IR Repeater installation - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 50 Old 06-18-06, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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IR Repeater installation

I was asked to share with the forum how to install an IR repeater system, here is how I did it - I'm sure there are lots of others:

Having an IR repeater system is one of the most satisfying and easiest projects to carry out, you basically need a repeater, receiver and senders to each unit you want to control.

Using a standard outlet box a repeater is a device that picks up the signal from the remote and sends it to the receiver, it has to be 'in line of site' of the remote. I mounted my repeater above the screen, and used Cat5 cable to connect to the receiver. The attached link is a typical source and what I used:

IR Repeater installation-ir1.jpg

The receiver is a surface mounted box that takes the signal from the repeater and sends the IR command to the components to be controlled, it need to be reasonably close to the equipment. In addition it needs a power supply. My receiver is surface mounted, the one I used operates 4 pieces of equipment and to increase this they can be daisy chained together with one power supply.
Link to source:

IR Repeater installation-ir2.jpg

The final task is to stick an emitter, using 2 sided stick tabs supplied with the emitter, over the IR window of the equipment and plug them into the receiver.


IR Repeater installation-ir3.jpg

Since building my system I later discovered that you can buy double and triple senders, which eliminate the need to have more than one receiver and save money. In addition the 3.5mm plug is standard, and you can mix and match components from different manufacturers.

Well this was my approach, please post other ideas, mods etc.
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post #2 of 50 Old 06-18-06, 09:58 AM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

What is the IR FLASHER w/6' LEAD? Does it work the same as the INFRARED REPEATER?
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post #3 of 50 Old 06-18-06, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: IR Repeater installation

Tommy, if I interpret your question correctly the answer is no - they serve different functions, and any system I'm aware of needs all 3 devices.
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post #4 of 50 Old 06-18-06, 01:29 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

Cool grits Phil... nice info here.

Tommy, this could be your answer.

It seems like if the repeater, which repeats what the receiver picks up from the remote, is located in line of sight to the equipment then the flashers would not be needed... no?

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post #5 of 50 Old 06-18-06, 05:45 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

Sonnie you are correct:

Remote control ----- LOS ------> Repeater

Repeater ------- Cat 5 ----------> Receiver

Receiver ------- 3.5mm plugs and cable IR flasher --------> AV equipment

Only the Repeater needs to be visible in the room, during construction, I am equiping all our rooms with an IR network in case we need to use it later on. Only requires 1 run of Cat 5, even less because it uses 2 strands but I don't know if other sources on the same run will cause interference.

The other repeater that is useful is the through cabinet if you do not want a standard power box fitting
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post #6 of 50 Old 06-20-06, 11:34 AM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

I think the terminology being used is a little confusing so I thought I'd try and make it clearer. (maybe it's just me but I was having a hard time following)
The IR receiver is what is visible in the room and what you point the remote at. It can be mounted in a box, in a cabinet or be a table top type. It relays the IR signal to the repeater or connecting block. From there, the signal goes out via the IR emitters which stick on the front of your equipment. The type of connecting block shown above requires the IR emitters because it doesn't have an IR blaster. If it had an IR blaster feature, you don't have to use emitters provided the blaster is in range of the equipment.
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post #7 of 50 Old 06-27-06, 12:46 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

IR Repeater Installation

When we moved into our new house last year, the only place to set up our system was on an outside wall. The problem was, most of the wall had large windows with a view of the back yard. Obviously we wanted to keep the view, so our hulking three-piece entertainment center had to go. The only thing that remained up-front was the TV on a table. We found an ideal place for the electronics off to one side behind the sofa, but obviously that makes it difficult to remote control the system. Thus, an IR repeater system was needed so we could operate the entire system by pointing the system remote at the logical place – i.e., straight ahead at the TV.

Since we’re talking about our living room and not a dedicated room, a conspicuous in-wall-mounted repeater like this was undesirable. We went with a system from Xantech that used a small table-top receiver (sitting in front of the TV) that’s about 3” wide and 1” high:

IR Repeater installation-xantech-291-00-ir-receiver.jpg

Xantech also makes in-wall receivers like the one linked above, for people who need that option (some other brands, like Buffalo, for some reason calls the receivers “repeaters”). Unfortunately, our tabletop unit had a bright LED that lit up to show it was receiving a signal from the remote. I found that to be really distracting, so I covered it with a piece of black electrical tape.

Which ever receiver you go with – tabletop or in-wall - it converts the IR signal from the remote to an electrical signal that can travel on wiring.

An obstacle many people will have with their IR receiver is getting a cable long enough to reach the equipment rack. In our case, that required a 30-40 ft. run from the TV to where the equipment was located. Fortunately, the connections most of these systems use are standard 3.5mm audio jacks and plugs, like the ones used for headphones for portable playback devices. Depending on the model or brand, either stereo or mono versions will be used, or a combination of both (our system uses both). Long cable runs are not a problem; according to Xantech’s website, using 18-gauge wire you can run a cable from a receiver up to one mile!

Being experienced at soldering, I just ordered a spool of cable from Parts Express, along with the necessary in-line plugs and jacks, and made my own extension cable. For those who can’t solder, I’m confident the vendors of this equipment can supply long lengths of pre-terminated cabling.

The next thing in the connection chain is a “power block.” The Buffalo brand calls this piece a “receiver.” Either way, it’s the central connection point of the IR repeater system. The cable from the in-wall or tabletop receiver plugs into the power block, as does a power supply, typically an AC adapter. Here’s a picture of a Xantech power block:

Name:  Xantech Connecting Block.jpg
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The hard-wired IR emitters also plug into the power block. There are a number of varieties, but basically one emitter serves each piece of equipment that needs remote control. These emitters from Xantech have an adhesive surface that allow you to attach them directly to the component’s face:

IR Repeater installation-single-emitter.jpg
Single emitter

Name:  Dual Emitter.jpg
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Double emitter (two emitters from a single plug on the power block)

In researching for our installation, I learned that there are two types of emitters. The ones that attach directly to the component typically are low powered emitters. You can easily identify them because they blink red when they emit a signal. I found the prospect of attaching a bunch of hard-wired emitters to all of my components to be highly unappealing, not to mention a major hassle – there’s way too much cabling required for a home theater system as it is.

Fortunately I learned about high-powered flooding emitters. I could not find one from Xantech, so I took a gamble and bought one from another brand, and it worked. I later found out that the IR emitters that come with many VCRs (to control a cable box) are the flooding variety, so if you can dig one up in the back of some drawer in your house you can save a few bucks. They also use the same 3.5mm plugs the repeater systems use – at least the ones that came with my old JVC VCR’s did.

So, if your equipment rack is free-standing in the room, or behind glass doors, you might want to look into a flooding emitter. We fortunately have an end table about 10’ away from our equipment rack, so I hid the emitter in a flower arrangement. It works perfectly, and it’s really nice to have a single emitter operating the entire system. Of course, since the emitter is hard wired, you’ll have to find a way to hide the cable. Under-carpet is probably the best way, or even easier, under a throw rug. I had a wire laid when we had our hardwood floor put in, so I was covered, so to speak.

Of course, merely reading this stuff can be confusing, so here's a wiring diagram for a typical IR system that should be helpful:

IR Repeater installation-ir-repeater-wiring-diagram.jpg


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post #8 of 50 Old 06-27-06, 02:09 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

Yeah, I use the same system Wayne. It works great. I installed it out of sheer laziness. I found that much of my stuff required pointing the remote directly at the front panel. This meant I had to lift my arm in the air and point and push. Totally inconvenient, especially if I press a remote Macro button that takes a few seconds to fully execute. With the Xantech system I can push the remote button while the remote is pointed anywhere in the room since the receiver is very sensitive.

Some of my equipment has an IR jack on the rear panel to plug directly into with the 1/8" connector, so you can avoid the emitter. I didn't mind the sticky emitters though.

Here's another good diagram of the system.

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post #9 of 50 Old 06-27-06, 02:25 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

I love those cool diagrams you do, brucek! And that is a good price for the system, I think I paid $100.

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post #10 of 50 Old 06-27-06, 02:54 PM
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Re: IR Repeater installation

I love those cool diagrams
hehe, can't take credit for this one wayne. I scanned it from a small manual I found on the unit. Neat diagram though......
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