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Pioneer VSX-816 speaker drop out

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
The right front speaker sound drops out intermittently as of about 6 months ago. Also the center channel just began lately. I can temporarily correct the problem by tapping on the speaker connection posts - or, lately have actually tied rubber bands around the tightening knobs of the connection posts to put inward pressure on them. This corrects the problem, but in a rather inelegant way This should be a no-brainer, right?- loose speaker post connection.... Not so. I have done everything I can imagine: solder terminal ends on the speaker wires, put di-electric grease on the terminals (sparingly) after brass brushing all surfaces of the connection post and tightening knob. I even broke off much of the plastic of the knobs to expose the metal contact area of the knob and post. Last I took off the receiver cover and disassembled the receiver to the point of inspecting the circuit board connections to the speaker posts. I saw no evidence of connection break. Just to make sure I re-soldered all connecting points on the circuit board involved with the speaker output to correct a potential invisible "cold-solder" problem. All of this has not solved the problem. Anyone got any ideas?
post #2 of 27
I have the same problem (left or right speaker drop outs) with my Pioneer VSX-416. It's happens so often that I'm thinking about replacing first the speaker cables, then if that doesn't work the entire receiver. It pisses me off that much!
post #3 of 27
Just wondering if you all fixed this? I am having the same problem as well.
post #4 of 27
I have 2 of these and have problems on both-left front speaker on one (not the speaker or wire-it is the connection) and right / center on the other. WTF?
post #5 of 27
After two years of owning it, my Pioneer VSX-816 has similar problems. Mine involves the center speaker cutting out. If I turn the receiver on and off, it usually fixes it. Sometimes I have to unplug the RCA cables from the back of the receiver or jiggle them and that fixes it - sometimes. Did Pioneer sell a big lemon with these?
post #6 of 27
My VSX-816 is about two years old also and both surround speakers started cutting in and out. I could wiggle the speaker posts, or slap the side of the unit and they would come on again for awhile.
Like DNCB, I tried resoldering the speaker terminal posts with no luck.
One day, I opened it up again and connected a couple speakers and a dvd player to it. I started poking around with a wooden stick.
I found there are four little black relays located right under the CVS input module. When I wiggled one of them, I could reproduce the problem.
I had to remove about 35 screws in order to access the bottom of the main board, and touch up the solder joints on all of these relays (6 joints on each relay).
I didn't disconnect any ribbon cables, I just carefully laid all the boards over and out of the way.
After reassembly, the unit has been working perfectly ever since.
post #7 of 27
I finally couldn't take it anymore. So I bought a brand new amp and changed the cables w/ banana plugs.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandersox View Post

My VSX-816 is about two years old also and both surround speakers started cutting in and out. I could wiggle the speaker posts, or slap the side of the unit and they would come on again for awhile.
Like DNCB, I tried resoldering the speaker terminal posts with no luck.
One day, I opened it up again and connected a couple speakers and a dvd player to it. I started poking around with a wooden stick.
I found there are four little black relays located right under the CVS input module. When I wiggled one of them, I could reproduce the problem.
I had to remove about 35 screws in order to access the bottom of the main board, and touch up the solder joints on all of these relays (6 joints on each relay).
I didn't disconnect any ribbon cables, I just carefully laid all the boards over and out of the way.
After reassembly, the unit has been working perfectly ever since.

Thanks for the information. I pulled mine apart this afternoon and reflowed the joints on the relays.. No more cutouts.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandersox View Post

My VSX-816 is about two years old also and both surround speakers started cutting in and out. I could wiggle the speaker posts, or slap the side of the unit and they would come on again for awhile.
Like DNCB, I tried resoldering the speaker terminal posts with no luck.
One day, I opened it up again and connected a couple speakers and a dvd player to it. I started poking around with a wooden stick.
I found there are four little black relays located right under the CVS input module. When I wiggled one of them, I could reproduce the problem.
I had to remove about 35 screws in order to access the bottom of the main board, and touch up the solder joints on all of these relays (6 joints on each relay).
I didn't disconnect any ribbon cables, I just carefully laid all the boards over and out of the way.
After reassembly, the unit has been working perfectly ever since.

Many thanks from me too! After a couple of years of light use, mine would regularly cut out (typically the left front) after about 45 minutes of use, and especially at low volumes. I took your advice and touched up the solder joints on the bottom of the main board, especially those of the 4 black relays. That was a few days ago and so far so good whereas before it would cut out every time.

I've noticed others say it may be a short on the back panel, (perhaps just pulling the unit apart fixed that,) or maybe a heat problem, but I'm happy to have the problem resolved.

I have yet to see the fan go on in mine. Does anyone know if the fan is temperature controlled?
post #10 of 27
My VSX-816 center channel was dropping out after having it for several years, and it has been getting worse over the past few months. I tried the usual jiggling and re-doing of speaker connections but no joy. I noticed that using the remote to switch to Stereo only mode and back to Auto Surround would bring the center channel back. The speaker relays click when you do this.

I took it apart as dandersox suggested and de-soldered and removed just the center channel speaker relay, since that was the only one causing problems for me. I pried the case off the relay and lightly burnished the contacts with a single pass of #600 emery cloth. There is no glue holding the relay case on, just a couple of tabs on the sides. I broke one getting it off, but it still snapped back together. I needed a third hand to help hold the relay in place while re-soldering.

I also re-soldered a few other solder points that looked suspicious: the 2 chips that stick out from the side of the board and screw down to the bottom chassis, and a center channel jumper wire.

I don't know if dandersox was exaggerating about having to remove 35 screws, but I managed it with just 13 screws and 1 plastic push pin. I did not unplug anything inside the chassis.

Here are the steps:

1. Remove 6 top cover screws: 2 on 1 side, 1 on the other side, 3 on back (lower corners, top center), then remove top cover.
2. Remove 1 back case screw at lower center. This holds the back panel in place, along with a metal tab beside it.
3. Remove 2 copper screws holding heat sink assembly to chassis bottom.
4. Remove 2 screws holding the 2 chips to the chassis bottom behind the power transformer. There is no heat sink grease on these.
5. Remove 1 screw on the transformer side of the chassis that holds the power supply board to the chassis.
6. Remove 1 screw on other side of chassis that holds the main board to the chassis bottom. There are holes for 2 screws here, but mine only had one installed.
7. Remove 1 plastic push pin behind the Multi Jog dial that holds the long circuit board in place. Push on the small tip of the pin on the component side, then carefully pull the opened pin from the board.
8. Unwind the black coated wire behind the push pin that holds several grey wires in place, and pull the wires loose.
9. Carefully flip the chassis over, resting the top of the receiver on your table.
10. Rotate the bottom of the chassis upwards, pivoting at the front. Prop it up with some wood or whatever to allow access to the solder side of the main board.

The speaker relays are lined up with the speaker outputs on the back panel that they control. Lettering on the circuit board identifies them. I outlined their locations with a magic marker to make life easier. Be careful to not solder the very small diodes under the main, surround, and surround back relays.

I have never noticed the fan running in mine either. Presumably it only comes on at high power levels, so you probably wouldn't hear it over the speakers except during quiet pauses. I was worried about overheating, since it is mounted in a cabinet with only a 2 inch space both above and below the receiver (the feet rest on rails), but wide open at both front and back. One advantage of this setup is that no dust has collected inside even after 4+ years.

Attached are some pictures. I have more if anyone is interested.
LL
LL
post #11 of 27
Thanks for the detailed post Rip. Is there a reason that the 2nd picture is mirrored? It took me almost 10 minutes to figure out why all the solder points were different than mine.
post #12 of 27
Oops. Sorry about that. I must have inadvertently flipped that one when preparing it. Here is the corrected version of that picture, and another one of the speaker relay opened up.
LL
LL
post #13 of 27
Thanks a lot, RIP. I struggled with my VSX-816 for years. I followed your advice and it now works like a charm. Good job.
post #14 of 27
I know this is an old thread but I am having the same problem.

I took mine apart and resoldered the same relays but I am still having the same problem. I am wondering if there was anything specific about the soldering or anything else that I might have missed. I would like to have it working to avoid having to buy a whole new receiver. I have done soldering before but I wouldn't say I am an expert so it is possible that I perhaps did not do it well enough.

Any help would be appreciated!
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudvayne34 View Post

I know this is an old thread but I am having the same problem.

I took mine apart and resoldered the same relays but I am still having the same problem. I am wondering if there was anything specific about the soldering or anything else that I might have missed. I would like to have it working to avoid having to buy a whole new receiver. I have done soldering before but I wouldn't say I am an expert so it is possible that I perhaps did not do it well enough.

Any help would be appreciated!

I'm not soldering expert either, but just to check, when you resoldered the relays, did you add some flux core solder or apply solder flux to the joints? If you just remelted the solder that was already there and let it harden, there wasn't any flux to protect it from oxidizing which could cause bad connections.
post #16 of 27
Thanks for the info! It really helped me narrow down the fault. I touched up the soldering points but still had the rear channel drop outs. It was definitely a relay that was the problem. I kept wiggling the second relay from the end and found that I could replicate the drop outs. So, I took the black cap off and lightly cleaned off the contacts and bent them so they connect more securely when the power is switched on. Seems to work great now!

Thanks again! Hopefully this helps some else too!
post #17 of 27
I too was having trouble with my vsx416 after about 3 or 4 years of use. Although I am a retired electronics tech, without any circuitry available I just looked inside and closed it up again. Then, I did a search on Google and it came up with this thread - a great search engine they have!
So armed with Rip's post, I got stuck in to the amplifier. I couldn't see any dry joints anywhere, so i unsoldered and pulled the three relays. Opening the relays up, I found the contact pressure on the reeds when the relay was held closed was minimal, in fact I couldn't see any movement at all on the stationary reeds, so I carefully bent the stationary reeds to reduce the gap, thereby putting more pressure on the contacts. After reassembly I have run the amplifier at low volume for a number of hours now, with no sign of dropout as used to happen with the left channel.
Crossed fingers it is permanently fixed, and thanks again to Rip.V.W for his very clear instructions on how to go about this task.
post #18 of 27
It’s been over a year and a half since my first repair involving dropouts of the center channel. That is still going strong, but recently dropouts started in the front right and back right channels. So I followed my own instructions and pulled all 3 remaining speaker relays (front, surround, and back). I lightly sanded the contacts with #600 emery cloth as before (several passes this time), and I also bent the contacts together more as reported by TheLogman and cjdnzl. It’s been about a week on the new repair, and all is well so far.

When I got to re-soldering, this time I also removed the 4 screws on the back panel that hold the double row of RCA phono jacks just above the speaker binding posts. Moving that assembly out of the way made it easier when putting the relays back in and holding them in position with a helping hand while re-soldering. I rested the receiver on its side for the re-soldering, with the heavy transformer side on the bottom. Still no need to disconnect any wires; just push things out of the way.

It’s not the soldering of the relays that helps, its lightly sanding and/or bending the contacts inside them that’s important. In my first repair I thought I might have had some bad solder connections, so I touched some up just in case. Always use new flux core electronics solder when re-soldering. I’m convinced now that it’s just the relay contacts that are the problem.

This time I also broke a small piece of the plastic case just below the tab on one side of one of the relays. Again, not a big deal as the cover still stays on with just one side tab. I did manage to get the covers off the final 2 relays without breaking any plastic. The case cover is very thin in that small section below the hole for the tab. Use a very thin tool like a paint scraper razor blade to get under the plastic case just beside the tab, and then carefully slide it sideways to lift the case side away from the tab. Leave the tool there, then flip the relay over and repeat for the other side with another thin tool. Once both sides are held away from the tabs on the relay base, just slide the top off. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the case top away from the base if needed.

It went a lot faster this time around, having those instructions to draw on. You’re welcome to all who found them useful. Glad to be of help.
post #19 of 27
My VSX-1014 has had the right front drop out rarely. It hasn't happened for over a year now, but I fixed it by cranking up the volume real loud! Once cranked, it would eventually start working and I could turn it back down.
post #20 of 27
Thanks guys for the VSX-816 speaker cut out advise .
Edited by piecesmel - 1/8/13 at 10:09pm
post #21 of 27
I too have had issues with speaker drop out and always thought it would be relays as most electrical issues are generally mechanical in nature, ie faulty switch or poor connections. Anyway I confirmed my suspicions one day by waiting until I had another dropout and I removed the cover. I gave the relay a very light tap with the end of a screwdriver and away she went. BEWARE OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE SERIOUS CONCERNS AROUND MAINS VOLTAGE BEING EXPOSED.

My thanks to RIPVANWINKLER and his well laid out instructions. Read all his posts (noting the 2nd photo for the diagram).

My additional advice is as follows.

1. I had one further screw attached to a vertical board at INSTRUCTION 6. It will be obvious, just a little further forward than the one described.

2. Definitely remove the RCA terminal block (4 screws) as it makes life easier.

3. I would draw the outlines on the board as per picture, It makes it much easier to recognise each time you take your eyes away.

4. I decided given the various responses that more than one speaker was going to drop out and choose to clean up all 4 relays. Here is my most important tip and I learned the hard way. When unsoldering use a solder sucker or wick to clear away the old solder. Once the relay is out, again clear as much solder as possible off the relay pins but take care not to apply heat for too long as you may melt the relay base and cause the contacts inside to misalign. Again clear the circuit board of excess solder. I didn't do this and inadvertantly broke off one of the circuits buried inside the board as I pushed the relay back in. More on this later.

5. All 4 of my relays came apart without problems, no broken tabs, I used 2 craft knives. I cleaned my contacts by folding a piece of fine (600) emery paper in half 4inch x 1inch, thus having a two sided piece. Then I placed the paper between the contacts and gently squeezed the contacts with my fingers whilst rubbing back and forth half a dozen times. They should shine when finished. Interestingly my initial faulty relay had small black spots on the contacts so I was on the right track. I also did the same trick as CJDNZL and halved the gap with a pair of fine nose pliers (but make sure there still is a gap).

6. Back to my problem. My broken circuit happened to be on the centre speaker, I worked out that this relay is only half used, one set of 2 pins are not connected to anything. Where as the other relays have both a left and right channel of course. My broken circuit was on the coil side (one of the 2 pins away from the other 4). I couldn't reconnect the circuit as it was so thin. I traced with a magnifying glass where it went to but it terminated at another spot where soldering a jump wire was impossible. But luckily one of the other relays also terminated at the same spot so I went back and placed a jump wire between my naked pin and the other relay. And all was well.

7. It was very satisfying to have fixed it but I could have saved a couple of hours by cleaning up those pins.

Good luck to everyone and thanks for the posts
post #22 of 27
on my ONKYO TX-NR515 the back right post cuts out if when i tighten it too tight, thats when it cuts out if i tighten just a little bit it works fine can the post itself need tightening????
post #23 of 27
A further thing to check with the VSX-816 relays is the contact spacing. Because these relays flick every time the unit is turned on, and because the contacts inside the relays are quite long and thin, the outer contacts can get pushed back away from the inner contacts thus causing a poor connection. Bending the outer contacts toward the inner ones (but not touching) cured the problem with my unit.
See photo in post #12 by RipVanWinkler above for the insides of the relay.
post #24 of 27
Hello all:

I am fine with screws and wrenches and cables and parts, but bad with soldering and desoldering. I tend to melt things I shouldn't. So I'm hesitant to take the relays off and put them back on...

What I'm about to ask, I'm not saying to just be argumentative... I wonder if, on reflection anybody questions this fairly invasive process? Occam's razor-ish thoughts.

I notice that several of you (here and elsewhere) *do* report the problem returns after messing with the relays. Even more with retouching the solder (both here and in other discussions).

When it comes to the earlier suggestions (touching up the solder):
  • Is there some reason to believe, of all the soldered things in this amp, there's something about the relays that gets particularly badly done at their factory?
  • Is there something special about the relays that makes those solder connections more prone to being cold, or oxidized? (For example, because they handle the power driving the speakers?) Are they subject to more thermal expansion and contraction?
  • Is it possible that the cold joints are elsewhere in the system, but that disconnecting and reconnecting everything relieves stresses on the PC boards and *that's* what actually fixes the problem for some of you?

(I might be the guinea pig on this one -- I've taken everything apart, but not touched any solder yet. Maybe I'll just put it all back together again and see if the problem is gone for a while...)

My own pseudo-empirical observation is that if I keep the receiver cool, I seem to avoid dropouts. I have a fan pointed down through it. It also seems to have to do with the kind of input signal -- if I'm bringing in an analog signal that already has some decent "volume", then I don't get dropouts at all. If I'm bringing in a digital optical signal, that's much more likely to start dropping out after about half an hour. (These observations could be just me seeing things that aren't really patterns. But at least it's not because, for example, I tend to watch 2 hour movies via optical, and listen to half-hour CDs via analog... I tend to put on a jukebox player of music through analog and listen for hours at a time.)


So, across the three year lifespan of this thread, have we settled on "it's the relays"? I guess... that an intermittent relay problem *could* explain why when people mess with their speaker cables it can fix the problem temporarily sometimes... the relay would flick on and off in response to going between 4(6,8,16) ohms and infinite resistance and back?


(Hopefully past contributors will see my message and come back to say whether their fix has stayed fixed...)

Thanks for all the help here!

Kevin
Edited by kevin_atkins - 8/7/13 at 8:16am
post #25 of 27
One more question/thought:

Since everything about the relays except the solder joints is on top of the board... has anyone just pried them open from the top without desoldering them, cleaned the contacts, and put the caps back on? I'm kinda temped to sacrifice the relay case tabs if I have to, and use a tiny dab of glue to reassemble, if I can access the sides of them from the top without harming anything else nearby, and without touching an iron...

Kevin
post #26 of 27
Fookesfam here again. I've had no further drop outs since cleaning all my relays. As per my earlier post my problem channel had the telltale blackspots and no others so I'm sure that is the cause of the drop outs. The questions remains why did it fail. I don't know. I suspect that maybe there is insufficient power to the coil side and it's not pulling the contacts hard enough together therefore causing poor contact, subsequent carbon buildup and eventual failure. Bending the arms to halve the contact distance may help with the weak contact theory. Or they could be poor quality relays. Your idea of removing covers in place has merit and I would be tempted myself should it occur again. Just take care not to lever on the relay too much risking a solder joint breakage.

Good luck
post #27 of 27
Just wanted to say thanks for this thread and step by step tutorial. My center channel (VSX-816) was also cutting out. After desoldering, cleaning and reducing the gap all is well again.

Thanks.

Before


After

Edited by Gumpone - 2/1/14 at 11:40am
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