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TV Remote durability

We have an 11 year old LG 42" TV, and while the original remote lasted quite well, when it died a replacement didn’t last that long at all. The main problem with both was the volume button dying. More recently, we bought a TCL 32" TV for the bedroom. We don’t use it very much, but it’s volume button is also fading fast. I know they all use the same basic, cheap technology, but is there a brand that has better life expectancy than the average universal replacement you get from the shops?

I bought a couple of AllInOne units to try out, but the closest I came was a Laser unit, and even there I had to try all configurations to see which one fits best. I got one that does everything except Subtitles, which I particularly wanted. And because it’s a pre Smart model TV, I can’t get an Android app to do the job. So again I’m stuck trying to find a physical replacement. I know I can just buy a new TV for less than $1000 these days, but apart from the remote it works perfectly well, and I don’t like throwing something out in that situation.

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Quite often the problem is that gunk has built up on the contacts within the remote…especially those buttons used frequently like volume and channel changing.

This video shows how to clean them:

We find we have to clean the contacts on our TV remote every few years to ensure that the buttons work properly. The remote works like new after the contacts are cleaned.

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If you are comfortable in buying things off the internet, you might want to search on-line marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace for second hand or even new replacement remotes.

Another on-line place you could look is via AliExpress in China. I have bought new replacement remotes specific to the model TV. One worked except for the subtitles (same as yours), and the other got lost in transit but I got my money back.

I have noticed people selling off old remotes, including universal ones, at the local markets (not the up market ones) and car boot sales.

Final suggestion is try garage sales. Some I have been to have remotes.

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Thanks for some interesting suggestions there. I’m not keen on the idea of second hand, since I would suspect the buttons are likely to be gone on them too. But I’m cautious but happy to browse eBay or Amazon, and a friend is a regular user of AliExpress - he once got a replacement On button for his ancient mobile phone, and it was delivered for under $10 total!

My wife keeps saying just buy a new one, but like I said, I hate throwing good stuff out.

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  1. Check the remote batteries. Are they new? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve found dead batteries, often leaking, in remote controls which have stopped working because the same batteries have been in there for years.

  2. Disassemble the remote control (the fun part) and use an alcohol swab, (same as the swab used to wipe your arm prior to an injection or blood test), to thoroughly clean the contact areas on the circuit board and also the conductive rubber bumpers which press onto the contact areas and complete the circuit.

Remote controllers are prone to the ingress of dirt, sweat, food, drink, muck, partially because they are often used with dirty, wet, sweaty, foodie hands. This contamination finds its way into the contact areas on the circuit board and interferes with the reliable operation of the buttons.

Also avoid using rechargeable batteries in remote controls. Rechargeable batteries have a lower terminal voltage (1.2v) than alkaline batteries (1.55v) and some remote controls and other items such as computer :desktop_computer: mice :computer_mouse: will not work properly with the lower voltage of rechargeable batteries.

BB

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We use mostly rechargable NiMH (Eneloop or similar) batteries in remotes, LED torches, etc successfully.

We try each new device with rechargeable first, and if it works reliably leave them in. Unlike alkaline batteries which decrease in voltage as they are used, NiMH rechargeable deliver 1.2V without fade up to near flat. Alkaline cells fade continuously as they discharge. Typically they drop below the 1.2V reliable output of a NiMH rechargeable when they are approx 50% drained - used.

We only have a few examples where the extra voltage of a brand new alkaline is a slight initial benefit. EG cheap LED lights which use resistive current limiting and battery powered (motorised) grooming aids. The Braun shaver works fine on rechargeable, while on alkaline it starts stronger before fading away sooner.

Modern rechargeable NiMH batteries are also unlikely to leak if fully discharged and forgotten. Something cheaper alkaline batteries do too often.

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Yep - same here - I have NiMH rechargeables in almost all my remotes - and I’ve got about 20 if I include wireless mice and keyboards, A/Cs. When I notice one is getting a bit sluggish, I’ve got a few spares charged, systematically go round the house replacing them, charging those, till they’re all done. Only one remote doesn’t like rechargeables.

The other advantage of rechargeables is that they (almost) never leak - unlike Duracells etc.

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I’d definitely establish if the problem is just that the remote needs cleaning.

Re. buying a replacement remote: recently I decided to get a remote for a quite old TEAC TV that I was given but without the original remote control and I was using, but with difficulty, via the controls on the TV. After doing some research I decide to buy a remote that was pre-programmed for my TV not one that I had to program myself and got one for $30 from the Gocompany, which has several websites including www.tvremotecontrols.com.au
It works fine so far, but I have not tried it in subtitles mode. I was lucky that the company has a shop very close to where i live in Brisbane so was able to go there to buy it and so avoided postage.
I found the staff very helpful. Their phone number is 07 38465666.

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Yes. Although I am a big fan, and user, of rechargeable batteries, in some situations they do not work as well as non rechargeables. For example, they only work for very short time in our electric door chimer/bell. And some devices, eg blood pressure monitors, specifically warn against using rechargeable batteries.

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quite a lot of tvs have an app for you device (phone/tablet/ipad) that you can use as the remote control

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There are universal learning remotes, if you can get the original remote to work at all, you can transfer the codes from one to the other. It is very tedious but can be done. There are also remotes that can be programmed, the manufacturer has a database of codes for almost everything, then you sit and program in the keys into the remote. Also very tedious. Then there are devices to program the universal remotes from a PC, quicker but more expensive. I have also seen advertisements for a remote that is programmed via USB from a PC. And … there is a company Probe in Melbourne (about which I know nothing) that claims to be able to repair any remote. If that isn’t enough, some older mobile phones (and a few new ones) had IR capability and could act as a remote. I don’t think you need to retire that TV just yet.

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I use a Phillips Pronto that is a screen based unit. Unfortunately they are very old and the company doesn’t make them any more. They had the capability of setting up a number of steps into a macro that only needed one step from the user. I am also working on older screen based mobile phones that have an IR sender. The phone has to be Android based and you have to be able to code your own app. The only problem with either of these two systems is that you have to have a working remote so you can teach your mobile or Pronto the codes. The advantage if you have taught the codes is that they are then able to be saved to your PC as part of the process because you have to use a PC to load the codes. There is also the possibility to use an iPad to control you TV if your TV had the ability to connect to your network None of this suggestion is viable if you don’t enjoy coding.

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We have 3 TVs and use Logitech Harmony 350 remotes on each of them.

They can each control 8 devices so control the TV, PVR and Blu-Ray player at each TV.
I have also set up two of them to control the lights and fans in the room where the TVs are,

Programming using a PC is painless and you can save each remote’s settings.

I just did a search and they are $55 at Officeworks.

HTH - Chris

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Our remote for our bedroom Samsung failed so we went to JayCar and bought a new one for Samsung TVs; works beautifully for everything.

My topic re Logitech Harmony remote controls is worth a read if you are considering investing in one: Logitech Harmony remote controls - ongoing support & alternative products

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Hi, Scott.

The Logitech site could not find my new Hisense TV so I guess that they are not adding to the database.

A pity…

Chris

I believe that is the case, Chris. They are only providing support for ‘legacy’ devices that were already in the database when they made the decision to discontinue the Harmony range.

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Aren’t the Harmony remotes programmable? I have vague memories of an old Logitech ‘universal’ remote that you had to point at the device’s remote control and then start pressing buttons so it could ‘see’ the signal that was being sent.

(In fact, it probably saw the signal quite literally as I think remotes generally use IR.)

They are. In the early days of programmable remote controls, programming was done using the buttons on the remote control itself.
Then along came PC software to make the task easier ( particularly when one wanted to create a macro to turn on several interconnected devices at the same time ).
Eventually, the PC software became the only way by which the programming could be done. I’ve noted in my specific thread, that the different OS versions in the Logitech stable do not all offer the same level of functionality.

You’re correct in that most remote controls still use IR, but some more recent ones ( some Bose products, for example ) use RF.

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We also have an LG TV. I was incredibly disappointed when its remote control died quickly (we are very mild TV users - perhaps 2 hours/day apart from during the AFL season).

I tried to get them to replace it, but they said ‘since it’s over 12 months, tough luck’. IMHO the warrantee for remotes should be way longer than for the TVs themselves.

It was over $100 to replace. Grrr!

I was recommended by consumer affairs to take LG to VCAT, because apparently a case has been won by a consumer about this exact issue, but I was just too snowed under with 3 teens in repeated lockdowns :stuck_out_tongue:

The only ‘pushback’ I could do was to make sure the new remote lasts as long as possible (see attached picture).