#96 A mystery chip causing IR remote trouble
Recently I had to update a DSTV system from the old explorer to the new HD decoder + remote.
Unfortunately older remotes don’t work with the new decoders however when you purchase a decoder you get a new remote in package.
Now I had a bad experience with the B8 remote which brought an even worse issue to light.
The decoder was checked by the technician in the shop and all was well however when I setup the decoder at home I noticed the remote was not working and upon inspection I noticed the orange LED was emitting a very weak signal when I pressed the buttons.
I really did not want to go all the way back to the shop so I opened the remote and I noticed that the IR chip had its numbers filed off… so now the remote also had a mystery chip that I couldn’t search for in order to find potential solutions…
Looking at the PCB everything seemed fine.. the traces, solder joints, button pads, and overall condition was good so the culprit had to be the IR mystery chip. This was confirmed once I received a new remote from the shop after explaining to them what the problem was.
I opened the new remote in order to do a simple comparison. Immediately I noticed that the IR chip in the new remote had text I could read. literally everything else was the same. I also noticed the orange LED was now shining brightly when the buttons were pressed. Keep in mind that these remote PCB boards have are exactly the same in version number and part placement. Only the IR IC is different..
So I came to the conclusion that the unmarked mystery chip was the problem. They even went through the hassle of sanding the text off that inferior chip they used. from here on I can only speculate as to why the factory did this. One reason could be to hide the chip from competitors also they could have been using a cheap replacement which obviously failed yet they still went out to the public. There is a lot to speculate and non of it looks good for DSTV and their made in South Africa labelling.. seems they have been up to some shady business. We will see what else comes out in the future but for now that’s all I have to say.