How to Build Remote Controls

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Building a remote control can be an exciting way to learn about basic electrical components. A simple remote control uses infrared signals to tell a receiver box to do something. The most basic remote controls merely turn a machine on or off. The components needed can be located at most hobby shops or electronics outlets that specialize in individual parts. Premade remote control boxes are the preferred way to house the components, as they offer more ergonomic and traditional designs. Knowledge of not only the structure of the remote control but also how it can be used to control a receiver is imperative when constructing this device.

Things You'll Need

  • Remote control housing
  • Push button switch
  • Battery holder
  • 3 volt battery
  • Copper wiring
  • NPN silicon transistor
  • Meg 1/4W resistor
  • 22K 1/4W resistor
  • PNP silicon transistor
  • Infrared LED
  • C220.01uF 16v ceramic disk capacitor
  • Place a push button switch into the side of the remote control housing. Fasten a battery holder to the upper right corner of the housing.

  • Attach a wire to the negative terminal of the 3 volt battery holder and run it to the push button switch. Run a wire from the push button switch to the NPN silicon transistor and to the Meg 1/4W resistor. From the Meg 1/4W resistor run another wire to the 22K 1/4W resistor and to the PNP silicon transistor.

  • Place the infrared LED into the front of the remote control housing. Run wires from both transistors to the infrared LED. Run a wire from the 22K 1/4W resistor to the C220.01uF 16v ceramic disk capacitor. Connect the ceramic disk capacitor to the NPN silicon transistor.

  • Run a wire from the PNP silicon transistor to the positive terminal of the 3 volt battery holder. This will close the circuit and allow the current to flow. Make sure the push button switch is in the off position and place a 3 volt battery into the battery holder.

  • Point the LED of the remote control at a receiver and it should power on and off. If the receiver does not respond, hold down the push button switch and point the LED at the receiver. Adjust the taper or pot within the receiver until you hear a click. The remote control and the receiver should be linked.

Tips & Warnings

  • A high output LED can be used to add additional range to the remote control. Bright light will impact the accuracy of the link between the LED and receiver.
  • To avoid shock, be sure to add the battery at the end of the construction process.

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  • Photo Credit nlitement (still) / Ravedave (animated)
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