Is my TV growing senile?
March 17, 2007 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Can a TV lose the ability to repond to remotes? If so, what then?

My five year old Toshiba flatscreen (not flat panel) about a week ago intermitently stopped responding to power on/off and volume and mute commands from the satellite remote programmed properly for it. It would work and then not, and then work again. All commands asked of the box itself such as channel changing and menu options work fine. The Remote that the TV came with also worked usually, but would not work at the same time the satellite remote was 86. Tried reprogramming remote using all six codes online. Original equipment remote now works not at all. (fresh batteries tried). And yes, cleaned infared sensor window.
posted by longsleeves to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
reSpond, that is.
posted by longsleeves at 9:26 PM on March 17, 2007

It could happen if the receiver phototransister was starting to fail.

But I'd be more inclined to suspect the battery in the remote control.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:32 PM on March 17, 2007

Reboot your TV: Unplug it, go for a walk, plug in in a little while later. This is sort of a long shot, but it's free, so what the heck.
posted by IvyMike at 10:00 PM on March 17, 2007

IvyMike, that has been tried.
posted by longsleeves at 10:48 PM on March 17, 2007

Try a new, universal remote. It's possible that the IR receiver LED bay be going bad but it's hard to imagine that only certain buttons wouldn't be working in that case. Sounds more like the transistors which control those functions and are attached to the microcontroller in charge of such things going bad. Your original remote is probably just shot, entirely. Are the front panel buttons still working?

posted by IronLizard at 11:26 PM on March 17, 2007

front panel buttons still control volume and power and mode. Two different remotes disfunctional? no, es el telebision non compus mentis
posted by longsleeves at 11:46 PM on March 17, 2007

Could there be a source of interference in the room? Have you bought any new electronics recently, or could there be another remote with a button stuck down? Direct sunlight can also play havoc with IR-sensitive devices. Try putting the remote right up against the IR window, then covering both remote and window with your hand while pressing a button.

It's not impossible for an IR detection circuit that was working to go bad, but it's gotta be really rare. I work all day with various devices that receive IR commands, and I've never run accross such a case in 5 years.
posted by contraption at 11:46 PM on March 17, 2007

On some TV's there is a manual switch to shut off the remote control circuit. This happened to my dad's tv. He lived alone, so we can't figure out how this switch was moved to the off position. It cost him $60 service call to the house. The tech said it is a common problem, usually the first thing he checks.

His tv had an on/off switch for the remote on the tv itself. The reasoning behind this is when displayed on the sales floor, the salesman can "switch on" the tv he wants to demo (via remote) without the other tvs responding.
posted by JujuB at 12:44 AM on March 18, 2007

A friend of mine had a similar problem with his remote. I removed the batteries, cleaned the contacts with a pencil eraser, and it was good as new. this might or might not work but it takes nearly no effort to try.
posted by ardgedee at 7:56 AM on March 18, 2007

Could there be a source of interference in the room? Have you bought any new electronics recently, or could there be another remote with a button stuck down? Direct sunlight can also play havoc with IR-sensitive devices.

Don't forget fluorescent lights, even the compact kind. Not always a problem, but they can be sometimes.

Two different remotes disfunctional? no, es el telebision non compus mentis

I've no idea what you're saying, but I think the answer is yes.. The modes of failure could easily be completely different. Perhaps you have fresh batteries in your main remote, but the buttons are wearing out. At the same time the batteries in the other remote are low, causing intermittent results.
posted by Chuckles at 9:01 AM on March 18, 2007

Okay, so you covered most of that second part already, doh!
posted by Chuckles at 9:04 AM on March 18, 2007

Sounds a lot like what happened with my Kenwood receiver lately. I found out it's a known issue with a series of these receivers. Sure enough, when I opened mine up, one of the 3 solder joints where the IR sensor attaches to the circuit board had failed.

A few minutes and a little bit of solder later, it now responds to the remote.

BTW, the trick to confirm if your remote is transmitting or not is to point it at your digital camera and press buttons. Watch through the camera LCD- you'll see the transmitter light up if it's working.
posted by Steve3 at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I always assume it's the remote unless I can prove otherwise. The batteries are first, of course. Followed by the battery contacts. After that, problems with the circuit board (which includes the IR transmitter) and/or the buttons. When you consider that the remote gets dropped on the floor, lost in seat cushions, etc. they're remarkable sturdy but nothing is perfect. However, unless you're into soldering and hardware debug, it's time for a new one (or a universal replacement).
posted by tommasz at 5:02 PM on March 18, 2007

Thanks to all. The original equipment remote is working right now. A new Direct TV remote is en route but I really think the problem lies with the TV.

There are four compact flourescent lightbulbs in the room. Hmmmm...
posted by longsleeves at 7:32 PM on March 18, 2007

So in terms of compact fluorescents.. I've never had any problem with actual consumer goods, but I build a UIRT2, and the fluorescents wreaked havoc.
posted by Chuckles at 9:50 PM on March 18, 2007

Fluorescets all engaged, remotes working at the moment. If the problem recurs and persists I will reverse the polarity in the starbord flux inflectors.
posted by longsleeves at 8:07 PM on March 19, 2007

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