How to Check if a Remote Control is Transmitting an Infrared Signal

Many households have 5 or 6 remote controls laying around the house.  Sometimes, it stops working and you don't know what happened. Most remote controls use infrared light to transmit the signal.  The human eye cannot see this light, however a camera can.  This article will explain how to detect whether or not your remote is still giving a signal.


Gather up all the remote controls that you think are not working and a digital camera or cell phone with a camera.

Turn the digital camera on, all you need to do is look at is the digital screen while performing the process.

No need for turning off all the lights (but may be helpful in seeing the IR signal).

Point the remote towards the lens of the camera as you would when pointing the remote towards the TV.

Press and hold any button on the remote while viewing the screen on the camera.

Note: some buttons may not transmit signals via default. Best button to try first is the power button.

While holding the button on the remote and viewing the digital camera screen if you see a blueish light, that means the infrared signal is working properly, there is a problem with the direct connection (if it’s a universal remote, try setting it up, if its not, you’re probably not pointing it correctly).


  • This also may help you detect infrared security cameras and AIR (Active Infrared) alarm sensor. However, this will not work on a passive infrared detector,the cheapest and most often used type.
  • If everything you’ve done has failed, consult the Related wikiHow section.
  • Try a Universal Remote Control.


  • This will not help to repair it if the remote is broken, this is only how to do a diagnosis.

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