How to check if your remote is still working

by Volker Weber

This is one neat trick to check an infrared remote:

Just open Photo Booth and point your remote at the camera (make sure the end of the remote is visible in the onscreen image), then press any button on the remote (volume up or down, for instance). If you see a bright light emitting from the remote in the Photo Booth window, you know the remote's working OK and has battery juice.

The iSight picks up the light from the LEDs and shows them in white color.

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Yeah, noticed that a few years ago, then playing with the camera in my cellphone. I was a little bit confused where the white flashing came from on the front left side of my thinkpad. It happened to be the IRDA port that sits there nearly invisible.

Sascha Reissner, 2007-08-31

Not really surprising but difficult to capture:
the IR port of my good old Visor Edge :-)

Stefan Domanske, 2007-08-31

This trick is also popular among Mercedes owners to check if the infrared module of the key is working when the windows won't open/close by pressing the corresponding button.

Marc Henkel, 2007-08-31

What is useful for checking remotes can affect image quality when taking real photos, as high IR sensitivity is not limited to el cheapo cameras. In environs wih high IR emissions (like steel works), even the IR blocking filter built into most better digital cameras do not help much. That's why filters like the 486 UV-IR Sperrfilter (English link does not work) are recommended.

Haiko Hebig, 2007-08-31

I noticed this years back with a video camera.. which made me wonder why don't they just install a bunch of infrared leds on the back of a theater wall maybe in a pattern of some somesort and have it run during the film? It wouldn't be visiable to the eye but would watermark or run a cam version of a movie...

Bryan McDade, 2007-08-31

Thanks for the prompt. Very useful

Andrey Trozenko, 2007-08-31

LOL - had to try it

Paul Mooney, 2007-08-31

One could also point the remote at the device it's supposed to control and see if it works ;-)
Then again, that wouldn't be a very geeky approach...

Hans Bornich, 2007-08-31

Normal theaters (meaning: not movie theaters) often use larger infrared lights mounted near the front of the stage or in the proscenium arch. This, in combination with an IR sensitive camera, allows technical staff, actors, etc. to follow what is happening on stage, for instance during a scene change 'in the black'. One thing to verify is compatibility with hearing assistance systems that use IR for transmission.

Frans Swarte, 2007-08-31

@Hans: I would assume that the suggestion here is: If your device isn't reacting to the remote control's commands, this is how you can check whether the remote control is sending anything at all. This is called "narrowing down the cause of the error" ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2007-08-31

This trick works with almost each digital camera or camera phone. Cleared situations (low batt or broken) often in the past.

Richard Kaufmann, 2007-08-31

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