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Tool Tip: How to Detect IR Signals

If you don't have a blinking IR emitter, how can you tell if an infrared command is being sent? Blog Mobster Mac Burks explains.


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MCM Electronics Infrared Detector

Does the IR emitter work? Is the command being sent?

These are questions every installer has been asked or has asked while testing universal remote controls and control system programming.

There are a couple of ways to quickly and easily test whether or not your IR emitter is actually outputting IR signals.

One is to use blinking emitters. Some emitters have a visible (to the human eye) light that flashes when commands are outputted.

Another option is to look at the emitter through your cell phone camera. Some phones will show the IR light on their display. Since everyone doesn’t have the luxury of blinking emitters and since the IR light isn’t visible on some phone cameras, I suggest an IR detection card.

IR Detection cards have a test area on them that shows you the IR light when the emitter is positioned over it. There are many on the market. I use the Infrared Detector from MCM Electronics. Buy a few (about $15) and put one in each tool bag/clip board/laptop bag. That way they are always handy.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Universal Remotes · Tools · All topics

About the Author

Mac Burks
Mac Burks, aka 39 Cent Stamp, is an installer, GUI guy and tool-lover with Chicago-based integrator Vidacom. He is also purveyor www.wiremunky.com, an amusing and often useful site for custom integrators. Mac is a member of the inaugural CE Pro Blog Mob at CEDIA Expo 2012.

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