Fixing a Samsung home theater…

In the previous post, I mentioned that I had repaired my Samsung home theater unit. Seeing as the issue is a common problem for this model, I figured a post detailing what I did would be useful.

(I apologize in advance for a lack of pictures; the unit is assembled and back in the home theater and it would be a pain to disassemble again.)

First, a little bit of background: we purchased a Samsung HT-E6730w back in 2012 to replace my ailing Onkyo home theater unit. It’s an integrated home theater unit, including Dolby 7.1 surround sound, wireless rear speakers, a Blu-Ray 3D player, and vacuum tubes. The purpose of the vacuum tubes was to improve the receiver’s sound quality, and are not uncommon in much higher end units.

It was working great, until several months ago. The unit started developing a fault where it would start lowering the volume on its own. It was as if the volume button was being pressed, as we could hear the beeps that indicated the front panel was being operated. It happened randomly, and we would need to fight with it via the remote. Eventually, it got to the point where it was happening frequently and we would lose the fight, ending up with no sound. I took it to Best Buy’s Geek Squad to get it fixed, but they wanted a few hundred dollars to fix it. It turned out to be a moot point anyway, as they found they couldn’t get replacement parts. So, it was sent back unrepaired.

Frustrated, I decided to do some research, and found the cause of the problem: there was a design flaw involving the aforementioned vacuum tubes. They were located right next to the front panel controls, and the heat from the tubes ended up damaging the volume controls.

Fortunately, if you don’t mind going remote-only (like we do), there IS a fix. Note that these actions WILL void your warranty (if you still have one), and done wrongly can damage your receiver. Proceed at your own risk.

You need to take the top cover off the unit first. In the middle of the mainboard is the cable connecting the front panel to the mainboard; go ahead and remove it. Then, remove the front panel via the tabs at the top, bottom, and sides.

At this point, you can see two interface ribbons that plug into the front panel circuit board. One comes from the main front panel controls, and the other from the volume controls. All you need to do is slide out the interface cable from the volume controls. In my own case, it was easy to see the damage caused to the volume touch controls; the volume down button was almost completely transparent compared to the other button.

The volume controls are fixed at this point, and you can replace the front panel and reconnect its interface cable to the mainboard. However, I seriously recommend that the vacuum tubes be disconnected at this point as well. The daughter board they’re part of is connected to the mainboard via an interface cable with a white plug right by the tubes. Just disconnect them, and the vacuum tubes will stop working as well (as well as the USB microphone port). The reason I recommend disconnecting the vacuum tubes are that they do not affect system sound as much as implied, and more importantly their heat could damage other front panel controls. I kept my vacuum tubes connected, only for the eject button to be damaged by the heat and start malfunctioning as well. To fix that, I disconnected the main front page controls’ interface cable, and then disconnected the vacuum tubes.

Since then, my receiver has worked more or less perfectly. We don’t hear any sound difference, and while the front panel controls don’t work anymore, we never used them anyway. We’re just glad we didn’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a new unit.

Hopefully if you’re having the same problem, this post is of use to you. :-)