Infra-Red Remote Control Tester

This little circuit is invaluable for quick go/no-go testing of just about any remote control transmitting infra-red (IR) light. The tester is battery-powered, built from just a handful of commonly available and inexpensive parts, and fits in a compact enclosure. Schmitt trigger gate IC1f is used as a quasi-analogue amplifier with, unusually, an infra-red emitting diode (IRED) type LD274 acting as the sensor element. An R-C network, C1-R2, is used at the output of the gate because all IR remote controls transmit pulse bursts, and to prevent the output LED, D2, lighting constantly when day-light or another continuous source of IR light is detected.

Picture of the project:
Circuit diagram:

Parts layout:
PCB layout:
Cased project:
This creates a useful ‘quick test’ option: point the tester at direct daylight, and the indicator LED should light briefly. The sensitivity of the tester is such that IR light from remote control is detected at a distance of up to 50 cm. The circuit is designed for very low power consumption, drawing less than 1 mA from the battery when IR light is detected, and practically no current when no light is detected. Hence no on/off switch is required. The construction drawing shows how the tester may be ‘cased’ using a small ABS case from Conrad.

R1,R2 = 10MW
C1 = 10nF
D1 = LD274 (Siemens)
D2 = LED, 3mm, low-current
IC1 = 74HC14
Bt1 = 3V Lithium cell with solder tags, e.g.type CR2045 (560 mAh)
Author: W. Foede
Copyright: Elektor Electronics