Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dell Zino HD Remote Standard

Took me hours and multiple calls to Dell Technical Support to find this information out. The Dell Zino HD uses the following IR standard for the Remote Sensor on the front:


Here is the PDF specification:

The support representative said most universal remotes use one of these two standards:

Unfortunately, this causes issues when trying to use a universal remote (example: XBOX 360 Universal Remote) with the Dell Zino HD.  A USB External IR sensor is needed to work with most universal remotes.  This is very confusing, as both devices list as a standard "Microsoft eHome Infrared Tranciever".

What this means is that no remote -- other than the one that shipped with your device -- will work with your Dell Zino HD!  Scroll down to see my work-around.

Since the Dell Zino HD only comes with 4 usb ports, the external sensor may have to be plugged in to the front of the device, which is particularly clumsy looking. (The back two ports on my device are used by HDTV tuner and Wireless Mouse/Keyboard dongle.

If anyone finds an affordable remote that is compatible with the Dell Zino HD front sensor (other than the small Dell remote that ships with the device), please post a reply here!

Update: The on-board IR sensor uses a USB header similar to that inside an optical mouse (pinout is different, wire colors are the same).  Getting to it is easy - Do this at your own risk! (1. Release the lid from the back of the Zino, 2. Remove 2 screws. 3. Slide back and lift metal cover from front and drape over back. 4.  Disconnect power/sata wire from back of CDROM, slide cdrom out front. 5. Unhook antenna wire from hard drive carrier. 5. Remove 2 screws from hard drive carrier. 6. Slide hard drive carrier back and pull out gently. 7. Disconnect power/sata wire from hard drive. 7. Disconnect power button/led plug. 8. Gently lift clip holding in IR sensor. 9. Disconnect IR sensor USB header from motherboard.)

I took apart my external USB sensor, cut off the repeater wires (the wire leads going to the headphone-style plugs) and switched the wire order.

Here's what the stock dell sensor looks like.  Don't pay attention to the plug as it is soldered on.  (click to enlarge):

Back ("Wire") Side / Front ("Sensor") Side

Here's a picture of the USB header going to the motherboard.  This wire is about 2" long and goes directly from the IR sensor to the motherboard.  Using the mouse wire, we can reproduce this plug without destroying the original sensor (click to enlarge):

Here's a picture of the inside of an optical mouse.  I used the wires and plug connecting to the inside of the mouse as a plug for the Zino HD's motherboard.  Notice the pin order (this may change between manufacturers). (click picture to enlarge).

Example of a standard USB mouse.  The white plug is what was used.

*Note: Taking apart the Universal Remote sensor (my external one) wasn't easy as there were no screws holding it together.  (Your external IR receiver/tranciever may differ). I compressed the plasic casing in a vice slowly until I could break it apart.  Once it was apart, the rest was very self explanatory.

Left-over parts from external USB IR Sensor

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the finalized sensor and cable.  I wrapped the small circuit board in black tape as it didn't fit perfectly and didn't want it to short-out on anything.  I laid it flat and it just barely fit underneath the hard drive.  Make sure the sensor is closest to the IR window.  Hopefully someone else will do this same modification to their Dell Zino HD and submit some pictures in the comments!

I now have a working Universal Remote Sensor mounted internally in my Dell Zino HD!



DaSchacka said...

i have a big question..... i also have a dell zino hd... but my zino hd hasnt internal ir..... so i buy'd an external ir adapter... and opened it cutted the usb wire and got an mouse where i cutted the usb and connected the little 5 wire port (the white box) onto my ir adapter.... now i opened my zino hd and putted the ir adapter on the place and plugged the little white box(the end of the ir adapter) into the free port on the mainboard (it is black).... the mainboard have 3 ports of them, one for the sata drive, one for the on/off power button, and one is free. only the free one is black and the other ones are white.... the free one which is black is nearly by the ir place.. i think its for the ir. but the problem is i closed all and started my zino and win7 says it is unknown device.... when i plugged it normally in usb it was everything ok... and when i plugged it in the black port it also doesnt turn the light on, but on usb it turns light on... then i try to plug the on off power plug in the place and it doesnt work... i this plug havnt function... can you pls help

FatButtLarry said...

Pay very close attention to the colors.

The Zino USB Plug Color Order:
Black, Green, White, Red, Bare (GND)

The Mouse USB Plug Color Order:
Bare (GND), Red, Black, White, Green

Use a small screwdriver to release and re-order the colors in the proper sequence.

I also recommend using the on-board USB header for the IR adapter. That is a known USB header, and worked for my purposes.


DaSchacka said...

okay im gonna put my ir adapter better on the on board usb header, but where is it? i only see this typical usb header with 8 pins but this is where the vga adapter plugs in. i cant see an on board usb header on the mainboard. pls help thx

DaSchacka said...

and i think i dont need BARE GND because my usb ir has only black green white red and not the second black gare gnd which is thick.... am i right?

FatButtLarry said...

Correct. The USB specification only requires one black wire. You should be fine.

FatButtLarry said...

The header is like the one I posted. It not the standard motherboard header one would expect. It is closer to the internal header in a mouse.

I you have an internal IR adapter already, unplug it and use that. If not, I may need to take a picture if mine.

DaSchacka said...

soooooooooooo finally......

the first time i made my external ir adapter an internal, i havn't recognized that the wires in the plug from the mouse is ordered other than i have to make it for ir.... i didnt know this my zino hd hadn't an internal ir sensor..... i plugged it in and started it so i damaged the ir sensor because the wrong order of the wires..... it didnt worked with usb wire aswell.... now i buyd this ir usb adapter again and cutted it and turned my zino on when it was opened and the sensor worked... then i putted everything in and closed my zino and turned it on, but then my zino didnt start the start button led gave me an error it blinked orange normally it will stay white..... then i opened everything again and moved the ir sensor a little bit (it was in contact with the aluminium case, maybe because this) and closed it again.... it worked :) thank you very much the thing with the wire order in the plug is very important.....

DaSchacka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FatButtLarry said...

I'm glad it worked! Hopefully dell will take some advice and make the next model use a standard remote!

If you can offer any pictures, that would be great!

Jack said...

Hello Larry, I have a question. This will only work for the Inspiron 410, not the 400 correct? From what I understand the 400 doesn't have any internal USB headers. Please correct me if I'm wrong as I'd love to get rid of my ugly looking IrDA, Thanks, Jack

Tres said...

Jack, from what I've read, I think they all had a USB header. I would highly suggest looking for that plug.

As the comments above illuatrate, be very careful as to the wire order, as it seems to be non-standard.

Tim Badaczewski said...

I'm building a Dell Zino 410 from a barebones case I got on eBay. I'm having a hell of a time finding the IR board (02CXVG). Is the one from this post still around? I'd offer to buy it from you if it is.

Tres Finocchiaro said...


I would highly advise against it personally since it breaks compatibility with ALL windows media center remotes other than the garbage one shipped with the Zino.

That said, I can look for it tomorrow if you are seriously interested. My email is