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Eliminating speaker 'pops' when turning off lights?


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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:15 AM

I have an annoying electrical interference problem. Whenever I turn off a fluorescent light in the kitchen my sub 'pops' (given that it's on, of course). My thinking in this matter was that they shared the same circuit, so yesterday I had an electrician re-wire the sub's outlet so it is discrete. Unfortunately the 'pop' is still there. He explained that fluorescent lights give off strange harmonics that can affect the entire electrical system.

With that in mind can anyone offer another suggestion as to how I can alleviate this problem? Is it hurting my sub?

On another, more positive, note I also had him reroute the circuit powering my halogen lamp in the living room. Reason: it was on a different electrical phase than my X10 control box and as such rarely responded to commands (except when a 220V appliance like the oven was on). After swapping phases with another circuit the X10 commands are received consistently by the lamp. Pretty cool being able to control the lights from my chair, even if only in such a rudimentary fashion.


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--Jay

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#2 of 20 OFFLINE   PatrickM

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Posted August 16 2001 - 03:18 AM

Jay,

Do you have the sub running through a power conditioner? If not, you might want to try that. And, if it is a harmonic you might even want to try a true isolated UPS since the primary and secondary will be separated.

Patrick

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#3 of 20 OFFLINE   John Giddens

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:50 AM

How old is your fluorescent fixture? Do you have access to the ballast? I'm not sure if this would fix your problem but you could try upgrading the ballast to electronic if the fixture is using an old magnetic ballast. It isn't too difficult if you've got enough electrical experience. Home Depot sells them. I've replaced mine, but not for your problem, one just gave up and stopped working. Maybe someone with more knowledge than myself could confirm if this could solve your problem. Hope this helps.

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#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:08 AM

Quote:
Do you have the sub running through a power conditioner?

Not a power conditioner per se, but rather a surge suppressor: Panamax COAXMAX 6.


Quote:
How old is your fluorescent fixture? Do you have access to the ballast?

Five years to answer the first question, not a freakin' clue to answer the second. Posted Image


------------------
--Jay

"No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."

My Home Theatre Pictures...

"You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."


"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   Evan Andersen

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:16 AM

Jay, I would suggest checking both circuits for mis-wiring, most likely ground/neutral swap, or hot/neutral swap. Ground/neutral swap is very often the cause of persistent hum problems, because the ground becomes the drain for the current instead of the neutral, and therefore has a changing potential.

Evan

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   PomingF

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:16 AM

If I remrmber correctly, Audioadvisor carries a device they claim can eliminate this and you can always return it if doesn't work out.

PF

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:31 AM

Quote:
Ground/neutral swap is very often the cause of persistent hum problems...

No hum, just the pop when turning off this particular light.


Quote:
If I remrmber correctly, Audioadvisor carries a device they claim can eliminate this...

You do and there is: AudioPrism Quiet Line AC Module.

Has anyone used these? Do they work? Given that they have filtering characteristics what impact would a unit have on X10 operation?

------------------
--Jay

"No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."

My Home Theatre Pictures...

"You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."


"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Andy W

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Posted August 16 2001 - 08:40 AM

I am a complete layperson when it comes to matters of electrical engineering.

Please allow me to relay an experience I had, which may or may not be helpful. I too had a disturbing popping sound coming through my speakers when I would turn our ceiling fan off (not on). I would also hear a low level buzz sound when I turned on a halogen lamp with a rheostat control. The buzz would be audible only when the rheostat control was set to lower the lamp’s light output, not when the control was full on or full off.

One day, when I was replacing some Monster interconnect cable with Audioquest cable, and the buzz completely disappeared regardless where the halogen lamp’s variable control was set. Even with the audio master volume control turned way up (with components on but no signal running through them), the buzz was gone. Putting my ears right up to the speakers with everything on and the volume turned up yielded nothing but silence. However, the loud popping sound made when we turn off the ceiling fan was still there, but at a much lower level. Before, the pop would make us jump. Now the pop is more like a soft click.

This may be total bunk, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that Audioquest cables are grounded at only one end, while other cable manufacturers ground their cables at both ends. I have no idea if my memory is correct or not, whether this is true or not, or what the benefits might be to ground cable at one end versus both ends. Even if it is true, I don’t know if this is the reason for my buzzing and popping sounds to be tamed.

What I do know for sure is this - when I replaced Monster cable with Audioquest cable, with no other changes made (I even laid the Audioquest in the exact same location as the Monster with nothing else moved around), the buzzing noise completely disappeared, and the popping sound was tamed.

Needless to say, I kept the Audioquest and dumped the Monster. I haven’t thought about it since (until now).

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Jason Watson

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Posted August 16 2001 - 10:08 AM

Jay,
You might want to have your electrician put the offending light on the other leg of your household wiring if it shares the same leg with the sub.However it could also be a discharge from the light to ground(if the light is three wire with hot,neutral and ground) and if it is, switching legs will not help. Also the problem might be some type of RFI created by the light when switched off. If that is the case, then you will have to use a properly shielded sub cable. Many sub cables use the copper braided shield as a conductor and if so, it will not function as a shield but may instead pick up noise. What Andy W describes in his post is the result. Audioquest uses two or more conductors plus a shield in all but their cheapest interconnects. The shield is only connected at one end (typically the source) where it acts as a drain to ground. This is why Andy dumped his Monster I/Cs. You could test for a sub cable problem by unplugging it at the sub,turning the sub on and switching the light on and off. If the pop goes away,just get a properly shielded sub cable.
Good luck, Jason
P.S. I heard a pop or tick in a friends sub when static electricity jumped from my hand to his dog when I reached down to pet him. We were surprised at that one!

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted August 16 2001 - 10:21 AM

Jay:

I believe it is your balast in your flourescent that is going bad or has a particularly bad feedback into your household wiring. I would look into replacing it.

What you could do is have another flouresant light put in its place and turn it off and on. If the pop goes away then you know it was the old light. If it stays then you know it is an issue with needing to isolated your sub further from you household wiring with a line conditioner like a vanEvers.

Since you had an electrician wire you another line he should also be able to temporarily wire you another light to try out. I would do that before trying anything else as the blasast might be going bad in the first place and would need to be changed out anyway.

Parker

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#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Brian OK

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Posted August 16 2001 - 11:02 AM

I agree with Parker-- bogus ballast.

Regarding the Quietlines question --- I used 6 to combat a serious speaker hiss when I had my HT on a circuit shared by my garage fridge.
Honestly, it went from a loud hiss to dead SILENT when I put 4 Qlines on the same circuit (one QL was on the fridge outlet, of course). The other two went on the kitchen fridge and the family PC, both separate circuits from the HT.
So, my experience is that they work, wonderfully. But that is hiss ......... the reason for your post.........

Never had speaker pop, but I think Parker is right about that fluorescent light. The five year life span is upon it.

Good Luck with this annoying problem.

BOK

[Edited last by Brian OK on August 16, 2001 at 06:05 PM]
BOK

#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Neil White

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Posted August 16 2001 - 11:11 AM

Sorry. Nothing to offer to solve the problem in hand but I just wanted to add that I have Monsters that are only grounded at one end. There's usually an arrow on the cable indicating which direction the signal should flow so you hook it up right.

Neil

#13 of 20 OFFLINE   John Tuttle

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Posted August 16 2001 - 11:43 AM

This is a thing they had a problem with in car audio a dozen or so years ago. For the life of me I could not remember why it happened. It was not a problem for the speaker or the amp that was causing it. Unless your speaker is completely bottoming out it will do no harm.

Hopefully my best friend calls me tomorrow and then I can ask why it does it since he was the one designing the fix for them for the company he works for.

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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Andy W

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Posted August 16 2001 - 12:50 PM

Neil, thanks for the information and correction. I follow those arrows, but I don’t know what purpose they serve. Also, I still don’t understand why the Audioquest cable tamed my problem, and the Monster didn’t.

Regards,

Andy

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Joseph Anlacan

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Posted August 16 2001 - 01:21 PM

Just want to share a similar experience. I experienced a similar problem when turning on/off fluorescent lights. But it was my receiver that was being affected. The Dolby Digital Lights turns off and there is no sound for about one second. I tried everything, including plugging the receiver to a UPS then unplugging the UPS to make sure there are no more connections with the house wiring. No luck. Then one day, I tried changing my 'shielded' monster cable interconnect from the DVD player to the receiver using a cheap cable. The problem disappeared. I was surprised so I tried different cables. I observed that the thicker cables were more prone to develop the problem. I'm not sure why.

#16 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:00 PM

Quote:
I would look into replacing [the ballast].

What is a fluorescent light ballast, and how do I change it?


------------------
--Jay

"No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."

My Home Theatre Pictures...

"You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."


"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."

#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Burke Strickland

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:28 PM

Jay -

Click here: http://www.hgtv.com/....t_7588,FF.html

It will show you what a ballast looks like and gives step-by-step instructions on how to replace one.

Good luck!

Burke
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#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Chris_Blanton

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Posted August 16 2001 - 03:22 PM

Jay,


If none of these answers solve your problem, then i'm definitely going to have to recommend a GOOD power conditioner. I know this can be an unpopular option among some die-hard audiophreaks, but a couple bad products do not disprove the technology behind the idea. A GOOD power conditioner will never flavor music or dampen the sound. I'm not going to preach on uncontrollably, but these really due work very well to eliminate white noise and other electrical interference problems in audio AND video; thus letting more pure signal to pass from components to speakers to your ears. Simple.

Check out this company, to which I have no affiliation except for being a proud customer. I have an Elite 3 and I'd definitely make the same decision again. These people have their act together and their customer service rocks.
www.TiceAudio.com

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted August 16 2001 - 04:00 PM

Jay:

Unless you have a really expensive flourescent light in your kitchen I would just replace the whole thing instead of going in and just changing out the balast. The link that Burke has is a good one for replacing the balast but like I said it may just be easy to change out the whole thing.

Parker

"I tried to get my medical records from the company but they say they

are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."
 


#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Jay Mitchosky

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Posted August 17 2001 - 01:26 AM

Quote:
Unless you have a really expensive flourescent light in your kitchen I would just replace the whole thing...

It's not. I'll check Burke's link and see what's involved there. I would assume that outright replacement is a pretty simple procedure?

------------------
--Jay

"No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."

My Home Theatre Pictures...

"You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."


"The computer had attained consciousness, only to reject it, claiming it was too unstable an operating system."


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