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.
- The Equipment
- Installation and Hook-up
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.
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:
- Niles MS220 – Miniature Surface Mount
- Niles WS120R – Wall Mount
- Niles CS120 – Ceiling Mount
- Niles MS120 – Speaker Flush-mount
- Niles TS120 – Table Top
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:
- Niles MSU 140 – 1 sensor input, 4 flasher outputs
- Niles MSU 250 – 2 sensor input, 5 flasher outputs
- Niles MSU 480 – 4 sensor inputs, 8 flasher outputs
- Niles MSU 440Z – 4 zoned sensors, 8 flasher outputs
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:
- Niles MF1 – Single MicroFlasher
- Niles MF1VF – Single MicroFlasher with Visible response
- Niles MF2 – Dual MicroFlasher
- Niles MF2VF – Dual MicroFlasher with Visible response
- Niles IRB1 – High-Output IR Flooder
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 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 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.
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 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.
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