Controlling an AC using a universal TV remote?
August 7, 2019 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Every button on my window AC unit is working...except on/off. The AC still powers on via Delay Start. It came with a flimsy (infrared) remote that broke long ago. I've seen universal AC remotes and replacements for my model, and I might go that route eventually. For today, I just want to do some cheap testing. Could an ordinary TV remote work if I programmed it with the correct Frigidaire AC code?
posted by brackish.line to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
If you had the actual codes sent from the original remote and could get the TV remote to send them, then it should work. You're just flashing an IR light; the AC unit won't care where the IR light is coming from. Getting IR codes from remotes is not terribly difficult if you're a little handy with an Arduino, but you'd need a working remote to start with.
posted by jquinby at 1:30 PM on August 7

There should be an app for that.

Depending on you phone, it might have an IR emitter - there are apps that turn your phone into an universal remote, but I'm not familiar with any particular application.
posted by porpoise at 2:03 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]

My partner has been able to control his (different) window unit AC with his Android phone, as porpoise said. Not sure if iPhones can do the same.
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:24 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]

My experience is that "universal" remotes have a range they can handle and TV ones and A/C ones do not overlap. So, no, you can't.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:35 PM on August 7

Thanks, all!

The Arduino option is neat, and would be doable if I had the parts around. My current phone doesn’t have an IR emitter, but I’ll check my older Android when I get home.
posted by brackish.line at 3:46 PM on August 7

Does the A/C turn itself on when power is restored after an interruption? If so, get one of these remotes which essentially lets you turn on/off the power connection to the AC using an RF remote.

Furthermore, you can get wifi-using smartplugs which would let you switch them on and off using an app; such apps usually have timer features, i.e. "turn off after 1 hour" or you can set a schedule. If you have any kind of smart-device system (Google Home, Amazon Echo), you can get some compliant smartplugs that can also be commanded by voice or pre-programmed routine (I've got Echo/Alexa; I assume goohome does something similar):
"Alexa, chill out" => A/C plug comes on.
"Alexa, go to hell" => A/C plug turns off, or whatnot.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:27 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]

A TV remote might work if it's programmable by "watching" the output of another remote; however, this assumes you have a compatible AC remote to begin with, which you say you don't have. Your off-the-shelf universal remote for TVs is extremely unlikely to be able to do this. A more capable universal remote that is programmable via a computer or an app *might* work for this (thinking the Logitech Harmony line of remotes specifically), if they have the codes for the AC unit in their database, but I wouldn't count on it.

You'll probably need to get either the AC-specific universal remote or the replacement remote. I'd recommend this route especially if you don't have the remote that came with it.
posted by Aleyn at 6:10 PM on August 7

My older Logitech Harmony 670 remote could control a stand fan I had. Didn't even need to train it, it was listed in the very extensive list of devices it would control.
posted by bigdamnnerd at 8:11 AM on August 8

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