What Is an IR Remote Switch?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2018
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An infrared (IR) remote switch is a device that allows users to turn another device on or off via a remote control, so people can turn off a light, for example, from across a room. The installation of an IR remote switch is simple; the user plugs the switch into an outlet and plugs the device into the switch, and it is ready to accept commands. The IR remote switch needs an IR signal, so TV remote controls are used most often. Some models accept any button, while others allow users to program a specific button; if the latter, it is best to use a button that is rarely used, such as auxiliary (AUX). If the user wants to use the device manually, then he or she is still able.

To use an IR remote switch, it must first be installed. Installation is generally very easy, and merely requires that the user first plug the remote switch into a wall outlet; there is an outlet at the bottom of the switch into which the device, such as a TV or lamp, plugs. Some units require minor wiring work, but this is mostly to replace light switches, which go behind the wall, not in an outlet. When the switch is installed, it can be used immediately.


An IR remote switch requires an IR signal to work. This can come from any type of IR-emitting device, but the most common household device for this application is a TV remote control. To make something turn on or off, the user just points the controller at the remote switch and pushes a button; the device will react. For example, a remote switch can be used to dim lights by using a TV controller.

When the IR remote switch is installed, it often can be used in one of two modes: any signal or a specific signal. With any signal, the user pushing any button on the remote will make the device react; this is best if the device is not around the TV. The specific signal mode allows the user to make the switch respond to only one button, which is usually preferred, especially in rooms where the TV remote also is used to control the TV.

If the user is passing by a lamp or light switch and does not have a TV remote control handy, it can be irritating to need to find the remote and turn the device on or off. To keep this from happening, IR remote switch units allow for manual use. Users can still turn a device on or off without a remote control, reducing the chance of inconvenience.


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