When AV Devices Attack Croak

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More often than not the inspiration for my editorials and blog posts come from recent events/incidents/disasters in my life.

Invariably, in these incidents (and disasters) I have to fall back on my training as an installer and designer.

To quote Al Pacino from The Godfather: Part III: “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.”

For that matter, for someone who’s not an electrician I spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with electrical.

Likewise, for someone who’s not a plumber I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with plumbing.

But that’s neither here nor there.

This morning my daughter hollered at me from downstairs, “Dad, the TV’s not working.”

Upstairs, I rolled my eyes; that could mean anything.

As it turns out, she was right.

Not only was the TV not working, nothing with working.

Troubleshooting 101 to the rescue: Diagnose, Analyze, Repair, Test, Prevent.

Diagnosis: No power to the devices.

Analysis: Outlet at the wall tests good, and display on the front of the AC power conditioner is lit up.

Sidebar: this plug-in receptacle tester:


is money well spent for a single-purpose diagnostic tool. I love my multimeter (as you well know) but this a more convenient tool for troubleshooting electrical outlets.

Through further analysis I determined that the power conditioner was intermittently switching its own receptacles on and off.

So I disconnected it from the AV system (replacing it with a MacGuyver-esque assortment of spare power bars so my daughter could watch TV in the interim) and benched it.

The analysis continued. Benched and isolated, I tested each of the receptacles and determined that all 10 of them were intermittently switching on and off, with no relation to whether the switches on the back for the outlet banks were set to “switched” or “unswitched.”

Conclusion: the control processor is shot.

Repair? I freely admit I’m not a service tech. While I did open the cabinet to see if anything was visibly fried and smoking from a surge (in which case the unit likely wouldn’t have lit up anyway), I’m not about to spend all day monkeying around in its guts.

Incidentally, the power conditioner is almost 12 years old, and until this morning performed admirably.


So now I’m holding at the repair/replace decision process. I’ve emailed Monster service about my options for having it repaired.

At the same time, in the event that it’s uneconomical to repair I’ve started shopping around for a replacement. If any of you pros from a power management vendor want to talk, I’m open to discussion.