Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Quick Fix For Creative Inspire 4.1 4400 Speaker Volume Control Unit

I have a Creative Inspire 4.1 4400 multi-channel speaker system. The problem is that the power/volume control unit does not work any more. I searched their website and came to know that they don't sell any spare parts. I went to their service centre in S.P.Road and the person there said, "We don't have spare parts but you will need to get the entire system and we will send it to the company in Mumbai and then they will service it and send it back."

Well I felt it was a rip-off because they did not even bother to ask what the problem was and then there was no information regarding the process or the cost that might be incurred.

I contacted their service centre in Malleshwaram and the person there was kind and honest. He said that they don't have spares but they can check and get back. He took my phone number and promptly called me back in about an hours time. He said that they do have a spare but its from another broken unit and can be used. It will cost Rs.350. Hmmm.... Though it was not a fair price he was at least frank to keep informed everything about it.

Then my curiosity said why should you spend Rs.350 when we can take a look at it and try to figure out what is the problem. Well I was successful in solving the problem and felt like sharing the solution with everybody and hence writing this blog.

What you need is a 5 pin 10K Potentiometer which costs about Rs.20 (~50 US Cents), a soldering gun and soldering lead (paste) both of which I already had at home. Please note that this is a quick fix and not an elaborate solution. This solution works if you are sure that the problem is specifically isolated to the power/volume control unit. Please make sure that all the terminals are disconnected from electric connections before you start to do any of the below mentioned steps. Please double check and make sure that the power supply is off and disconnected as the speaker's power adapter output is AC.

When I opened the power/volume control unit, I saw the circuit board as shown in the following picture:

The board has a couple of numbers: MS0240A and 010128. It also has Copyright Creative Technology Ltd. 2001.

I prepared the circuit diagram to understand how it is built and to plan what can be done before diving into action. As a project manager, my experience tells me very clearly to plan properly before doing anything.

What I did was to cut the power/volume control unit cable and have the wires ready to connect to the 10K Pot. 

Connect the coloured wires as shown below and solder the terminals for a firm contact. That's all there is to it. 

Once complete, for your own safety, wrap the pot with an insulating tape.