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How to fix Genius 5.1 Home Theater general volume Potentiometer

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We don’t usually do this but since we got a couple of requests on this coming from some Serbian forum, we decided why not, since this is a pretty popular speaker system and this is actually quite a frequent problem for these speakers.

So many people threw so many of these fine built speakers just for this minor issue… it’s a pity now one came with a detailed guide on how to fix them rather then throw them away.

Genius is a Taiwanese computer company with products ranging from normal 2.0 speakers, home theaters, headphones, keyboards, mice, webcams, microphones, etc. They are mostly focused on peripherals. While Genius is no where near well established brands such as Logitech, Microsoft, Creative, Trust and others, they still make a lot of great products with good bang for the buck. Their stuff is usually high quality and at half of price of what others offer.

Their products always enjoy high user ratings and reviews of at least 4 out of 5 stars everywhere you go, from amazon.com user reviews to newegg.com, walmart.com about.com, virtually everywhere!

Some of you may think that they are not that high quality if these speakers are suffering from this well known general volume potentiometer issue… Well in fact this IS actually a minor problem because potentiometers, no matter who makes them, they still all age and first they start to make these “fffshht” noises, after that they will all surely die, especially multi-channel potentiometers because they are more sensible. Be thankful that this is all there is to these speakers! Highly expensive Creative home theaters are much more buggier than Genius. For example, top computer speaker system Creative’s GigaWorks 7.1 S750 700W RMS set is plagued with amplifier issues, many users reporting overheating and even burnouts when in use for more than 5-8 hours without any pause. So enjoy your minor Genius potentiometer issue. It’s all there is to it.

Potentiometer Rewiring Guide

Just to make things clear, the following guide is addressed to the first Genius Home Theater, the one with small rear speakers, called Genius SW5.1 3600, 120W RMS model and equipped with the motorized Soundwell B503 for the general volume potentiometer.

There aren’t many alternatives out there to this Soundwell potentiometer but thanks to the Chinese, there are these ALPS potentiometers virtually everywhere on the market. Just do a eBay search and you’ll see.

Don’t get yourself fooled by the “JAPAN” label :) these potentiometers are 100% Made in China. Indeed there is a Japanese potentiometer company called ALPS but the ALPS you will find on eBay are fake Chinese replicas. Whatever! Who cares??? They are cheap and they get the job done flawlessly! If they resist 5 years of daily usage then they are worth each and every possible penny you spent on them. So get yourself one, or 2 perhaps, just in case 1 doesn’t work or just for future use. The potentiometers should be rated 50K ohms and be 6 channels. 10K or 100K should work as well though we don’t recommend it because it will change the volume intensity. The 10K will be more sensitive to small rotations while the 100K will be the opposite. Just stick to 50K because there are plenty of them on eBay.com and on aliexpress.com

In the original Soundwell B503 the out 2 pin isn’t on the same place than in the ALPS potentiometer. So you have to cut out circuit on the PCB or you have to bend the pins and solder the two pins into the good hole with a little wire.The B503 4 and 5 pins are reverse wired than in the ALPS. If you have got a multimeter you can measure it exactly. Every pins are in the correct position except these two.

The second kind may be good. I don’t know exactly that type but there are not too much variant in the allocation of the pins. The Soundwell B503 was logarithmic potentiometer and the ALPS potentiometer is linear, but that’s not a problem. Don’t worry about it.

Basically there are 2 common ALPS potentiometers compatible with this Genius system. So remember these models! First we have the most common and widely used potentiometer called ALPS 50KAX6 and second we have the “newer” and improved (or so the Chinese claim) ALPS 50KBX6. Both of these potentiometers have the same pin arrangement. The only difference is that the Chinese claim that 50KBX6 uses better materials and will last longer than 50KAX6. They are claiming that while KAX6 will handle 15000 cycles, KBX6 should last “more cycles” not specifying exactly how many more but whatever! Maybe its just a Chinese marketing lie, with nothing but different labeling for the same potentiometer, or maybe it’s the truth, who knows?

Anyway if you didn’t understand anything from the above instructions just check out the photo below which should be more clear than anything else. In case, any of you still need the schematics we could upload them on request for both Soundwell B503 and ALPS 50KAX6. Leave a comment and let us know if this worked out for you. Cheers and subscribe to our newsletter if you found this to be helpful.

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