Make Your Infrared Remote Control Work At Any Angle
Today's infrared-controlled equipment is better than those of a few years ago in the sense that many infrared remote controls now work at almost any angle. Even so, you might still be using older equipment or less well-designed new devices that still require you to align them well or to be sitting more or less directly in front of them to operate them reliably. Inconvenient? Sure – but there is a free and fast do-it-yourself solution to solve this problem and to increase the operating angle.
I'm the owner of a few devices that are quite picky as far as the alignment of the remote control is concerned. The worst of them is a set-top box that doesn't even respond when the remote control is directly in front of it. You need to hold it at an angle of approximately 15 degrees to the left or right of the center for it to work – and I can assure you that this can be very annoying.
After placing some of my equipment behind frosted or sanded glass, as explained in another article, I noticed that I could control these devices from a wider angle than previously. This was surprising at first, since I feared that the frosted glass would instead weaken the signal.
But it turns out it works perfectly, since the scattering through the frosted glass makes the signal appear to come from all angles – including the front.
When I realized that this could also be a solution for the set-top box, which I couldn't place in the frosted glass cabinet, I hurried to my local do-it-yourself store to get a piece of frosted-glass waste. I taped it to the front of my set-top box and…Eureka!!… problem solved. Now I could control the silly thing at an angle of almost 90 degrees!!!
But a fragment of frosted glass taped to my gear didn't exactly look like a high-end design solution. Well, it might be modern art, at best. So I started brainstorming about what else looks like frosted glass. And then I saw it right in front of me: the transparent matte Scotch tape, with which I'd taped the glass to the device. Removing the glass, I placed the tape over the remote control sensor, and … another Eureka … it also works! One inch of matte Scotch tape, taped to the most picky device I've ever seen, turns it into a charm that accepts remote control commands from almost any angle. Now I understand why they call it Magic Tape (and no, I’m not being sponsored by 3M).
Then I applied it to my laptop because I wanted to use the remote control during a presentation while walking around. This was also functional in 30 seconds!
My family had been suffering from the same frustrations for three years with this set-top box, and now matte Scotch tape has solved the problem! Now I was convinced that my family would think that I was a genius, but it turns out that I'm "quite stupid not to think of that any sooner" … sigh.
Since I placed most of my AV equipment behind frosted glass, I got rid of my IR extender, so I can't test whether it works, but let us know if you've checked out the following. An inconvenient property of IR extenders is that you have to tape each transmitter to the IR receivers of the devices you want to operate, also requiring a cable from the extender to each transmitter.
It might be possible to place the IR transmitter(s) of the extender somewhere in front of your devices but not attached to the devices themselves. Then tape a piece of matte tape to each receiver on your devices.
Whether this works or not will probably strongly depend on the signal strength of the IR extender that you're using.
- Frosted glass or matte Scotch tape in front of an infrared receiver makes it almost insensitive to the angle of the remote control
- Works with a variety of IR devices, AV equipment, remote controlled toys such as cars or helicopters, camera's, projectors, etc.
This is useful on the receiver side, but not on the transmitter side! It might scatter your signal too much for it to work.
For short-distance IrDA connections – for instance, between a laptop and a phone – you could try to apply it to both sides to avoid having to align your devices every time.
Approx. price: $0
Other Home Audio/Video Solution on Clever & Easy