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<  General Toppy discussions  ~  Rejuvenating Remote Control Keys

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jumbo
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:25 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 11 Apr 2005 Posts: 4733
I thought I'd share my experience with this conducting silver paint (available from Maplin but cheaper on eBay) for repairing remote control keys.

With overuse, a couple of my (Harmony) remote control keys had become rather "unresponsive" which meant increasingly harder key presses were required. The reason for this is (often) a gradual erosion of the underside surface of the rubbery keys which forms a conductive layer. Having known about a remedy for a long time, I decided to give it a go. http://www.keypadrepair.com/ has brief and useful instructions on what to do. It is quite easy, cheap and works a treat Very Happy


Last edited by jumbo on Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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alan_m
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:24 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 17 Oct 2006 Posts: 3212 Location: Southchurch Village, Southend-on-Sea
jumbo wrote:
The reason for this is (often) a gradual errosion of the underside surface of the rubbery keys which forms a conductive layer.


The usual reason for unresponsive remote keys is not the erosion of the underside of the keys but 'greasy gundge' that get deposited between the rubber membrane and the circuit board.

A remedy that usually works is to dismantle the remote, wash the component parts in slightly warm soapy water and then rinse off with cold running water. Dry off with paper kitchen towels and then leave in a warm dry place for perhaps a day to dry thoroughly before reassembly.

During manufacture assembled electronic circuit boards are washed in water.

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jumbo
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:45 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 11 Apr 2005 Posts: 4733
An intermediate step in the application of the conducting silver paint is cleaning the surfaces.
Personally, I would NEVER consider the "washing" procedure as I am simply not confident about my own competence/judgement about the whole procedure which, if incorrectly done, would bugger the remote control unit for good - simply too risky for the average user. The printed circuit boards may well be washed in water by the manufacturer, but I doubt if the "fully assembled" parts are hand washed, using washing up liquid, in the kitchen sink, using slightly warm water and then dried using fluffy kitchen towel. That's how I would do it Shocked


Last edited by jumbo on Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rwg
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:56 pm Reply with quote
TAP author Joined: 29 Oct 2005 Posts: 601 Location: Oxfordshire
I had a similar problem with my Pronto (keys needed to be pressed harder and then stopped working). In this case I tracked it down to faulty tracks on the PCB (perhaps the PCB flexes slightly in response to the keys being pressed and this with time can break the tracks).

The solution was:

1) find out where the break was. This involved scratching off the lacquer coating above the track with a sharp multimeter probe (meter set on continuity) at various places. The idea is that it'll beep as soon as you are through the lacquer and onto the track, so you don't dig too deep.

2) once you have found your break, fix it by removing a little of the lacquer each side to expose the conductor and bridge the gap. Silver conductive paint would be great for this, but I didn't have any handy. Drawing over the area with a 6B pencil worked a treat though Wink


To be honest, I expect most remove problems where one/two keys become bad are going to be conductivity issues of one sort or the other (rather than faulty chips on the remote PCB). If you know a little basic electronics and are cautious, you should be able to fix them (provided that you can get into the case that is, what with the tendency to use torx screws these days).

Robin

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DavidM
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:01 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 11 Jul 2005 Posts: 186 Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
Same problem, simply solution, Harmony replacement from Ebay.
Have learnt to try and keep popular key definitions away from the rubbery keys round the screen and use the harder keys further down. I.E Enter has now become Exit, Exit being the most popular key.
Else, try moving the definitions around.

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ROWANMOOR
Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:15 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 740 Location: Redhill, Surrey
I would use electrical contact cleaner rather than water. Far easier - spray it on, dab off the excess and any reside evaporates in a couple of minutes. But then, I always have some lying about from car maintenance.

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Toppy: TF5800pvrt Remote: Harmony 885
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MikeyP
Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 17 Jan 2006 Posts: 4818
Personally I would be careful of using any cleaner as you can wash away the carbon layer off the underside of the buttons. It'll come away as a black sludge making you think you are cleaning rubbish off it.

As for my job goes, you do get a lot of electrical faults on remotes which can be fixed, but if a customer comes in with a remote with poor dodgy buttons as described earlier in the thread, he has a choice:
Buy a new remote off me or walk away.
It's just not a reliable long term answer whereas a new remote is in my view

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ROWANMOOR
Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:49 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 740 Location: Redhill, Surrey
MikeyP wrote:
Personally I would be careful of using any cleaner as you can wash away the carbon layer off the underside of the buttons. It'll come away as a black sludge making you think you are cleaning rubbish off it.

Good warning.

At which point you would need the conductive paint. Some car places (perhaps even halfrauds) sell it to fix rear screen demisters too. Probably a lot more expensive than ebay though.

With the contact cleaner you shouldn't need to rub it or anything - that probably will take the coating off as you say. Just spray liberally and let it drip off (dab if needed) and evaporate. Would be worth having the conductive paint available as a backup just in case.

I need to do our house phone soon, so I will have to see how the carbon layer copes with the cleaner. Our old phone did this and it was because the carbon had all worn off - i.e. there was no coating left to clean anyway. I didn't bother to fix it as the phone was about 10 years old and had an aerial that hit the ceiling if you stood up, but I took it apart afterwards to see (does that make me sound sad? Embarassed ).

Another possible drawback is how well the paint sticks to the rubber long term. It is designed to stick to glass or circuit boards so may not like rubber so much. There is only one way to find out though.

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Cheers,
Rowan.


Toppy: TF5800pvrt Remote: Harmony 885
F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -EpVr+CbCfCtDDsEgEmEvEzFpFsHsIMPePfPsScUUaUuUyVbVcVdWfZ
TAPs: SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; TAP Commander 1.34; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MHEG Control B2.1; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.4; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyInfo B5.5;
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jumbo
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 11 Apr 2005 Posts: 4733
ROWANMOOR wrote:
Some car places (perhaps even halfrauds) sell it to fix rear screen demisters too. Probably a lot more expensive than ebay though.
The stuff used for repairing rear screen demisters is different to that used in electronics. Don't use it!
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MikeyP
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:41 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 17 Jan 2006 Posts: 4818
the stuff sold to fix heated screens is just silver loaded paint AFAIK

the silver content gives them the license to sell it for lots of

I don't use silver paint in any application. It smacks of a bodge job to me Laughing Wink

I am puzzled what this stuff
Quote:
used in electronics
is you mention - it's just silver loaded paint again surely?

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rodneyfoy
Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:01 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 02 Apr 2005 Posts: 65
Years ago, I stuck aluminium foil onto the back of our TV remote's keys with 2-sided sticky plastic, and I think they're mostly still working!

The Toppy means we don't need to use most of the keys anymore, so I'll need to check it out later. The mute key certainly works.

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rodneyfoy
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:48 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 02 Apr 2005 Posts: 65
I tried it last night, and the remote still works properly. We had used it continuously for years before the Toppy era, with the keys repaired with foil.

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ROWANMOOR
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 740 Location: Redhill, Surrey
jumbo wrote:
The stuff used for repairing rear screen demisters is different to that used in electronics. Don't use it!

In what way different?

The same bottle of stuff from your ebay link is also sold by other sellers on ebay to both fix demisters and for electronics/DIY applications (advertised as suitable for both in the listing).

Some versions may well use different solvents which could be harmful so certain materials of course.

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Cheers,
Rowan.


Toppy: TF5800pvrt Remote: Harmony 885
F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -EpVr+CbCfCtDDsEgEmEvEzFpFsHsIMPePfPsScUUaUuUyVbVcVdWfZ
TAPs: SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; TAP Commander 1.34; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MHEG Control B2.1; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.4; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyInfo B5.5;
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ROWANMOOR
Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:24 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 740 Location: Redhill, Surrey
rodneyfoy wrote:
Years ago, I stuck aluminium foil onto the back of our TV remote's keys with 2-sided sticky plastic, and I think they're mostly still working!

Interesting improvised fix.

I would worry that the edges would unstick a bit and fall down making the key stick on, but I guess it depends how good a job you do. And if you do it once and it doesn't work you can always try something different the next time.

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Cheers,
Rowan.


Toppy: TF5800pvrt Remote: Harmony 885
F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -EpVr+CbCfCtDDsEgEmEvEzFpFsHsIMPePfPsScUUaUuUyVbVcVdWfZ
TAPs: SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; TAP Commander 1.34; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MHEG Control B2.1; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.4; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyInfo B5.5;
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