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Quick tricks seem to be a thing this week… and this one is one of those tricks I feel like I should have known for a long time but never heard about until now. But, since there is a small chance that I might be only the second to last person to hear of things, I’m passing this along so that no one else feels less informed than I do!

Have you ever thought your remote’s battery was dead, or installed a brand new battery in a remote, only to have nothing work? There’s a quick trick to see if it’s sending a signal!

When I got the new (awesome) bath fan installed in the guest bathroom, we (the guy helping me install it and I) were having a hard time testing it since there were a number of components that depended on each other. In order for everything to work right, the switch had to be connected properly, as did the fan, as did the settings on the switch, and finally, the remote had to be sending a signal to the fan for it to control the Bluetooth function.

As we set out testing each part one by one, I saw him doing this funny thing with his phone and the remote. Curious (because when am I not anxious to get in the middle of a project?), I kindly asked him for the scoop.

“What the what are you doing?” (Aren’t I a sweetheart? Luckily, this guy knows me.)

“Trick for testing the remote batteries. Your eye can’t see if the infrared light is flashing, but your phone can make it visible.” See?

test remote batteries using your smartphone

All you do is open the camera app, reverse it to face yourself, and point the remote at the phone. Push on a few buttons to see if the signal is working… if it is, you’ll see bits of light coming from the remote… if it’s not sending anything or the flash is very weak, you know that the batteries need to be replaced.

Neat, right?

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