Diagnose: Receiver Suddenly Switches Off

A typical home theatre setup.
A typical home theatre setup.

Symptom: You’re listening to music or watching a movie and suddenly the receiver switches off for no apparent reason. There are several reasons this could happen. Follow the steps below to diagnose and correct the problem.


Here's How:

  1. Turn the receiver off. Check that there are no loose strands of speaker wire touching the back panel of the receiver or on the back of the speakers. Even one small strand of speaker wire is enough to cause the receiver to switch off because of a short circuit. Remove loose strands, strip the speaker wires again and attach to the receiver or speakers.
  1. Check all speaker wires for damage or fraying. If you have pets, (dog, cat or rabbit) check to make sure that they have not chewed through the speaker wires. If you find damage, splice the speaker wires.
  2. Check to see if the receiver is overheated, by placing your hand on the top or side of the receiver. Also, check the front panel display of the receiver and look for warning indicators.
  3. If the receiver is overheating it may be that the speakers have a low impedance that is incompatible with the receiver. A speaker with an impedance of 4 ohms or less may be too low for the receiver. Check the owner’s manual for the receiver and speakers.
  4. Overheating can also be caused by inadequate ventilation, especially if the receiver is in an entertainment center or is in a stack with other components. Consider moving the receiver, removing components stacked above and below it or install a cooling fan inside of the entertainment center to increase air circulation.
  1. If a low impedance speaker is not the problem and it continues to overheat, the receiver may need service. Let the receiver cool down for a few minutes then turn it on and let it play to see if the problem persists. If it switches off again, unplug the receiver from the wall and contact the manufacturer for assistance or service.
  1. Another problem may be inadequate current from the AC wall socket. If the receiver is connected to an outlet or circuit that is used by other high-current appliances (refrigerator, air conditioner or heater) the receiver may shut-off. Try connecting the receiver to another outlet or circuit.

What You Need:

  • Flashlight
  • Wire strippers
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Electrical tape