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jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

AC Wiring causes wierd chirping sound

I moved with a friend to NC in 1995 after living in IL for 20+years. Our first few days in a house in NC, we kept hearing soft, short (1/2 Second) very high pitch chirps. After trying to place the sound, we guessed it was crickets in the basement/crawlspace. It does sound like a cricket chirping.

10 years and 4 homes later, I know this is a sound from the AC wiring. You can even hear it in an empty house-it isn't emanating from any particular device. Moreover, you can hear it through stereo headphones: I was digitizing some LPs, and the sound was recorded on the track!

We never once heard this sound in IL-it was so odd that we both noticed it day one. Sometimes, you might hear it every 20 seconds. As I said, you can be standing in a completely empty house, and hear it, without a single clue as to where the sound originated from.

Any ideas?


alphapointe
Don't Touch Me
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-10
Columbia, MO
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Ever see the movie Pulse? "The Voice In The Wires"

Seriously, I have no idea.
--
Resistance is NOT futile...It's voltage divided by current.


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
reply to jrs8084
have you had the same phone the past 10 years or so?


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
I have had the same phone for a while, but this sound predates it. Imagine walking around an empty house that is for sale-you can even here it then.

Since I wrote the OP, I heard the sound three times in a row on several occasions. It is high pitched, and you would probably think it is a cricket outside chirping. But, I have heard this sound enough times such as through speakers/headphones that I know it isn't.

It is very unobtrusive-the locals around here say it is a normal "electrical" sound. Normal!?!


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
you could try to scope it. adjust the trigger so that it's just above the normal 120v. ideally you would be using a digital scope so you could capture the spike, but in low light you could use a phosphor screen.

a whole house surge protection thingy might silence it.. if it's in the ac wiring. it could be phone lines crossed into the ac in some other way that doesn't require a suspect phone.

if you've got an evening, turn off all the circuit breakers to the house and see if the chirp is still there.
--
A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law. -Ben Franklin


91439306
15,000 Watts of Bass Power

join:2002-10-16
New Milford, CT
reply to jrs8084
Just a wild guess... could it be a smoke alarm with a nearly dead battery?


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
THAT'S what was on the tip of my brain....

i knew something in the back of my head was triggered when he described the noise. only thing is that i don't think it propagates through the wiring into something like headphones.
--
A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law. -Ben Franklin


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

2 edits
reply to 91439306
said by 91439306:

Just a wild guess... could it be a smoke alarm with a nearly dead battery?
that's what I was thinking but 4 houses and the same thing.

jrs8084
What happens if you shut off all the electricity? Go to the breaker box and kill all the power (main breaker) do you still hear it. If not then turn the mains back on and kill one circuit at a time and see if it goes away.

Can you hear it in a portable AM radio (tune the dial, until you do) then use the radio as a sniffer for the interference.

What electronics is same in all houses? Things like CRT, TV, one of the small "wallwart power supplies", alarms, house remotes that work over the power line, dimmers, electric dog fences

Is it always the same power company?

I had one like this at my sons house. Searched for hours, finally found a smoke alarm that had been packed away in a cardboard box and the battery ran down. (except for the earphones)

If none of that works you can try Scully and Mulder

Edit: Just noticed Jig asked some of the same questions, sorry.
--
Hard work never killed anybody but why should I take the chance



jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to jrs8084
Thanks for the input.

Definitely not a smoke alarm-that is much louder and shorter chirp. And as other posters have pointed out-this is weird in that you hear it through stereos, etc.

Sometimes you won't hear it for a long time-I don't know if it has gone away, or I merely am not noticing it. I have never heard it during power outages.

But, someone pointed out something interesting about telephones that I never noticed. The chirping sound is about the same duration as a phone ringing. I will have to pay attention to see if the time in between is closer to a phone ringing. Last night, when it was buzzing three times in a row, each sound was a bit shorter-kind of like a telephone triple ring.

If I remembered which audio file the sound was in, I would upload it (may do that when I get home).


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by jrs8084:

If I remembered which audio file the sound was in, I would upload it (may do that when I get home).
Great!


sabersaw
Premium
join:2001-08-21
Dayton, OH
kudos:1
reply to jrs8084
My gas meter emits some kind of signal that gets into my electronics. I don't know if its just squeaking (and have just gone plain crazy) cause there is a audio tone next to it. Seems like some nasty pulse modulation... cant find it with freq counter.


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by sabersaw:

My gas meter emits some kind of signal that gets into my electronics. I don't know if its just squeaking (and have just gone plain crazy) cause there is a audio tone next to it. Seems like some nasty pulse modulation... cant find it with freq counter.
HEY!!!!!!!!!! Good point, I never heard anything from my water meter or electric meter but I believe both can be accessed remotely. I believe you have to initiate the communications but I'm not sure.
--
Hard work never killed anybody but why should I take the chance



nelamvr6
High-End Headphoniac
Premium
join:2000-11-28
New London, CT
reply to jrs8084
quote:
10 years and 4 homes later, I know this is a sound from the AC wiring. You can even hear it in an empty house-it isn't emanating from any particular device. Moreover, you can hear it through stereo headphones: I was digitizing some LPs, and the sound was recorded on the track!
I'm curious how you "know" it's in the AC wiring?

The bulk of this thread seems to indicate to me that you really don't have any idea what is the source of this sound.

I seriously doubt it's the AC wiring, I can't think of any way for AC wiring to generate sound. I have heard 60 cycle hum coming from transformers, but that doesn't seem to match what you're describing.
--
AMD Athon64 X2 4800+ | ASUS A8N-SLI-Premium | 4 GB PC3200 Corsair XMS C2 | eVga 7800GTX KO| Disc0=74GB WD SATA Raptor, Disc1=250GB WD SATA, Disc2=500GB Seagate ATA | PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI PSU | Windows XP Pro. 64 Bit


sabersaw
Premium
join:2001-08-21
Dayton, OH
kudos:1
reply to sabersaw
It may just be my imagination of the sound actually getting into the electronics. But it does make a chirping sound. Very annoying and unmistakable The meter is inside and you can hear it all throughout the house. Even outside sometimes. This only sounds off when the gas is being consumed. I thought there was a problem with it til I heard the one at work chirp the same. (gas meter is outside near the smoke break area )


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to jrs8084
downloadStrange Sound.zip 858,334 bytes
Cricket Like Sound
(Strange Sound.aiff)
OK, I went through the tracks off the gospel album I digitized for a friend. You can hear it distinctly in the right channel 3 secs in.

I just got a remote read gas meter last month, and that is the only remote read device I have. The sound (and recording) predates all that.

I even here it through the amp connected to my computer (obviously you really only hear it when not playing anything). The setup is all run through a decent, grounded UPS. Sometimes, you hear it a lot more than other times.

While I and others have heard this sound in their homes, too, the only single device I have every been able to say I think it is coming from is a transformer for some low voltage under cabinets halogen lights. When they are on, I can hear the sound in the general area where it is.

But, again, I have heard this in an empty house without even curtains on the window!



jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
reply to jrs8084
well, you can clearly see it in an fft. it's right around 9800Hz. to me, with all the music, it sounds a whole lot like a phone ringing, but that's a lower frequency i think.

i'll clean it up a bit with filters...
--
A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law. -Ben Franklin


sabersaw
Premium
join:2001-08-21
Dayton, OH
kudos:1
reply to jrs8084
door bell transformer?


insomx
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Canada
reply to jrs8084
A surge surpressor for the telephone connected to the ground?


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to jrs8084
  
Click for full size
downloadcleaned.zip 86,660 bytes
(cleaned.aif)
  
here is the fft, the waveform, and the filtered sound. i was actually wrong, it seems centered around 9600Hz. strange, though, it shows up on the right channel before it shows up on the left, and it peaks in a strange way on the left.

shrug. i might look to see if this is a harmonic of some kind, but from what i saw, it isn't.

i seem to remember 9600Hz being something telephone related...


Splitpair
Premium
join:2000-07-29
Cow Towne
kudos:3
reply to jrs8084
said by jrs8084:

Definitely not a smoke alarm-that is much louder and shorter chirp.
Maybe it‘s not a chirp but the noise caused by the slap of the wires within the conduit feeding the a/c unit as they move against each other and the pipe they are in as the compressor kicks into service?

Wayne
--
If you cannot fix it with a buttset and some beanies you ain't a technician.


nelamvr6
High-End Headphoniac
Premium
join:2000-11-28
New London, CT
said by Splitpair:

said by jrs8084:

Definitely not a smoke alarm-that is much louder and shorter chirp.
Maybe it‘s not a chirp but the noise caused by the slap of the wires within the conduit feeding the a/c unit as they move against each other and the pipe they are in as the compressor kicks into service?

Wayne
Why exactly are these wires moving against each other?
--
AMD Athon64 X2 4800+ | ASUS A8N-SLI-Premium | 4 GB PC3200 Corsair XMS C2 | eVga 7800GTX KO| Disc0=74GB WD SATA Raptor, Disc1=250GB WD SATA, Disc2=500GB Seagate ATA | PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI PSU | Windows XP Pro. 64 Bit


Splitpair
Premium
join:2000-07-29
Cow Towne
kudos:3
reply to nelamvr6
said by nelamvr6:

I can't think of any way for AC wiring to generate sound. I have heard 60 cycle hum coming from transformers, but that doesn't seem to match what you're describing.
My guess is you have never worked in the meter room of a large multi-story building.

Wayne
--
If you cannot fix it with a buttset and some beanies you ain't a technician.


EliteData
EliteData
Premium
join:2003-07-06
Long Island,
kudos:7
reply to jrs8084
sounds to me like some very strong RF being emitted somewhere.
i know that exact same chirp youre hearing.
i took a hi-8mm camcorder on a ferry and recorded the trip.
when i played it back at home, i heard that exact same chirp.
the powerful RF from the radar every time it rotated towards the direction of the camcorder caused interference.
it may not be what is happening to you, but the waveforms were not exactly lined up on each channel, right & left on the camcorder, and varied on both channels when the camcorder was moving around.
id look into the source of some type of high power RF transmission.
--
S.C.P.D. Live Scanner Feed
N.C.P.D. Live Scanner Feed


Splitpair
Premium
join:2000-07-29
Cow Towne
kudos:3
reply to nelamvr6
said by nelamvr6:

Why exactly are these wires moving against each other?
Because they are handling rather large loads. The inductive field between the current carrying conductors will cause them to attract or move away from one and another. This movement will make noises.

Wayne
--
If you cannot fix it with a buttset and some beanies you ain't a technician.


nelamvr6
High-End Headphoniac
Premium
join:2000-11-28
New London, CT
reply to Splitpair
said by Splitpair:

said by nelamvr6:

I can't think of any way for AC wiring to generate sound. I have heard 60 cycle hum coming from transformers, but that doesn't seem to match what you're describing.
My guess is you have never worked in the meter room of a large multi-story building.

Wayne
Meter noises are not generated by AC wiring but by the meters themselves.
--
AMD Athon64 X2 4800+ | ASUS A8N-SLI-Premium | 4 GB PC3200 Corsair XMS C2 | eVga 7800GTX KO| Disc0=74GB WD SATA Raptor, Disc1=250GB WD SATA, Disc2=500GB Seagate ATA | PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI PSU | Windows XP Pro. 64 Bit


nelamvr6
High-End Headphoniac
Premium
join:2000-11-28
New London, CT
reply to Splitpair
said by Splitpair:

said by nelamvr6:

Why exactly are these wires moving against each other?
Because they are handling rather large loads. The inductive field between the current carrying conductors will cause them to attract or move away from one and another. This movement will make noises.

Wayne
Uh...no.

The wires found in houses are either copper or aluminum, most often copper. The magnetic fields around a conductor are not strong enough to attract either aluminum or copper.

Try and see if you can pick up a penny or an aluminum can with a magnet. Even a really strong magnet will not be able to attract copper or aluminum.

Not to mention that most houses don't have wires in conduits but instead use romex.
--
AMD Athon64 X2 4800+ | ASUS A8N-SLI-Premium | 4 GB PC3200 Corsair XMS C2 | eVga 7800GTX KO| Disc0=74GB WD SATA Raptor, Disc1=250GB WD SATA, Disc2=500GB Seagate ATA | PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI PSU | Windows XP Pro. 64 Bit


steve1515
Premium
join:2000-08-07
Peabody, MA
reply to jig
That's the sound my LCD monitor makes when changing resolutions. Don't know if that helps.


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
reply to nelamvr6
its not about attracting inert metal, its a metal carrying a current. regardless, i don't see those generating 9600hz


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to nelamvr6
Uh...YES
The wires themselves produce the magnetic field, and as long as current is flowing in them, there WILL be a magnetic field surrounding them. You don't normally notice it, because the fields are balanced and in-phase, so there's no magnetic attraction or repulsion. AC induction motors use a rotating magnetic field caused by the current flowing through the stator windings to induce a counter EMF and magnetic field in the rotor, producing the torque that turns the rotor. If you have a large current imbalance in parallel conductors, the field surrounding one wire will be much stronger and possibly out-of-phase, depending on the load, resulting in the conductors moving relative to each other. I've SEEN 0000 conductors carrying AC move around under heavy load when the currents in each phase were highly unbalanced.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.

MrBentor

join:2003-02-18
Seattle, WA
reply to EliteData
That was my first thought, that there was some sort of radar, maybe doppler/weather radar, and you close enough to get induction in to your wires.