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I recently purchased a set of outdoor RGBW LED spotlights that came with a remote control to configure the color settings for each light. With all the lights on, it is hard to change the color of only one light since the RF remote broadcasts a signal broadly enough to hit two or three other lights and change their color too. I’m wondering if anyone has advice on how to better “aim” or limit the direction of the RF signal to more easily direct it at just one light at a time. Any ideas?

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    If it's RF then aiming probably won't help much. Jun 7, 2022 at 8:28
  • Yeah, what @user253751 said. This falls into antennas and that's more the realm of the folks at Amateur Radio. I'm sure you could get this migrated over there (be sure to read their rules and make sure you're providing enough details for them to answer).
    – FreeMan
    Jun 7, 2022 at 12:38
  • Are you sure they aren't designed with different channels or something like that? Jun 7, 2022 at 13:52
  • That is standard and normal for that species of el-cheapo remote LED lighting. Of course there is worlds better on the market. Some of it is even affordable! Jun 7, 2022 at 20:01

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The (by now traditional) standard hack for narrow beam RF on a home-brew basis is ye olde Pringles can as an antenna / focussing device.

It's metal coated on the inside (really, any metal can or metallized fiber can will work) - the metallized fiber is easier to cut or punch holes in, and it's a long/narrow aspect ratio for a tight beam.

You can also build something with hot glue and cardboard and aluminum foil, or skip the aluminum foil by harvesting your "cardboard" from metallized fiber cans.

You'll have to figure out where the antenna in your remote is so you can get that into the cantenna while still being able to operate the remote.

Difficult to know what dimensions you might want for optimum function without a spectrum analyzer (or looking up their FCC filing, as I assume they don't tell you in the instructions) to sort out what your remote is putting out, but for a home-brew hack you just try something and see if it works well enough.

There's also using a metal salad bowl as a parabolic dish antenna, which has the advantage in this case of easier access to the remote buttons - you just have to put the remote at the focus of the parabola. But you'll want a deep salad or mixer bowl to prevent too much side propagation (since you're really after beaming, not range increase.)

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  • Not sure why the DV on this, as it's probably the basics of what they'd say over at Amateur Radio. They'd probably ask for the FCC ID, look it up, and provide the specifics, though.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 7, 2022 at 13:12
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    The random DV fairy comes by. The random DV fairy has internal motives they don't share. Could be a hyper-picky-person who thinks an RF answer can't be made on Home Improvement (if it gets migrated, the answer still applies, so I don't agree.) Plenty of RF stuff around the home; dubious that this as currently written meets the standard for being migrated to AR, though I haven't read their scope statement, I just have prior experience of the sorts of things non-stack AR folks think are valid questions indicating adequate research.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 7, 2022 at 14:04
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    I did suggest that the OP read the rules there to ensure he's got enough info to satisfy their standards. And yes, the random DV fairy does stop by for unknown reasons...
    – FreeMan
    Jun 7, 2022 at 14:07
  • Pringles potato chip or Pirouette cookie can wave guide is a great suggestion. Although there are several ISM frequency bands, a random gadget like this is likely to use 2.4 GHz due to its worldwide ubiquity and prevalence of cheap transceivers for that band (BLE, 802.15.4, etc). Cantenna concepts for 2.4 GHz have been well developed since the days of 802.11b in the late 90's.
    – Greg Hill
    Jun 7, 2022 at 16:56
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    This worked well! My hand and the remote stuffed into a literal Pringles can with the bottom cut off. Jun 11, 2022 at 5:08

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