Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Microsmith Hot Link products FAQ

This section of our website was created to help our current and potential customers who are seeking installation help, troubleshooting help or general product or shipping information, find what they are looking for.

We very much hope this document helps your installation go smoothly, and provides the information you are seeking, but if at any time you feel you need more help than this FAQ can provide, please do not hesitate to call us at (800) 999-8846 Monday through Friday 7am to 6pm PST for personalized assistance.  You can also email if you prefer by using the following link: http://www.hot-link.com/contact-us-no-map

Also, if you do not see a question here that you think should be here, please help us improve this section by submitting your question in email using the following link: http://www.hot-link.com/contact-us-no-map If you like, you can always give us a call at (800) 999-8846, Monday through Friday 7am to 6pm PST to discuss your question or issue.

Product Selection and Compatibility

My TV and equipment are in separate areas. Which product would be best for me?
Whether in a separate room, a media closet, or across a large room, when the TV and audio/video equipment are separated by more than a few feet, the product that would be best (and easiest) would be the Hot Link XL. The Hot Link XL allows the TV and equipment to be in separate areas, and connects using easy to find Cat-5 network cable.

The XL has two small boxes; one box carries the IR sensor Eye and the confirmation LED, the other carries the emitter ribbon cable (with six attached emitters) and the power supply connection. Each box has an RJ45 jack for the Cat-5 to plug into. Low voltage DC power is carried via the Cat-5 cable to the Eye and indicator LED. A ready to use standard Cat-5 networking cable up to 200 feet may be used (RJ45 connectors attached).

Are Hot Link products compatible with all audio and video components?

Hot Link products work with 99.9% of all audio and video components, as well as game systems that use an IR signal. There are only a small handful of components and IR signal types that the Hot Link Pro will not repeat. Pioneer “Elite” series receivers which use 1MHz signals, some high-end Kenwood receivers and Sony ES receivers with a 2-way communicating remotes and Sony CDX series automotive CD players that use 455KHz signals.

Hot Link products are not designed to transfer IRDA standard IR pulses for PDAs.

For more information please see the following page from our website support area: http://www.hot-link.com/carrier-frequencies-emitters

Do Hot Link products work with all LCD and Plasma TVs?

Yes, they definitely do! Most of our customers are using the Hot Link Pro and Hot Link XL with these types of televisions. Please see the following page from our website on Eye placement for LCD and Plasma TV sets: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability

Do I have to use a special remote?
No special remote is needed. You will be using your existing remotes with Hot Link products. Most IR remote controls operate at a frequency between 40KHz and 60KHz. Hot Link products repeat IR signals between 18KHz and 120KHz.  Hot Link products also work great with most all universal remotes.

Do Hot Link products work with Harmony remotes? Harmony Remotes work perfectly. Some issues customers have reported, such as a signal or command not working, are related to programming in appropriate delays between commands when programming macros.

There are only a small handful of components and IR signal types that the Hot Link Pro will not repeat. Pioneer “Elite” series receivers, which use 1MHz signals, some high-end Kenwood receivers, and Sony ES receivers with 2-way communicating remotes and Sony CDX series automotive CD players that use 455KHz signals.

Hot Link products are not designed to transfer IRDA standard IR pulses for PDAs.

For more information please see the following page from our website support area: http://www.hot-link.com/carrier-frequencies-emitters

Do Hot Link products work with the AT&T U-Verse STB (Motorola VIP1200)?
Absolutely! We have many customers using the U-Verse/Motorola units flawlessly.

Do Hot Link products work with the Verizon FiOS system?
Absolutely! We have many customers using the FiOS system flawlessly.

 

Troubleshooting/Problem Solving

 

I have an LCD or Plasma TV. Where is the best place for my sensor Eye?
The best place for your sensor Eye is in the area of the room you will be facing when using the remote, and out of the light of your TV as well as other ambient light if possible.  The position we most often use for an LCD or Plasma environment is behind the TV set. This way, it is shadowed from interference from the LCD or Plasma, and it can still “see” the remote signals.

This method has been proven thousands of times over. Many installers that were trying to use “plasma-proof” or “friendly” IR targets have changed over to Hot Link’s Hidden Eye approach. Many of these targets are frequency specific and require two targets for the different frequencies.

The only TV not overcome by this method is the Sharp Aquos 37 inch LCD TV (NTSC model). It will work other Aquos models in larger and smaller sizes.

Please see the diagram on the following page for a visual guide to mounting your Eye: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability

I’m having problems getting my Hot Link to work with my Samsung series 850 TV. Is there a solution?
Samsung is offering to change out the inverter boards that control the internal fluorescent lamps. We have found that this change solves the bulk of the problem. Grounding the Hot Link Pro or XL will also mitigate RF noise from these TVs as well.

My Blue LED Light stays on all the time. Is my unit working properly?
Check for Noise. If the Blue indicator LED is on, even just a little, then noise needs to be mitigated. The blue  LED light staying on all the time means either the connection to the Eye cable is loose, or the receiver is receiving IR from a source other than your remote control.

To adjust your Eye: Stand to one side when placing the Eye, rather than in front of the TV. Your close proximity reflects a larger amount of IR noise from the TV to behind the TV.

You may need to turn/roll the Eye on cold start-up of the LCD TV as they are more IR noisy when first turned on.

Also place the Eye in the center of the TV to evade the RF noise coming from the fluorescent lamp power supplies. These inverters have become more RF (radio frequency) noisy in the last few years.  Call 800-999-8846 for help with difficult installations. The number is located on the bottom of every Hot Link Pro Main Box. http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability

Why does my blue indicator LED light come on when I first turn on my TV?
During the TVs warm-up period, it is putting out more RF noise and IR light than during normal operation (after the warm up period). If the Eye is exposed to this light it hinders the Eye’s ability to see an IR remote signal. It is possible that your sensor Eye is simply catching some of this excess light and noise, and the Eye placement simply needs to be adjusted

The following diagram may help: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability Please call us at (800) 999-8846 to get additional help with Eye placement adjustments.

Some of my IR commands do not work when I use my remote. Is my unit defective?
It is very possible that your Eye is being exposed to too much IR light or RF noise, and the Eye placement needs to be adjusted. The following diagram may help: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability Please call us at (800)-999-8846 to get additional help with Eye placement adjustments.

I have a Scientific Atlanta 8300 series cable box, and I am having trouble getting it to respond to commands given through the Hot Link Pro (or XL).
For the Scientific Atlanta 8300: Make certain the blue indicator LED on the Hot Link is totally off when not using the remote. Follow the noise mitigation tips on this page concerning Eye placement: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability. Then put one layer of masking tape, blue or beige, over the Sci-Atl-8300 IR Eye then the HLP emitter over the tape, this may take 1 to 5 layers but at some point should work perfectly.

This is the only piece of AV gear that needs this special treatment. Sci-Atl. 8200 worked perfectly with all repeaters, now this 8300 works with very few, HLP being one of them. Also an aftermarket remote like Harmony 880 works better than the very limited distance remote from Sci-Atl.

I have a diagram of my component that shows the IR sensor in a specific place, but it does not seem to be there. What do I do?
Locate the IR Eye on your equipment using a flashlight to look through the faceplate (tinted glass or plastic front) to find the Eye, which may look like a small circle-usually about 1/8″ round.

If the Eye cannot be located with confidence,  complete the Hot Link installation step of connecting the Plug-in Power Supply.  Then peel off red backing from clear tape on one Emitter and with the equipment turned on and its face blocked from the hand-held remote control, be careful not to block the HOT LINK Receiver Eye.

Holding remote a few feet from Receiver Eye, press a known function button, like “power”, or changing a channel, or something else that will allow you to see a change.

Move the IR Emitter slowly, in increments, across the front panel, about a quarter of an inch in front of the surface, until the equipment responds to the remote control command. When best position is located, apply IR Emitter to front with sticky side on equipment.

I think my TV is putting out interference that is affecting one or more of my components. Will the Hot Link Pro help?
If the problem is primarily excess IR light from your TV, then, yes, it should help. After installing the Hot Link Pro, place black tape over the Hot Link Pro Emitter and the surrounding area to keep the excess IR light noise from entering into the IR sensors on the AV gear. If the problem is excessive RF noise, you can give us a call at (800) 999-8846 and we may be able to help get your Hot Link set up so it will help this problem, but additional information from the customer is needed to achieve the best and fastest successful result.

My remote has to be rather close (within ten feet) in order for the Hot Link Pro or XL to work. What is happening?
It is very possible that your Eye is being exposed to too much IR light or RF noise coming from the TV, and the Eye placement needs to be adjusted. The following diagram may help: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability If the Blue indicator LED is on, even just a little, then noise needs to be mitigated. You may need to change the placement or position of your receiver Eye.

To adjust your Eye: Stand to one side, rather than in front of the TV when placing the Eye. Your close proximity reflects a larger amount of IR noise from the TV to behind the TV.

You may need to turn/roll the Eye into position the Eye on cold start-up of the LCD TV as they are more IR noisy when first turned on.

Also place the Eye in the center of the TV to evade the RF noise coming from the fluorescent lamp power supplies. These inverters have become more RF (radio frequency) noisy in the last few years.  Call (800)-999-8846 for help with difficult installations. The number is located on the bottom of every Hot Link Pro Main Box. For LDC and Plasma eye placement see the following diagram: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability

I just blew a fuse on my Hot Link XL by accident. What kind is it and where can I find one?
The fuse inside the Hot Link XL is a 100mA fuse, 5mm X 20mm. You might find them at local electronics store, radio shack, or perhaps from an online source, but if you have trouble finding them, give us a call at  (800)-999-8846  and we can send a replacement.

I have an Onkyo receiver that is not responding to the Hot Link Pro. I’m not sure I have the emitter in the right place.
Onkyo manuals do not correctly declare the exact location of the emitter.

Use a flashlight to find the small metal box with a black hole in it behind the front panel.

The Eye on Onkyo units is often just to the side or above where they state that it is in the manual.

The emitters are all on the end of a ribbon cable. They are too short to use as-is. Can I peel the ribbon cable apart so they are longer?
Absolutely. The ribbon cable was chosen so that this could be done by the customer. Peel as many emitters as are needed for your application from one side or the other of the ribbon cable. The cable is sturdy enough for this to be done with no problem of wire breakage or damage to wire insulation, as long as excessive force is not used. The ribbon cable can be peeled apart all the way to the base of the cable if needed.

Product Specifications and General Information

How long are the cables for the Hot Link Pro?
The Receiver Eye cable on the Hot Link Pro as well as the Hot Link XL is 6 feet long, the emitter ribbon cable is 7 feet long on the Hot Link Pro and XL units, and it 8 feet long on the Hot Link X12 unit. The power supply cable on all units is 6 feet long.

Does the XL come with a piece of Cat-5 cable? How long is it?
The Hot Link XL comes with a 6″ piece of Cat-5 cable. We do not include a longer length of Cat-5  cable simply because every person’s application is different, and there are a variety of ready-made lengths available at your nearby computer or electronics store. The Hot Link XL can be used with any length Cat-5 cable up to 200 feet long.

What frequencies of IR do the Hot Link products repeat?
Hot Link Products repeat everything from 18Khz to 120Khz. This means that the HDTV receivers and cable boxes that use 58Khz and 60Khz will work just as easily as all of the standard 38Khz and 40Khz AV gear. Hot Link Pro doubles the distance of IR computer mice and keyboards and PDA IR Remote Control Signals.

Hot Link Pro will not repeat only a handful of signals. Pioneer “Elite” receivers which use 1MHz, some high-end Kenwood receivers and Sony ES receivers with a 2-way remote and Sony CDX series automotive CD players that use 455KHz. It is not designed to transfer IRDA standard IR pulses for PDAs.

Are the emitters powerful enough to be considered IR “blasters”?
No, the emitters are not powerful enough to be considered IR blasters. They are designed to be used at very close range, stuck onto the faceplate of the component, usually right over the component’s receiver Eye, using the attached adhesive pad.

How can I extend the Eye cable on my Hot Link Pro?
Use RG6 coax cable with “F” connectors and then apply an RCA male to “F” female all metal adapter for the Hot Link Pro Main Box end. Use an RCA female to “F” female all metal adapter for the Hot Link Pro Eye end of the extension cable.

In general we like to see these cable lengths under 25 feet because of the reduced remote-to-Eye distance caused by the capacitance of the additional cable. However, many have used a longer length RG6 cable, and by readjusting the Eye position, had no trouble making it work.

How can I extend the length of my emitters? Can I extend just one emitter?
You can use Cat-5 to extend the length of one or more emitters by splicing. Mind polarity when splicing. Do one emitter at a time. They are all in series, so if one is reversed or not connected, none of them will work. No harm is done to the Hot Link if an Emitter is reversed.

I lost my power supply. Can you tell me what kind to get?
The power supply should be a 12V DC, 100mA, center pin positive unit, with a 5mm x 2mm plug.

Can I use Hot Link products in a country with a different power system, such as 220V AC?
We have distributors in France and England that have country appropriate power supplies and are CE. We also have outlets in Israel. For information on these resources, please see the following link: http://www.hot-link.com/dealers

We can send out a unit without a power supply and you can obtain a power supply locally, just know that it must have an output of 12 volts DC, at 100 milliamps, with a 5mm X 2mm plug that is CENTR PIN POSITIVE, (+).

Can I run my Hot Link Pro or XL Eye cable alongside AC power cables?
Noise can be injected into the XL via the Cat-5 cable running to close to AC power or Cat-5 cables that convert HDMI over Cat-5 cables. Keep a minimum of 6 inches separation from AC or Cat-5 carrying an HDMI signal, and cross AC or other RF-noisy wires at 45 degrees when possible.

My cable box or other video or audio component has a jack on the back marked “IR”. Will I be using this connection for the Hot Link Pro or XL?
The Hot Link Pro and Hot Link XL do not plug in to any IR ports on equipment. The emitters deliver the IR signal to the IR sensors on the front of each piece of equipment.

What is the Eye with Y kit?
The Eye with Y Kit adds a second Receiving Eye to the Hot Link Pro system. It is used for adding a user location from an adjacent room, or with coax extension cable from a room within 25 feet. It can also be used to see the IR output from a whole house type IR system as well when Hot Link Pro is used for intra cabinet IR distribution. Adding this kit reduces the remote to Eye distance a small amount.

I have an LCD or Plasma TV. Where is the best place for my sensor Eye?
The following diagram illustrates and explains the best placement for LCD and plasma sets: http://www.hot-link.com/plasma-and-lcd-compatability Please call us at (800) 999-8846 to get additional help or information for Eye placement or adjustments if you run into trouble while you are installing.

I have a Cathode Ray Tube TV, rear-projection DLP, or overhead projector. I do not have an LCD or Plasma set. Where should I put my sensor Eye?
Hot Link Pro’s super sensitive IR Eye can be mounted almost anywhere in a hidden location. The Eye only needs to see the room the remote is in and does not have to be in direct line of site. Mount the Eye behind a speaker grill, cabinet, door slot, plasma or LCD TV or under a toe-kick or on top of a cabinet. Have a wall plate with another device? Just mount the Eye behind the wall plate. The IR signals will pass through, and remotes will work up to 25 feet away.

A bezel is available for outdoor and wet locations like pool houses and hot tubs.

The following webpage has some mounting photos and suggestions: http://www.hot-link.com/eye-mounting-options You are also free to use a similar mounting that we suggest for LCD and Plasma environments, as the Eye is usually placed 100% out of sight in these environments.

I have two rooms that are using the same rack of video/audio equipment. Can I use your product to control them both? What do I need?
Depending on how close the room is to the room where the Hot Link system and equipment is located, you might be able to use an Eye with Y kit, and a 25 foot Eye extension cable. You can also use two systems in combination. If you have one situation where the equipment is close to one TV, but not to another, you can use one Hot Link Pro in the “close” room, and one Hot Link XL for the “farther” room, and locate the emitters side-by-side on the equipment (over the IR sensor on each component). You could also use two XL units for two rooms that are both far away from the equipment (if you have your A/V equipment in a basement media closet, for example), and locate the emitters side by side on the equipment.

For multiple room applications, check out our new Zoner Whole House IR Repeater System product for use with multiple Hot Link XL units to create up to six separate IR controlled zones in your home.

I have, or will have, more than six components. What product do I use?
With an existing system, 6 more emitters can be added to a Hot Link Pro with the Emitter Expansion Kit X6. This Kit requires the Emitter Extension Kit to Splice into the Ribbon cable where the additional 6 Emitter Kit X6 can be plugged in.

You could also opt to buy the Hot Link X12, which already has the expansion kit attached, and can control 12 components.

Will the emitter adhesive sticky tape affect the finish on my components? Will they leave any residue?
The adhesive sticky tape will not affect the finish at all. They easily peel away in one piece, and any possible residue is easily pulled or rolled off cleanly. In the case your sticky tape loses its stickiness from multiple applications and removals, we can send you replacement adhesive sticky tape.

I need more adhesive sticky tape for my emitters. Where can I get some?
We provide replacement sticky tape at no cost to you. You can call us at (800) 999-8846 to request sticky tape, or visit our website to request more sticky tape either by using the following link: http://www.hot-link.com/product/hot-link-emitter-tape or you can contact us by email, please provide your mailing address when requesting by email

What tools are needed to install the Hot Link Pro or Hot Link XL? No tools are needed, unless you are going to be using the small mounting bracket for the receiver eye, which would require a screwdriver. The eye uses some provided Velcro tape for mounting, and the emitters stick on to your components using adhesive pads which are already attached to the emitters.

Can you tell me how an IR sensor works?
The receiver Eye included with our Hot Link products is a highly sensitive IR sensor that is capable of receiving frequencies from 18Khz to 120Khz. Our patented Eye is actually 4 times more sensitive than most standard IR receivers.

What is an IR extender cable?
You can boost the range of your Hot Link setup with either our Coax Eye Extension Cable – which adds 25 feet to the existing 6-foot Eye cable. Hot Link XL also allows you to extend distance up to 200 feet with a Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable.

What is an IR blaster?
Wikipedia explains what an IR blaster is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_blaster. Hot Link uses low-powered, directly attached emitters to control your AV equipment, unlike some solutions which incorporate IR blasters.

What is an IR emitter?
An IR emitter is a is a light emitting diode (LED) that transmits infrared signals from a remote control to a receiver. Hot Link allows you to use your IR remote control to operate equipment that is concealed in a cabinet or behind a wall, where the IR signal wouldn’t normally be able to reach the receiver.

Purchasing/Shipping Hot Link Products

Do you have your products in any walk-in stores?
At this moment, our products are only available through our website and through authorized dealers/distributors. Please see our list of dealers for more information: http://www.hot-link.com/dealers

If I purchase through another retailer, such as www. Amazon.com or www. BeachAudio.com, who do I call if I have a problem with the product?
Call Microsmith at (800)-999-8846. Our number is molded into the plastic case of every Hot Link Product.

I’m purchasing your product at a discount price from Amazon.com. Why is it cheaper? Am I buying a used product? It is the same product you sell on www.hot-link.com?
We do not mind our retailers selling the Hot Link Pro and Hot Link XL as well as Hot Link Accessories at a lower price than we do on www. Hot-link.com. There are even a few retailers that sell it for more than we do.

Unless the seller has clearly stated that you are buying a used product, the product you get from an Amazon seller, or any authorized reseller of our product, should be a new product. If it is being sold as a Hot Link Pro, Hot Link XL or Hot Link accessory, it should be the same products that we are selling on www.hot-link.com.

Some retail sites list your product as item 8225P. Is this the same as the Hot Link Pro?
The 8225P is a part number that a retailer has used to catalogue the Hot Link Pro in their stock system. As long as the product is being described as a Hot Link Pro (as well as another part number, such as 8225P) it is our product, the Hot Link Pro that we make and sell.

How much do you charge for shipping?
As of April 2009, we charge $8.00 USD for Priority Mail through the US Postal service to the continental United States.

Is it possible to get my order with overnight delivery?
It is possible to get overnight/express delivery. We usually use Fed Ex for this service. We do not charge any handling fees, only the actual charge that Fed Ex will charge us. This typically runs around 20 to 30 dollars for one product to go overnight in the continental US. Saturday delivery is more expensive. Please call for details or to set up an overnight delivery on a new order, since that option is not currently a shipping choice on our web order form.

Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we absolutely do ship internationally, and have had many satisfied customers outside the United States in Canada, Great Britain, France, Israel and other countries. Please call (800) 999-8846 for a quote on shipping for your international order.

I’m interested in offering Hot Link products through my business or website. How can I become a dealer?
Please call (800) 999-8846 to discuss becoming a Hot Link Pro retailer. Be sure to ask for Marcus Smith.

Warranty/Replacement

My Hot Link Pro has stopped working. What should I do?
Please call us at (800) 999-8846 for help.

How long is the warranty period for Hot Link products?
The stated warranty for Hot Link products is two years. It is not necessary to register the product to access the warranty. If your unit is not working, we would like to hear from you no matter how long you have had the product. Please call us at (800) 999-8846 for help.

I’ve had my Hot Link product for more than two years, and now it’s not working. Can I still get a replacement?
If your unit is not working, we would like to hear from you no matter how long you have had the product. Please call us at (800) 999-8846 for help.

I received a broken product, or my product is missing something from the box. Help!?
Please call us at (800) 999-8846 for assistance in getting a replacement.

If I purchase through another retailer, such as www.Amazon.com or www.BeachAudio.com, who do I call if I have a problem with the product?
You can call us directly at (800) 999-8846 for assistance with installation help and troubleshooting, or to get a defective unit replaced.