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It happened! PROTECTOR mode on my Sony STR-V444ES!


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#1 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 28 2002 - 03:47 PM

I was away for a few days for the Memorial Day weekend, and like every time I go away, I had all my A/V components unplugged from the outlets. Perhaps this seems odd, especially since I use surge protectors, but I lost a computer to an electrical storm last year, and I don't take any chances now. Anyway, I got home this evening and plugged in the surge protectors and then turned on a few components around the house. Everything seemed fine. Then I turned on my Sony STR-V444ES A/V receiver a few hours later, and the display said "PROTECTOR Please Power Off". Of course I turned it off right away. Then I unplugged the receiver for about a half hour, plugged it in, and tried it again, and again, I got the same message. I saw no smoke and did not smell anything unusual the first time I saw the message. At this point, I have no idea what might have gone wrong. I've never had a problem with this receiver. For now, I have the receiver unplugged.

When the receiver functioned normally, I would hear a click when I turned it on and a second click (relay?) a few seconds after turning it on. Now I don't hear the second click. I hear the click when I turn it on, but then I hear nothing and the PROTECTOR message is displayed. Could the power supply have been fried somehow?

There is one other thing I should note. I have a small desktop fan from Brookstone standing on the back edge of the receiver (it does not cover the grill on top of the receiver at all). I've had this fan ever since getting the receiver back in September 2000. The fan speed can be adjusted. Whenever the fan is unplugged and is plugged back in, it defaults to the maximum speed when you turn it on. (If you lower the speed and turn it off, but do not unplug it, it will remember the lower speed setting when you turn it back on.) Anyway, my ritual after plugging everything back in is to turn on the fan and adjust the speed (the maximum speed is not necessary) and then turn on the receiver. The fan and receiver are plugged into the same surge protector. The fan is working fine. Could the fan somehow have screwed up the receiver? For what it's worth, the fan is connected to a 6V AC adapter, which is plugged into the surge protector.

Has anyone else observed the PROTECTOR mode with the Sony 'V333ES, 'V444ES, or 'V555ES? I know that this is a fairly common problem with Sony's DE receivers, but I have not heard of it happening often with the 'V' series ES receivers. Anyway, I am prepared to box up the receiver and take it to a local Sony authorized repair shop nearby. Posted Image
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#2 of 77 Joe Tilley

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Posted May 28 2002 - 04:19 PM

Keith,I think the first place I would look is at your speaker wires.If you had unhooked all your power wires you may have by accident loosened a speaker wire or two that may be causing a short. I have had this happen to me before & sure enough it was a speaker wire, & for the relay you will not hear the second one click when its in protection mode.

Another thing if by any chance you may have burnt up a tweeter or woffer it will go into protection,I had a defective tweeter before that would play fine but wan you turned the volume up it killed the receiver,I replaced the tweeter & haven't had any more trouble.

Hope you figure it out....

#3 of 77 Richard Fuller

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Posted May 28 2002 - 04:41 PM

Hello Keith this has happened to me also. Nine times out of ten it's a short of the speaker wires they are probably touching somewhere unhook all speaker wires and redo should take care of the problem.Posted Image
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#4 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 28 2002 - 10:44 PM

Joe and Richard, thanks. I know that a problem with the speaker wires can cause a receiver to go into the protector mode, but I haven't used the system in awhile. So I can't imagine that anything happened to the wires. Also, I haven't touched the speaker wires in awhile. Finally, I've never had a problem with the speakers. Still, I will unplug the speaker wires and try it again. Here goes...
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#5 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 28 2002 - 10:53 PM

...I unplugged one speaker at a time and the PROTECTOR mode still engages. So, with all of the speakers disconnected, I still see the PROTECTOR message. Posted Image
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#6 of 77 Michael_T

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Posted May 28 2002 - 11:04 PM

Keith,
I think you actually have to have the speakers attached to the receiver. Not having speakers attached and firing up a receiver can, I think, also send it into protector mode. I think you should try hooking the speakers back up and see what happens.

A bad weekend for Sony products - huh?

First my XA777ES goes wild - now enroute to Massachusetts for repair, and your V444 mysteriously goes into PROTECTOR mode and won't come out?

Good Luck.

#7 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 28 2002 - 11:16 PM

Michael, I don't think a receiver will go into PROTECTOR mode if the speakers aren't connected. I think that if there were a bad wire or wires touching, disconnecting them from the receiver would have eliminated the PROTECTOR mode issue.

I saw the thread on Audio Asylum regarding your 'XA777ES. Sorry to hear about this. Of course, I had the problem with the Sony MDS-JA555ES minidisc player in December as well. I don't like what is going on here. I am not as "emotionally attached" to the 'V444ES receiver as I was to the 'JA555ES or you are to the 'XA777ES, so if the 'V444ES has to be scrapped, I'll live. With a check from Sony, I'd buy something else, and probably not a Sony.
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#8 of 77 Chip E

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Posted May 29 2002 - 12:10 AM

Oh boy!...

Sorry to hear it Keith. Sheesh. Should the 444 be fried, hell, you deserve a new receiver about now me thinks.. Posted Image
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#9 of 77 Patrick Sun

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Posted May 29 2002 - 12:54 AM

Have you plugged the receiver into a wall outlet (without the surge protector)?
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#10 of 77 Hank_P

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Posted May 29 2002 - 01:06 AM

Kieth... I have the V444ES and have had the wonderful PROTECTOR mode blink at me. Of course mine was very obvious as it had taken a surge in power. I have some pretty good surge protectors.. but they don't protect you when it's more of a "brown-out" and power comes back up to "normal" within a couple of seconds... while I'm watching a movie at pretty loud levels ..and since it wasn't a Spike.. nothing tripped and essentially all that power hit those circuits and blew 12 of them up ...it all took about 8 seconds for that to happen.

Anyway, it was repaired for a cost of $0 !!! Got to love that 5 year warranty. The technician said that if any circuit on Sony's boards go bad, and can't finish the "startup test" it will go into the Protect mode to keep it from harming/destroying other circuits.

Good Luck

(really sorry to hear that Keith.. I actually purchased mine based on your review when you first got it. ...and yes, I'm still loving every bit of it)

#11 of 77 AaronD

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Posted May 29 2002 - 01:55 AM

Keith,

You seem to be having a heck of a time with Sony components recently. This worries me, especially concerning SACD. For now Sony is the only one who makes a variety of players and I'd like the format to stick around. I hope you get your problems worked out.

If you're going to buy a new receiver maybe look at the denon's, they've got a reputation for being tanks. I've got a H/K that I've been quite happy with, but others have expressed quality issues with them as well... For now, I haven't seen anything.

Or perhaps it's time to make that leap to separates in the HT? You could say that you're doing it for multi-channel music I guess.. Posted Image

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#12 of 77 Shane Martin

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Posted May 29 2002 - 06:20 AM

Keith,
1 word UGH!!!

Mine is running beautifully as well as my friends' unit.

#13 of 77 JackS

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Posted May 29 2002 - 06:39 AM

Keith- As you look around these boards, you have got to notice that all receivers are subject to malfunctions of one kind or another. The Sony ES 5 year warranty is still the best in the business. All machines are subject to failure, and all machines will eventually fail regardless of price. There is no reason to beleive the 444's failure rate is any better or worse than anything else, but the warranty is better than anything else. Have it fixed for "free" and gloat a little. Good Luck, Jack

#14 of 77 Mike Veroukis

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Posted May 29 2002 - 07:29 AM

A little off topic here, but since we're on the topic of "brown outs" and surge protectors, what do people think about a UPS (uninterruptible power supply)? Would this protect equipment from a brown out? I wonder if you'd even need a surge protector when using one of those. Plus you can keep on listening to music even when all the other houses on the block are blacked out! Posted Image

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#15 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 29 2002 - 11:35 AM

First of all, I appreciate everyone's replies here.

Chip,

Absolutely. If my 'V444ES cannot be fixed, Sony will have to cut me a check (I paid $640 plus shipping). Sony did this when my MDS-JA555ES minidisc deck was (finally) deemed irreparable. However, I don't think it will come to this with the receiver. My guess is that this will be a relatively simple repair, but perhaps I have typed too soon. Posted Image


Patrick,

I have thought about plugging the receiver into to a wall outlet or another surge protector, but I haven't gotten to it yet. All the other components that are plugged into the same surge protector I have been using for the 'V444ES are working fine.


Hank,

Your experience makes me feel better. This should be a relatively simple repair. Time will tell. I plan on bringing the receiver to a repair shop on Saturday.

I have no idea what caused the problem with my receiver. As I said, I was away for the weekend, and I found out that there were electrical storms in the area while I was away, but none of my components were plugged into the outlets. It is worth noting that a cordless phone and the phone jacks on a surge protector (different surge protector than the one I use for the 'V444ES) were fried during one of the storms. I came home and found that the cordless phone (in the same room as the 'V444ES) was dead, and I could not get a dial tone from my desktop computer or fax machine when plugged into my surge protector (different room than the cordless phone/'V444ES). Obviously, a storm wreaked havoc on my phone lines. However, as I said, my components were not plugged in due my concern over storm activity, so I can't see how the storms could have affected the 'V444ES. It seems like an awful coincidence that the 'V444ES died along with the cordless phone and phone jacks on the surge protector. Had the receiver been plugged in over the weekend, I could see how it might have died.


Aaron,

I must admit that I am a bit concerned about all of my Sony components now. The problems I have observed with the minidisc deck and receiver are obviously very different in nature (mechanical in one case and electrical in the other), but they point to a reliability issue. However, the five-year warranty is one reason why I buy Sony ES components, aside from the performance. Anyway, I hear you when it comes to SACD players. Thus far, my players have performed flawlessly. Again, I have ES models with five-year warranties.


Jack,

Thanks. Receivers from the competition (Denon, Onkyo, H/K, for example) come with a two-year warranty. I bought the Sony in September 2000, so a two-year warranty would still be valid. However, I feel much better having a five-year warranty. The problem with the 'V444ES is an inconvenience, but I know I won't have to spend a dime to get it fixed. Either it will be fixed or I will get a check to buy a new receiver.
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#16 of 77 Michael_T

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Posted May 29 2002 - 01:39 PM

Keith,

Maybe one of those electrical storms hit so close to your house that some spurious electrical activity in the air actually "damaged" one of the circuits on the V444ES even without it being plugged in?

It seems very coincidental that you could have such a strong storm that would knock out your phone service and cordless phone, and at the same time you experience problems with the 444ES. I am not an electrical engineer or profess to know that much about the electrical nature of strong storms that may hit close to a house - but it does seem to be connected - as much as it may seem that it is not.

#17 of 77 Patrick Sun

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Posted May 29 2002 - 02:28 PM

If you're having problems, strip out all the non-essentials. That means hooking the receiver up to the wall outlet and eliminating the surge protector as the cause for the error condition. If the problem goes away, you need a new surge protector, otherwise, pack up the receiver and take it in for repair.

Also make sure all of your speaker terminals are "clean" with nothing loose that could cause a short circuit condition between speaker terminals.
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#18 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 29 2002 - 02:33 PM

Michael,

I agree that it is an awful coincidence. Maybe I need to call in Scully and Mulder. Something odd is going on. Posted Image


Patrick,

I really doubt that something is wrong with the surge protector, but anything is possible. As I said, the surge protector wasn't plugged in during the storms, and everything else plugged into it is functioning normally. As for the speakers, I disconnected one at a time and the PROTECTOR display still came on upon powering up the receiver with each speaker removed. Now the PROTECTOR mode engages with no speakers connected. I will disconnect everything and plug it in somewhere else as you suggested.
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#19 of 77 AaronD

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Posted May 29 2002 - 03:49 PM

Keith,

If other devices of yours bit the dust, I would venture to guess that somehow your receiver was hit by the same storm. What about the signal paths, was *any* device that was connected to your receiver in some way plugged in? What about a Tivo, or Direct TV unit plugged into the phone line and in turn plugged into your receiver? I can't remember from your website if you have any such devices. I would guess that it would be possible for some other device to have gotten hit, not be affected, and the surge traveled to your receiver due to a higher electrical potential in your recever from capacitors or what-have-you... I don't know, it's been a long time since I took an electronics class. I'd double check everything and try and come up with some quirky way that the surge could have traveled.

*shrug* Anything that was plugged into your recever and still grounded would in turn provide a nice path to ground through your receiver theoretically.

I'm just guessing... Posted Image

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#20 of 77 KeithH

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Posted May 29 2002 - 04:15 PM

Aaron, I just thought of something. I don't know if this could have happened, but bear with me. I have a digital cable box (my cable company is Comcast). A coax cable runs from the wall jack into the digital cable box. A second coax cable runs from the digital cable box to my S-VHS VCR. A third coax cable runs from the VCR to the TV. S-video cables run from the S-VHS VCR and the TV to the receiver. Now, the digital cable box, S-VHS VCR, and TV were not plugged in during the storms. However, a coax cable was connected to the wall jack. If there was a lightning strike at my house or some power surge that fried the cordless phone and surge protector (see a previous post), could a surge have somehow also gone from the coax cable in the wall jack through the cable box, VCR, and/or TV and then fried my receiver? There is no direct path between the cable wall jack and the receiver, and again, all components in the chain were unplugged. Still, could a power surge of some sort have fried my receiver given my set-up? Hmmm.... If this is the case, I suppose I have two options. I could take the receiver to a Sony repair shop as I have planned or I could contact my insurance company. Either way, I would get the receiver fixed or get a check. There is probably no point in going through the insurance company since I can get the receiver repaired under warranty.
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