If you've got a universal remote control, you've played with remote control codes. What are remote control codes, and how do you find them if they vanish mysteriously?
Instructions for Your Remote
Universal remote controls come preprogrammed with different signals and sequences to operate your devices. You tell a universal remote which device you have by inputting remote control codes, thereby designating the device for your remote. When your remote has the correct codes, it can generally operate all of the device's functions, from turning it on and off to controlling the picture-in-picture. Codes for remote controls are generally found on an insert or in a booklet that comes with the universal remote, and you select your device manufacturer and model to find the correct code.
Different brands of universal remotes have different codes, so it's important to match the codes with the brand and model number of the universal remote that you own. Some remotes will have several different codes for a single manufacturer, and you may need to try all of them to get your devices to run correctly; just because the first code turns your TV on and off, that doesn't mean it will run on-screen menus.
Once you have control of the features, be sure to circle the correct codes in the owner's manual. When the batteries in your remote die, you'll need those codes to reprogram your remote. For easy access, write the codes on a mailing label and attach it to the inside of the battery cover. That way, you'll have the codes in front of you when you need to change batteries.
Finding Codes Online
The downside of universal remote controls is that when they lose battery power, they may loose your remote control codes. When you replace the batteries, you generally have to reprogram the remote control with the correct codes to operate your devices. Unfortunately, by the time you have to replace your batteries, you've probably misplaced your remote control paperwork, or even thrown it away entirely. Luckily, you can find codes for remote controls online.
Run a Web search for universal remote control codes, and you'll see tons of Web sites pop up with a large selection of codes. If you know the manufacturer and model for your remote control, even better; do a Web search for the full manufacturer and model of your remote control, and chances are good that some kind soul has documented the remote control codes.
Contact Your Local Electronics Store
If you can't find your paperwork with your codes, and you're having trouble finding your remote control model online, contact your local electronics store for help. If the store sells your model of remote control, they may be able to help you locate the remote control codes. In the case of a good, locally-run electronics store, they may even help you track the codes down through the manufacturer or another resource. Be sure to write those codes down somewhere. As universal remotes become outdated, it gets harder and harder to track down the codes.
Contact the Manufacturer
When you've turned your house upside down looking for your codes, been unable to locate them online and had no luck with your local electronics store, contact the manufacturer for help. Some manufacturers have phone numbers you can use to contact a customer service representative relatively painlessly, while others may refer you to a specific Web site or may even mail you a new manual. If you don't have any luck finding codes for remote controls elsewhere, contacting the manufacturer may be your only alternative to buying a new universal remote.
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