Have you ever settled in to watch a movie on your AV receiver, only for it to shut off throughout the film? As frustrating as this problem is, there may be a significant issue that you are not addressing.

Your AV receiver keeps turning off because of a technical or thermal issue. AV receivers have safety measures that cause shut down when it indicates a source of harm to your AV equipment. These sources can include short circuits, overheating, and broken down wires, among other things.

Unexpected shutdowns occur for a variety of reasons, which are often a response to ensure the device’s safety and keep the user from harm caused by a technical malfunction. Read on to learn why your receiver keeps turning off and what you can do to fix it.

Short Circuit

You have probably heard the term ‘short circuit’ before. It is synonymous with breaking down in the electronics world, but what happens explicitly when an electronic experiences a short circuit?

Short circuits are a unique condition when an electrical current strays from the path provided by a device’s wires. Electricity always looks for the path of least resistance. When given the opportunity, it will jump from a stray wire to complete its course faster. Receivers include fail-safe mechanisms that shut the system down before the possibility of an electrical fire can occur.

Damaged Wires

Damaged wires can cause an AV receiver to shut down if it contributes to a short. However, your receiver may be on, but the connection to an input or output is not working correctly. This occurrence means your receiver either is not receiving signals or transmitting them to a speaker.

Blown Out Speaker

Speakers are sensitive and can only handle a certain amount of decibels before they experience significant damage. Additionally, too much power from your amplifier to your speakers can also cause damage.

AV receivers prevent harm from occurring to your home theater system by using a built-in computer to sense potential damage and turn the receiver. In this case, your music’s too loud, or your speakers cannot handle the amp power.


AV receivers generate a lot of heat because of their high-power components, like microprocessors and amplifiers. Performing tasks with these components use up a lot of energy.

After all, your AV receiver does many things, including managing your home theater and amplifying your surround sound speakers. Luckily, they still function because of vents built into the top of the console.

Due to convection, the hot air created by an AV receiver rises. However, if the receiver’s ventilation gets obstructed, the heat gets trapped, causing the system to overheat, which results in a shutdown.

Standby Circuit

Most AV receivers today are built to be energy efficient, which helps the receiver’s lifespan and lowers your electricity bill. One feature manufacturers often use to accomplish this is a standby circuit. Standby circuits turn on when they sense no activity on your receiver for an extended period. Once the circuit turns on, the receiver goes into a low power state, known as ‘Standby.’

Lack of Power

Underpowered circuits are vulnerable to damage. Additionally, speakers vary by impedance or electrical resistance. The impedance determines how much voltage the speaker needs to work. It may be possible to have enough electrical current, but the amplifier’s voltage is not enough for the speaker. Either instance will result in a shutdown or an inability to function.

How to Stop Your Receiver From Turning Off Unexpectedly

An unexpected receiver shutdown is scary. However, once you diagnose what the problem is, you can find a solution to fix it. Most of the troubleshooting methods below are things you can do on your own. However, if these methods do not work, you may need to employ a professional’s help.

Check the Wires

Before checking your AV receiver’s wires and connections, it is vital to shut off all of your equipment. Once you have ensured safety by shutting down your equipment, it is time to check the wires for any damage.

Stray wires are a direct cause of short circuits, so it is essential to check for stray wires that may be touching the back panel of your receiver or one of the speakers. To fix stray wires, use a wire stripper to pair down the wire, and then replace it.

Stripped wires are not the only problem you can encounter. Damage can occur from pets, appliances, and your own feet. If you notice significant damage, it is best to either splice the damaged wire or replace it entirely. Make sure to test all of your connections before turning your AV equipment back on.

Maintain and Clean the AV Receiver

Regular maintenance of your AV receiver is vital to prevent overheating. Dust buildup inhibits ventilation of your AV receiver. Luckily, cleaning your receiver once a month is enough to prevent dust buildup.

You can use a dust canister to clean out hard-to-reach spaces and cooling fans. A microfiber cloth can dust the outside of the receiver. Furthermore, you can take apart the receiver to do some internal cleaning, but this may violate the warranty, so exercise caution.

It is also essential to have your receiver serviced when any problems arise that you cannot handle independently. When in doubt, seek a professional.

Avoid Heat Sources

Since AV receivers generate heat, placing them near a source of heat will cause them to overheat. If your receiver keeps shutting down, that may indicate your receiver is in a hot spot. Move the receiver away from other electronics, heating units, and direct sunlight. It’s best to keep your receiver in a cool dark place.

Ventilate the AV Receiver

Another way to prevent your receiver from overheating is to invest in proper ventilation. There are several ways to passively ventilate your receiver, some of which we already mentioned.

Avoiding heat sources, cleaning up dust, and giving your receiver space are some ways to facilitate passive ventilation. It is also helpful to store your receiver in a ventilated cabinet or compartment rack.

Change Standby Mode Settings

This solution is relatively simple. If you find your receiver is in standby mode, you can disable the function by going into your receiver’s settings via the menu or display panel. Some manufacturers also provide a sleep timer, which shuts the system off after a preset time. If your standby function is already disabled, the shutdown may be due to a sleep timer.

Check the Current

To check the power current running to your AV receiver, check where the power cable gets plugged in. Also, check what appliances get plugged alongside it. Other devices may be using a lot of power, which leaves the receiver with less energy than it needs to run. Splitting appliance power over a power strip also deprives your receiver.

Check the Speaker Impedance

If a speaker has too low of an impedance, it will not handle your receiver’s power. Usually, this would be a speaker with an impedance of 4 ohms or less. Always refer to your receiver and your speakers’ instruction manual to determine if they are an appropriate fit. These manuals will list the specifications you need to know.

Final Thoughts

In short, when an AV receiver shuts down unexpectedly, it is in response to a deeper problem. Here is a quick list of possible issues:

  • Short circuits
  • Damaged wires
  • Blown out speakers
  • Overheating
  • Standby
  • Lack of power

Fortunately, you can fix these issues with a little bit of maintenance. However, if you find the problem beyond your scope of knowledge, seek professional servicing.