IR Remote Transforms To RF

Most consumer remote controls operate using infrared light. This works well assuming the piece of equipment has a line of sight to the remote. But if you have, say a receiver in a cabinet or closet, the IR remote signal can’t reach the sensor. Some equipment has remote receivers that you can leave poking out, but it is still not very handy. That’s why some equipment now uses RF remotes. [Xtropie] used a pair of inexpensive 433 MHz RF modules to convert an IR system to RF. You can see a short video about the project below.

We might have been tempted to simply put an IR LED on the receiver so it could feed IR into the device sensor, but [Xtropie] took a different approach. He found the IR sensor and tied the RF receiver directly into its output. It seems to work, but we probably would have removed the IR sensor to make sure there were no conflicts.

In fact, if you removed the sensor, you could reuse it and connect it to the IR transmitter. It wasn’t clear how you could easily package the RF transmitter and the remote. But it struck us that you could wire the transmitter directly to the LED output and avoid the IR sensor at all. If there isn’t space in the remote case, maybe a 3D printed extension would do the trick.

Of course, nothing stops you from using RF remotes with your own projects. Of course, another way to go RF remote is to leverage WiFi.


13 thoughts on “IR Remote Transforms To RF

    1. This is a problem with RF remotes in general and there are plenty of them. It should be possible to do this with a code hopping setup like used in garage door openers but that’s probably a harder build.

    2. This has been an issue for a very long, long time.

      In 2003 I purchased my first home and installed a celling fa that had an RF remote. It would often turn on/off by itself. After this happening a few times I realized it was not caused by ghosts, but someone in my neighborhood had one of these too.

      Just changed the channel it worked on by turning on/off one of the dip switches in the battery compartment.

    1. I use tasmota with ir led and receiver to control my projector with home automation. It works but it is difficult to get it working with 100% certainity even if the transmitter led is 20 cm away.

  1. I had a Leapfrog remote extender 20 years ago. Same principle. Still have those parts, but when I found out the glass on my hacked IKEA Besta cabinet was IR permeable, I stopped using it. Smoked glass that’s transparent to IR.

  2. My amp is behind me and facing away but I found that something at the back of the room will reflect the remote’s signal back into the receiver and work. Good enough for now.

  3. I did a semi-similar project in school creating the remote from scratch using an STM32 Discovery board communicating with an Arduino using two NRF24L01s as the RF link (
    There’s a nice Arduino library to scan and reproduce IR codes. It’s a different approach than the OP’s but probably a little more viable of a solution.

    …It was a fun little project. I keep meaning to go back to it to design a PCB because I want to actually use it.

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