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Sounds like your "friend" has cooked something. It could be one of your speakers (do they all sound ok for the 5 seconds it runs?), or it could be the receiver....
I would try disconnecting all the speakers and see if it stays on. If so, it may be one of the speakers. Connect them one at a time, and see if you can tell.
Most likely it is going into a safe mode as one of the speaker connections might be creating a short in the audio amplifier. Check speaker terminals connections. The model number of the unit would be helpful to know.
unfortunately most stereo mfgs. install a protect (shutdown) citcuit if it detects an internal short (bad amplifier )or a external short( bad speaker)....disconnectl speakers see if it still shuts down if so there is a genuine component failure inside..however if it stays on then in all likliehood its a bad speaker
the speaker is not broken, its the receiver, cuz i have this model, and now it just flashes a blue light on the power button and it wont turn on. I had the same problem as you before it did wat is doing now. i ran the speakers on my vsx-3900s, and they didnt mess up at all, they only did it on the vsx-816