How to short a Media Center remote control if it stops working correctly


A couple of months ago, I posted a list of workarounds that have proven useful to resolve problems using the Media Center remote control and IR receiver after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.


Since I posted that, I have received several comments from customers who were able to solve this issue with a different workaround not previously listed on that post.  I have found that internet searches do not do a great job of indexing blog comments, but they do well for the main body text of blog posts, so I wanted to post this suggestion as a separate blog post in the hope that others will be able to find it more easily.  I can’t take any credit for finding this workaround.  It was posted as a comment on my previous blog post by a kind customer who discovered it and found it useful, and I have heard from several additional customers who indicated that it has helped them as well.


I encourage you to try this workaround if you have already exhausted the list of suggestions located in my previous blog post and still have problems getting your Media Center remote control and/or IR receiver to work correctly.


Symptoms



  • Media Center only receives the first button press (for example – pressing up, up, up only goes up once, but pressing down, up, down, up will work correctly)

  • The IR receiver light does not blink when pressing a button

  • Pressing buttons on the remote do not have any effect

Workaround


Remove the batteries from the remote control and short the battery terminals using a small metal object such as a paper clip.


There is enough capacitance remote control circuit board to keep it alive for hours even after you remove the batteries. However, you can workaround this and drain the capacitors by shorting two of the adjacent battery terminals on the remote.   Different remotes have different configurations, so it is difficult to know \which two adjacent terminals are the ones wired to the circuit board (the other two are simply a short to connect one battery to the other).  Therefore, you should short both pair of adjacent terminals, which can be achieved by using a paper clip.  After that, re-insert the batteries and try to use the remote control again.


 

Comments (57)

  1. I’m no electrician. How does one short the remote with a paperclip?

  2. By shorting the remote (i.e. completing the path for electrical current to travel), you allow the capacitors in the remote to discharge.

  3. Chris says:

    I have tried everything listed here (shorting the remote and trying to reprogram the remote with DVD Menu and 1-5) but the remote still will not work. The receiver is listed in Device Manager and is installed properly and when I press a button on the remote, the receiver blinks. However, nothing happens. None of the buttons work. I am using MCE Version 2002 (SP2).

  4. BG says:

    Have you heard anything about the remort shorting being a very temporary solution?..

    When the remote stops working, I can short the terminals and get the remote to work again. But for one click only. Then the remote needs to be shorted again.

  5. Hi Chris – Have you tried all of the other workarounds listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/24/484423.aspx (and not just the channel 1-5 reprogramming suggestion)? If not, could you please try the rest of those suggestions and see if any of them help here?

    Hi BG – I haven’t yet heard of this issue being temporary and recurring after every click like that. Just to make sure, have you tried the other workarounds that I listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/24/484423.aspx as well?

  6. James says:

    Hi Aaron

    I have the MS Media Center remote and I probably have to short the battery terminals 3 times a day. I’ve showed my wife how to do this, but she’s not too happy about it 🙂

    Is there a root cause for this problem, or a long term solution?

    It seems the remote just regularly "crashes" (for lack of a better word)

  7. Hi BG and James – I asked around for more details about this scenario, and I was told that this problem is due to a build-up of static electricity. It causes a short in the remote control IC and the battery terminal trick resets the unit, but then it can start to build up again, which will require another reset.

    If you need to reset this often to keep your remote working, you may want to explore getting a replacement remote. You should be able to obtain replacments from the distributer where you purchased your hardware.

  8. James says:

    Thanks Aaron

    It is really cool to have a resource like your site on the web.

    Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  9. BG says:

    Thanks Aaron I think it was combination of the buildup and dead battery. Swapped out the one bad battery and things are groovy again. I must have mixed up one of the dead batteries with one of the good batteries the last time i replaced them. Thanks for your efforts though!

  10. Chad says:

    Thank you so much for this solution. I wish I could send you the money I would of spent on a new remote. This would of been the second remote I returned.

    Thanks again. I had the thing apart and everything. Nothing worked. I shorted the terminals with foil and everything is working great again!!

    Great site!

  11. Ian says:

    I have a similar problem in that my media center only accepts the first time I press a button until I press another then it will accept the button again. I’m using a Dell PDA running remote II software and it works fine on my amplifier. any ideas?

  12. Hi Ian – you might want to try the most recent IR rollup package available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b39d53f1-0ac9-433b-b488-4cab82f31dc8&DisplayLang=en and see if that helps here.

  13. Ian says:

    I have installed that and it seems to make little difference, my normal remote control works fine, as it always has, just the PDA that is playing up.

    I have installed TweakMCE and enabled the "universal remote control" option. still the same result

  14. sioc says:

    My problem is that i’m unable to use the back function of the remote, the stop, play, frw and rwd.

    I fixed the problem by reinstalling the remote drivers!

  15. Hi Ian – Can you please also try the workaround suggestions listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/24/484423.aspx and see if any of those help at all?

  16. Ian says:

    Eureka! it’s to do with toggle codes, I noticed that the remote control software I have has got a "toggle codes" option when learning. tick this and learn the code twice and bingo! I’m away. Thanks for your help, along the way, I’m sure that doing all the updates also helped.

  17. Joe says:

    My remote flashes every time I press a button. It is reminiscent of the video controllers when you haev them on turbo. With the smae effec, I have to press and release the button quickly or I get multiple clicks.

    How do I fix this?

  18. Joe says:

    Is there a better MCE remote I can buy?

    I like the one for the XBOX extender, and it has never had a problem but it does not work with my MCE

  19. Hi Joe – You might want to try the other remote control workarounds that I have posted and try to install the latest IR rollup package –

    http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/24/484423.aspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b39d53f1-0ac9-433b-b488-4cab82f31dc8&DisplayLang=en

    Hope this helps!

  20. Nic says:

    You can also remove the battaries and gently press all of the remote buttons while holding the power button.

  21. Joel says:

    Thanks Nic, shorting did not work, but holding down the PC power button with no batteries in the remote, then pressing every single button once, then replacing the batteries, WORKED!

    we need a kickass third party remote to work with the reciever!!!! come on taiwan or china, impress us!

  22. Arthur says:

    Thanks Buddy, your short-cicuit tip saved me a lot of grief (and my son, who I thought had broken the remote)! Why can’t Microsoft create things that don’t need a regular reboot?

  23. Michael says:

    Having problems with the MCE transmitting too fast. When I press the button to perform one action the response is two actions, when on a normal remote it would be one. To get the remote to do one action I have to press the button very quickly. Its all a bit annoying. Is this a problem with the remote or I change this in settings, and if so where?

  24. Hi Michael – There is a configuration setting that appears during Media Center Setup when configuring your remote control that allows you to choose the remote transmission speed.  That is only applicable if you are configuring your Media Center system with a set-top box though.  I’m not sure if that is how you have your system configured though.  If it is, can you try to re-run Media Center Setup and change the remote settings and see if it helps?

  25. Susan says:

    Hi, I have a microsoft remote control and I have a problem only with this buttons. When I press those buttons the IR receiver light blink, but nothing happens.

    Can someone help me?

    Thanks

  26. Hi Susan – there are several workarounds posted in the "Remote control and IR receiver errors" section of the article at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/487537.aspx.  Can you please see if any of those suggestions help solve this issue on your system?

  27. Josh says:

    Ian,

    I am having issues with my MCE remote and I have tried all your suggested tips.  Specifically, I’ve installed the drivers several times but when I check them it states that they are not working properly.  I get an error: this device cannot start. (code 10)

    I know that the remote itself works fine, because I can use it for my Xbox360.  The IR receiver has power and blinks when I press any of the buttons.  The problem is that nothing on the screen changes due to this error.  I have removed the driver, unistalled the e-home usb device and tried a reinstall and that is when it tells me that the device cannot start (code 10).  

    Do you have any other suggestions?

  28. Josh says:

    I mean Aaron, not Ian. sorry

  29. Susan says:

    Hi again,

    I try everthing but nothing work.

    The fact that I have the keyboard and the mouse wireless may this be the cause? I’m asking because many times the mouse stop working and i have to restart the signal, but thew keyboard works fine.

    Tanks,

  30. Hi Josh – Can you try to install the latest IR driver hotfix package from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b39d53f1-0ac9-433b-b488-4cab82f31dc8&DisplayLang=en if you haven’t already?  Hopefully that will help clear up the error code you are seeing.

    Hi Susan – It is possible that your wireless mouse and keyboard are interfering with the Media Center remote.  Do you have the Microsoft Media Center keyboard or some other type of wireless keyboard/mouse?  Are they communicating with your computer via bluetooth or IR?

  31. Susan says:

    Hi,

    I don’t have the Microsoft Media Center keyboard, but I have a wireless keyboard and mouse that communicate with the PC via bluetooth.

    Thanks

  32. Josh says:

    Aaron, thanks for the tip, it worked!  I appreciate it.

    -Josh

  33. John Curtis says:

    Thanks for the tip. I was about to throw my remote out the window as it stopped working completely. Shorted the terminals and is now as good as new!

  34. Joey M says:

    I have had remote problems that were fixed only temporarily by the short circuit bit.  What fixes mine is to use the tweak MCE Power Toy utility (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3400190A-511A-4A3A-9B89-524511A76F58&displaylang=en) to change what channel the MCE is listening on and setting the remote to the same channel.  It requires a reboot, but has worked well.

  35. David says:

    I kept buying new remotes eveytime one stopped working, I think I’m on number 5. I just tried holding down the PC power button (on the remote)with the batteries out and pressing all of the other keys one at a time – 4 of the dead ones now work, I can’t find the fifth. Sigh!

    This routine should be printed on the back of the remote control!

  36. Gerard says:

    Hi just reading all the blogs about this problem. I have a similar problem.

    I can use the remote fine brows throught my music and settings. but as soon as i go anywhere near video section some of the buttons stop working with media centre, well just the left, right, up, down and ok buttons,

    I used the program posted by Joey M to set my remote channel to 0 as i have an xbox 360 as weel and tried that remote. It was the same, worked fine and then as soon as i go near the videos it stops working.

    Now this only started happening recently so im nit sure if i installed something that would cause this.

    anyone have any ideas?

  37. RareButSeriousSideEffects says:

    In my 168th hour (literally) of trying to restore tuner functionality to MCE after Rollup 2, I got to the point where .NET framework 1.1 SP1 gets installed. Immediately after that install & subsequent reboot, I have no keyboard functionality. Not in Windows, not when booting to a DOS 6.22 floppy, and not during POST & BIOS menus. Not with the MS wireless USB keyboard, and not with the trusty ol’ PS/2 keyboard that I keep around for times such as these.

    I’m stumped. Thankfully I can Remote Desktop into the machine from elsewhere in the house, but I cannot get into my BIOS settings, period.  I’m of course more than a bit perturbed that a .NET update wiped out low-level keyboard functionality, but I suppose that’s just a part of my continuing punishment for having turned on Automatic Updates last week.

    I swear I’ll never, ever turn on Automatic Updates again on any Windows PC if someone, anyone, can tell me how to get my keyboard back into service.

  38. Hi RareButSeriousSideEffects – I have never heard of a case where a .NET Framework service pack caused a problem with the keyboard on a system.  It does not install anything low level enough to affect this kind of hardware functionality, especially at a BIOS level.  Are you sure there is not something loose in your hard drive that could explain this kind of hardware funcitonality loss?

  39. Ishu says:

    I am trying to setup a media center remote to work with motorola 6200 HD box. I run the setup and it says remote learned But when i go to change channels it does not work. When i say the channels did not work and Media center takes me to the next step to learn the motorola remote commands telling me to press and hold 1 but when i do that nothing happens and screen remains there. Tried resetting the MCE setup 5 times but same issues. It was working fine with my old digital box but ever since i got the new Motorola HD box

    Any suggestions would be appreciated

    Thanks in advance

  40. Hi Ishu – I talked to one of the people on my team and he indicated that this sounds like an incorrect emitter placement problem.  The labels on the Motorola 6200 are confusing.  The place on the front of the box that says "remote" has a light that blinks when IR signals are received, but that is not where the IR receiver actually is located.  The correct placement of the IR emitter can be seen in the image at http://astebner.sts.winisp.net/Tools/Images/Motorola_6200_with_blaster_placement.JPG.

    Hopefully this helps….

  41. This article serves as a central location for all links to troubleshooting documentation that has been

  42. philholloway says:

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:52 PM by astebner

    # re: How to short a Media Center remote control if it stops working correctly

    Hi Josh – Can you try to install the latest IR driver hotfix package from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b39d53f1-0ac9-433b-b488-4cab82f31dc8&DisplayLang=en if you haven’t already?  Hopefully that will help clear up the error code you are seeing.

    Hi Susan – It is possible that your wireless mouse and keyboard are interfering with the Media Center remote.  Do you have the Microsoft Media Center keyboard or some other type of wireless keyboard/mouse?  Are they communicating with your computer via bluetooth or IR?

    I have a RF wirless mouse/keyboard and when I plug this in it comes up as an unknown device. This is after plugging in the Microsoft IR reciever. It all worked fine b4. If I uninstall the Microsoft device my RF device no longer works not even in BIOS boot up. If I rebuild my PC it works again until I plug the MS IR in.

  43. Hi Philholloway – I’m sorry but I don’t have any expertise on this kind of interaction problem between the Media Center IR receiver and RF mouse/keyboards.  You may want to try to post a question on the Microsoft.Public.Windows.MediaCenter newsgroup and see if someone there can suggest any workarounds.

  44. fiscap says:

    Hi guys – I was having problems with my Microsoft MCE remote and Media Center not responding to all the remote functions. Play, Ok, cursor buttons and Start would work fine, but not much else.

    I found in another forum that someone suggested to make sure the "Human Interface Device Access" service was enabled and started.

    In my situation, the service was disabled but when I enabled it and I tried to start it, it would terminate unexpectedly with the following error in the event log:

    The Human Interface Device Access service terminated with the following error:

    The system cannot find the file specified.

    After some more research, I found the below solution to be very helpful as it has solved my problem completely.

    – Service: "Human Interface Device Access" – From a newsgroup post: "The following error will occur if any of the following three files are missing, namely: “hidserv.dll”, “mouhid.sys”, and “mouclass.sys”. Error description: “Could not start the Human Interface Device Access service on Local Computer. Error 126: the specified module could not be found”. To fix this problem extract “hidserv.dll”“, mouhid.sys” and “mouclass.sys” from the file “drivers.cab”, located on the Windows XP Setup CD to "<SystemRoot>windowssystem32".

    1. Insert Windows XP Setup CD.

    2. Browse to <CDROM drive letter>:i386drivers.cab

    3. Double click the “drivers.cab” file. The compressed files in the “.cab” file will be listed.

    4. Copy the three files to “<SystemRoot>windowssystem32”. Reboot the computer".

  45. Wonk says:

    I know it has been a while since anyone has posted in this however, I am having a similar problem to Susan.  My remote receiver is plugged in and recognized by the computer.  When I hit buttons on the remote, the red light on the receiver lights up.  However, nothing comes up on the computer.

    I have run through all of the steps in the previous blog entry and this one about remote issues.  Did Susan fix her problem, or are there any other suggestions.

  46. Hi Wonk – I’m sorry, but the comment from Susan was from a long time ago so I don’t remember what the resolution was for that issue.  I have posted several possible workarounds for remote control/receiver issues in the "Remote control and IR receiver errors" section of the article at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/487537.aspx.

    If none of those help, I’d suggest posting a question in one of the following places to see if someone there can suggest any additional workarounds:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/newsgroups/reader.mspx?dg=microsoft.public.windows.mediacenter

    http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/83/ShowForum.aspx

  47. PGPfan says:

    I’m having trouble with the MCE ‘Keyboard’ rather than the remote (which I’ve fixed on many occaisions with the shorting method). Whenever I switch the keyboard on, the transmit led flashes as though a key is stuck (which I’ve verified isn’t happening). I get decent mouse movement, but for example if I try to left click on the ‘Start’ button, the start menu flashes ‘up’ and then immediately hides again.

    Anyone have any idea what’s going on, and how I might fix it?

    Thanks in advance!

    -PGPfan

  48. Hi PGPfan – The workarounds I know of for remote control and receiver issues are all listed in the Remote Control and IR Receiver errors section of the article at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/487537.aspx.

    If none of those help, I’d suggest posting a question at one of the following locations and hopefully someone there can suggest a solution:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/newsgroups/reader.mspx?dg=microsoft.public.windows.mediacenter

    http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/83/ShowForum.aspx

    Hopefully this helps.

  49. imercado says:

    This one had stumped me for a long time.  I’m glad I finally stumbed on this page.  I had the problem where only the first press of a remote button would work.  Subsequent presses of the same button would not work until I pressed another button.  Tweak MCE and disabling the "Universal Remote" option worked like a champ!  Here’s the link again for reference: (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3400190A-511A-4A3A-9B89-524511A76F58&displaylang=en)

  50. sherwin says:

    almost 5 years old & this blog post is *still* helping people out! The battery terminal shorting tip just saved my sanity, thanks:-D

  51. John says:

    My ancient original MCE remote just went dead and I tried shorting the battery contacts to no avail.

    Out of desperation, I then tried the "hold PC button and press every other button" trick and the remote is suddently working again.  Thanks for the great (and still relevant) post!  🙂

  52. rica says:

    after many hours of research, someone here suggested to change the batteries… that did the trick 🙂

    ps: wow, 2006

  53. ZudiGuy says:

    Change batteries on MCE remote now not working fully some buttons do nothing

  54. WerdTTT says:

    Hello, just chiming in to says thanks for the tip on shorting the battery terminals! Got my "dead" remote working again.  I'll have to keep all these tips in mind for next time!