Sony STR-G3 IR Remote Hack


Do you own a Sony STR-G3 receiver and are sick of the "egg" remote control? 

Do you wish you could use a regular universal IR remote control with this unit? 

Well here is how to add that capability less than $5 worth of parts from Radio Shack!

You will need:

Background

The Sony STR-G3 Receiver was pretty advanced for it's day when it was introduced in 1995 and it listed for about US $1000. It uses an OSD display on your TV and a wireless RF egg shaped remote control that moves the cursor around the screen by tilting it in different directions. This method of control is quite fun at first, but if you just want to do something simple like adjust the volume control, it's a pain to have to use the OSD on the TV. The range of the RF remote is only about 10 feet and not very reliable even then. Because the remote is RF only, it's impossible to use any kind of IR remote extender or even use any "universal" IR remote controls. 

Although this unit has an IR sensor built in so it can learn IR codes from other IR remote controls, Sony did not give it the ability to be controlled by anything other than the egg remote. This was a huge oversight and is probably responsible for the poor reviews and sales of this model. A few mail-order places did clearance sales on the unit in about 1998 with prices as low as $150.


The Hack

The hack involves opening up the receiver and adding the IR receiver module, a resistor and capacitor. It's that simple! 

 

How can adding IR be so simple?

Typically design engineers put in extra functions and features that may not be used in all versions of a particular model. There may also be some compatibility or design problem that is most easily fixed by removing the function altogether.

In this case, the STR-G3 was initially designed to have an extra IR receiver module to allow it to respond to IR commands from regular IR remote controls. For some reason Sony decided not to add this function into production models and just left out 3 critical components. This may have been a cost cutting measure, or they may have thought that the egg remote would be all that would ever be needed. There may have even been a higher-end model that would include this feature and cost more. Sony even made space for the IR receiver in the front bezel so that IR signals can pass through!

 

OK, so how did you find all this out?

I bought 2 of these receivers when they were on clearance sale. I gave one to my parents to use but I kept getting complaints about how awful the egg remote was to use. So I decided to look at the second receiver that I had and build a PIC  micro-controller based IR receiver that would translate IR signals into Control A that I could feed into the receiver to control it.

"Fortunately" my receiver broke and I had to tear it apart to fix it. Then I discovered the areas on the PCB for the IR receiver module. Some educated guesses as to component values, and..... 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Radio Shack "IR Receiver Module" Cat No. 276-137 is no longer available.
A. Use Cat No. 276-640 instead but note that the pins are different. See RED text for more info.

Q. Will the egg remote still work after I do this modification?
A. Yes. You can still use the egg remote as well as the IR.

Q. What IR remote do you recommend using?
A. I don't have any specific recommendations. Almost any Universal Remote will allow you to access most functions.

Q. What functions can't you control by IR?
A. Volume, Inputs, power and some other basic controls. Some of the advanced functions such as programming the radio stations, setting up surround-sound etc. are only available using the egg remote.

Comments from people who did this modification

Thanks for the Sony STR-G3 hack. It worked great. You are a genius.
Hey, this is great. Thanks so much for posting this on the web.
I'm going to smash that damn egg to smithereens! Thanks again
Although I just spent $82 on a replacement remote for my STR-G3, I was happy to find your modification page.

Important Legal Disclaimer

I assume absolutely no responsibility for any kind of damages you do you yourself or your receiver. I assume that anyone attempting this project is capable of basic electronics repair. If you don't feel comfortable doing this project, then DON'T!

 

Getting Started

0. DISCONNECT THE AC POWER!!!!!!

 

1. First remove the 5 screws holding the top cover and lift it off.

 

2. Pull off the volume control knob and remove the nut on the volume shaft.

 

3. Next remove the 3 top screws holding the front bezel assembly

 

.

4. Remove the 3 bottom screws holding the front bezel assembly.

 

5. Pull out the whole front bezel and flip it over. Put something soft under it so it doesn't get scratched. Be very careful not to stress the 3 ribbon cables.

 

6. Remove the 2 screws holding the small button PCB near the volume control and pull it out. Note the connector to the display PCB.

 

7. Remove the 8 screws holding the main display PCB. Carefully lift the PCB away from the front bezel.

 

8. Flip the PCB over.

 

9. Locate the spaces for IC104 (IR Detector module), C121 and R132.

 

10. Flip the PCB over again. Use a soldering iron to open up the holes for IC104, C121 and R132. Use a de-soldering tool if necessary.

 

11. Prepare the IR Receiver module by cutting off one of the mounting tabs as shown.

 

12. Insert the IR module into the holes for IC104. Insert the 1k resistor into the holes for R132. Insert the 1uF capacitor into the holes for C121. Be sure to put the capacitor the right way around so the negative wire goes into the left hole.

Note: When using the RadioShack Cat No. 276-640 part, you MUST swap two of the pins as shown in the following image.

 

 

13. Solder all the components in place. Be sure to also solder the 3 tabs for the IR module. If you are using a tall capacitor, bend it over so it doesn't get in the way of the front bezel. Trim the wire leads on the capacitor and resistor.

14. Carefully replace the display PCB into the front bezel and replace the 8 screws.

15. Replace the small button PCB and connect it to the display PCB. Replace the 2 screws.

 

16. Before replacing the bezel assembly, note the 2 connectors that must fit correctly into the sockets on the display PCB. One is on the headphone PCB and the other is on the volume knob PCB.  Be very careful to make sure the pins fit into the sockets when positioning the front bezel assembly.

17. Replace the 6 screws that hold the front bezel assembly (3 on top and 3 underneath).

18. Replace the cover and 5 screws and the volume control knob.

19. You are done! Confirm that the unit responds OK to a remote that uses the standard Sony receiver IR commands.

20. Please email me if you have success with this! If you failed, then email someone else..... ;-)

 


Contact:

For comments, questions, suggestions etc.:
    will@airmail.net

 

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