Repair Story – Remote Control

A repair story from our volunteer repairer Keith. In this story he saves himself £20 and a lot of frustration by repairing his remote control. A bit of lemon juice and alcohol and it was back in use!

The remote control for my Set top box had started to become intermittent and unresponsive. There was a tell-tale sign of poor internal connection as the red light did not always illuminate when the buttons were pressed.

A common problem with remote controls and other items is leaking old batteries causing corrosion to the battery connections.

Following a YouTube video I was able to dismantle the remote control: 

Unfortunately, this process involved prying it with a screwdriver, which caused some minor damage to the plastic. 

Always use a plastic tool if possible. If you need to use a metal tool, always consider where it might go if it slipped. Avoid the temptation to hold the item between your legs and push towards them.

Once dismantled, I discovered the signs of a leaking battery, typically a white powdery deposit on the connections.

Fortunately, this can be easily cleaned with a two-step process:

  1. Use a mild acid, in my case I used Lemon Juice from the kitchen, applied with a cotton bud
  2. Isopropyl alcohol to clean off the acid. This is much better than water.
Highly volatile solvents, like isopropyl alcohol should be used in well ventilated areas away from any source of ignition

Once cleaned the corrosion was mostly removed, the important area is the connection to the battery.

Whilst I had it in pieces I also cleaned the points on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) where the rubber button press and the contact point on the buttons themselves with the Isopropyl alcohol. 

The final step was to re-assemble it and it worked like new. Saving me £20 for the replacement. 

Remember: you take responsibility for your own gadget. Please consider attending an upcoming event or donating to support our work.