I gotta hand it to ya', I laughed pretty good and long at this one. :p This is really very clever and now i'm sitting here thinking to myself, "why don't i have one of these yet?". I'd consider hot gluing a smaller cup inside so that is still functions as a "mobile beverage dispenser", wink wink.


    10 years ago on Step 6

    You could even insert a smaller coffee cup inside this larger one, and fill it with REAL COFFEE .. a win/win scenario .. :-)

    2 replies

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice little 'ible, I do like things that are utilitarian and stealthy. :-) In step four there is an information box inside another one, please note that this makes the information unobtainable -- not that anybody in the world couldn't finish the whole 'ible from the images alone, let alone the words and info boxes!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It says: "Dont ask for refills" Move your cursor very slow from the left side and youll see.


    It might be interesting to put the mercury sensor glass tube thing from thermostats in it, so when you pretend to take a drink it moves the mercury and sets it off ! =P

    7 replies

    10 years ago on Introduction

    it would be even niftier if you got one of those lexan coffee cups from starbucks or whatever coffee shop (you know you can hand those to them and they'll put your coffee in there instead of their paper cups)...and make a sealed false bottom so you can still have coffee in the cup for even more reality

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    that is what I thought, so you could be drinking coffee at the same time you are turning off TV's! ! ! !


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I like your idea and it echoes a suggestion made by a friend of mine. He thought it would be neat to place the TV-B-Gone in a travel mug. Any thoughts about how to make the sealed false bottom?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    you could pretty much do anything for the false bottom... you could even just put a disk of cardboard down there then pour in a layer of liquid epoxy.....of course i don't know if that would release any funky stuff into your coffee or change the taste or anything...

    You get food safe stuff though so it's definitely possible... If it was difficult you could add a bottom to one rather than go inside, as long as it blended the effect would be the same but there'd be now loss of volume...