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Need Help With a Remote Control Extender Issue

488 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  rrchampion
I live in San Francisco almost literally in the shadow of Sutro Tower, which transmits all the terrestrial TV and HDTV signals. As a result, the ambient RF level is pretty high.

I want to control from my living room a DVD and a STB that are in my bedroom, which is less than 36 feet away.

I've tried a remote control extender from Radio Shack, which operates at 418 MHz. It doesn't work at all and, in fact, with just the receiver plugged in, neither the DVD or STB remotes work. I suspect it is an interference problem from the tower. (The good news is that I receive a great HDTV signal with a little indoor UHF antenna.)

Sutro Tower management suggested that I could circumvent any interference from them if I could find an RF extender that operated at greater than 900 MHz.

Guess as a last resort I could use mirrors! Will very much appreciate any suggestions any of you might make, RF or IR.
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what type of remote are you using? if it is an IR capable remote, i would place an IR receiver in your living area and run a wire to the bedroom. you then locate an IR block and emitters at your components in the bedroom. all different types of wires can be used, just use at least 3 conductor and small gauge. private message me if you need more info.
What does the RF Receiver / IR Transmitter piece show on it's LED? Does it flash? Stay on permanently? Let me know, that'll help troubleshoot the problem.
Originally posted by BlueDo
What does the RF Receiver / IR Transmitter piece show on it's LED? Does it flash? Stay on permanently? Let me know, that'll help troubleshoot the problem.
The IR Transmitter has no LED light showing until I shoot the remote at it, at which time a small red light flashes. The RF Receiver has a constant small red light showing, independent of whether the transmitter is plugged in or not.

OTOH, as I move the receiver around the room, the light flickers (again, independent of whether the transmitter is plugged in or not).

One interesting clue is that when I aim the receiver at the transmitter (plugged in), the small red light on the transmitter glows constantly (unless I place my body between them). This tells me that the receiver is getting an RF signal from some place (probably the TV transmissin tower) and sending an IR signal back to the transmitter.

Lastly, as I said above, when the receiver (light on) is aimed at my DVD, the DVD remote doesn't work. Again, it probably is sending some random IR to the DVD.
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The LED on the RF receiver means that it's receiving a signal. If you're not sending a code, and the LED is lit, you have interference. You need to place the unit so that the LED is completely unlit for the best performance. That means keeping it a few feet from the equipment (as your stereo, cable box, etc., emit a small amount of RF interference) and use the antenna to fine-tune.
No matter where I move the receiver, the LED red light is on solidly. It does flicker a bit as I move it around the room, but as soon as I place it down, the light is on solid.

Conclusion: I'm getting a strong RF feed from the nearby TV tower. Fortunately, the RF feed on my Dish PVR remote seems to work, though somewhat sporadic.

I think my only solution is to extend the IR feed into the bedroom.
I'd heard about the RF interference from the Sutro Tower during the beta testing of the MX-800. Not a pretty picture. :(

You could try using a Hot Link Pro with extensions on the IR emitters to reach the 30+ feet to your other room. Here's a diagram on how to do it: Hot Link Extension
Hmmm. Looks a bit complicated for this novice. Aren't there some simple "off-the-shelf" IR extenders? I'm really only concerned with operating the DVD from a distance. Adding the STB would be nice but not necessary.
Just to complete the story, I installed a Xantech 172-94 extension kit with a 25 ft.

length of coaxial cable running into the bedroom. It works perfectly, even with the receiver place right under the plasma monitor, which as we all know, emits a lot of interference.
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