How to Fix Volume Control

By Kevin Krause

Scratching, audio peaks, buzz, and cutting in and out are all signs that your volume control may be damaged. Volume is controlled with an electromechanical potentiometer, and from time to time connections may become loose or weak. Checking over your volume control's circuitry for damage or loose connections will help you identify the problem, which can normally be fixed easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Soldering iron
  • Rosin-core solder
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Replacement pot

Step 1

Check that the volume control potentiometer is securely fastened to the chassis or body of the circuit to which it is wired. A loose volume pot may introduce strain to the solder connections when it is turned, which weaken the joints over time. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nut.

Step 2

Make sure the proper connections are made on the volume pot. Terminal "1" should be wired to ground, "2" should be output, and "3" should be input.

Step 3

Check the wires attaching the volume pot to the circuit for damage, wear or corrosion. The wires should not be pulled taut. Make sure the insulation is intact along the wires. Bare points on the wire may cause shorts in your volume circuit. Replace the wires, if necessary, by soldering new wires to the old connections.

Step 4

Re-solder any loose connections at the potentiometer. Make sure each wire is making proper contact with only one terminal, and that the solder joints are secure.

Step 5

Trace the wires from the volume pot to their connection points on the circuit. Make sure the connections are secure. Re-solder any loose joints.

Step 6

Test your pot for proper function. If problems persist, the issue may be with the internal mechanics of the potentiometer. In this case, you will need to obtain a new volume pot and solder it to the old connections in the same way the previous pot was wired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before working on any electrical circuit, make sure it is disconnected from power to avoid electrical shock.