How to Fix a Blown Channel on a Receiver

When setting up a home theater, you need a receiver with two or more channels to create your desired cinematic surround sound experience. This is true once you have a 2.0 stereo system and higher grade surround sound systems.

If any of your receiver channels is blown, that means you have one less channel to connect a speaker which can really diminish your surround sound experience. In this article, we will show you how to fix a blown channel on a receiver.

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To fix a blown channel on a receiver, start by checking if the controls are corroded and clean them. If this is the case, you will need to check for any cable connections, inspect the fuse, and correct any overheating issues.

Which Receiver Channels are Often Blown?

Any receiver channel can be blown at will, particularly if the volume is too loud. All your channels can be blown simultaneously. This means if you are using a stereo receiver, you can lose the two channels at once.

blown receiver channel

On the other hand, if you are using a surround sound receiver or AV receiver, you can lose all the multiple channels at once, rendering the receiver completely useless.

Remember that a typical 5.1 AV receiver has five channels, meaning they have 5 built-in amps with preamp connections in addition to a subwoofer preamp output.

Remember that modern receivers have advanced “protection circuits” that can identify dangerous volume levels and shut down automatically.

They function as digital fuse. While this minimizes the possibility of hardware damage or being blown, it is still possible.

You can blow any receiver channel. However, the first step to fixing them is to evaluate the nature of the damage.

Is Your Receiver Channel Really Blown?

Before going into the various fixes for a blown receiver channel, you need to check if the channel is really blown. For example, many people seek out methods of connecting external speakers to their TV without a receiver if the channels are blown before trying to fix the issues with the receiver.

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Receiver channel blowing is a rather common problem. Denon 4306 receivers often have this problem.

Just because a speaker connected to a certain channel is not working doesn’t necessarily mean the channel is blown.

Firstly, you need to switch out the speaker and also swap the connection cable and see what happens. If the replacement speaker doesn’t work or is still distorted, then you know there is an issue.

It is possible that the volume or balance controls have become corroded or dirty. In this case, you might want to check and have the controls cleaned especially if you are experiencing distortion.

You should clean them with contact cleaner. If this doesn’t fix the problem, please continue with the steps below. This is a common problem with Pioneer receivers. Check our our guide on Pioneer receiver volume control problems and fixes.

Tools Needed

The following are the tools that you will need to attempt fixing your receiver:

  • Phillips screwdrivers
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Electrical contact cleaner spray – (Cleaning input jacks and speaker terminals)
  • Compressed air
  • Multimeter or continuity meter

Steps to Fix Blown Channel on a Receiver

1: Check Cable Connections

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Firstly, turn everything off. Check that all cables are correctly inserted into your receiver.

If you are using wired speakers, be sure the cables are firmly plugged into the receiver’s speaker connection ports.

If the system is properly connected, there could be a different problem, so move on to the next step.

2: Examine the Fuse

Step 1: Check If a Fuse Is Blown

In most cases, the real issue is that the fuse gets blown and not the channels themselves. If you play the volume too high on the receiver, the fuses may short out or the knob on the fuse knob on the back of the receiver may turn off.

Check If a receiver Fuse Is Blown

Unplug the receiver for safety reasons, then check your system and ensure there are no electrical issues and all the devices are properly matched then and turn the knob on. For example, a fuse may blow because something it feeds shorted to ground.

check for blown receiver

If that fails to solve the issue, carefully check whether the fuse is damaged. If the fuse’s metal filament is cracked or appears black, it can be identified as damaged.

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Check the fuse using a continuity meter or a multimeter. You can get a multimeter/continuity metetr on Amaon like the AstroAI Digital Multimeter with Meter Continuity Test. Again, sometimes you may notice a dark discoloration within the fuse, indicating that it is blown.

Irrespective of the condition of your channels on your receiver, you must first fix the fuse if it is damaged before you can solve any other issue. In other words, to fix blown channels, you must start by fixing the issue that caused the blown fuse and then replacing your damaged fuses.

Step 2: Pull the Fuses Out

Ensure you check the system for any electrical issue and ensure correct impedance matching.

Now, carefully pull out the damaged fuses to assess them further. Sometimes you cannot tell if the fuse is melted by removing the fuse.

However, you need to be careful because the glass may break. Slide the fuses in and then out. If that doesn’t work for you, use a screwdriver to unlock the case that protects the fuse.

Step 3: Replace the Fuse

Assuming you ascertain that the fuse is blown, you need to go to the next step of replacing the fuse. Most electronic shops stock new fuses. Online ordering is also possible.

Before replacing a fuse, make sure you know its rating so that you can get the right one. Fuses are rated in terms of voltage and current, e.g a 250 V 10 A fuse. Fix the replacement firmly, using a screwdriver to lock back the protective case.

After fixing the fuse, test the receiver to ascertain whether you have fixed the problem.

Step 4: Turn on the Receiver

Plug in your receiver and then turn it on. If power gets to the receiver, you have fixed the issue.

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If it doesn’t, professional assistance is required. Modern components can be easily damaged and are delicate. They can be easily damaged if you don’t know how to do it.

3. Clean the CD Tray (Older Receivers)

In some cases, all you need to fix your receiver is spray compressed air into the CD tray to remove dirt on the CD player. Dust can limit the capacity of a receiver to read an inserted CD.

4. Check For Overheating

You should also clear the intake vents on the side of the receiver. In fact, if you find that dust has blocked the vents, suspect that the receiver overheats which can cause it to shut down.receiver overheating issue

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Of course, this is a small issue provided no hardware is damaged. You can use the owner guide from the manufacturer to reset the protection trip.

5. Check For Shorted or Blown Transistors

Transistors are very important electronic components and if you open your receiver, you likely see several transistors inside.

You may find 1-2 transistors per channel attached to the main heatsink.

receiver transistor pair

These electronic components blow rather easily so you will want to check if any of them are shorted. Here’s how to do it.

Change your multimeter mode to diode mode and then check the leads of both polarities. The leads should not read 0. If they do, the transistor has blown.

Most topologies, in-circuit, should never yield a 0V reading across any leads in either polarity. If you see, you’ve probably got some deadness.

You can also directly check the check resistance between collector and base of the transistor, if it’s 0 it’s blown. Of course, you can use a continuity meter to do this as well.

If you have transistor pairs, then check only the center pin on each pair. Keep in mind that all left transistors in each pair reads 0V on the center pin and all Right reads 50VDC and 110VAC on the center pin. However, the voltage on the R pins and L pins vary.

6. Seek Professional Help

If you have gone through the fixes the receiver still powers on but turns off after a while or fails to perform its functions and power the channels, we do not commend a quick fix at home. You can save a lot of time and wasted effort by seeking professional help.

This involves often replacing the damaged components. Shorting output transistors can cause damage to other circuits.

How to Know a Channel on Your Receiver is Properly Fixed

Before you conclude that the blown channel on your home theater receiver has been fixed correctly, check if it’s performing all its functions properly. Your receiver should be able to do the following:

  • Connect and switch video sources
  • Connect and switch audio sources
  • Decode surround-sound formats
  • Amplify audio signals
  • Drive multiple speakers

Conclusion

If you suspect that any of the channels on your receiver has been blown, troubleshoot to detect the exact problem.

By using the above steps, you will be able to fix the issue quickly or at least rule out certain possibilities. If the hardware has been damaged, it is best to seek professional help or a replacement.

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