­ If you are like most Americans, you probably pick up a TV remote control at least once or twice a day. Let's look inside and see how they work. Here is the remote we will be dissecting today:

The remote control's job is to wait for you to press a key, and then to translate that key-press into infrared (pronounced "infra-red") light signals that are received by the TV. When you take off the back cover of the control you can see that there is really just 1 part visible: a printed circuit board that contains the electronics and the battery contacts.

­The components that you see here are typical for most remotes. You can see an integrated circuit (also known as a chip) labeled "TA11835". The chip is packaged in what is known as an 18 pin Dual Inline Package, or a DIP. To the right of the chip you can see a diode, a transistor (black, with three leads), a resonator (yellow), two resistors (green) and a capacitor (dark blue). Next to the battery contacts there is a resistor (green) and a capacitor (tan disk). In this circuit, the chip can detect when a key is pressed. It then translates the key into a sequence something like morse code, with a different sequence for each different key. The chip sends that signal out to the transistor to amplify the signal and make it stronger.