Universal IR remotes, dummy level, please...

Hi! I have this situation where I still use a VCR, but also have a DVD player, without the problem, but that could be a brand that may have the same problem: let’s just say any device that is not quite line-of-sight for an IR remote. Some remotes, maybe most, won’t work a device a little out of sight. Some few work well, the signal strength clearly better, to not require line-of-sight in such a case as this, just some inches out of sight. Here’s the frustration.

I looked, looked and looked some more, and specifications aren’t available as to IR signal strength, very little on the web in reviews where this is tested, few places where concrete, better range information is addressed, or angles, whatever. I searched it seems everywhere for information on brands of remotes that don’t have a problem with borderline line-of-sight issues, or milliwatts, would it be, specs for various remotes? Or information exactly what brands of remotes employ 2 LEDs talked about here and there. The absence of such information almost seems freakish, in that all the manufacturers must know such characteristics, the power of their remotes. Or you’d think, on a web with everybody and their brother a reviewer, that somebody would have actually tested such things and written useful reviews, with more than what’s on the package nobody needs a review of. (Hope springs eternal.)

Now, I know of repeaters, even ordered one, but that isn’t the issue. In this case, no repeater is necessary, as I have a couple remotes that will do the job, one the OEM remote, another a cheap as dirt Chinese remote that is remarkably stronger than a dud, serious brand remote I received this week, which, in terms of strength, is a eunuch remote (thanks a lot for the reviewer that said that remote was one of the strongest they ever tested, one can only conclude he forgot to put batteries in the remotes he was testing it against). But all I wanted was to buy a universal remote that is not a Logitech used on the space shuttle or something, one priced at a sane point, but not cheapy constructed, rinky-dink buttons, have some brand universal remote to turn to that’s forgiving of very borderline line-of-sight issues, given it’s clear some fewer remotes do have that extra power to do the job.

You can search the web day and night, I’m beginning to think, and find no hard, useful information on what remotes are strongest in this way. It’s not necessary to have to be stringing repeater/emitters around. Obviously, some remotes are more favorable. I can’t be the first person with an issue where a remote, with a stronger signal, would do the trick, can’t be the only person that needed some advice on this, and not the advice of some self-promoting, idiot blogger, reading the package to people and providing a link to Amazon for a $200 remote.

By the way, does anybody want to buy a brand new remote, from a major manufacturer used by cable companies, touted by one blogger as being one of the most powerful remotes in the known universe, that is not only strictly line-of-sight, but one has to be a marksman, to get anything to happen? I also like how its DVD fast forward and rewind will only jump around chapters, enough buttons to include working a coffee maker, but not do the basics with a DVD player?

I think the world has gone to the dogs, and that I’ll never get back two days of my life, trying to find some useful information. It’s as if you’re shopping for a car, yet can find no 0-60 or horsepower information all the manufacturers, anyway, know. Is the IR power of remotes a state secret? Should I have used Tor, to ask this question?

This has become more a matter of strong curiosity, the glaring void of information, but thank you for getting this far in what became a rant, as well as any information anybody may have, for a person on the level of “IR for Dummies,” simply looking for the right brand remote, but short of needing a computer room or a mortgage. For instance, just somebody that knows and can say RCA remotes or whatever are the best for bouncing off walls, if nothing else? (I figure that, if you guys with soldering irons are confounded, all is lost…)

Good day, to all. Well, except some bloggers…

That was well worth the read.

Still smiling here.

Some basic stuff first.

You know how some magnifying glass are made of plastic and really not even worth the effort to use as they scratch easily or are not truly shaped for the task...or may look like it was shaped by a drunken bulldozer driver Well imaging if the lens of the IR LED is not the best in the world so it may not be doing the job as well as it could.

Filters are also another problematic area...You have a FINE LENS best in the world trus me I am a politician. You designed the colour of the filter to perfection...It only lets an extremely narrow band of IR LIGHT (after all it is light we are talking about) through that fine lens I sold you. Well some smart alec said they had a better idea and simply added a FLAT filter in front of it made out of some spare coloured plastic of unknown light density and said it make it look prettier whilst all the time a chunk of that light is still now bouncing around inside the head of the remote or finding a weaker spot and bouncing out at 45 degrees to where it was aimed..

OK so now you have a fine optical lens and matching filter of the correct optical shape so you know this is gonna be the one. The sweetheart remote of your life and all you need to do is drive it...But wait you could shave off a few pennies by sticking a two cylinder engine behind it instead of that jet engine you had on the drawing board...Well now the guts behind it are not helping and despite all the fancy stuff on the outside its just does not have the OOMPH it should have...

Well you worked out how to supercharge the 2 cylinder engine by just upgrading the fuel source and it should also get you a better MPG too. Awesome lets make it...I can make a tidy sum off this.

Just where did all those shortcuts come into play ? Well you designed "A" Marketing said it looked better as "B", Sales said it must cost "C", Manufacturing said you don't need part "D" and swapped it for "E", Ergonomics said it needed to be slimmer so swapped out your fuel source for "F"

You get it back and its nothing like you imagined but you mortgaged the house twice already so you have to sell the things ...Oh and it does look pretty. So you pay some blogger COMPANY to make up good stuff or in some cases make up things yourself because many bloggers will just repeat what you said regardless of the fact or thier TV is in the corner of the bedroom 3 foot away from the bed and pretty much even the sunlight will operate the darned thing.

My version of your version without the geeky things and soldering fumes.

Bob.

"regardless of the fact or thier TV is in the corner of the bedroom 3 foot away from the bed and pretty much even the sunlight will operate the darned thing"

LOL! Ain't it the truth? Regarding the filters, and, of course, I probably know nothing, and, if I knew that, I'd at least know something, but a couple of remotes that do work, despite the slight line-of-sight issue, had a naked LED, no lens. Then again, others with a naked LED you almost need to resort to pounding them on the front panel buttons. The cheapy Chinese remote (actually, a lot for the money), an L336 learning remote, I think may interfere with the neighbors' electronics, but I'd like something with bigger, more rubbery buttons, that you don't need the OEM remote to program.

Speaking of bloggers, don't get me started on another matter, that is, Microsoft "answers" in their web forums. I saw a funny remark online, lamenting how you can spend your life working with Microsoft, send them volumes of debug information they ask for, and still arrive at no solution. I've also noticed that, for many answers, they use the same, canned "solutions". They close a lot of their threads, with no working answer. Anyway, the remark was, "Microsoft can pat their head and rub their belly, at the same time." Once I thought on contributing a one word solution, LINUX. But, then again, believed that remark would probably not get past the Windows Gestapo. Anyway, my experience is "the guys" online really know what they're talking about, again and again. With a Windows problem issue, I don't generally even look at the Microsoft links, unless we're down to last resort.

Enjoyed your remarks, too! Maybe universal remotes are designed by committee, the Sales committee? Or all the idiot bloggers really Bezos, in disguise?

Chinese is not always bad !

The chinese Arduino Uno clones are a lot more sturdy in the voltage regulator section than the real thing. Also the CH340 chip is also more robust than the ones used on the UNO.

Sometimes they actually improve products by learning from thier mistakes.

Bob.

Yes I gave up on Technet and such as MS now just "blanket ignore" so much even if they get the information to fix it. and that "Pa-Bear" just closes problems for fun with no real answers.

Bob.

Though, as mentioned, would prefer different buttons, the L336 is a remarkable device. I was delighted to find the memory is non-volatile, that you don't lose the programming, changing the batteries. And there's the mentioned high signal strength, by the way, whatever they're doing, this with no greater drain on batteries than any remote. Anyway, I'm just amazed there are not universal remote discussions involving performance or non-performance, for situations just a little out of line-of-sight, knowing all remotes are not equal, and it's not even related to a wide price range, that is, a cheapy remote can beat the pants off a cable company approved remote.

This also begs a curious question as to how some upstart Chinese company can do worlds better than the big names, with all their engineers and decades experience? After all the years of IR remotes, they can't also make a remote that broadcasts its signal better? The L336 remote doesn't have some James Bond, space dish reflector or anything, just a clear IR LED sticking out of it, like others. You're quite right the Chinese can improve on such things, again, put it this way, the big question why? What is it that they can figure out that Universal Remote Control, Inc. can't? If this, as if, featherweight piece of Chinese plastic can be pointed in the general vicinity and work, why does a Universal Remote device, that could be used as a running weight, need to be pointed straight at the right pixel?

You see, none of this makes any sense. I mean, if I was foolish enough to expect anything, I'd be angry at mankind. I'm telling you, I combed the web, and nobody seems to know squat what brand remote is what, when it comes to some details where the rubber meets the road, and the companies aren't talking, either, again not even any power specs as to signal strength. I know I'm not quite stupid enough to try buying every remote on the market, for lack of answers as to what the products are and can, or can't, do. We're back to, as if, "You've got to buy the car, before you can find out how powerful the engine is, or if it even runs." If it really is sales designing these things, I'd recommend they first get back to sales, which largely hinges on providing information about a product. Give us some power numbers or whatever, to make an informed decision. I still don't have a clue who, what brand(s), the powerful, 2 IR LED remotes are a few people refer to, being the web question whether they even exist in multi-device, universal remotes, though did find one brand remote, a more limited device that didn't have all the buttons needed, that mentioned 2 transmitting LEDs in their specs.

Well, I think it's time to roundup my old broom, with the extra long handle, and see what's on TV. If anybody does find a remote with some power, or knows of some brand you could also cook a chicken with, please advise.