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Nigel's Remote Tester.

The first stage of this project was deciding on a suitable case, after much studying I  found one in RS Components which is ideal, it has an IR transparent front available, and includes a space for a 9 volt battery. I needed a low profile switch for the power, and again a suitable one was found in the RS Components catalogue.

The circuit itself is nice and simple, I used components I had to hand, and selected an IR detector from a Tatung D Series TV for the actual sensor, with a 7805 IC regulator providing the supply - a 78L05 would be ample, but I had the 7805 in stock. If you want to use a 78L05, you are welcome to do so!.

You can get the RS Components parts from their website at - they accept orders from non-account holders, but you have to pay postage, account holders get free postage.

Parts List
Case RS 262-6474
IR Panel RS 262-6496
Switch RS 321-256
LED RS 590-171
C1 1uF 16v
C2 1uF 16v
C3 47uF 16v
R1 270ohm
IR Det. Tatung D Series
Batt. Lead RS 489-021
First part of building the tester is to cut the Veroboard to size, it needs a piece 15 strips by 17 holes, and no breaks in the copper strips are required. A small  piece 6 strips by 5 holes requires removing at one end, this is to provide clearance for the push button switch, the picture shows this nice and clearly.
Next drill the three mounting holes in the board, for these I used a 3/32" drill, to give a suitable clearance for the screws used to fasten the board.
Now it's time to start assembling the board, start by adding the two wire links, and four Vero pins. The Vero pin locations are shown by the light blue circles, the light green circles show the holes for the components in the next step.
Now it's time to mount the first components, the 7805 regulator, the 270 ohm resistor, and the IR detector, these fit in the holes marked light green in the previous picture. As before the light blue circles signify the Vero pins, and the light green (and red this time) circles show where the next components fit - with the red circles being the positive connection of the capacitors.
This shows the board with the three capacitors fitted, the two close together at the left are the 1uF, the one on it's own in the middle of the board is the 47uF. This time the two green dots show the location of an insulated wire link.
This is now the finished board, it only requires fitting in the case with three M2 screws.
Now it's time to start work on the case, first mark the center of the top, and drill a half inch hole. You then need to file the hole out until the switch fits, it has a flange which is larger than the threads, this needs to fit in the hole. Make sure the switch fits nice and flush.
Next stick the front label on, this was designed using Microsoft Publisher 2000, and printed on thin card. This was then laminated and cut out, laminating provides a nice tough shiny finish, and makes the project look really professional. I used Super Glue to fasten the label on, although I've never liked Super Glue it works superbly for this application. You can download the label as a PDF file, and then print it out, make sure you have it set to print at 100% to make sure it's the correct size - or feel free to make your own label.
The next operation is cutting the front label for the switch, this is easily done using a sharp knife, just cut a cross through the hole, and then cut around the hole. Once the hole is clear, mount the switch and tighten the nut, making sure the terminals are aligned horizontally.
Then mount the board to the underneath of the top, it's fastened with three short M2 screws (one hole is obstructed by the 7805), if you have self-tappers use those, but I found normal threaded screws work perfectly satisfactorily.
Now it's time to mount the LED, first you need to carefully drill a 3/8" hole in the IR panel 17mm in and 8mm down - be careful, it's quite brittle and easily broken. Then carefully file this out until the LED is a tight fit, it doesn't matter if it's a bit loose, we'll secure it with hot melt glue later. Push the LED into the hole with the long wire towards the left (looking at the picture), slide the IR panel into the front slot, and bend the wires down to the two Vero pins, cutting them as required. Then solder the wires to the pins, a short length of copper wire is also soldered from the left hand switch connection to the left hand Vero pin at the lower middle of the board.
The last electrical operation is to solder the battery connector to the switch and board. It can be clearly seen here, the red wire goes to the switch and the black wire to the remaining Vero pin. Tie a knot in the lead about 2 inches from the battery connector, this acts as a flex grip and prevents the wires being pulled off.
With the top of the unit all completed, it's time to start on the bottom part. First we will use the original front to make a better compartment for the battery, and give somewhere for the flex grip knot to sit. Cut a long thin rectangle from the middle of one long edge, this is to clear the latch from the battery cover, it's also beneficial to taper this edge slightly, this is also to help clear the latch. Next trim the opposite edge about 1/8 inch, this is to allow the partition to fit inside the case, adjust it as required. At this side cut a small slot, this is for the battery wires, it should be small enough for the knot to prevent the wires pulling through.
Now using hot melt glue, fasten the partition to the two small existing partitions, as you can see in the picture the battery flap latch comes through the portion removed from the partition, and the slot for the battery wires can be seen at the upper right.
While the glue gun is still hot, stick a piece of thin foam rubber in the bottom of the battery compartment - to stop it rattling. Then use a dab of hot melt glue to secure the LED to the front panel. The unit is then completed, and you can screw the bottom on, taking care to feed the battery wire through the slot, with the knot on the inside.
This is the completed IR tester, it's pretty obvious how to use it - simply hold the button down while you point the remote control at the front and press a button. If it's transmitting the large LED will flash at the repetition rate of the IR modulation. Be aware this doesn't prove 100% that the remote is OK, you occasionally get faults where it transmits, but the incorrect codes are sent.

I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who builds one, and how you get on with it. So far all seven have worked flawlessly, and even the shop staff haven't managed to break them - and we all know what shop staff are like!.

Last Updated 16/12/03

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