Teardown Tuesday: TV Remotes!

July 05, 2016 by Alex Udanis

TV remotes have been around for nearly 50 years. In this Teardown Tuesday, we are going to take a look at the insides of a few remotes!

TV remotes have been around for nearly 50 years. Today most TV remotes use IR emitters to transmit data. This method of data transmission was pioneered in the 1980s by Viewstar.

In this Teardown Tuesday, we are going to take a look at the insides of some remotes! 


IR and 2.4ghz tv remotes

An IR and 2.4GHz TV remote


In this teardown, we are going to take a look at the insides of four TV remotes: two general universal TV remotes, an LG AKB74475401 TV remote, and an Amazon Fire TV 2.4GHz remote.


Circuit Boards

Traditional IR TV Remotes


TV Remote PCB's

The PCBs found in traditional TV remotes


The circuit boards inside of the traditional TV remotes are fairly basic. They are single-sided boards with green solder mask. All three of the PCBs have white silkscreen on the non-copper side. The genuine LG remote control also has white silkscreen on the copper side. The traces on these circuit boards are relatively wide at around 25 mils (0.635mm).


Amazon Fire TV Remote


Amazon Remote PCB

The PCB inside of the Amazon Fire TV remote


The PCB in the Amazon remote is a bit more complex. The PCB is a two-layer PCB with blue solder mask and white silkscreen on both sides. Nearly all of the components are surface mount and are located on one side of the PCB. This board contains many small surface mount components, small traces, and vias— a big departure from the other remotes! 



Traditional IR TV Remotes


The IR Remote SOC

The 16-pin SOC in an IR TV remote


The three traditional TV remotes use a single chip SOC that contains a built-in oscillator, a transistor for the IR LED, and a microprocessor. All three of these chips are in a 16-SOP package.

The genuine LG remote uses an ADAM27P16 manufactured by ABOV Semiconductor. The generic remotes use a “6W008-01C” SOC and an “AD009-01T” SOC.


Amazon Fire Stick Remote


amazon fire remote soc bluetooth

The Broadcom SOC in the Amazon Fire TV remote


The Amazon remote uses a Broadcom BCM20730 SOC. This SOC contains a Bluetooth 3.0 transceiver and an ARM cortex-M3 core. This SOC is intended for low power applications such as keyboards, mice, and remote controls.



Traditional IR TV Remotes


IR LEDs 808nm

The 808nm IR LEDs


Tradition TV remotes use IR LED to transmit data. The three traditional remotes featured in this article use T-1 ¾ sized 808nm LEDs.


Amazon Fire TV Remote


Bluetooth SOC and Trace antenna

The Bluetooth SOC and trace antenna


Some TV remotes, such as those used in smart TVs and the Amazon Fire TV, use an RF transmitter/transceiver to broadcast data. The Amazon remote relies on a Bluetooth connection and transmits the data out of a trace antenna.


Power Supply


Capacitors in the TV Remotes

Capacitors in the remotes


These remotes don’t have discrete voltage regulators. The SOCs used in these remotes have a wide voltage input range. In all four of these remotes, there is a capacitor, 47uF to 100uF, connected in parallel with the battery to smooth the voltage.


Turning it Off


Remote Control Teardown

TV remote parts!


As you can see from this teardown, ‘traditional’ TV remotes are fairly simple devices. With remote controls becoming more complicated and more data being transmitted from the remote control, a more robust data link is needed. Bluetooth, WiFi, and proprietary RF links are becoming a growing choice for data transmission in remote controls.

Thanks for checking out this Teardown Tuesday! Stop by next week for another teardown!

Next Teardown: