Use a Remote Control Repeater: The Secret to Hiding Your Home Theater Gear

By | at | No comments | Featured | Tags: , , , ,

Hey Bubbas,

Great piece from Audioholics on how to use a Remote Control Repeater or “IR repeater”, why they’re useful, and how they work and need to be set up. They are truly the secret to hiding your home theater gear – in a closed cabinet, behind a wall, enclosed in a mesh or solid equipment rack. IR is infrared, the light wave that most remotes work with. That dark red plastic chip at the end of your remote emits a wavelength of light that is received by a receiver on your amp or your TV or your DVD player.

typical targets in IR distribution system

Remote controls today are mostly “IR” based controllers which use electromagnetic waves in the Infrared band of “Light”, which is just below our eye’s visible light wavelengths….The target’s goal is to receive the light that an IR remote control puts out and convert it into electrical signals. The electrical signals must be filtered to remove the frequencies not within the frequency range emitted by the controller…Once converted to electrical signals the job is relatively easy. It is a matter of distributing these signals to all of the component devices; your Receiver, DVD player, Cable TV box, or TV where they will be converted back to infrared light to control the device. For a single room system this is pretty easy. A quality IR Receiver can drive as many as 10 emitters reliably – way more than most people need.

As they hint at, you can rig up several of these targets and emitters to drive a multi-room system. In between the emitters and the targets, you will distribute your wiring via the connection block (sometimes a terminal strip). The price of the unit will depend on how many emitters and targets you want to control, and how powerful they are. (Long, complex wire runs may require a more robust unit.)  For most basic units, these are relatively inexpensive devices, especially considering just how handy they are. Being able to put your most expensive home theater components behind closed cabinets, protected from pets and kids and dust can be a huge benefit.

emitters and a connection block

Except for hiding and routing some very thin wiring, this is also one of the simplest jobs you can do to improve your system. There are a couple caveats that the Audioholics warn us about. One is simply the remote (!) possibility that two of your devices share the same IR “codes”. (for example: your “play” command for your DVR also powers “off” your receiver.) Rare, but it happens.

 If a manufacturer of a device inadvertently uses an IR code that is used by another manufacturer then you get two devices responding in their own unique ways to a signal meant for only one device. By its nature, an IR distribution system sends all of the signals to all of the devices. So, if two devices use the same code for a function, both devices will receive that code and will perform the function. This type of thing is mainly caused by manufacturers who are not privy to the codes of the other manufacturers. In addition, different manufacturers of remote controls use different protocols and different carrier frequencies to transmit these different infrared signals. As usual, the manufacturers love NOT getting together and creating standards. Unfortunately for us users, this sometimes makes using their products less of an easy and happy experience.

You can have one of these inexpensive devices out of the box and hooked up in less than fifteen minutes. Use a remote control repeater to hide almost anything that requires a remote, and/or extend the range of the remotes you have. Not only can you hide that gear, but you can be able to change radio stations from the kitchen, or adjust volume on the speakers outside that are connected to a receiver inside.

 

Check out the entire article here.

Share

Comments

*

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 429,879 bad guys.