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Repair/Replace Remote Control
Old 08-05-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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Repair/Replace Remote Control

Some buttons on our DVR's remote are no longer working. This happened when our Internet was down for a few days, so I got a taste of pre-Internet life.

Now that the Internet is up again I'm armed with info on how to repair it, and sources for replacements ($40). One of the most interesting things I learned is that although you can's see the infrared LED on the remote flash, if you look at it through your digital camera, you can!

Anyone repaired theirs like this?

Anyone replaced their remote with a universal remote that worked well?
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:59 PM   #2
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I've replaced mine with a universal remote. I was able to get rid of 2 other remotes by using the universal. It was even $4 cheaper than a replacement of the one that broke.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:21 PM   #3
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Are you happy with the universal? My remote has buttons like "jump on minute" or "Movie Info" etc.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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It's true that universal remote controls often do not have the unique features on the individual controls that failed. Exact replacements are ridiculously expensive.

I have had a couple of controls that had some inop buttons due to the contacts wearing out. Yes, you can put silver paint on the pads as described in the article. Taking the remote apart is tough though. They are often built with locking tabs that have to be forced apart, and often break. When you are sure the fix works, you can epoxy the shell halves together.

Lots of work, but if you run out of things to do on a rainy day ... As a kid, I used to take things apart to see the inside. Have lost much of that over the years.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:33 PM   #5
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if the "special buttons" still work on your existing some of the universal remotes can "learn" those codes by pointing your remote at it and putting it into learn mode. You can assign this to one of the free buttons on the remote. The other option would be go for one of the high end Harmony Remotes which can pretty much do anything but the cost goes way up. They are nice to turn on or off a bunch of devices at the same time, pressing the DVD button turns on the DVD player, sets the receiver and the television input correctly. They can be a bit of a pain to set up but once they work it is very nice. I've switched to a normal universal because my cat has the habit of chewing on the remote buttons.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:45 PM   #6
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I've been through many remotes, including several universals.

They do vary a bit in the features and their ability to "learn", so it's worth it to read the fine print on the boxes as you shop around.

Every one I've bought, however, still has a tendency to hide in the sofa cushions. Next time, I'm going for the big one.

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Old 08-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #7
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I have never tried one of those "learning" remotes. Those "learning" buttons are not labeled like the originals, so can I remember what they do? I am forgetful.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:27 PM   #8
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What is it with guys and remote controls ? After my husband passed I found four brand new universal remote controls that he had squirreled away . Luckily he passed first or he would have been in my closet and saying " Nobody needs that many white shirts and what's with these shoes ".
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:45 AM   #9
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Here's my solution to remotes getting lost:

RemoteControlHolder.jpg
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:56 AM   #10
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The universal remotes that are flexible enough and easy enough to use are usually a little spendy, like the harmony 880 or harmony one. You can plug it into a USB port and program the buttons.

What dvr is it and is it a cable/sat company unit? Some of the cable/sat companies will replace your remote for free or at a low cost.

Our tivo remotes started developing finicky buttons. I took the top off and the rubber pad under it that had the buttons embossed on it had a thick layer of dust on both sides. Once I wiped it all clean and reassembled it, it was like new again.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:41 AM   #11
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It's the Panasonic DVR remote (second from left). I started by spraying tuner cleaner in there, next WD-40, next disassembly and cleaning. I tried gluing aluminum foil on the rubber pad. I think I could get that to work, but I'll pick up some conductive paint today and hopefully that will fix it, as well as the TV's remote that is a little flakey.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
What is it with guys and remote controls ? After my husband passed I found four brand new universal remote controls that he had squirreled away .
You never know when one of yours is going to break or when you'll get a great deal...

You would hope that manufacturers would have settled on a more common language among remote controls, but they just seem to get more fragmented as everyone goes their own way. And most of the newer models have not been able to talk to our 1980s receiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's my solution to remotes getting lost:
And it works great, too!
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's my solution to remotes getting lost:

Attachment 4217
I tried that once. It failed my focus group (of one) marketing test. Low SAF (Spousal Acceptance Factor) in our household.

I thought it was a *great* idea .

Along those lines, when my daughter was about 9, we were watching some old TV show and the guy picks up a corded telephone. My daughter says: "Do they do that so they don't lose it?' Man, the things our kids just take for granted now.

-ERD50
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:44 PM   #14
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Update: The repair worked like a charm. Three cheers for the Internet. Save another $30 -- one nice restaurant meal.

I bought the rear window defogger kit for $10, and painted the pads for only those buttons that didn't work:

RemoteRepair 003.jpg

While waiting for the paint to dry, I needed to "interface directly with the circuit board," which was a great way to keep spouse from wanting to use the remote:

RemoteRepair 001.jpg
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's my solution to remotes getting lost:
I have an idea for a millionaire-making invention: a page button for the remote. You have a button on the tv that says "page" and then when you press it, the remote beeps from the deep crevasses of your couch so you can find it. You could also sell aftermarket remote pagers that come with a base station and a small receiver. The base station you adhere to something stationary like your tv so you don't lose the base station. The receiver you adhere to the back of the remote. Please steal my idea - I'll gladly pay $5-10 for an aftermarket one! I just ask for a 10% cut of gross revenue.
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:29 PM   #16
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You can get something like -- general purpose:

Amazon.com: Easy 2 Find Electronic Wireless Radio Frequency RF Key Finder, Key Locator, Remote Finder, Item Locator, Lost Item Finder. Remote Control Finder: Everything Else
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:37 PM   #17
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I have an idea for a millionaire-making invention: a page button for the remote.
My 15 year old magnavox big screen had this feature. If you turned on the power switch on the front of the tv, it'd signal the remote and all the buttons would flash and the remote would beep like crazy.

Scared the crap out of me the first time I hit the power button on the tv. I had no idea it had the feature.

Came in handy though. Must have been RF because it'd work in other rooms and even if the remote was under the couch cushions.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:46 PM   #18
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I use a Sony RM VL 600. I think it was around $30 on Amazon. It works my Samsung TV, Onkyo Sound, Sony DVD. It is a learning remote. However, if you don't have a working remote to teach it, you might be in trouble.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:42 PM   #19
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Update: The conductive paint fix doesn't last, since the paint won't stay stuck to the rubber in the remote. What happened every time is that eventually (after a month or so) the paint comes off, falls on the circuit board and results in signals that are continuously sent.

I redid it several times, sanding the rubber thoroughly before painting, but this has been the result each time.

I bought a "One For All URC8820 8-Device Universal Remote Control" for $25 and taught it all the commands. That has been a better solution.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:06 PM   #20
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If you ever want to go first class, get a MX-500. It's pretty pricey and a pain to program the first time around, but once you have it setup, it replaces every remote you have.
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