A remote control is any device that transfers signal from an operator to a device, controlled by it – an appliance, apparatus or set of devices – for various reasons, such as remoteness, hostile environment, inaccessibility, convenience or simply because the controlled device is in the air, under water or in space. The remote control consists of a transmitter, receiver and an actuator – mechanical or electronic.
Types of remotes
Remote controls can be classified by the type of connection between the managing and the managed device. The simplest type of connection is the mechanical one. Here, the operator controls by direct mechanical (physical) connection with the device. The next type of connection is via an electric cable. This type of connection is used for controlling mobile objects, laboratory and special equipment or industrial machines (e.g. hoist). One of the most common types of connection or communication is the radio connection. One of its advantages is that it is independent of the electro-transmission system.
Radio communication is used for controlling robots, military equipment, unmanned aircraft, switching on and off appliances which are not placed in the line of sight, as automated garage doors, lighting, some types of heating, radio-controlled models, toys, etc.
Spacecraft in orbit, such as satellites, telescopes and weapons systems can also be managed via radio signals. In household, the most common type of connection between a remote control and a device is an infrared signal beam. Infrared connection is used on a mass scale with consumer electronics such as TVs, Hi-Fi systems, keyboards, computer mice, headsets, etc.
Application of remote controls.
Remote controls are used in aviation and practically the whole control panel in the cockpit is connected with onboard actuators and equipment by electrical cables. Space research is unthinkable without the use of remote controls. The Soviet program from the late sixties and early seventies for exploring the lunar surface by radio-controlled lunar vehicles is entirely based on the use of remote controls set on Earth. For that purpose, the signal was emitted from telescopes with impressive dimensions. In computer games like Nintendo, Gamecube, XBox 360, PlayStation 3, wireless remote controls have long been standard. Cameras initially used wired connection, but gradually they started using radio signals or infrared beams. The synchronization between the flashlight and the opening of the camera aperture is done by a beam. This method is used with flashlights which are located separately from the camera and are not connected with it. When wild animals are studied, especially during the night and in remote and inaccessible areas, the so-called photo traps are set. The camera or the video-camera starts operating when an animal crosses a set infrared beam. When shooting contemporary movies, an operator crane is often used. In the end of the crane there is a mounted video-camera, which is controlled remotely. Recently, remote controls for switching indoor lights are becoming widely used.
In modern weapon systems, radio-controlled tanks, boats and planes are used to solve tactical tasks connected with reconnaissance and locating the enemy, as well as its destruction. Remote controls are used in railway, underground and water transport, industry and construction, power industry, laboratory equipment and in many other areas of life.
After everything listed so far, we are going to focus in particular on the remote controls of home electronics.
There is no modern home without at least a few remotes that are scattered everywhere in the rooms and are often difficult to find. The TV remote, which has become irrevocable, then the remote control for the DVD system and finally the remote for the air conditioning system – as if our whole house is controlled by remotes.
The complex thing is that each TV model and brand is managed by a different remote control. Even two models from one brand of Panasonic, Aiwa and Philips, have different remotes and one cannot be controlled with the remote control of another. For this reason there are a lot of stores, catalogs and classifications with various remotes, because often the original remote control can be damaged due to breakage or immersion in a liquid or simply be lost. Increasingly popular are the programmable remote controls, which are programmed through special computer software so as to serve all domestic remote controllable devices. Thus all remotes are integrated in one. Another type of remotes are the multipurpose remotes for all models of conditioners.
They can operate on hundreds of frequencies of different brands of conditioners. To adapt the remote to the respective air conditioning brand, you just need to point it to the device, run “auto search” and wait for the device to respond. Then save the setting and the air conditioner will work on the fixed frequency.