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TV IR Remote That Eats Lithium Batteries Fixed

By on March 16, 2021
TV IR Remote That Eats Lithium Batteries Fixed

My brother phoned me that he had a strange problem with the IR remote control of his Ziggo Settop TV Box. He inserted new 3V 2025 Lithium batteries a couple of times (his remote has 2 of them in parallel for more current) but after a day or 2 his remote no longer worked and the lithium cells were drained.

tv remote control repair

So I picked it up at his home and got home to examine it but couldn’t find anything wrong with it. No shorted components and no strange current consuming problems. And no bad measuring resistors or semiconductors either. I also used my external 30V 10A power supply set to 3V and set to a low short max current to test the remote. No problem there either! And I also checked the IR signal on my oscilloscope. It was just fine!

I also used 2 new CR2032 batteries, although my brother apparently had used CR2025 batteries, but they afterwards also were suddenly drained after just a day or 2! Again also without hardly having used the Humax compatible remote. At home I could control my about 9 years old 37 inch Samsung TV with it, so I was easily able to test it.

My only conclusion here was that the IR Motorola chip marked with code MC9S08RD32DWE now just consumed more energy at certain moments than it normally did which will be hard to fix. Although the remote on the external 3V power supply set at a max current of about 0.220 Ampère only showed a measured current in use of only 0.01A! So when a key was pressed the remote just needed about 10mA! There simply were no other components that caused any problem here like the normally shorting SMD mounted capacitors that would be explaining causing this current eating situation. And logging the current over time possibly could have recorded the exact moment.

Anyhow this is the datasheet of that microcontroller: http://www.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheets_pdf/M/C/9/S/MC9S08RD32DWE.shtml

It was logical to assume that the IR remote consumed energy even at times when it wasn’t used. I already had a solution for this problem! An easy fix to solve this unusual problem which I had encountered in other battery operated devices before too!

Although my brother already had ordered another universal IR remote for his Settop Box it took long to arrive and he still couldn’t use his TV Receiver Box. But after my fix he already was able to use his original remote again without any worries! Below a close up of the controller and its pcb.

tv remote control ic

Below the good quality gold contacts that show that this board was a decently made design!

how to fix tv remote control

Nothing was found that would point to the cause of the fast draining batteries!

batteries for tv remote control

What is the solution to fix the problem you would ask? I simply cut the + pole track to both battery holders, connected two tin 0.1mm wires to a small switch that I mounted in the front case of the remote. Below some examples of spare part switches I had in stock for this kind of repairs.

bad switch in tv remote control

Most of the switches were just too big or had a too high contact resistance of around 150 Ohm, so those were not useful in this case. But I found one that was just right!

tv remote circuit board

This way the batteries were only connected to the circuit when the push button was pressed and when the remote was needed.

A small hole was easily made and the perfect push button switch was found and glued on the inside with hot glue. Next photo shows the professional result.

how to fix tv remote control

In above photo on the right below the Ziggo tekst (our Cable provider’s name) the new added small button is added to the remote. And my brother was happy with the professional looking result!

I have many hot glue ‘pistols’ but the one in the photo below is probably the most professional I have that is capable in gluing rather large surfaces easily!

how to fix tv remote control

After a few days I asked my brother if the problem this way was really solved and he convinced me it was!

It is always nice to have fixed something at almost no costs. Especially when it at first also seems to be unfixable!

albert from netherlands

Albert van Bemmelen, Weert, The Netherlands.

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Note: You can read his previous repair article in the below link:

https://jestineyong.com/startech-usbdup-12-sd-card-usb-memory-tester/

Likes(71)Dislikes(2)

17 Comments

  1. Parasuraman S

    March 16, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Vow! That was an out of the box thinking to resolve a troublesome issue! Many thanks for sharing this valuable article!

    Likes(6)Dislikes(0)
    • Grazza

      March 16, 2021 at 9:55 pm

      Parkside products are usually sold by Lidl/Aldi and in my experience are of poor quality so it's interesting to see you recommend the glue gun?

      Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
      • Albert van Bemmelen

        March 16, 2021 at 11:46 pm

        Yes, you are correct it was bought there (Lidl)! I recently also fixed the cracks in our flat's broken glass window in our entreedoor with it on both sides by gluing the cracks with hot melt glue. This way preventing anyone getting badly hurt when the window finally would break. It already was broken for over several years now. And more cracks appeared. And the Parkside hotmelt gun worked splendidly by covering those cracks. Which will hopefully keep the window in its place for a long time now! I also bought a Parkside cordless soldering iron that has a 3.6V lithion battery that failed to work or recharge the battery after not having being used for over a year. But after I opened the iron and recharged the battery externally once it still works perfectly now!

        Likes(4)Dislikes(0)
  2. Paris Azis

    March 16, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Hello Albert

    Patent pending? (Lol)!..

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
    • Albert van Bemmelen

      March 17, 2021 at 2:22 am

      Thanks for the nice comment Paris!, but as we now know inventions in the past most of the time were being used long after the Patent on them had run out.
      And as I wrote in the article this draining batteries thing happened before in other devices. Like in a cheap ledlight with remote that was sold at Action in my hometown that also had the same peculiar issue. Draining the batteries within about 2 months and still hardly been used completely drained without any significant reason. That also used some sort of unknown microcontroller chip. Those devices never have an on/off switch. And from calculators without off switch we already knew that they always consume battery energy to switch on and even when they are off.

      Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  3. Brian Clark

    March 16, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Some universal remotes that have a programming feature (to program in peripherals like DVDs, TVs, VCRs, and such using pre-loadedd codes) will remain in program mode if not "Closed Out" - with the internal clock constantly running and with a recycle (not reset) feature that times out and restarts every few hours. Often, a remote that eats or drains batteries is stuck in the programming mode, and simply needs either an MCU reset, or a close-out of the programming feature by performing ALL steps in programming a code for a peripheral. The recycle mode can use up to 100mA for a few seconds every 20-30 minutes. No switch needed - just close out the programming mode by performing ALL steps.

    Likes(4)Dislikes(0)
    • Albert van Bemmelen

      March 17, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you for that valued information Brian. If we now only knew how to do just that! The datasheet of the mentioned microcontroller is very large!(233 pages). And the standard instruction manual of course doesn't mention anything on this programming mode.

      Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  4. Abdul latif

    March 16, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Beatiful repsir trick.
    Thanks alot

    Likes(3)Dislikes(0)
    • Albert van Bemmelen

      March 18, 2021 at 3:29 am

      I'm glad that you liked the article Abdul!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  5. Robert Samuel

    March 17, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Great Repair work. I have a Samsung Bluetooth TV remote that also drains batteries every 3 weeks. Samsung explained that because the BT is always communicating with the TV, it i expected that the batteries will drain quickly.
    I have been thinking of inserting a switch but was not sure what type of switch to use.
    Your innovative repair article has provided the answer. Thanks again.
    Robert Samuel.

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
    • Albert van Bemmelen

      March 18, 2021 at 3:19 am

      Interesting fact that you mentioned about your Samsung Bluetooth TV remote Robert, because the Ziggo remote (Humax Settop box, without BT) also worked with my Samsung TV. It looks like those Samsung controller chips maybe all have a battery draining problem?

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  6. Waleed Rishmawi

    March 17, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    a very interesting repair thanks for sharing. have a blessed day

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  7. Yogesh Panchal

    March 17, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Albert,
    Good Fix!
    I also planned to put on/off switch In Digital Multimeter because most common range used in multimeter is Diode /Beep Mode and every time you have to rotate it to Off Mode.by putting switch you just turn the meter off on same location which extend the battery life.

    Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
    • Albert van Bemmelen

      March 18, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      Yes that could save battery life and time to switch it off Yogesh, especially if your DMM has an electronic autoswitch! Luckily my many DMMs hold on long on those 9V block batteries. And I also have some of those rechargable new lithium-ion 9V batteries that I also use in my fire/smoke alarm devices on the ceiling. And they also have a long extended working life. And I also have a DMM (from Conrad Germany) that charges on solar cells and that internally uses supercaps that also can be charged through the meter probes by external AC/DC voltages.

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  8. Albert van Bemmelen

    March 18, 2021 at 3:26 am

    Thanks Waleed! Once in a while the providence helps me to find a good solution to a bad problem! My brother is glad with this fix that made his original remote as good as new again because the replacement remote he previously already had ordered has still not been delivered. And the universal replacement remote ordered is no exact replicate anyhow!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  9. Mark

    March 20, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Well done Albert for thinking out of the box!

    Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
  10. Albert van Bemmelen

    March 20, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks Mark! Probably the easiest solutions are often also the best ones.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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