How to Setup an Infrared Repeater / Extender System

Using an infrared (IR) extender system can allow you to operate your entire audio/video system while hiding your equipment. You can conceal the equipment in a closed cabinet, possibly in a media room or even in any other part of the house. This article will outline the necessary equipment and the simple steps it takes to install an IR extender system.

Article Contents:

The Equipment

There are three main components necessary to have a complete infrared extender system. The three components are hard wired together using cat-5 wire. Having a hard wired infrared system will ensure you have trouble free transmission of commands and will let you enjoy your equipment without it being seen.

Infrared Sensor

What does it do?

The infrared sensor will accept the IR commands from a remote and send it back to the main system hub.

Types of Sensors

There are many different types of IR sensors. The type that is right for you will greatly depend on your application. Sensors are available as a Wall Mount Sensor, a Ceiling Mount Sensor, even a Surface-mount Sensor that can be mounted on the face of a TV. For complete invisibility, there are even Speaker Flush-mount Sensors that can be hidden behind a speaker grill. As a side note, all of the IR Sensors are plasma friendly, meaning that the IR noise created by a plasma TV will not interfere with these sensors. Below are a few of the model numbers of the types described above:

Infrared Main System Unit

What does it do?

The main purpose of the Main System Unit (MSU) is to receive infrared commands from the IR sensor, and then translate and distribute that information to the IR flashers.

Types of MSUs

The number of components you are trying to control and how many IR sensors you want to use will determine the type of MSU your system requires. The most basic MSU will accept only one input from an IR sensor and output that into four IR flashers. Depending on your application you can actually have up to four IR sensor inputs and eight IR flasher outputs. Some of the more advanced MSUs will even allow you to break the sensors and flashers into different zones. This feature allows you control specific components designated to that particular zone. Below are a few different MSU models:

Infrared Flashers

What does it do?

The infrared flashers are designed to take the IR command from the Main System Unit and transmit it to the equipment. They are in essence “the voice” of the IR system. The IR flashers “speak” to the components by transmitting the IR signal through a specially designed flasher that is to be positioned over the IR eye of the components you are controlling.

Types of Flashers

Flashers are available for all possible applications. Single component flashers as well as dual component flashers are the most common. The single flashers are also available with a visual led light that will indicate that the flasher is transmitting the IR signal. There are also flashers that are available that can control a great number of components at one time, these are called High-Output IR Flooders. These are mounted on the front of a cabinet door or shelf and are aimed towards a number of components “flooding” the area with IR commands. Below is a list of the different IR Flashers:

Remote Control Anywhere Kits

What does it do?

A Remote Control Anywhere Kit (RCA) is a pre-packaged kit that includes all the components that are listed above. These kits include all necessary pieces and parts to make a complete system.

Types of RCA Kits

We offer two different types RCA Kits. The included equipment is listed below:


  • One TS120 Tabletop Sensor
  • One MSU140 IR Main System Unit
  • Three MF1 Flashers
  • 50′ Of Category 5 Wire Included
  • Easy-to-follow Installation Guide


  • One MS220 (Black) sensor
  • One MSU250 IR main system unit
  • Five MF1VF MicroFlashers®
  • 50′ of category 5 wire included
  • Easy-to-follow installation guide

The Installation and Hook-up

The beauty of this equipment is that there is only one way to hook everything together. One big recommendation would be to locate the Main System Unit near the equipment that you are wanting to control.

The First Step – Locating the Sensor

The first thing that must be done is to decide what type of IR Sensor is to be need and where it is to be located. The location should be the spot that you want to point your remote, whether that is on your Television or flush mounted in a wall or cabinet.

Once the location and type of sensor is determined you will need to figure whether or not the wire supplied on the sensor will be long enough to reach back to the Main System Unit. If not, then Category 5 cable is necessary. The Cat-5 cable is then to be ran from the location of the sensor back to the Main System Unit. Your first step is complete.

The Second Step – Wiring the Sensor

Wiring the Sensor into the Main System Unit is pretty self explanatory if you follow the directions. You will have four wires coming from the Sensor (if you had to use Cat-5 you will have 8, you just need to use 4 of them however) that need to be connected into the four wire connector at the Main System Unit input section. Step two is complete.

The Third Step – Wiring the Flashers

The final piece of the IR System is the IR Flasher. These items run from the Main System Unit to each individual item. The Flasher comes with a double sided sticky tape that is to mount the Flasher over the IR Eye on the equipment. On the other end of the Flasher is a 1/8 mini connector that plugs right into the Flasher Output section on the Main System Unit.

So now that you have the Sensor where you want it, have it wired to the Main System Unit, and the flashers plugged in and stuck to the front of the equipment, you are done. You can now enjoy your entertainment system without having to see any of the equipment except the TV.

Comments & Questions

We make every effort to check and reply to messages, but cannot guarantee a response.
For immediate assistance or for sales questions, please call us at 1-866-224-6171.

89 comments on “How to Setup an Infrared Repeater / Extender System

  1. Jim LaFlamme on said:

    I want to install a system with more than four zones or remote sensors. I only need to operate video in four zones, and operate audio only in 1. I also want to use 3 iPod cradles in different parts of the house. I am looking at the Niles systems you have, and see a max of 4 remote sensor zones in one unit. Can I install 2 Main System Units to operate the same gear, or is there a larger unit I could get? Also, where I want to control audio only, would it be possible to put 2 remote sensors on one line – ie wire them in parallel?

  2. I would like to wire up my home entertainment system to work from several rooms. I know that a multi-room hub and multiple IR receivers would do the trick, but if the IR receivers are low voltage, is it possible to splice multiple IR receivers together and run them into a single room system?

  3. I am looking to setup (and determine the feasibility of) a central media room. My expectation is to have 3 cable boxes, 3 media PCs (music, videos, etc), and 2 work PCs (MS Office, email, programming, etc.) connected to an 8×8 HDMI matrix which in turn feeds LCD monitors in rooms throughout the house. A user in any room would then be able to connect to any source, simultaneously, or independently. One of the problems I have discovered is how to isolate an IR signal (repeated from the viewing room to the media room) to a specific cable and not all since they all use the same remote. In other words, how can I change the channel on cable box A and not effect cable box B or C? Remember, I would be able to switch the a/v signals to any of the three boxes from any room, so the IR signal needs to switch as well. Any ideas? Thanks.

  4. I have a flat panel LCD TV mounted above my fire place. There is an opening hidden behind the TV where I can put a cable box. The opening has an electrical outlet and a cable TV wire in it. Is there a way to run a wire from the cable box IR sensor (behind the TV) to the front edge of the TV (8-10 inches away) so that I can use the cable remote control? Or, will I need to use the IR to RF to IR system to cover this short distance? Thanks for any help you can give me.

  5. Dennis Will on said:

    I have two different applications that I need solutions for:

    1. I have a Harmon Kardon AV 254 receiver (it has an IR input on the back panel) in a closet and simply need to be able to get the IR signal to the unit. Is it as simply as getting a sensor, such as the M200, plugging it into the back go ther receiver, and running it through the wall where it can be reached by the IR remote?

    2. Similar situation with my satellite TV box (in a totally different room). It’s a DirecTV model H20 bos. It’s on the other side fo the wall of where the signal will be coming from and I need to get the IR signal to the front of the box. It does not have an IR input.

  6. C. Franklin on said:

    I am setting up to control a plasma TV, CD player, and audio receiver installed in a cabinet. I have hooked up an IR sensor too, with flashers installed on the TV set top box, receiver and CD player. I am able to control the TV and CD with the sensor system with the door closed, but cannot control any functions of the receiver. It can, however, be controlled by the remote with the door open. Any suggestions?

  7. Joel Kirschner on said:

    I need help. I have a plasma TV hung on the wall. The wiring was done beforehand and can’t add wires in wall. Cable box is in the room, but every time the channel needs to be changed I have to reach over the couch to focus on remote control box. I need a system that is idiot-proof, with explicit directions. Direct email to my email address would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Robert Bedwell on said:

    What do you recommend to use with Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300 HDC DVR?

  9. Kurt K. on said:

    I have a Scientific Atlanta Explorer Cable box. I am using the MS210 and micro flashers and can control my Denon receiver and DVD just fine but the Scientific Atlanta cable box may work 1 out of 10 tries. I have switched with a flasher on one of the working devices and dialed to every setting between low and high but still get poor results. Any advice on what to try?

  10. I wall mounted my 52 inch LCD above my fireplace. I mounted my cable box one floor below in my basement. I want to hook up an IR sensor so my TV will look clean above the mantle. I have not found an IR system that has more than 8ft. of wire. I need at least 16-20ft to reach from the TV to the cable box below. Any suggestions or systems you have that can accommodate this? Thanks.

  11. Cookie B on said:

    I am wiring a new house. I’m planning on putting the components into a closet with IR sensors near the TV. If I want to be able to control 5 separate devices (DVD, TV, etc.) how may Cat5 wires do I need to run? I understand that one sensor needs 4 of the 8 wires. However, in reading some of the replies it looks like you can somehow use multiple remotes with only one sensor and multiple flashers. I’m confused, but right now, I simply need to know how many Cat5 wires to run from the TV location back to the closet.

  12. Does anyone know if I can use two IR extenders (RF) together to increase the range? The TV is too far from PVR for a single setup. Thanks.

  13. Do you know of a way to control a Bose Lifestyle 38 system (it uses a RF Remote) using an IR remote? All of my other equipment uses IR and the I just leave the Bose on all the time instead of using their remote.

  14. Hey I’m looking to just move a single component down 6 feet and tucked away, is there a cable that is a sensor on one end and a flasher on the other? so it basically grabs the IR and sends it down the cable? Or would I have to get a MSU in the mix?

  15. Mark Gardner on said:

    Is it possible to use two different MS210 sensors wired in parallel connected to a single input on a Niles MSU250? I want to use a total of three sensors for the same cable box and already have a MSU250 with two sensors. I want to add another sensor without having to replace the MSU250.

  16. Electronics Guru on said:


    One of my custom installers suggests using a Niles IR sensor expansion hub:

    That will offer greater flexibility and organization.

  17. I think I got it – application: One TV and one DVR – want to hide the DVR behind the TV. I need one each (1) infrared sensor, (1) infrared flasher and a (1 ) infrared main system unit? All I need are part numbers.

  18. Electronics Guru on said:

    Jim (67):

    Thanks for your question. Please call 1-866-224-6171 to get the best service and best prices. Our custom installers can make the best suggestions based on your particular setup and components.

  19. Marie Sinacore on said:

    I have an HD cable box and an HDTV. I cannot connect the box to the TV since my kitchen table is under the TV and the box would interfere with dinner. Is there a way that I can connect the cable box to a remote unit that will not need wires going to the TV.


  20. Electronics Guru on said:

    Marie Sinacore:

    At this time HD connections require cables, either component video or HDMI. But lucky for you we offer many custom installation options that will provide easy fixes for your problem. To make sure you get the best and fastest service, please call us at 1-866-224-6171. We will determine the best way to setup your system and can get any needed supplies out to you within days. We can even arrange for a technician to come to your home and set it up for you!

    Call 1-866-224-6171 now to get your system hooked up without interfering with dinner.

  21. I have 2 components (Comcast Motorola cable box and Sony receiver) located in a closet about 10’ feet away from my TV in my living room. I have CAT-5 wired from a sensor (MSU100) in the living room to a Niles MSU480 in the closet. I have flashers (MF2VF) on both devices that are wired back to the MSU480. When I use my Comcast remote in the living room, the flashers and hub (MSU480) flash but nothing happens. No volume control, channel guide, nothing. Any idea why?

  22. Electronics Guru on said:


    For the best service please call our customer service reps at 1-866-224-6171. We have custom installers familiar with Niles products that can provide solutions to your problems. You should ask to with Frank, David or Tim.

  23. Hello,

    I have a quick question. If I need to control my cable box and a DVD player from one room, would this be sufficient:

    1 wall mount IR sensor
    1 sensor input and 4 flasher outputs
    2 single flashers

    Is that correct?


  24. Electronics Guru on said:

    Eddie (73):

    For the best level of service regarding custom setups, please call our technicians toll-free at 1-866-224-6171. They can provide the best deals and personalized service.

  25. I just purchased a plasma tv and want to mount it on the wall and have a dvd player, vcr, and a wii in the other room behind the wall. Do I have to run each piece of equipments cable to the tv, or is there something to hook up each component to and then just run that to the tv? I know that I need to get an ir repeater to control them, I just want the cleanest, easiest way to set the tv up with no cords or wires showing. Thank you, Ben

  26. Electronics Guru on said:

    Ben (75):

    You have many options. To get the best service, please call 1-866-224-6171. Our custom install guys will walk you through the options depending on what you need and want.

    You’re on the right track, because hiding IR control systems is the way to go. The big question will be what you want to put behind the wall to integrate your components. Before you call think about a budget and what you might want/need in the future. That way our guys can get you up and running now but in a way that makes future upgrades easy and less expensive.

  27. dave mazur on said:

    One of the IR sensors in my system is no longer working. I am surprised at the price differences for sensors as I look on the internet (ranging from $22 to $129?

    They look the same, what am I missing?

  28. WE are doing an addition on our house and I have heard and read that I can hide the cable boxes, DVR etc.. for multiple tv’s in the basement and run wires throughout the house so that I can control the devices remotely. What type of wire should I have the electricians run and what is the best type of setup so that I can have seemless control to each tv?


  29. Electronics Guru on said:


    Yes, you can wire your entire house and have your main components hidden out of sight. We offer whole-house custom installation services, from basic advice to in-home setup and training. We also have access to a wide range of products including remotes, speakers, wiring, etc.

    Without having the specifics of your home and the connected devices, it’s hard to make recommendations. So please call 1-866-224-6171 and talk with one of our custom installation experts. They have designed and installed many whole-house systems and can get you what you need.

  30. Electronics Guru on said:

    Dave Mazure (77):

    Have you seen these sensors in person or just online? Many of the actual sensors are the same, but it’s the hardware that’s included or excluded that changes the price. For example, a single sensor is cheap, but if it includes the wiring and a control module the price will be much higher. The problem is that a lot of the times the picture used is of a single sensor, not of the entire package.

    Another possibility is that there are different technologies being implemented and different brands being advertised. While they may look very similar on the outside, the actual guts of the devices can be very different, as can the number of sensors included.

    Please call 1-866-224-6171 and talk with our custom install guys — they can help sort out what you need and answer questions.

  31. Hi I am working on a house that someone installed the Niles msu 140 and I am trying to figure out why when the Niles is on it automatically turns off the tv
    The owner has a Mitsubishi tv, please help

  32. Eelctronics Guru on said:


    There should also be 2 other components to complete the IR system. There needs to be a IR Sensor and IR Flasher. What are the other components in the house?

  33. I have just purchased a RCA-SM2. The installation went fine but the operation is dissapointing. The remote needs to be perpendicular to the sensor for it to get a good signal. If I am more that 15 degrees off that the sensor flashes a dim blue light and it does not work. HELP?

  34. Eelctronics Guru on said:


    I would suggest 2 things to try. Replace the batteries in the remote. They maybe weak and the remote is giving out a bad IR signal. If that doesn’t help try moving the sensor to a different location to see if something is interfering with the reception.

  35. Setting up the Niles 250 and need a little guidance. I am setting up everything in a storage room and need to run the cat 5. What colors are matching from the cat 5 to the sensor? Any suggestions to best join these?

  36. Eelctronics Guru on said:


    You can use any 2pr. of the Cat 5 wire. The colors are not going to match the color of the Niles sensor wires.

  37. Dianne Cris Becker on said:

    Nice. This one is really great post and the information is plot in a way that every one can understand the content in an instant. I can do the same thing on my end and thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful information.

  38. Oscar Plater on said:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  39. Leslie on said:

    Amazing post, honest!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.