Troubleshooting an IR remote control
September 08, 2022
The other day, my Sonos Playbase speaker stopped responding to the volume control buttons on my Apple TV Siri Remote Control. Here’s how I eventually resolved the problem.
The source of the issue proved difficult to diagnose because infrared is (of course) invisible light. I couldn’t determine if the Sonos was no longer seeing infrared signals, or if the remote was no longer sending them.
- I quickly determined that I hadn’t added any new nearby electronics or LED light bulbs that might be interfering with IR signals. A lesson I learned from a confounding situation several years ago.
- Using the Sonos app, I temporarily re-programmed the Playbase to respond to a TV remote it had not been previously trained on. When I was able to successfully do so, this established that the Playbase’s IR receiver was working.
- The Apple TV remote was still able to control the Apple TV, but that uses an RF connection, not IR. (Sadly, the Playbase is IR-only.) But this confirmed that the remote’s battery wasn’t dead. I recharged it anyway, under the theory that perhaps the light emitter had grown too dim. This didn’t resolve the problem.
- The next step was to reboot the remote. Yes, that’s a thing. After doing so, the problem was resolved. Yay!
If you have a remote control that suddenly and inexplicably stops working, I hope these steps will help you in solving the problem.