Blink emitter

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A blink emitter is a small optical emitter that is usually fitted in front of the IR receiver of a source to control it by means of an IR signal. The blink emitter is arranged to emit the same IR signals as are emitted by the remote control supplied with that source. The blink emitter is plugged into one of the IR output jacks on the system controller There are two types of blink emitter commonly used, visible and infrared.

Blink emitters are normally attached by means of a self adhesive pad supplied with or attached to the emitter.

Types of emitter

Infrared blink emitters

These emit IR signals just like a remote control. They usually have a longer range than visible emitters. Although the infrared light emitted is not visible to the human eye, flashing of IR emitters can often be detected using mobile phone or similar cameras.

Because of their longer range, IR emitters can cause problems by unintentionally controlling sources that are nearby. Because of this and because it is not so easy to check that they are working we no not recommend the use of infrared blink emitters unless there is a good reason to do so

Visible blink emitters

These emit visible red light and although this is not the same as the infrared light used by the remote control it is close enough in wavelength to be picked up by an IR receiver at close range.

Visible emitters are generally preferred for two reasons:

  • It is possible to easily see whether a visible emitter is working.
  • Visible emitters have a short range, generally a few centimetres, so there is little chance of an emitter fixed to one source controlling a nearby source.

Types of control

Blink emitters can be used to control sources by means of controller-generated IR signals, source-specific IR passthrough or global IR passthrough


It is very important that blink emitters are fixed to the correct part of the source, generally directly in front of the IR receiver. Fixing in the wrong place can cause control of the source not to work at all or, worse still, control to be intermittent.

It is also important that the blink emitter is fitted securely. Blink emitters that drop off are a very common cause of system failure.

The item being controlled by a blink emitter should be positioned so that it cannot receive a signal directly from an IR remote control (if one is being used) as this will result in the item receiving two signals with one delayed a bit. This may cause the item not to respond or to respond erratically.


Blink emitters are no longer supplied with Living Control controllers. They can be obtained from a number of suppliers such as:

Xantech [1] These are distributed in the UK by Midwich Home [2]

Speakercraft [3]