Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender

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Folks,

Thought I might share this weird effect I got from a Remote Control
Extender unit, bought from Jaycar some 6 years ago. It is the model
that is a remote extender only (no video), operating on UHF
frequencies.  

It has done sterling service these past 6 years.  The reciever unit
sits atop my tv, and the transmitter is sitting in front of the
free-to-air satellite decoder box, which sits around the other side of
the house.  The receiver unit used a UHF transmission to send any
Infra-red signals it detected in the living room to the transmitter
for re-broadcast.

The only thing that has upset this unit was the fluro lightbulbs we
use in the living room.  The light fixture has a 3-socket light
fitting that eats incandescants for breakfast, but the compact fluro
bulbs last for years in the same job. Only problem is the remote
control extender sort of 'locks' when the room light is shining
directly at it, and we have a little shield over the extender unit to
prevent this.

The UEC satellite box is nearly identical to an Austar satellite box.
I believe it is simply a change of firmware to alter the usage of the
decoder (as told by the tech who installed it)

Anyway, the satellite decoder box has started going flakey, where I
would regularly find the channels were blank.  There would be the
channel information being presented when you changed channels, but no
audio or video.  It required a re-boot of the decoder box to get the
damn thing working.  The past few days, this was happening 2-3 times a
night.  I also discovered the decoder box was re-booting on it's own,
which suggested to me the decoder box was losing its grip on reality.

I investigated a replacement box on Monday, and was bracing myself for
the $475 cost of the new decoder, but decided to talk to the tech
before I took the plunge.  However, things got away from me, and I
didnt get around to contacting him.  Last night, the decoder box was
even worse, and was now announcing after a re-boot that the channels
were all currently scrambled.  

I ended up out looking at the decoder box, and moved the transmitter
unit of the remote control extender out of the way.  From the other
side of the house, I hear the television burst into life!  Thinking
about it some more, I wondered if the remote control extender had
caused the problem.  I have another model of a remote control
extender; one that operated on 2.4Ghz, and can send video & audio as
well.  Plugging it in, and placing the units in their respective
positions, I have my satellite decoder back in business, and the
channel changing works just fine via the extender units.

Only thing I can think of is the old remote control extender unit was
firing out flakey commands to the satellite decoder box, and the
decoder was acting on them. However, I hadnt realised there might be a
command sent via infra-red that could instruct the decoder to re-boot!
It wasnt the room light in the living room causing the problem, as I
havent used it the past few weeks. It makes me think the extender's
infra-red transmitter is losing the plot, and killing the decoder box
in the process.

Anyway, thought I might share this unusual problem in the hope it
helps someone else.  The solution turned out to be much cheaper than I
expected, and a lot less obvious.


Cheers,

Rod.....Out Back  
 

Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender


Yes, really interesting,

My guess would that you have some UHF noise around your place and this
triggers the transmitter of the IR-extender to transmit random commands.
Satellite box may just get confused on the commands it is receiveing. If
software is not written to properly deal with nonsense commands, you can
easily have re-boots and other weird behaviour.

Rudolf

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Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender



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Rudolf,

Cant see that we have made any changes to any UHF devices in the house
in the past week that would have started this.  We do have a UHF base
station (Icom IC400Pro), which is about 9 months old.  Nothing more
recent that might have precipitated such a change.

However, I had noticed in the past that the transmitter (sitting in
front of decoder box) gets quite active, even though no-one's pressing
the remote control in the living room.  Maybe this problem has been
lurking for a while.
 


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Cheers,

Rod.....Out Back

Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender


Does not have to be yourself -- could be from outside.

Rudolf

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Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender



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Rudolf,

Outside where?

My nearest neighbour is 22kms away.  The nearest piece of transmission
equipment that we dont own is 1.6 kms away(Our CDMA WLL tower), and
hasnt been worked on for about 18 months. The CDMA tower has a large
directional dish that points to the repeater tower (30kms away) away
from the house. I would like to think we arent picking up 'leakage'
from the CDMA transmitters at a mile away.  

IF we do have a problem with interference, it's coming from the house.
Problem is, there doesnt seem to be any recent changes that suggest a
cause.

I keep coming back to my original suspicions:

1) The Remote Control extender has thrown a 'wobbly', and is sending
spurious commands that the decoder box is trying to interpret.

2) The decoder box has a problem, and has become more 'sensitive' to a
problem that has been there all the time.

I will take my decoder box to the tech we bought it from; he might be
able to check it over for me. Thanks for the ideas.







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Cheers,

Rod.....Out Back

Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender


Have a look at the remote tx led near your austar box with a video camera.
You can then see the ir signals and switch some stuff off in the old
elimination process.

Rob

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Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender


It would have to be pretty extreme random noise because the austar box
signals (last time i checked) have 2's complement checksums.


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Re: Interesting effect from Remote Control Extender


Rod - did you settle on a solution for your voltage logger?

rob



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