Infrared control for appliances

[RB] at Embedded Lab sent in a great guide on how to control appliances with a remote control using a really clever implementation of a decade counter and IR receiver.

The build itself is very simple – just a relay connected to mains power and a handful of resistors and transistors. The device is controlled with a decade counter and an infrared module usually found tucked away in the bezel of a TV.

When everything is plugged in, the first pulse from the remote switches the relay on, providing power to the outlet. When a second pulse is received, the reset pin on the decade counter is activated, setting the device back to its original off state. It’s a pretty clever build, and could be built with parts lying around the bench.

The project is powered through wall power with the help of a transformer and a 7805 regulator, but we think the size could be reduced with a pass-through power enclosure – the circuit certainly is small enough. In all, a very nice, low component count build.


  1. Great work good keep it up.

  2. True Lover's says:

    I like that….

  3. fartface says:

    and kind of control lots of lights.

    Kind of because X10 is the crappiest control system ever invented.

  4. Chet says:

    So the light will go on/off any time it gets a modulated IR signal? No much use in a room with a tv, hifi etc!

  5. that1guy says:

    I have that exact X10 IR module and a few X10’s controlling lights and lamps. I will agree that it’s essentially a really bad control system and susceptible to all kinds of noise and interference. However, it works well enough in my apt so that I don’t need to go out of my way to build something.

    Cool hack though, very useful.

  6. Tweeks says:

    While most of X10’s components are indeed crap.. if you spend a little more and get one of these nice, multi-home-code RF receivers with dedicated coax antenna:

    Then X10 ends up working MUCH more reliably/smoothly. Add a few SmartHome/INSTEON components and things really start working smoothly. :)

    If you really want nice stuff.. Look into the newer UPB standard and devices:


  7. SuperNuRd says:

    The world is now reaching a high point in laziness!

  8. David Stonely says:

    Kind of primitive, but good idea.

  9. here are two DIY alternatives that are IR noise-immune: and

  10. Bogdan says:

    Back when i was in high school i built something similar. It had 2 lamps to control and cycled through 4 states: all off, lamp 1 on, lamp 2 on, both on. The design was similar except that i bought two receivers, one in the 38KHz range and one in the 56KHz range to test which reacts to my TV tuner remote(the only one i used in that room). Then i used the other one for the project and made a simple emitter with a 555. The project is simple, but not practical. We need micros for this!

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