Solder Your Way to Peace & Quiet

Geek Culture

If you hate TV as much as I do, you’ll appreciate the utility of the TV-B-Gone. It’s a small electronic gadget the size of a keychain fob that beams out the infrared “off” signals of most major televisions, one after another. Chances are, pointing this baby at a blaring Ottawa Senators game and letting ‘er rip will result in blissful silence. (Other than the confused mumbles of the hockey fans.) The device cycles through most major brands in a matter of seconds, starting with the most popular models and working its way down to the more obscure ones.

Good news! Now you can play pranks on barflies with a TV-B-Gone you soldered yourself! Offered by hacker/engineer Limor Fried (a.k.a. Ladyada) in cooperation with TV-B-Gone inventor Mitch Altman, the TV-B-Gone kit is relatively simple with only a couple dozen parts. Just the ticket for a grownup or kid just learning soldering and electronics. Best of all, it’s eminently hackable. Adding a 3rd AA for greater zing is an easy start. One ingenious fellow at MAKE magazine created a TV-B-Gone hat that could cycle through all the TV models indefinitely, freeing the havoc-spreading wearer to walk around innocently rather than ostentatiously clicking a gadget.

If you want one of these puppies but don’t care to build your own, prebuilt TV-B-Gones are available, and even have plastic enclosures to avoid alarming airport security and other circuit-board-phobic types.

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