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Buggy Digital Volume Controls

20 July 2010 No Comment

My Yamaha HTR-5540 has one of those digital volume controls on it… the kind that if it’s off, you can keep turning it. The last couple years it’s started doing this thing where I’d be turning it down and it’d go +1-1+2-1+1-1+2-1. The net result after volume spasming is an increase in volume – not really what you want at the time.

I decided to take it apart and try and clean the “pot” – it’s not really a potentiometer, but that’s what many people would call it anyway and cleaning it is basically the same principle. It took me a few minutes to get into the machine and access to the front of the volume control – it involved removing the top cover, then the entire face (after disconnecting a couple of ribbon cables), and then removing the PCB from the plastic face.

Yamaha HTR-5540 "Pot"Once I got access to the front of the “pot”, I pried open the four tabs holding it together. I grabbed a can of my trusty CRC 2-26*, and sprayed a bit in there before putting it back together and twisted it a bit. After pressing the tabs back together, I carefully put the ribbon cables back on, plugged everything in and gave it a shot. There was still some obvious scratchiness and/or errors, but it was markedly better.

I made sure the tabs were down tight, and reassembled the entire unit. Now that I’ve got a working volume control again (and I don’t have to find what the hell the kids did with the remote), my receiver works perfectly for my PS3 and my PC’s digital output.

* A word about 2-26 and spray “lubricants”. 2-26 is, according to the manufacturer, a plastic-safe precision lubricant that displaces water and can improve the electrical contact properties of things like switches, relays and stuff. WD-40, on the other hand, is advertised as a lubricant, but I’ve had terrible luck using at as such. While it doesn’t seem like it’s billed as such, in most situations I’ve used it it acts as a degreaser. Based on my experience cleaning volume controls and such, I wholeheartedly recommend you make the trip to Lowes or wherever and pick up some 2-26 instead.

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