My stereo amplifier quit amplifying over the weekend. The LEDs still lit up, and it would still pass audio through the "tape out," but nothing went to the speakers. So, I decided to take it apart and see what I could find...
Step 1: Open It Up
Pull the cover off, and expect to find something obviously wrong.
When there's nothing obviously wrong, make disapproving noises and have your house-mate phone his brother to see if the brother still has an extra amplifier. When it turns out he doesn't, carry on to step 2.
Step 2: Vacuum Out All the Dust
I've had this amp since at least 1996 and it's never been opened, so that's plenty of time to accumulate some serious dust.
Vacuum out all the innards. Wire it back up and be amazed that all the channels now work.
Step 3: Reassemble
Put the cover back on and reconnect everything. Expect another 10 years of service before next cleaning.
Update: It has stopped working again twice since I originally wrote this, and both times vacuuming it out has fixed it.
Jan. 2008 - vacuumed, fixed again.
Feb. 2009 - vacuumed, didn't fix, vacuumed more vigorously and it fixed
Feb. 2009 - a week later it stopped working, and I vacuumed it gingerly, which fixed it.
There's no visible dust inside the amp. I don't think it's a loose wire because "pretend" vacuuming (or shaking for that matter) has no effect.
I posted a question about why this work here:
My integrated stereo amplifier periodically stops working. Why does vacuuming it out fix it?