Troubleshoot an AV System | Audio Lifestyles



Troubleshoot an AV System

Submitted by on Sat, 2010-03-20 18:14

Though this may seem intimidating to many people, if you follow a few simple steps and track your progress it can be as simple as the process of elimination.

The first thing to remember in any repair is that at one time it worked. We had a complete working system but something went wrong, so we’re just looking for that one element that went wrong. Most of the time it is only one small thing that is causing the problem, but sometimes one thing can cause a chain reaction that takes out other elements in the system.But the goal is to trace back the problem to the original cause.

Step 1: identify the problem

In order to solve the problem you need to understand exactly what isn’t working by recreating the problem. For example if it is a home theater system and you are not getting video, test all the devices to determine if it is only one component or all. Then you should be able to state a specific problem (ex. the video is not displaying from the DVD player only) *if you cannot recreate the problem then it is intermittent and you will have to wait until it does it again to solve it.

Step 2: define the components and variables

Now that you know exactly what isn’t working, you need to determine all of the components and variables associated, and eliminate the unassociated variables. For example in the case of the bad DVD video, we can narrow down the problem to just the elements involved (all components and parts connected & related to video). The DVD player itself could have a video problem or incorrect settings; the video cable could be bad, the video switch (surround receiver), the next video cable, the TV input or the entire video section of the TV or the TV settings. We have now defined all of the potential related elements in the system that could cause the video problem.

Step 3: Test each variable

There are different methods you can use to test your parts and components depending on the system. The first thing to test is always the settings. Sometimes a friend, relative, or a simple power outage might change your settings without you knowing. Once you have verified the setting move on to testing the next easiest element.

Cables & wire: simply replace the cable or wire with one you know is working

Inputs: try a different input

Outputs: try a different one or try a different source. If the DVD isn’t working, try the cable box in place of the DVD (if it works you know the problem is the DVD)

Once you have tested all of these things if you have still not found the problem, try eliminating elements from the system. (ex. Connect the DVD directly to the TV)


At this point you have thoroughly tested each element in the system and should have found the problem. With this guide you should be able to troubleshoot any system and determine the problem component. Please leave us your and suggestions below.



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