How do Remote Controls Work?

Ever wonder how remote controls can control your TV or other electronic device without actually being connected to the electronic device? Well there are two ways that remote controls achieve this, they either use IR signals or RF Signals, which both are through the air ways to communicate with your electronic device such as your TV, Blu ray player, or home theater system. The most common way that the signals are transferred are through IR or Infrared signals, which are ones you must point directly at your TV or other electronic device and you must be within 30 feet of your device or the remote will have troubles communicating the right signals to your device.

The way they work is that the remote control has a circuit board which distinguishes which button will produce what type of electronic signal code, which is then sent to the base of your TV. Most times it's more common to see a remote lose its ability to effectively communicate with the receiver device (in this case that would be your TV, DVD Player or even your VCR), because remotes are often put through more punishment than your receiver device. However, sometimes the receiver device stops working or has problems recognizing the codes being sent to it from the remote control. That’s often when it’s time to buy a new receiver device or go back to the traditional methods of changing you TV or other device manually. Another good option you may want to consider if your receiver device is damaged, especially if it’s your TV, is that you can buy components that work with your TV such as a Blu ray player that has its own receiver, and sometimes these devices can even control some parts on the TV.

Sometimes you will notice that when you press a button on your remote, you must angle the remote just right in order for the signal to reach your TV. This does not mean there is anything wrong with your current remote control, just means it’s probably time to replace your batteries in the remote control instead. As the power levels drop in a typical battery, the signal strength sent from the remote control starts to decrease, and it takes a better connection, either by directly pointing the remote control at the TV, or having a shorter distance between the remote control and the electronic device you are trying to use.

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John Alexander

Great article, and I learned alot about remote controls

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