How to Create An Infrared Distribution System

by Jeff Fisher

cv-ir2202.jpg Infrared distribution systems are difficult to spec via phone or email due to the number of choices we offer for each component. The approach that has worked best is for us to explain the four types of parts needed in all systems. Then you can choose the most appropriate item within each type for your installation.

Infrared distribution systems are really very simple.

They all have four parts:

  1. Infrared receiver - this picks up the infrared from your remote and puts it on the wire..
  2. Infrared emitters - these devices take the IR signal from the wire and "emit" it into the device(s) you want to control. .
  3. Power supply - powers the IR system. One small regulated 12 volt power supply can power over a dozen standard receivers.
  4. Connecting block - this is simply a place to plug all the above stuff in. Note that some connecting blocks include a power supply.

If I've lost you completely see our full Infrared Distribution Tutorial.


  • LARGE HINT #1 — We sell many of the 291KITs. If the 291 receiver (it's smaller than it looks in the picture) is right for you, get this kit.
  • LARGE HINT #2 — We sell the 789-44 connecting block 10 to 1 over any of the others. If you don't need more than 8 devices controlled (4 outputs with dual emitters), this will work for you, and it includes the power supply.
  • LARGE HINT #3 — If you need more than one infrared receiver, simply wire additional receivers in parallel with the first one at the connecting block.
  • LARGE HINT #4 — Some plasma and LCD TVs emit broad-spectrum infrared noise. If the infrared receiver will be in the same room with a plasma or LCD TV, get a "plasma-proof" version. We've had good luck with the new Channel Vision infrared receivers.
  • LAST LARGE HINT — The connection between the infrared receiver and the connecting block requires three conductors. Just about anything will work, but cat5 or better is now the norm. This connection can be extended for hundreds of feet over cat5.


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