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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.

Repeater
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:

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=182-310


IR1.jpg


Receiver
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:

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=182-315
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=182-317


IR2.jpg


Emitter
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.

Source:

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=182-305


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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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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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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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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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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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:


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:


Xantech Connecting Block.jpg


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:


Single Emitter.jpg
Single emitter


Dual Emitter.jpg
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 wiring diagram.jpg


Regards,
Wayne









 

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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.



brucek
 

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Another brand you may want to consider is the MyExtender for $27.95 http://www.mytvstore.com/product_id_010.html. The receiver and flooding type emitter communicate via RF, so you don't have to run a cable between them.

I was hesitant to purchase this setup because of the cheap price, but it works great. My receiver and emitter are about 75 ft. from each other and there have been no RF interference or communication problems.
 

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt said:
I tried similar units from both Best Buy and Radio Shack, and neither one worked worth a flip. Great that you found one that worked, Reed! Wish I had known about that one.

Regards,
Wayne
I had a typo in my post; the distance between the units is 35ft. not 75ft, but none the less I have had no problems with this setup. My computer desk is in back of my primary listening seat and 24ft. from my TV where the receiver is. My Yamaha remote has no problem communicating with the receiver. The emitter is approximately 15ft. from my equipment, and again no IR communications problem.
 

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Hello all,

After researching it a bit, I was terribly mixed up in the different terminology. It seems the named devices were interchangable depending on which site I went too. (repeater, sensors, targets, hubs, recivers, emitters, flashers etc)

If I understand this correctly (please correct me if Im wrong) I will need to

1) Install sensor(s) in the front wall around the screen

2) These sensors would be directly connected to the cat5 wire running to my equipment rack

3) In the equipment cabinet the Cat5 wire would then be connected to a hub or reciver

4) The hub/receiver then runs emitters wires that are directly connected to each of the components in the rack.

For my room I would need to add some type of in-wall or flush mount sensor(s) to the front wall around my projetor screen. Something like Phil's or preferably even smaller. I don't want any type of exposed boxes or devices sitting around the front of the room.

01) Is one sensor enough in the front of the room or should I put say at least one on each side of the 110" screen (Left & Right sides, Top and Bottom)?

02) I already have extra Cat5 cable ran from the front of my room to the back equipment rack. Do I need any specific hardware (plugs, connectors etc) in order to connect the wires on either to the sensors or the other end with the hub?

03) Is there any repeater systems that are recommended for purchase?

The IR kits Ive looked at online all had repeater/reciver boxes included to go in the front of the room but I would need the in-wall type sensors.
 

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01) Is one sensor enough in the front of the room or should I put say at least one on each side of the 110" screen (Left & Right sides, Top and Bottom)?
Top or bottom should be fine, since you’ll be prone to point at the center of the screen.

02) I already have extra Cat5 cable ran from the front of my room to the back equipment rack. Do I need any specific hardware (plugs, connectors etc) in order to connect the wires on either to the sensors or the other end with the hub?
Typically connections are made with mono or stereo 1/8” (3.5mm) plugs. You’ll have to solder them to your cat 5 cable. Not sure about the connectors for an in-wall sensor, I’m sure the vendor sites linked above will give info on that.

03) Is there any repeater systems that are recommended for purchase?
Umm, that’s what the topic of this thread is... :scratch:

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Wayne:

Great info here but I have a question that is a little different.

I will likely have to use an IR repeater in my main room as the equipment will be out of line of site but what about other zones.

I will have a second zone in the bedroom for audio and will run the speaker wire there but should I also run a IR piece as well. If I do, do I need to tape a second IR emmiter to the unit?

Is there a distance limit to the IR receiver wire that you know of?

Eric in Austin
 

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Hi Eric,

If you're talking about the ability to control the system from a second zone, you'll need a second IR receiver, not emitter. It's item #291-00 in the picture below. You'll probably want to use an in-wall model like Phil showed at the top of the thread.




You'll also need a connecting block that will accept two receivers. They're typically (and logically) called two-zone connecting blocks.
Is there a distance limit to the IR receiver wire that you know of?
None that's any cause for concern in a domestic installation. IIR the Xantech manual says cable lengths up to a mile are realistic with 18 ga. wire.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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The above was certainly some great data to get me going. The questions I have now are around 2-3 zone setup. It looks like the Xantech 291-KIT (where the diagrams come from) can handle an additional zone. Have you folks worked with this stuff to move it further from the equipment than the supplied components will allow you to go (e.g., components more than 7' away from IR receiver, etc.).

Is there a site that has more information regarding home automation (topic that this really falls under I suppose) that you would recommend?

Michael.
 

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You guys seem to have a grip on this subject... I only a couple of points to add in.

1. A flasher is a type of Emitter. The flashers literally have a visual "flash" for visual confirmation that they are working.
2. The best trick to visually verify that a non-flashing emitter is working is to look at it using your camera phone ... the IR signature can be picked up by and represented visually on your phone's camera .... seriously!
3. Flash style emitters draw more power then non-flash emitters .... there for you can NOT splice as many together on one port as you can with non-flash styles (which is usually 3 per port on a powered connecting block)
4. Don't waste your time soldering emitters to cat5e .... HUGE waste of time and NOT a reliable way of making that connection for the long haul .... go buy yourself a bag of "dolphin connectors" that are used for telephone & A/v connections ... not only is it quicker, the connection more sturdy during wire flexing AND the internal jell of the Dolphin will keep the connection dry for years to come.
http://www.dolphincomponents.com/catalog-1.asp you can find these connectors easily online.
 
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