Just how do TV IR receivers work?

Hi everyone,

I am building an IR remote control using Arduinos. This is going to operate a control panel that is, for reasons too elaborate to mention, already designed and manufactured. That control panel has a bunch of push buttons for controlling different things.

Now, since I do not know how to modify virtually anything on the control panel PCB, my master plan is to connect the IR receiver to the arduino, and use the arduino to send a +5V signal to the output of the push button, in a way bypassing the push button by connecting the arduino signal in parallel.

What is confusing to me, as an absolute novice, is how these things work in actual televisions, audio players, A/Cs etc. How do these devices take signals from either the remote or the manual push buttons on the device themselves? I am looking for any general advice, or perhaps links to web pages, which could throw more light into it.

My eventual aim is to see if there is some way I can send a signal from the Arduino to the uC mounted on my control panel PCB directly, without having to go through the clumsy method of putting wires across push buttons.


There is an excellent tutorial here - http://www.ladyada.net/learn/sensors/ir.html

Duane B


Hi Duane

I actually did go through this tutorial while I was learning more about IR receivers. However, my question is a bit different. What ladyada does is read the signals from the remote control. That I can understand how to do. But what do I do with those signals, is my question.

Currently, on my PCB, there are several push buttons. When I press one of them, a certain signal is sent to the 64 pin uC of the PCB telling it to perform an action. Is there some way that I can use my arduino to send the same signal to the same pin on the uC telling it to do the same thing, without having to connect a digital output from the Arduino across the push button itself?

Or, would I need to connect the IR receiver (i.e Arduino) to a new pin on the PCB uC, then code the microcontroller in order to make it happen?

This is, I fear, a rather elementary question, but I would be grateful if any help could be offered.


yeah i had the same exact question when i did a similar project. check out my blog post here: http://dduino.blogspot.com/2011/11/use-sonar-to-control-tv.html and http://dduino.blogspot.com/2011/11/improved-ir-code-reciever.html

it shows you exactly how to read/ decode etc the IR signals. way easier than ladyada's (no offense :)) take on IR