Repurpose a vintage remote control

A project log for Silly hardware wishlist

Too simple for a project page & which may never happen.

lion mclionheadlion mclionhead 04/10/2021 at 23:241 Comment

The lion kingdom's beloved 20 year old remote control has become quite packed with new functions, though it's still not as functional as it was controlling its original HTR-5230.

Helas, it's 1 of a kind.  It may never die, but if it goes, it could be replaced by the cheapest multifunction remote.

But the lion kingdom has been intrigued by vintage remote controls from the peak of consumer electronic history, the 1980's.  After much research, the ultimate remote control was the Mitsubishi VS-457R remote control.

Helas, there is no VS-457R remote documented on the internet.  There are only photos of a VS-405R which came 1 year later.  These ebay photos still show exactly what the lion kingdom remembers about the 457: the giant LED bar on top, the rectangular status LED, the VCR/TV switch, the engraved volume buttons, the thin form factor with bend on the bottom, the AAA battery compartment, the metal plate with peel off cover.  Don't forget the "expand" button, which delayed 1 of the speakers to simulate stereo.  Then, there was the separate audio program button.  Is gootube ever going to have a separate audio program or fake stereo?

It has the strange table on the back with "hyper" channels.  Never did figure out what it was for.  It may look very primitive by today's standards, but to a 10 year old lion long ago, it was living in the future.  For someone who dropped $3000 into Japan's economy for a TV, Japan would provide only the most luxurious remote control.  Of course, the only VCR which it controlled in VCR mode was Mitsubishi's top of the line HS-421UR, $900 in those days.

Although lions were told it was 8 heads, the internet only shows a 4 head.  It also didn't last as long as cheaper VCR's.  The TV remote actually replicated very little of the VCR's remote.  You still needed the VCR remote to do any on screen programming, slow motion, frame advance.  It was a complete waste of money just to have 8 more buttons work on the TV remote.  A smarter lion could have hacked any VCR to accept the Mitsubishi codes.

Between the 2 remotes & the front panel, we had 3 copies of the play button, but there were even more on the front panel.

An older lion just sees a high pass filter where it says "picture" & "detail", but tweeking those square tact buttons & perfectly damped pots sure felt good in the day.  It was the peak of prosumer non S-VHS, non D-VHS, good old VHS.

The VCR remote would also make a very nice modern retro controller. 

Those tiny square buttons don't look like much, but they felt really precise in 1986.  These 80's controllers felt really solid by today's standards.

Good luck ever finding a screen cap of the programmed recording interface.  The lion kingdom family actually acquired the TV some time between 1985 & 1986 & it lasted 10 years with 1 replacement of a deflection transistor.

It had a hidden panel with real nice MHPS2283 push switches.  The audible click is essential.  There's absolutely no record of mid 80's giant TV's on the internet.  The current gootube generation is just too young. 


Ken Yap wrote 04/11/2021 at 01:02 point

When analogue TV broadcast was shut down here I used the remote from my useless TV (which was recycled, though someone could have used it with a STB) to control a trainable switch for a power point too high up a wall feeding an exhaust fan.  Here's a picture: and is only a few bucks from eBay or AliExpress. Now I know this is very uncool since it doesn't involve an ESP32, a smartphone, and the whole frigging Internet, but heck it works reliably. 🤣 It's still running on the same 2xAA cells when it was a TV remote.

Lots of remotes are continually junked. IR sensors are readily available, and they are easy to interface to MCUs. I reckon they should be incorporated into more projects.

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