Always Worth Double Checking

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I have a pushy neighbour who (somewhat unwelcomely) doesn't mind telling you what you should do, or demanding help when she wants it. I had a phone call the other morning "my TV remote control has broken and I can't make the replacement work". It's easier to give in than resist: "I'll be around later".

It was their bedroom TV, a Tesco Special (Technika) TV/DVD combo. She had been to Tesco to get a replacement, but they said they would have to change the TV and remote as a set, and anyway it was out of warranty. They sold her a Technika universal remote, and they had not managed to code it up. I had taken my iPad and roaming Internet, and started by checking the outputs with the camera. "Have you checked the batteries?" "New batteries."

The first thing I discovered is the iPad camera isn't sensitive to IR and I had to use my phone camera! Nothing coming from the original remote, output from the universal. I jiggled the batteries in the original, still no output. Then I looked at the list of codes for the universal - Technika TV not listed, despite it being a Technika remote!! An Internet search was fruitless, even for the same remote model number the setup instructions were different. I started the automatic search procedure, but I was pushed for time at that point and I was not being given any PEACE to concentrate on what I was doing (back seat driver - how does her husband cope?).

I suggested they phone the advertised Technika help line, took a note of the various model numbers, and said I would see what I could find out.

A couple of days later I had another Internet search and still came up with very little, apart from some pre-programmed remotes on eBay which claimed to be for that particular TV. I hooked up my Harmony 200 (now unavailable it seems) and tried programming it, but did not have the TV model in the library. I ticked "yes I am sure" and something downloaded, don't know what (best guess I suppose). Then I went back to the black widow's den.

The Harmony did nothing at all, so I turned my attention back to the Technika universal to try a code I had found, no good, all this time being 'supervised'. "I need some peace to concentrate" I said, several times, and eventually the hint was taken (unwillingly). I was resigned to running the auto-scan, but wondered if it might be simpler to fix the original remote, depending what was wrong with it. I got the camera out again, still dead. Then I thought of switching the batteries from my Harmony - wrong size. Batteries from the (functioning) Technika universal? Well I never, original remote working again.

I went to break the news. "Batteries." "What??? Bob, did you check those batteries?!!!" (poor Bob). He had a battery tester. It seems he had tested the batteries that came out, but not the batteries that went in - one was good, the other was dead as a door nail. "Cheap batteries" I said (guess who bought them). "I always use Duracell for this kind of thing, they're sometimes on offer and then I stock up".
Never take at face value *anything* the user tells you, in this case them telling you they had tried new (and by implication working) batteries.
I gave my daughter a battery charger and batteries to save her money on all the aa and aaa cells she was using. It was one of the early ones that charges all sizes and can discharge and recharge too. After a while I noticed she wasn't using it. I queried that and she said it wasn't working. I borrowed it and confirmed it was in fact fine. Again after a while she was not using it so I asked why not? She said whenever she used the cells in her camera they worked at first but then almost immediately went dead. I checked some she had charged and sure enough two were flat. Then I noticed that each of the four slots in the charger had two cells in them! Presumably even if that arrangement had worked, one of the two cells in a slot was not making contact and so never ever charged.


Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
I just tested the front-facing camera on the iPad (I tend to forget it's there, particularly under stress, and I have never used it for anything). It is IR sensitive, so this becomes my favourite way to test remotes because it's like an IR-vision mirror!

In fact, it would be even better if the iPad reversed the image, because then it really would be like a mirror and much easier to use.