Wow. I'm impressed.
I just learned that you can check your remote controls IR output
using a digital camera.
You just point your remote control at the digital camera such as a
standard webcam or a standard cell phone camera and push the button.
It shows up on mine as a white light like an led light when looking
at the image on my viewer screen, yet when I point the remote at my
eyeball, I see nothing.
Other than maybe needing to windex the fingerprints and cigarette smoke
off the little eye on the front, the failure rate of the TV end of the
remote system is close to zero. And if the remote just went flying, the
odds of the TV end failing at that exact same time are too low to even
One thing I *have* used this for: determining what a film P&S camera is
focusing on. I have a Yashica T4 which has passive IR autofocus, and
it's described as "multi beam". If I aim the camera at a piece of white
paper that fills the field of view and press the shutter release, a beam
of IR light from the camera illuminates several places on the paper -
but I can't see the beam myself. A little B&W security video camera
aimed at the same paper shows clearly just where the IR beams are
hitting the paper.
Looking at the video output on a monitor, I can draw lines on the paper
that show the boundaries of where the IR focus beams hit. Then when I
look at those marks in the camera viewfinder, I can see where the
autofocus spots are relative to the viewfinder markings.
(It should *also* work to simply have the video camera look through the
camera viewfinder, and observe the IR directly. But I didn't try
Unfortunately, digital P&S camera mostly use the slower but cheaper
contrast-detection autofocus instead of IR autofocus.
re: To make sure a problem remote is working?
Just because I see a bright spot on my cell phone doesn't mean the
remote is "working". It may be transmitting, but it may not be
changing my channels. I'd know it was transmitting, but I wouldn't
know if it was coded correctly for the device or even sending out the
correct codes if it was.
So, while this test could indeed tell me if the batteries and/or
remote itself was dead, it wouldn't really tell me if it was
For now, I'll consider it a parlor trick, something to share with the
kids, which I did.
And how would the codes get changed on an original remote for said
device? Chances are, if you can see the IR light through the camera
lens, and your TV (or whatever device) isn't working, the device is
bad. (IMO) Nothing wrong with learning something new, what a killjoy.
The camera, whether film or electronic will see the light in an image
differently than the human eye. Even different films and different
electronic imaging chips will see the light spectrum differently which is a
result of the different material that goes into making them. An electronic
camera can "see" the IR energy and records or displays the IR image on the
monitor or preview screen, where this IR part of the spectrum is beyond
human vision. Sometimes the eye can see things that film or electronic chips
cannot see. An example is older black and white film that could not see red,
which is why red lights were used in darkrooms, and why Hollywood used brown
or dark gray lipstick on women so that lips would not appear very pale in
the finished product.
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