How to Troubleshoot Stereo Amplifiers

Written by james clark
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How to Troubleshoot Stereo Amplifiers
Troubleshooting an amplifier may solve the problem and avoid a repair bill. (amplifier image by Eray Haciosmanoglu from

Stereo amplifiers supply the power and connection jacks to hook up different types of audio equipment. Because an amp can connect with five or more components, when something goes wrong, it is useful to follow a systematic troubleshooting strategy to isolate and solve the problem. Before disconnecting all the equipment and hauling the amp to an electronics repair shop, try troubleshooting first.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Unplug the amplifier from the wall outlet for five minutes to reset the component to factory settings.

  2. 2

    Check the back panel of the amp to see if it has a circuit-breaker reset button. Press the button to close the circuit. The breaker trips as a safety precaution to prevent burning out the electronic components inside the amp. Resetting the breaker button may solve the problem.

  3. 3

    Turn on the amplifier and check the audio cable connections on the back panel to ensure the plugs are seated securely in the jacks. Check the spring clips on the speaker terminals to verify the speaker wires are also securely connected.

  4. 4

    Check the cable and speaker wire connections on the other end, where they attach to stereo components and speakers.

  5. 5

    Dial the selector control knob on the amplifier to different components, such as a CD player, tape deck and turntable, to verify that each is working properly or detect if the problem can be isolated to a specific component.

  6. 6

    Adjust the speaker balance and fade controls to confirm each speaker connected to the amp is working properly. If the balance control knob is turned all the way to the left or the right, it will appear that one of the audio channels is not working.

Tips and warnings

  • Turn the volume down when changing the amp selector knob from one component to another.
  • Unplug the amplifier from the power while connecting or disconnecting speaker wires.

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