How to repair a VCR remote control

Written by cameron
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How to repair a VCR remote control
Cleaning a VCR remote can drastically improve its ability to work more efficiently. (remote control image by Hao Wang from

Defective VCR remotes can be repaired. A remote control that does not respond well or that does not work at all probably has worn or defective component parts. Before investing in a replacement remote controller, first test the VCR unit to determine if the VCR is not working property. If all systems are in order, consider troubleshooting the remote control with some simple household tools and materials.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mild soap
  • Cloth towel
  • Pencil eraser
  • Fibreglass brush
  • Cotton balls
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Aluminium foil (silver and copper)
  • Epoxy

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  1. 1

    Check to see if the remote is not operating properly because of a bad VCR. Press the power button on the VCR’s unit to make sure that the unit itself is working. Put in a tape, press play on the VCR unit; if the tape is playing, there are no problems with the unit. Press the stop button from the remote control. If the VCR does not respond, then the remote may be bad.

  2. 2

    Narrow down the problem using an infrared radiation (IR) detector. The IR may have been switched off, causing interference and range problems between the VCR and its remote. Hit the VCR’s menu button on the unit and search for the IR signal sub-menu. Confer with the remote owner's manual to get the specific codes on resetting the IR signal or simply reset the IR detector back to its factory setting.

  3. 3

    Clean or replace batteries. Old, corroded or dead batteries can be the cause of the remote malfunctioning. If batteries look corroded, clean off chemical deposits with a soft brush and remove debris with a lint-free cloth. Polish the ends of the batteries (the contacts) with a fibreglass brush or pencil eraser. If batteries appear to be dead, replace with new ones, positioning them in the correct order as identified in the battery compartment.

  4. 4

    Clean out the battery compartment. Sometimes, it may not be the batteries causing the remote to malfunction, as gunk and dirt can accumulate in the battery compartment and cause the buttons to not respond to pressure. Remove stubborn crud inside the battery panel with a pencil eraser.

  5. 5

    Disassemble the remote control's front panel with a small Phillips screwdriver. Use a minimal amount of water and mild detergent to wipe away grime and sugar deposits that may have formed around the rubber membrane keypad, circuit board and plastic case (use caution to not directly expose circuit board to liquids). Use a cotton ball to wipe down with isopropyl alcohol. Allow remote's contents to dry thoroughly before replacing components.

  6. 6

    Correct a worn keypad on remote. According to Shaw Direct, "if you can see the rubber through the conductive material after cleaning, the pad is likely worn to the point of being non-functional." Disassemble the front cover of the remote, exposing the keys and its worn rubber keypad. Use epoxy to glue the aluminium or silver foil onto the control's rubber surface--make sure that you have cut out enough holes for the keys to fit over the foil before gluing. Replace front cover. Consider investing in a remote control keypad repair kit for seriously damaged rubber keypads.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider buying a brand new VCR remote if after completing steps, the remote control will still not function. Invest in a universal VCR remote controller if it is challenging to find a replacement for your old remote.

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