January 16, 2017

When your IR repeater is slow and unresponsive

So you've decided to finally get your act together and make your AV system spouse friendly. That might mean hiding all your audio equipment inside an entertainment unit without having to open the doors for your remote to work. Perhaps you've even installed it all in a dedicated cabinet completely hidden from view. You need an IR repeater.

Above: a wireless IR repeater.

The concept is simple. A receiver senses the signal from your remotes and then relays them to your equipment via a number of emitters attached to each device. Some relay the signal wirelessly, others via included cable or though existing HDMI or ethernet network cable. Integra AVRs also allow you to direct wire the signal.

Sounds so simple, what could go wrong?! If you use Foxtel, you should be aware that not all IR repeaters are compatible, so check before you buy. Another potential problem is interference from devices near the IR receiver. When this occurs, you'll notice that the response is very slow. You may have to press a button multiple times and it appears to work very slowly, very hit and miss.

To test if this is your problem try this:

1. Move the IR sensor away from all other devices

2. Aim the remote at the sensor at close range (say 100mm away) - aim carefully

3. Does it work now? If so, gradually move the unit closer to its intended position. You may find that the problem comes back as it gets close to other devices.

4. Is there an alternative position that avoids the problem?

5. The sensor may require shielding. A quick experiment is to line it with aluminium foil as shown below.

We know, it's not pretty! We suggest this not as a long term solution but as part of your troubleshooting process. If this solves your problem, then you know you have an interference issue. If you have DIY inclinations then you might consider a longer term mod, like installing the IR receiver in a DIY metal box or you might come up with some simple DIY shielding. Many at this point would simply take the device back.

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