An AV receiver is the ‘brain’ of any home theater system. As the central processing unit, the receiver not only amplifies audio and video signals but also transmits the signals to individual channels. A typical AV receiver powers at least two channels or more channels for the ultimate home cinema experience.
For you to get your AV receiver working at its best, then you’ll need to ensure all the channels are functioning well. If one or more channels are not reproducing sound or blown, it means you’ll have to work with fewer channels, thus compromising your overall entertainment experience.
A blown AV channel is a common problem, but the best thing is that it is easy to fix and have your system running smoothly. In this write-up, we’ll guide you on how to fix a blown channel on a receiver and provide some tips on how to prevent a receiver channel from blowing.
How to tell if amp channel is blown
The easiest way to determine whether a channel on a receiver is blown is by connecting a speaker to the channel in question. If the speaker doesn’t produce any sound or the sound output is distorted, there is a higher chance that the receiver channel is blown.
For instance, if you suspect the stereo receiver’s left channel is not working, you can try to swipe the right speaker with the left one and see if it will work. If the problem persists, then you can be sure the left channel has some issues.
The second method you can use to tell if an amp channel is blown is by checking the receiver light indicator. If the receiver does not light up, then it means that the channel is already blown or damaged in one way or another.
However, it is important to note that just because a speaker is not working does not always mean that the connected channel is blown. To be certain, try and connect a different speaker or switch the cable and observe how they react. If the new speaker still does not work, then you can be sure that the channel is blown or damaged.
How to Fix a Blown Channel on a Receiver
As we have already mentioned, the first thing you’ll need to do even before you go about fixing your receiver is to determine which channel or channels are blown. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to fixing a blown channel on a receiver.
To achieve this, you’ll need to take your time and troubleshoot every channel to identify the specific issue. Once you’ve established the defective channel, you can follow the steps below to try and fix your receiver.
i. Examine your cable connections
Faulty speaker cables can cause your channels to malfunction, so perhaps this should be your starting point. Check the connection of the blown channel and ensure that the wire is tightly connected to the terminals of both the receiver and the speaker.
Once you have ascertained that both the speaker and the cable aren’t the issue, then you can be sure that the problem is rooted somewhere else. Also, always remember to use high-quality cables. Low-quality speakers tend to overheat often, and this might blow the channels. Furthermore, ensure that the positive and negative speaker terminals are connected to the corresponding terminals on the receiver.
ii. Check the channel fuse
The fuse is one of the first components that are likely to get blown even before the receiver channel shuts down. Regardless of the condition of your channels, you may want to fix any damaged or blown fuse before trying to fix any receiver channel that’s not working.
Check the fuse for any signs of damage and if it is completely blown, consider replacing it. You can easily tell if a fuse is blown by checking the middle filament. If it appears black or darkened, then it is probably blown. Alternatively, you can also use a multimeter or a continuity meter to test the condition of the fuse, after which you can fix any underlying electrical issue.
iii. Ensure the receiver does not overheat
It is a no-brainer that overheating can make one or more receiver channels blow or fail to work altogether. Blocked vents can prevent air from flowing in and out freely, thus making your receiver overheat and eventually shut down.
In most cases, this may not be a big issue considering that some receivers have an auto-shutdown mechanism, but in some applications, you’ll need to shut down the receiver manually. You may also want to check the equipment’s impedance rating to ensure that there is no mismatch.
Another precaution you can take to prevent the receiver from overheating is keeping your equipment away from heat and ensuring that the room is well ventilated.
iv. Check the transistors
Each channel on the receiver is equipped with one or two transistors, whose main work is to enhance the input signal. The transistors are also responsible for amplifying the signals, thus making them louder before they are transmitted to the speakers.
However, these electronic devices tend to heat up quickly, meaning they can make your channels blow much more easily. To ensure your receiver remains in optimal condition, you may want to examine the transistors, and if any of the transistors is shorted, consider replacing them immediately.
Furthermore, blown transistors are in most cases, victims of advanced software or even hardware issues. Unfortunately, fixing hardware and software related issues is somewhat complicated, but you can always consult an expert to troubleshoot any underlying issue and fix it for you.
v. Avoid overloading the receiver
Overloading is yet another reason for receiver one channel not working. Avoid powering too many speakers than your receiver can handle. Besides, overloading the receiver can result in sound distortion, especially when the speakers are too close to each. You may also want to avoid playing at high volumes for an extended time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I tell if my fuse is blown?
The first and the most obvious sign that a fuse is blown is when your receiver fails to power up or one on more channels are not working. However, you may want to check the cable connections first, and if there is nothing wrong with the cables, you can now examine the fuse.
Q: How do I tell if my speaker or receiver is blown?
To tell if your receiver or speaker is the issue, you can connect a different speaker to the same output channel. If the speaker still doesn’t work, probably the receiver is the issue. You may also want to move the right speaker to the left channel and see if you’ll notice any change.
The Bottom Line
Fixing a blown channel is relatively easy, but the type of repair needed varies depending on the nature of the damage. If you notice one channel on your receiver is not working, consider troubleshooting the entire unit to get to the root cause of the problem. Should you have any doubts, do not hesitate to engage a professional, especially if you don’t have prior experience doing repairs by yourself.