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How to Program an RCA Universal Remote

Trying to program your universal remote can be a feat akin to a trip through Mordor. We get it. That’s why we’re going to walk you through the whole process from start to finish—now “fly, you fools!”

Programming Your RCA Remote

Setting up your remote is actually a pretty simple process. But trying to figure out which set of instructions to use can get confusing.

There are a few different procedures you can follow, depending on whether your remote has a Code Search button or whether you have a device code for the gear you want to pair with your remote.

Note: All operations are performed on the universal remote you’re programming. No need to touch any other remotes or devices, except to power them on.

If Your RCA Universal Remote Has a Code Search Button

If your remote has a Code Search button, the easiest way to pair devices is by directly entering the device codes.

  1. Find the device code for the equipment you want to control. You can find this code in your remote’s manual or use the RCA remote code finder.
  2. Power on the equipment you want to pair.
  3. Press and hold the Code Search button on the remote.
  4. While still holding the Code Search Button, press the button on the universal remote that matches the equipment you’re pairing (e.g. if it’s a sweet new flat screen TV, press the key for TV). The light on the remote will blink once and then stay steady.
  5. Enter the device remote code from Step 1. The light on the remote should turn off.
  6. Test the remote. Try several different functions to make sure everything is working. If it is, congrats! If not, proceed to the next set of instructions.

If the universal remote code didn’t work for you, or you were unable to find a code to enter, you can also use Code Search. This feature lets you run through every possible remote code until you find one that works.

  1. Power on the equipment you want to pair.
  2. Press and hold the Code Search button on the universal remote until the light turns on.
  3. While still holding the Code Search Button, press the button on the universal remote that matches the equipment you’re pairing (e.g. if it’s a DVR, press the button for DVR). The light on the remote will blink once and then stay steady.
  4. Press the power button on the universal remote to send the next code to the equipment. Keep doing this until the equipment turns off. This means you’ve found the right remote code. If the indicator light blinks four times when pressing the power button, you’ve gone through all available remote codes and the remote likely won’t work with your equipment.
  5. Press the Enter button on the universal remote to save the code.
  6. Test the remote to make sure everything works. If so, you’re good to go. If not, repeat the process.

If Your Universal Remote Doesn’t Have a Code Search Button

If your remote doesn’t have the Code Search button, the programming process looks a little different:

  1. Power on the equipment you want to control.
  2. Press and hold the button on the universal remote that matches the device you’re pairing (e.g. if it’s a DVD player, press the DVD button). The light on the remote will blink once and then stay steady.
  3. While still holding the device button, press and hold the power button on the universal remote until the light turns off and on (about three seconds).
  4. Release the power and device buttons. The power button light should stay on to indicate you’re in pairing mode. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Press the power button on the universal remote to scan through the available remote codes. When your equipment turns off, you’ve found the correct universal remote code. If the remote’s indicator light blinks four times, it means you’ve gone through the entire list and the remote likely won’t work for your equipment.
  6. Press the Stop button on the universal remote to save the remote code.
  7. Test the remote’s functions to make sure everything works.

This looks like a lot, but it’s actually not too bad. Once you’ve got the remote working with one device, like your TV, just repeat the same process for the other equipment in your home theater setup. Eventually, you’ll have one remote to rule them all.

What do I do if my power button is working, but other buttons aren’t?

There are two possibilities:

  1. You used the wrong remote code. In this case, you can try the process again with a different code.
  2. Your equipment isn’t fully compatible with the universal remote. This can sometimes happen with pieces of equipment that have a lot of specialized functions. In this case, the only thing you can really do is try a different universal remote.

Where can I purchase an RCA universal remote control?

You can get one pretty much anywhere that sells basic electronics: drugstores, Walmart, Family Dollar, Amazon, etc. Oh, and we almost forgot—one of the best parts about these remotes is the price. In fact, this four-device universal remote is less than $10.00.

Whether you’re drowning in a sea of remotes or just trying to replace an old one, a universal remote is a great bet. Follow these steps to get up and running with yours today.

And if you have any other tips (or hiccups along the way), feel free to share them in the comments.

About the Author

Dave is a freelance writer with a passion for tech and how it improves our lives. His work has been published on a variety of sites around the web.

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