Whilst that may be the end result in many cases (and brings us the business which keeps our staff in employment!) there are a few things you can check yourself to truly check whether your remote control really is broken. There is nothing worse than going to the time and expense of buying a replacement remote control when its not really needed.
The checklist below can help you to work out whether you really need a replacement remote, or whether you can breathe life into a seemingly broken one.
Checklist for Testing a Faulty Remote
- Obviously damaged remote:
When a remote control has been clearly damaged (the dog has eaten it, it has been dropped in water, or it has been used as a hammer by the kids, etc), no amount of pressing buttons or changing the batteries is likely to make the remote work again.
Water-damaged remotes are usually beyond repair, but have a very slim chance of recovering if properly dried out. Remove the batteries first and drain as much liquid as possible. Place the remote in a bag with something which absorbs moisture (like dry rice) and place it in a warm airing cupboard. Drying out can take several days. It is a long-shot: the innards of remote controls are not particularly well-sealed and once water gets in, it tends to go everywhere.
- Partially operating remote:
A partially operating remote may be due to either a mode setting, weakened batteries, or one or more damaged buttons.
Some remotes can be switched between different modes of operation to control TV, set-top-box, or other peripheral device. If you are trying to operate the standy button for the TV if the remote has been switched to control another appliance, it will appear that the remote is not working properly. Modal buttons tend to be at the top of most modern remotes: if there is a button for "TV" and another button for another appliance type near the top of your remote, pressing one of these may put the remote back into the mode you need.
Weakened batteries may also be a cause of erratic behavior with a remote control, but this will usually affect all buttons on the remote equally.
If neither of these situations applies, the chances are that your remote is broken and will need replacing. Please click here to use our simple remote control search.
- Dead remote:
A remote which is totally unresponsive is probably the hardest problem to diagnose: how do you know the problem is with a failure of the remote and not with the appliance.
The majority of basic remote controls use flashes of infra red to send commands to the appliance which are invisble to the human eye. If you could see in infra red, you could test the remote very easily by simply looking at it when pressing a button. Unless you are superhuman though, that's not an option! Some old digital cameras with digital viewfinders do pick up infra red light and show it on their displays as white light. If you have an old digital camera with a digital display, position yourself so that you can see the remote through the display, point the remote's LED transmitter (top end of the remote) directly towards the camera lens and press a button. (For comparison, it is worth testing this with a remote that you know is working first and doing so in a relatively dark environment!) If all is well, you will see on the display a flickering light eminating from the LED transmitter. More modern cameras are designed to avoid picking up this infra red "noise", so the older the camera, the better your chances are of this working! If you can prove that the remote is emitting a signal but it is not operating your appliance, the problem unfortunately does not lie with the remote.
Perhaps more obvious to check is that the batteries in the remote are new and properly fitted. Old batterries, or batteries inserted the wrong way around will cause the remote to not work. Some designs of remote do not hold the batteries snugly, so there is the chance that they become disconnected. This is especially true of brand new remote controls, when some choose to reuse the old batteries lying around or from another old remote.
- Wrong remote:
Okay, this sounds unlikely but if you have aquired an appliance from someone else and the remote control does not work - it could simply be that they've given you the wrong remote. To perform a search for known original or replacement replacement remotes for your applliance, please click here.
One last think to check is whether another remote control in the same room is inadvertently sending out infra-red signals which interfere with the signal from the remote that you are using. Another remote control with a key stuck down may be swamping the room with flashes of infra-red light, or you may have some other device in the room which causes a similar result.
My remote IS broken - what can I do?
We get many calls from customers asking if their broken remote can be repaired.
Technically, the answer is "Perhaps, yes" but commercially it makes very little sense to do so. The cost of repair, (whether it can be successful or not) will involve paying postage, administrative fees and the wages of a skilled electrical engineer.
With the cost of most original remotes between £15 and £50 and cost-effective functional equivalents for under £20, a replacement is generally the more cost-effective option.
Understandably, if you have a broken remote control and there is no original or replacement part available, it might be desirable to pay an engineer to attempt to repair it. However, our business is not in a position to offer such a service.