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VCR remotes

By ozi Eagle ·
I know, a bit divorced from computers, but some of you genii out there might have some ideas.

Problem: I have just acquired a second VCR from my father in law. A different brand to the one I already have. I set it all up so that there are now 2 VCRs in my system. The problem is that both VCRs have the same remote control codes, which means that what ever I do on one VCR happens on the other too. A real pain.

I've tried to create a highly directional capture field in the VCR, but find that the IR signal somehow always gets through, even when the sensor is wrapped in aluminium foil (?). I've painted the whole sensor black (except for the lens), covered it with hot melt glue and painted that black as well. Makes no difference, the sensor still picks up the signal.
To make matters worse the second (original) VCR picks up the signal, even with a big (2'x3') children's book covering the whole front of it.

I've thought of replacing the IR LED in the remote, with a standard red LED and replacing the sensor with a photo transistor, but the photo transistor would still respond to the IR ( would need a red filter), however, I suspect that the sensor may be an IC with photo device, and decoder built into it.

Any suggestions?


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by TheChas In reply to VCR remotes

Without the make and model, detailed suggestions are limited.

My first thought would be to get the service manual for both VCRs.

If you are lucky, there will be an option to change the remote codes for 1 or both VCRs.

If not, what you could do, is electronically disable the sensors and use an A-B switch to enable the sensor for the unit you want to use the remote for at that time.

As to your optical limiting, the entire front panel can function as a lens for the sensor (increases sensitivity) this helps the remote work better in difficult settings. You might be able to install a shutter between the sensor and the front panel to block IR.

The problem with changing to an LED source and a photo-transistor is that ambient light will swamp out the signal from the remote. They use IR because there is not a lot of IR radiated in most homes. You might try UV though.

Another option would be to modify the circuit for low power RF.

Or go totally retro and use tunning forks like the first generation of wireless remote controls.


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by ozi Eagle In reply to

Thanks Chas, I don't think I want to go to the trouble of modifying the circuit etc to go retro.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to VCR remotes

If you don't have the option to change the IR signals that are recognised by the VCR I've moved them to different spots so one isn't in a direct line with the other so that when the remote for one is used the other unit doesn't respond and vice versa.

If you could somehow manage to separate them a sufficient distance then you should be able to use the one remote for both units just by pointing it in the general direction of the unit that you want to activate. IR will go through pretty much anything and I think that you'll find the book isn't directly against the sensor and you are getting a reflection into it. Short of using some form of metal to cover the sensor with I don't think that there is much you can do here as even if the sensor is a single unit the IC that it drives will still be activated once the sensor is activated and Red Light even a Super Bright LED doesn't have the right wavelength to do the job reliably.


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by ozi Eagle In reply to

Thanks Col,
My mods trying to create a very tight window seem to have worked once the cover was replaced.. Now need to do the same on the other machine to create a highly directional beam. Using the second machine in manual mode at the moment.

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by robo_dev In reply to VCR remotes

Desolder the IR receiver from the circuit board.

Get a shielded three-wire cable about five or six feet long and attach the IR Receiver to it. Position it where you want it.

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by ozi Eagle In reply to

Thanks Robo,
I don't think that she who must be obeyed really would appreciate cables dangling around the room. Good idea in principle, but not practical with a wife.

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by ozi Eagle In reply to VCR remotes

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