[SOLVED] Vizio Sound Bar Sound Cuts Out

I have a Vizio Sound Bar VSB210WS and it’s great. The sound is superb, it was super easy to install, the subwoofer puts out great sound and I love it. But recently, it started acting strangely. It would cut out for maybe 10-20 seconds and then come back. All the lights came on and the center one was kind of blinking a little – so you know it still worked but there was some sort of problem.

Here’s how that looked:

1-visio-sound-bar-lights

I tried a number of things to try to fix it:

  • Turned it off then on
  • Unplugged it for 30 seconds
  • Tried to pair the subwoofer again
  • Changed the battery in the remote
  • Did a factory reset

None of the above worked for me. I did some searching online for ideas. I found a Visio blog but they didn’t seem to have any answers there – all the person moderating that blog would post is that they should contact Visio for support… so that got me nowhere.

I was wondering if it was heat related because it felt warm and when I’d power it down for 30 seconds to a minute and then try it again, it seemed to stay on longer.

I then found a blog post about cleaning it out with a can of air. I had a little bit left, so I tried it. BAM! It stayed on now after spraying the compressed air into the slots on the back. Great. This makes sense and actually tells you that Visio designed this well because they made the sound bar so that it would shut off the amp to cool down before frying the board (electronics) that’s in there, rendering it useless. The lights are there to tell you what’s going on, too. Nice job, Visio!

This morning I tried it again and it was back to cutting in and out again. I figured the next step was to open it up, get another can of air and then give it a better cleaning (which you should do with all electronics – dust is a killer).

Here are the steps I did to open up my Visio sound bar:

  1. I prepped the area by putting a blanket on the table so that I wouldn’t scratch the sound bar.
  2. You can take the feet off of it if you think that’ll help you work… I did this.
  3. Carefully pull of the grill in the front. It might be glued a little (mine was a refurb so maybe that’s why). I didn’t need a screwdriver or anything, I just tried working it from different sides and it came off pretty easily.
  4. Next, there are 16 screws that you have to remove (yes, 16). Be careful not to strip them because they’re in some wells. You will have to take out the suction cup type things that are used to hold the front grill on. Some might still be on the grill piece. Just sort of pinch them and pull with your fingers and they’ll come out.
  5. Once you have the screws out, the speaker unit should separate – do it carefully as some wires are attached to each side and there’s a small board for the LED lights. You should be able to get the two pieces apart though. I had some trouble with a few of the screws on mine. There are glue or something in there and I actually had to get out my Dremel and sort of clear out some of the holes to get the screws to fall out. It was a pain.

Here are some pictures I took while opening it up:

2-sound-bar-disassemble

3-sound-bar-opening

4-sound-bar-insides

With mine, I thought there would be more dust – there really wasn’t much. I blew the compressed air in and gave it a thorough cleaning but since there wasn’t too much dust, I figured that maybe the design needed to be improved so that there would be more air flow.

There are some thin slots on the front and back that sort of line up where the power supply is. This must be how they set up the cooling for it but it might not be enough. What I did was drill some bigger holes into the speaker side to make those slots bigger and increase air flow – here a picture:

5-sound-bar-new-air-vents

Make sure you start with a small drill bit, make small holes and then work your way up to larger bits/holes. The grill will cover up the holes, so they won’t be seen.

I put 4 of the screws back in and then watched a movie to test it. At first, the sound was getting quieter but I live in a condo and my guess is that someone else is using that frequency for their system and the two were interfering. I set the volume manually with the buttons on top and then it stopped. I was able to watch a full movie and there was no cut out or dropped sound anymore – fixed!

I then put it back together and it seems to be working fine. The issue was heat. Use some compressed air to clean it out and then if that doesn’t work, try opening it up to clean it out. If that doesn’t solve it, then you might want to try drilling larger air holes like I did.

With all electronics, if you’re having problems you should first try cleaning it out with compressed air. I actually had to do this with my laptop about a month ago and now it’s running cooler. The dust prohibits airflow, which makes it run hot. When there’s good airflow, electronics run cooler and more efficiently. I would bet that 80% of the reasons electronics fail is because of dust. I think I’ve heard an electronics or computer repair guy say that before and that would make sense.

Good luck!
-Tony

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2 Comments

  1. Will Geho March 9, 2017
  2. Tom Shea March 30, 2017

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