Troubleshooting Common AV Equipment Problems

Instructions for AV-equipped classrooms:

  • To begin troubleshooting an AV problem, it is best to shut everything down and start them all up again according to the written instructions for the classroom.
  • Then refer to the appropriate sections of this document for more troubleshooting instructions.
  • A set of instructions for operating the AV equipment in each classroom has been placed on top of the AV cabinet.

Audio System

  • Sound does not work with classroom computer:
    • A quick test to see whether the audio system is working is to login to the network with the classroom computer and listen for the login chime. If you hear it, the AV audio system is working. If the login process has no music, check the volume controls on the computer:
      • Double-click Volume icon in System Tray to make sure volume is not turned down or muted on your computer
      • Click Settings > Control Panel > Sounds & Audio Devices > Sounds tab to see if volume is turned down or muted.
      • Then click the Audio tab, then Advanced button in Sound Playback section to assure that headphones aren't selected.
    • If you checked the computer volume controls and still can't get sound, check the volume controls on other equipment to be sure the sound isn't turned off. These controls must all must be turned ON for the sound system to work. They may also have to be adjusted with one another to get quality sound. Check:
      • Main volume dial on sound "mixer" unit in equipment rack
      • Volume control on Control Panel (if one is used)
  • Sound doesn't work with VCR/DVD player:
    • The volume dials on the equipment in the cabinet (mixer and VCR or DVD) must all be turned ON for the sound system to work. They may also have to be adjusted with one another for the sound to work. Check:
      • Main volume dial on sound "mixer" unit in equipment rack
      • Volume control on Control Panel (if one is used)
      • Volume control on VCR/DVD player unit in rack.
  • The sound is distorted:
    • Using the computer, go to www.wosu.org (select the 89.7 Classically Columbus link), which will help you determine the quality of the sound on the computer as well as the AV sound system.
    • Check that the main power amplifier is turned on.
    • Volume controls mentioned above may be set incorrectly with one another. Adjust dials with each other to see if improvement is achieved.
    • If there is static, make sure other components are turned off, (otherwise, they may cause static in the sound system.
  • How to connect AV sound system to a laptop for an audio presentation:
    • Most classrooms have a black audio cable attached to the laptop VGA video cable on the AV equipment cabinet. However, some do not. Check classroom's written instructions to find out whether the room has laptop audio capability. The end of the audio cable should be plugged into the line input port (headphone jack) of the laptop to make the audio system work with the laptop. After connecting the cable, follow the written AV instructions for the classroom that describe how to use the audio system with a laptop.

Bulbs: portable data projectors, overhead transparency projectors & slide projectors

  • Projector bulb is burned out:
    • The user is responsible for changing the bulbs in portable projectors. Do not touch the bulb glass with fingers or the oil may cause it to explode.
    • Ceiling-mounted projectors require a technician to change the bulb--contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.
    • Overhead (transparency) projectors usually have an extra bulb inside the projector cabinet next to the primary bulb. Move latch out of way first to remove burned-out bulb. Then slide second bulb over into the place of the burned-out bulb so that its light will shine through the light portal.
    • Replace the burned-out bulb: Get a new bulb from the department’s administrative assistant, or if not available, from Helpline. ENX bulbs (round pins) are used in overhead projectors. Slide projectors take EXR bulbs (flat pins). Replacement bulbs for data projectors must be ordered through Helpline, 1-740-427-5700.
    • If a new bulb doesn’t correct the problem, the bulb socket may be bad (it will appear blackened). Contact Helpline for repair.
    • If socket is okay, test projector in another electrical outlet to see if the original outlet is the problem.

Cables

  • Laptop VGA (video) cable is missing from AV cabinet:
    • The video cable attached at the back or front of the AV equipment cabinet is used to connect the laptop to the projection system. If missing, look for it on the floor on the sides or on the back of a cabinet since it may have fallen off. If one can't be found, contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700 for a cable.
  • Laptop connected to classroom projection system has no network connection:
    • The laptop connection is not set up to connect to the network. It simply connects to the projection system in the classroom. If a network connection is needed, get a network cable (from Helpline) and plug it into the laptop and the 2nd network port on the wall. (The 1st port should have the classroom computer's cable in it). If the 2nd port isn't activated, unplug the classroom computer's network cable and use that network port temporarily, but you must remember to plug the classroom computer's network cable back into the 1st port when finished.
  • Classroom computer has no network connection:
    • Check that all cables are connected tightly into computer and the wall and that the network login screen Domain field contains the word "Kenyon."
    • Check that the classroom computer's blue network cable is actually connected to the 1st wall port. Sometimes instructors unplug the cable to connect their laptop to the network using that port (as described above) and then forget to reconnect the PC when finished teaching. The computer’s network cable could be plugged into the 2nd port that may not be activated. Plug the cable into the other port in the wall to see if it works. If not, call Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.

Computers used with Projectors

  • General Information:
    • If classroom computer's monitor is on but screen is black, the computer may be asleep and must be "awakened" by shaking the mouse on the mousepad.
    • When using a laptop with the projector, the projector should be turned on first, before the laptop is turned on.
    • Mac laptops require a 6" long connection cable (called a VGA adapter) in order to connect to the VGA cable in the AV projection cabinet. These adapters come with the Mac when they are purchased. If one is needed, contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700 -we have a few that may work although each Mac model has its own kind of adapter. 
  • Image from classroom computer won't display on projector screen:
    • Some rooms have a manual switch box in the AV equipment cabinet that toggles between Local/PC/Computer and Laptop option. Check that the Local/PC/Computer option is selected.
    • If there is a Control Panel, be sure that Local/PC/Computer is selected on the touchscreen. Check the classroom’s written AV instructions for more details in turning on the projection system.
  • Image from the laptop won't display on projector screen:
    • Some rooms have a manual switch box in the AV equipment cabinet that toggles between a Local/PC/Computer and Laptop option. Check that the Laptop option is selected.
    • If there is a Control Panel, be sure that Laptop is selected on the touchscreen. Check the classroom’s written AV instructions for more details in turning on the projection system.
    • Most newer Windows and Mac laptops are "plug & play," and are automatically detected by the projector. However, if the image does not appear, some of the computer settings may have to be changed. Here are some suggestions to try:
      • On a (Dell) Windows laptop:
        • Press the Fn+F8 function keys together one time. If image doesn’t project, press Fn+F8 a second time. If image still doesn’t project, press Fn+F8 a third time. By toggling through these sequences, you should be able to “hit” the setting that displays the laptop image on both the laptop and the projection screen.
      • On a Mac laptop:
        • Check the resolution and refresh rate:
          • Click System Preferences, then the Displays icon to change the resolution and refresh rate.
          • Screen Resolution: set to 800x600 (if higher resolution doesn’t work).
          • Refresh Rate: set to 60 Hz (if higher refresh rate doesn’t work).
        • Turn on "mirroring":
          • If laptop image doesn't project onto screen, press the F7 function key. If image still doesn’t project on screen, do the following to turn on mirroring:
            • Click System Preferences, then the Displays icon.
            • Select the Arrangement tab and checkmark Mirror Displays. (Note: These screens may vary in different models of Mac computers).
            • The monitor and projector will flicker a few times but will end up showing the same picture as the laptop image.
            • Note: If mirroring is not turned on, the Mac will not display the Finder screen correctly (screen will be blue with no Dock on it, and only PowerPoint presentations can be displayed on the screen).
  • Image from a personally-owned laptop won't display on projection screen:
    • Try changing the settings of the Windows or Mac laptop using instructions just above this section.
    • Kenyon cannot guarantee that a personally-owned laptop will work with its projection systems.
    • As a backup plan, the speaker have a flash drive of the presentation, which can be used in the classroom computer to give the presentation. The sponsoring Kenyon department has been instructed to tell speakers to make backups. 

Equipment racks

  • Equipment rack will not turn on:
    • Check that all power cables are inserted tightly in power strip.
    • Check that the amplifier power switch is on. Many classroom AV systems have a Rackrider or Whirlwind amplifier with an I/O button that turns ALL equipment in the rack on. Switch is usually at top right or bottom right of rack.
    • If this doesn’t solve the problem, the entire system may have to be reset as follows:
      • If using a Control Panel, make sure entire equipment rack is turned off by selecting All Equipment Power Off. If using a hand-held remote, turn off all equipment with remote.
      • Turn off and unplug power strip connected to rack and count to 30. Plug in and turn ON power strip. Try starting up the unit again according to written classroom instructions. If the unit will still not turn on, call HelpLine at 1-740-427-5700.

Projectors: ceiling-mounted projectors

  • General Information:
    • Buttons on touch-screen Control Panels or hand-held remote controls should be held down for 2-3 seconds when selecting options before equipment will respond. The same applies when turning the AV equipment off.
    • When turning on the ceiling projectors with a Control panel or hand-held remote, it may take 30-60 seconds to warm up before you will see the projection lamp turn on. 
  • Projector won’t turn ON:
    • Check the small lights on the projector. If one light (red, orange or green) is on during warmup, projector itself is okay. If two lights go on, or if an orange or red light continues blinking after warm-up period, this usually indicates a problem with the projector. Contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.
  • Projector displays a blue screen with "No video input" displayed in corner:
    • Check that the correct equipment (computer, laptop, VCR, DVD) has been turned on.
    • Check that the correct equipment (computer, laptop, VCR, DVD) has been selected on the Control Panel or hand-held remote.
  • Image on projection screen is distorted:
    • If system has a touch-screen Control Panel with an Autosync option on the touch screen, pressing that option should correct a distorted screen image.
    • If this doesn’t correct the problem or if there is no Autosync option, try selecting another equipment option on the Control Panel, then return to the original equipment option (for example: select from Local/PC/Computer option to VHS and then back to Local/PC/Computer to correct).
    • If the image still isn’t corrected and has fuzzy, distorted lines, the projector needs to be repaired. Contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.
  • Error messages on screen: (on both ceiling-mounted and portable data projectors)
    • Please clean filter” - disregard this message. False warning.
    • Lamp warning light” - bulb needs replacing. See Bulbs section for overhead and slide projectors. Contact HelpLine at 1-740-427-5700 for ceiling-mounted and data projectors.
    • "No video input" - means that the user hasn’t turned on the correct input device (computer, VCR, DVD) or hasn't selected it correctly on the Control Panel or hand-held remote.

Projectors: portable data projectors

  • Portable data projector doesn't work with personally-owned laptop:
    • See previous section on Image from a personally-owned laptop won't display on projection screen.
    • Also see previous instructions for configuring a Windows or Mac laptop to display the screen image through a projector.
  • Projector’s fan continues to run after projector lamp is turned off:
    • Always wait for the fan to stop running before unplugging the projector.
    • The purpose of the fan is to cool down the projector before it is turned completely OFF. On some projectors there is a manual switch to FAN to allow this cool-down.

Projectors: overhead (transparency) projectors

  • Transparency image is too big for screen or won't focus properly:
    • Try changing the distance of the projector from the screen to resize the image.
  • Overhead projector won’t turn on:
    • Check that all doors on projector are securely closed. There are 2 safety switches that prevent the projector from turning on if either the door on top of the projector or on the bulb-switching compartment is not securely closed.
    • The on/off switch may be jammed. If jam cannot be released, another projector will have to be substituted until the switch is repaired.
    • The metal rod on the projector that activates the on switch when lid is opened may need straightening. It sometimes gets bent with much use and doesn’t align correctly to activate the on switch. Contact Helpline.
  • Projector’s fan continues to run after projector lamp is turned off:
    • Always wait for the fan to stop running before unplugging the projector.
    • The purpose of the fan is to cool down the projector before it is turned completely off. On some projectors there is a manual switch to FAN to allow this cooldown.

Projectors: Elmo projectors

  • Elmo projectors are in several science building classrooms (Hayes 109, Higley Aud, Tomsich 101). They allow the instructor to project images from transparencies OR opaque paper-based materials.
  • To set up an Elmo projector: open the countertop cover where it is housed and:
    • Press the Unlock button at top of screen to unlock and position the lamp arms correctly over the screen.
    • If displaying transparencies, select the button in bottom left corner of screen to light up screen.
    • If displaying paper-based materials, select the button in bottom left corner of screen to turn on the overhead lamp/camera.
    • There is also an AutoFocus button at bottom of screen to get a clearer image.
    • Turn off all lamps when finished and lower lamp arms into cabinet. Replace countertop cover.
  • If Elmo turns on but the lamp doesn’t light up:
    • Its fluorescent bulb must be replaced. Contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.

Projectors: slide projectors (in Olin Aud and Higley Aud)

  • To display slide projector image on projection screen:
    • Slide projector must have the slide carousel installed, and the projector (in the projection booth) must be manually turned on.
    • Once the slide projector is on, set the switch on the little black box (next to the projector) from Remote Mode to Manual Mode so that the focus can be adjusted. Once focus is adjusted, the switch must then be reset to Remote Mode so that the slide projector can be controlled by the Control Panel, which is connected to its battery charger on the long cabinet at the front of the classroom.
    • Note: If the Control Panel has a low battery and doesn't work properly, it can still be used by keeping it plugged into the battery charger.
    • See room's written AV instructions on cabinet for more details in operating the “booth” slide projectors.
  • Slide projector will not display image:
    • There has to be at least one slide in the carousel for the slide projector to work.
    • Make sure that bulb is not burned out. Replace if necessary.
  • Projector’s fan continues to run after projector lamp is turned off:
    • Always wait for the fan to stop running before unplugging the projector.
    • The purpose of the fan is to cool down the projector before it is turned completely off. On some projectors there is a manual switch to FAN to allow this cooldown.

Remote Controls: Control Panels and hand-held remotes

  • General Information:
    • Buttons on touch-screen Control Panels or hand-held remote controls should be held down for 2-3 seconds when selecting options before equipment will respond. The same applies when turning the A-V equipment OFF.
    • When turning on the ceiling projectors with a Control Panel or hand-held remote, it may take 30-60 seconds to warm up before you will see the light come on.
    • If the Control Panel or hand-held remote doesn't work with the VCR or DVD player, the operational buttons on these units can be used and will override the Control Panel.
    • If the Control Panel isn't working correctly because of a low battery, it can still be used if kept plugged into the charger unit.
  • Hand-held remote doesn’t turn on projector or VCR/DVD player:
    • Make sure you are pointing the remote directly at the projector or other equipment you are trying to operate.
    • Make sure you are holding down the remote buttons at least 2-3 seconds to let the selection take effect.
    • Check the written classroom AV instructions to make sure you are selecting the correct buttons on the remote. (Example: the ON button must be pressed before selecting other equipment options on a hand-held remote. The RGB button selects the computer).
    • Some rooms also have hand-held VCR, DVD and projector remotes. Make sure you are using the correct remote for the unit you want to operate.
    • The batteries may be dead in the hand-held remote. They are available from Helpline.
    • If a hand-held classroom remote is missing, a backup remote is available from Helpline. Write down the brand & model of the projector, VCR or DVD player so the correct remote can be located.
    • Newer fluorescent lights in some classrooms (especially the science buildings) may cause interference with hand-held remote controls because of their frequencies. If the remote won’t work after all previous suggestions, turn off the lights in room. Then try the remote again. If nothing solves the problem, contact Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.
  • Wireless PowerPoint remote controls (in Higley & Tomsich) are missing:
    • Higley Aud and Tomsich 101 are two classrooms that have special wireless hand-held remotes for PowerPoint presentations. These remotes are owned by the Biology department. They are not left in the classrooms but kept by the department. Contact the administrative assistant for Biology to find out how to get them. The receiver unit is permanently attached to a USB port on top of the computer inside the cabinet. The devices are plug-and-play and are automatically detected.

Screens: retractable projection screen

  • Ceiling-mounted retractor screen will not retract:
    • If a ceiling-mounted projector screen will not retract, the Maintenance department must repair it. Call Helpline at 1-740-427-5700 to report this.

Screens: Plasma TV screen

  • Plasma screen will not turn on:
    • Main power switch on plasma screen might be turned off. It should be left on at all times. Switch is usually hidden along bottom of screen, along with other display controls.
  • Plasma screen is on but computer’s image will not display:
    • Press the RGB button on hand-held remote for 2-3 seconds, and continue pressing repeatedly until RGB-PCI appears on screen. This usually takes care of the problem.

VCRs and DVD Players

  • General Information:
    • If a Control Panel stops working with VCR and DVD players, you can override the Control Panel by manually selecting the operational buttons on these units.
    • Always check that the VCR or DVD player is powered ON before trying to use it. Sometimes a previous user has turned off the unit after using the projection system.
  • VCR or DVD player in equipment rack will not work:
    • Make sure the VCR or DVD player's on/Power button is turned on.
    • On VCR/DVD dual-players, make sure that the correct unit is selected (look for VCR /DVD toggle button or light that indicates which device is selected).
    • If this doesn’t solve the problem, the entire system may have to be shut down and reset as follows: 
      • If using a Control Panel, make sure entire equipment rack is turned off by selecting All Equipment Power Off.
      • If using a hand-held remote, turn off all equipment with the remote.
      • Unplug power strip from wall and count to 30.
      • Plug in and turn on power strip.
      • Try starting up the unit again according to the written AV instructions.
      • If the unit will still not turn on, call Helpline at 1-740-427-5700.
  • VCR or DVD Player sound is not working or distorted:
    • Check the Audio System section of this document for troubleshooting suggestions.
    • Note: As a last resort, if you cannot get the DVD player sound to function properly, you can run the DVD in the CD/DVD drive of the classroom computer. (Every classroom computer now has a CD/DVD drive). The sound may not be as high quality, but the DVD will be able to be shown.
  • VCR or DVD image won't display:
    • Projection screen will be blank and blue-colored with "No video input" displayed.
    • Check that VCR (or DVD) unit is turned on.
    • Check that the VCR (or DVD) option on the Control Panel or hand-held has been properly selected.
    • Note: As a last resort, if you cannot get the DVD player image to display, you can run the DVD in the CD/DVD drive of the classroom computer. (Every classroom computer now has a CD/DVD drive).
  • VCR or DVD Player image is distorted on projection screen:
    • If the image is distorted, see the Projectors: ceiling-mounted section of this document and sub-section Image on projection screen is distorted for troubleshooting suggestions.
    • Note: As a last resort, if you cannot get the DVD player image to display properly, you can run the DVD in the CD/DVD drive of the classroom computer. (Every classroom computer now has a CD/DVD drive).
  • VHS tape will not play:
    • For all American-made (VHS format) tapes, check that the NTSC “output” button (but not the PAL “input” button) is selected on the VCR unit. Most newer systems do this automatically.
    • For all European-made tapes (PAL format), check that the NTSC “output” and PAL “input” buttons are selected on the VCR unit. Most newer systems do this automatically.
  • Not able to use Control Panel to move to certain sections or "chapters" on DVD:
    • Some systems don't have a Control Panel with this feature--you must use the hand-held remote in the AV cabinet that can be used to toggle through DVD sections or chapters. (This is the case in all S. Mather 2nd floor classrooms).