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Mini Remote Control for 3 AUD

Today we literally bumped into this extremely cheap mini remote control at Reject Shop in Parramatta Westfield. The RC costs just 3 Australian dollars and it includes CR 2032 button cell battery. Even without the battery it would’ve been too cheap so this offer looked to us very suspicious. That is why we bought two of them to put under test. This is what the RC looks like:

Mini Remote Control for just 3 AUD

Mini Remote Control from Reject Shop for just 3 AUD

Our MVFD Panel was used to test the RC, this is how the test setup looks like:

Mini Remote Control Test Setup

Mini Remote Control Test Setup

MVFD panel can handle packets encoded in either NEC, SONY, RC5 or RC6 IR standards. And on top of that, if it detects something vaguely similar to IR data rather than just some random noise, it displays ‘Unknown’ encoding. So when using a generic RC that operates in NEC standard the receiving packets are recognised as ‘NEC’. One button press generates one packet as it is shown on the video below.

However, it immediately turned out that it is not the case for the Mini RC. It uses neither of the abovementioned standards, it speaks some dialect of NEC with terrible accent. First packet seems to be in NEC standard but after it one or two more are sent in unknown encoding. And what is even worse, the result varies from one button press to another as it is shown on the video below.

The conclusion that came out of this test. The RC is generally functional so it is not complete waste of money. However, 2 buttons out of seven are fake (‘TV’ and ‘LED’) so obviously you can’t switch on and off any TV. Five remaining buttons send a bunch of codes in one go using several standards for reasons unknown. Also in our tests we were receiving different codes after pushing the same button so in this sense it was behaving rather unreliable. And finally, there are some doubts that the battery is going to last for a reasonable time. Two simple facts speak in support of that because a) battery is not installed in RC when you buy it and b) the LED flashes every time when any button is pressed. All in all, it is not a brick and does some useful things but in our view it is not worth even 3 dollars, sorry. The general rule is still in place – very cheap things work cheap.