One of the most frequently protested aspects of owning a professionally installed home theater or home automation system is the expensive service call every time there is an issue with the installed system. Some of this may be due to the installation company not properly communicating to their clients that these type of systems do require some up keep and maintenance from time to time, much like a car does. However, some might just be due to the fact that most service calls have minimum pricing and when there is a simple issue that only takes a well-trained A/V Technician a couple minutes to resolve, customers are less then happy paying as result.
That is why we have decided to give you some basic trouble-shooting tips you can do on your own for FREE before you book a service call appointment. These tips are based on our most frequent service call issues that only take a couple of minutes to resolve. If you try all these steps and your issues persists, you can take comfort in the fact that you have a more serious issue on your hands that is going to take some time to fix.
Are all your IR Emitters connected properly? IR is a communication protocol that has been used since wireless remote controls were first invented. Almost every single piece of controllable AV equipment can speak IR and thus it is a very common way for control systems to communicate with AV components. Unfortunately, IR emitters have to sit on top of AV gear to control them and are attached to small and delicate wires that can often be damaged or moved. Additionally, IR emitters can’t be screwed-in, bolted or otherwise permanently attached as they will damage the electronics they are trying to control. The best fastening of an IR emitter we can do is glue or tape it to the front of the AV device. Over time, sometimes these IR emitters can fall off of where there were originally placed due to kids playing with them, housekeepers cleaning around them, excessive heat issues, etc. When this happens, you will lose control of these devices with any Universal remote, iPhone, iPad or other means of central control. To remedy, you need to relocate the IR emitter to its original position, which is over the IR receiver window of the AV device. The IR receiver window can most easily be found by shining a flashlight at the front of the AV device and running the flashlight across the front of the device until you see a small little window. Inside the window you will often see a small LED type bulb or similar. This is the IR receiver and you need to put your misplaced IR emitter right on top of it. Once you do, you should have control back again of that AV device from whatever control interface you were using.
Has some of your equipment lost its power source? Four to five years ago, the City of LA mandated that most of the AC receptacles in your home be connected to ARC Fault breakers for added protection. Unfortunately these ARC fault breakers are extremely sensitive and often trip when they experience a large power draw, such as from an Audio Video Receiver or Subwoofer. Thus, if you suddenly lose control of your device and it will not respond to any commands, check your breaker panel in your home to make sure none of your electrical breakers have tripped and removed power from the AV device. Please note that this may involve checking both your sub-panels and your main breaker panel if you have both of those. Along those same lines, you might have lost power to your AV device simply because it got unplugged. We cannot tell you how many times we get a call for a service call due to a lack of Wi-fi all of a sudden when the problem is because the house-keeper unplugged a Wireless Access point to run her vacuum cleaner. Thus if you see a device that normally has a bunch of blinking lights or similar on the display and now does not, trace the power cord back to the location it is plugged into power and make sure that is still the case. Finally, if all of the above checks out and you still have lost control of the AV device, go to the front of the component and push the power button to try and turn it on manually. If the device does not respond and you’ve checked your breakers and power cord, you definitely have a more serious issue to resolve.
Is your device still connected to the internet? Much of the newer AV equipment in your home is controlled over the network via IP commands. Additionally, devices like iPhones and iPads connect to this same network to control these devices. If any of these devices lose connection for any reason, control of your AV equipment will stop. Thus make sure you check your iOS devices to ensure they don’t just have cell connection, but connection to your home network. If they do not, try turning off your Wi-fi under Settings and then turning it back on. For your AV equipment you are trying to control, make sure the network cable feeding them a network connection is still plugged in and the network port activity lights are blinking. Then grab the remote that came with the device and use it to scroll to network settings and finally test network settings. Run through any network setting tests and make sure they pass. Finally, make sure your modem and router and still connected to the network and still getting power to them.
Are your batteries weak or have your rechargeable batteries failed? We know this sounds silly but you wouldn’t believe how many service calls we get where the only issue was that the AA batteries inside a Universal Remote got too weak to power the remote and the remote stopped working as a result. If your control device suddenly stops working and take disposable batteries– immediately replace them with fresh new batteries and test the control device again. If your control device has a rechargeable battery and charging stand or plug-in cord, two things can happen. The first is that the control device is not put back in its charging cradle correctly and as a result the battery lost it’s charge and got too weak to operate the device. To resolve simply correctly seat the control device in its charger and wait a few hours to charge back to full capacity. The second issue that can happen is that your rechargeable battery actually fails and can no longer retain a charge. In this case you will need to replace the battery by either finding an equivalent one online, or simply calling your Home Theater or Home Automation Installer to get a replacement battery for you.
If you get through any of these trouble-shooting tips and your problem is not resolved, take comfort in the fact that the service call you have to schedule with your Home Theater or Home Automation Installer will not appear to be as expensive to you as they have their work cut out of them to resolve your issue. We hope you have found these basic trouble-shooting tips useful. If you have more specific questions about an AV control problem you are having or would just like us to come out and resolve your issue for you, we are happy to do so within Los Angeles and the surrounding cities. You can reach us at 855-832-4775 or find us on the Web at www.technospeakco.com.
As always, at Technospeak, we take the “Tech-y” out of Technology, leaving you with the knowledge you need to enjoy your electronics.