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How to improve an IR remote receiver

Updated March 28, 2017

IR remotes are better known simply as "the remote." These devices are used with TVs, satellite boxes, computers and stereos. IR remotes send signals picked up and received at the IR sensor or receiver. These are attached to the corresponding electronic devices and coded to perform tasks with the devices when the signal is received. IR remotes and sensors are limited in range and are affected by barriers or obstructions. There are ways of improving the IR receiver's ability to receive signals.

Spray some glass cleaner onto a rag and wipe off the remote receiver sensor on the electronic device. TVs have the sensor at the front that is usually covered in a red plastic cover. Wipe this down to rid any dust, grime, nose- or paw-prints from pets or greasy hand smudges from children.

Clear the area surrounding the receiver's sensor of any obstructions like magazines, books, bric-a-brac or items near the sensor. Even if items are not directly in front of the sensor, they may still impede the IR receiver.

If the preceding steps prove ineffective, open the remote control device synced to the receiver. Remove the small bulb at the front of the remote. Use tweezers to pull it up and out.

Use the needle-nose pliers to straighten the bends in the bulb wires. Re-bend the wires so they form the same angle but make the bend closer to the tips. Place the bulb back into the remote and close the panel on it. This puts the bulb further out of the remote device, sending out the signal further and stronger and allowing the receiver to better pick it up.

Things You'll Need

  • Crimpers
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Glass cleaner and rags
  • Needle-nose pliers
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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.