How to Fix the Remote Sensor on the TV
By Marshal M. Rosenthal
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
Flat-edged jeweler's screwdriver
Nearly all TVs today have a remote control sensor located on its front. The remote sensor receives commands transmitted by a standard remote control’s infrared (IR) signal, then obeys whatever command has been sent. A remote sensor that can no longer register the IR signal from the remote control is not necessarily defective, as there are a number of things that can cause it to not see the IR signal. You can fix a remote sensor that is not registering the IR signal using a few common household items. Doing so will not void the TV's warranty in any way.
Basic Troubleshooting Without Tools
Examine the front of your remote control to ensure it uses IR and not another technology like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It looks like a small lightbulb on the remote's front edge. Smartphones and some smart remote controls don't use IR technology. Ensure you have the right remote control for the TV. Unless you have a universal remote that has worked with the same TV in the past, use the remote that came with it. The TV manufacturer name should be on the remote.
Hold the remote about four feet from the TV and press the Power button. If this doesn't turn the TV on, point it at each corner of the screen and at the base. Weak batteries can affect the signal strength.
Open the battery compartment of the remote control. Insert fresh batteries into the battery compartment. Aim the remote control at the remote at the TV and press the Power button. The remote sensor will now respond, if the batteries powering the remote control were too weak.
Turn off the TV. Plug a headphone mini-plug into the remote control output jack that is on the back of some TV models. Turn on the TV. Pull the headphone mini-plug out of the jack to clear a limiter that causes the remote sensor to be deactivated.
Locate the TV's IR sensor. If you can't find it, refer to the user manual. Blow off the remote sensor with compressed air to remove any dirt from on it. Moisten a cotton swab in distilled alcohol. Wipe the cotton swab around the remote sensor. Moisten a lint-free cloth with distilled alcohol. Gently rub the lint free cloth over the front of the remote sensor.
Removing and Cleaning the Sensor
Turn off the TV. Use the flat-edged jeweler’s screwdriver to remove the grill from the front of the TV. Carefully insert the tip of a flat-edged jeweler’s screwdriver into the seam between the remote sensor and the TV that is now revealed. Wiggle the tip to loosen the remote sensor from the TV.
Pull the remote sensor out of the TV using a firm but gentle motion. Unplug the remote sensor’s connector from the TV’s connection port. Dip a cotton swab in distilled alcohol. Rub the end of the remote sensor’s connector with the cotton swab. Rub the end of the connection port inside of the TV with the cotton swab.
Blow out the connection port inside of the TV with compressed air. Insert the remote sensor’s connector back into the connection port inside the TV. Push the remote sensor into the TV until it clicks back in position. Put the grill back on.
You can use a flashlight to help you see the placement of the remote sensor.
Don't damage the remote sensor or you will have to replace it with a new one.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."