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Moved to a new house and amps are buzzing like crazy; power lines?
Old 12th December 2020
  #31
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Snorktop's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I have had tremendous success with the Ebtech HumX (apparently now the Morley Hum Exterminator and Eliminator https://www.morleyproducts.com/tag/audio-solutions/), and they are cheap. Definitely worth a try.

I would try to diagnose and cure the problem before you resign to covering it up with a noise gate. If a regular electrician can't help, maybe a specialist who sets up recording studios and knows about power and noise? At my home, which is recently built, I use the very expensive pro Furman power conditioners and the rackmount Brown Box, highly recommended: https://www.amprx.net/ .
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorktop ➡️
I have had tremendous success with the Ebtech HumX (apparently now the Morley Hum Exterminator and Eliminator https://www.morleyproducts.com/tag/audio-solutions/), and they are cheap. Definitely worth a try.

I would try to diagnose and cure the problem before you resign to covering it up with a noise gate. If a regular electrician can't help, maybe a specialist who sets up recording studios and knows about power and noise? At my home, which is recently built, I use the very expensive pro Furman power conditioners and the rackmount Brown Box, highly recommended: https://www.amprx.net/ .
Oh I’m definitely trying to find the source of the noise. I’d be curious if there were any specialists in my area who could help me track down the source of the noise.

I ordered the ISP Hum Extractor + Decimator G pedal, since I’m already a fan of their products and am super curious how well it works.

I’ll continue updating this post with what I find throughout this process.
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #33
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foldback's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I predict that your problem will ultimately be electrically-ground related. If you think that the problem is induced by waves from nearby power wiring I've found that power companies in Missouri and Florida were quite responsive to prove they were not causing health risks.

As an example, at my former home in Missouri where we had huge power distribution towers running in the lot next to my home the electric power company brought half a million dollars of test gear to my home to prove they were not doing anything bad. They proved there were no emissions reaching my property just by me asking. It was an amazing and impressive demonstration. It took three months to make it happen and we were not having a pandemic but it can be done and they (the electric company) were responsive and helpful.

I'd bet on the problem being internal to your building and more specifically faulty wiring.

You'll need a good $100 Fluke meter to do meaningful testing on your own. Buy a copy of the National Electric Code book and learn about power distribution. It's not hard, most faults occur from poorly made connections.

You can buy rebar in the cement area of Home Depot, get yourself a 48" piece and drive it into the earth near where power enters your building. Soak the ground around the rebar with water. Scratch a clean area on the rebar and use your Fluke meter to measure the impedance between the rebar and your building ground, preferably direct from the ground connection in your power panel. You should get a LOW number like under 10 ohms. Lower is better. Higher is not so good. Your building ground should be low impedance for best audio performance.

For testing, have an electrician install an outlet off the side of your power panel in your home. This will be a 15 amp standard Edison style outlet right on the side of the box, minimum wiring length and connections.

From this outlet you can run a heavy gauge electrical extension cord into your studio, power everything off this extension cord (provided 15 amps can run your rig). Run everything off this one power cable. Turn off everything that is unnecessary. Does the rig still make the funky overtones on the extension cord direct from the power panel?

Yes - then get an oscilloscope to examine the incoming AC waveform for parasitic crud possibly riding on your power wiring from a local distribution transformer going bad (rare but it happens).

If running direct from the power panel fixed the problem then you simply need to have a new AC power source run to your studio. You don't need conduit for shielding, romex type power wire has been National Electric Code compliant for years and has powered 10's of thousands of home studios with excellent low noise performance.

Many older buildings have aluminum wiring, in which case you will want to have a new run of power wire to your studio made from copper wire (the modern standard). Aluminum is a great conductor but has unfortunate physical characteristics for use as power wiring.

Older homes often have twisted connections that are not tight causing higher impedance, heat and sometimes fire. A new run of power wire direct to the power panel with no joints or branches is your best bet for fixing grounding weirdness.

You can get a simple box called "Kill A Watt" which can help you determine how much actual total power you need in your studio. Killawatt electricity usage meter from Amazon is under $36, it can tell you the exact amount of power a single device is using or how much power your whole studio is using. Tube gear uses more watts than solid state :-)

Process all your individual pieces of studio gear using Killawatt so you know the actual power load in watts and amps that your studio draws. My whole studio runs off a single 15-amp circuit. I run my guitar amps on a separate second 15 amp circuit.

I would begin with a clean outlet wired direct into the power panel. You should hire an electrician to add a new breaker and wire the new outlet. Get a 10 gauge 100-foot extension cord (Harbor Freight has a yellow 100' 10-gauge for around $100) and run it to your studio for testing. Run the whole studio off this cord. Use Killawatt to determine the load on the cable. If this set up powers your studio without the funky overtones then get a new power line to your studio installed.

If you're just plugged into some random Edison style outlets in your home studio then you have no idea about ground nor how many twisted joints are between your gear and the source of power. Install a new power feed from the power panel to your studio with no splices or interruptions. I would use 12 gauge even though NEC says 14 is acceptable. 12 gauge wire is bigger than 14 gauge, bigger is always better.

The National Electric Code is available to anyone, you don't need to be a member to buy the book, this can tell you how to safely connect power for your gear.

I ALWAYS recommend you hire a professional electrician to complete the actual work. They are generally experts in connecting their circuits and minimizing the chances of death or fire.

Good luck and good music to all!
Old 12th December 2020
  #34
Lives for gear
 
razorboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A music store near me has a transformer up a pole at one side of the parking lot. One day I parked near it (unknown to me) and my key fob did not work. I told the people working in the store. One of them said: "Yeah, we know. One customer had to have his Cadillac towed because he parked there and his ignition would not start
until he get about 50 feet away."

People wearing heart pacemakers, take note.
Old 12th December 2020
  #35
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
In terms of testing and data collection, I see nothing out of the ordinary so far. The radio's behavior appears normal in all regards.

I would go through the (tedious) process I described in post 18, though. And each time you check for noise, do the check at the endpoint, i.e. in the room fed by the breaker you just flipped on, not at the panel. (Yes, lots of walking involved.) Take detailed notes, writing down the results each time you turn a breaker back on.

Doing noise checks only at the panel assumes a noise-backfeed condition, i.e. from a branch circuit back to the panel, which is low probability in your situation, unless one of the kids who lived in the house before you bought it left a Van De Graaff generator running in the attic. It's also possible the house wiring as a whole is behaving as a resonant circuit at some harmonic of the frequencies emitted by the HV lines in the towers, but that would surprise the hell out of me if it were the case.

You said you got less noise outside. More noise inside and less outside could point to the house wiring as a whole acting as a broadcast antenna for garbage on the 7 KV line that feeds your house. That's what DiodeBridge suggested. So, in addition to doing what I suggested in #18 , take your radio to the pole on the street and walk down the run to your house. Somewhere along that path will be your house transformer, either on the street pole or on a pole between the street and your house. Tell us what you find along the way.

By any chance are you sharing a transformer with neighbors, i.e. multiple 220 feeds off the same transformer? You will have to look closely. Many times the split (or "Y" connection if you will) is done along the 220 line rather than at the transformer itself. If so, maybe the Van de Graaff generator is next door!

EDIT: Board code decided to create a link to nowhere useful out of my simple hashtag eighteen. Brilliant. Here's the permalink: Moved to a new house and amps are buzzing like crazy; power lines?

Last edited by c1010; 12th December 2020 at 01:52 PM.. Reason: I love it when software makes false assumptions.
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
Oh I’m definitely trying to find the source of the noise. I’d be curious if there were any specialists in my area who could help me track down the source of the noise.

I ordered the ISP Hum Extractor + Decimator G pedal, since I’m already a fan of their products and am super curious how well it works.

I’ll continue updating this post with what I find throughout this process.
starbelly, just for the curiosity of this thread, can you post a good pic of your transformer, as to see how many neighbors are feeding off it, also notice any Christmas lighting in the neighborhood that may feed off this tranny. A pic of the inside of your panel could show a lot, if you're comfortable with taking that cover off. Also...You do need an DMM if youre doing any voltage testing, you can not assume that because you've an breaker turned off, that it actually tripped (New or Old) Kind of like traffic lights, you don't put your life in their hands... You always look both ways no matter what.
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #37
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't recommend anyone digging into their electrical panels ect..NOT a good idea.
Call tha man..
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➡️
I don't recommend anyone digging into their electrical panels ect..NOT a good idea.
Call tha man..
Did I say Dig? Have you ever? Are you tha Man? I don't recommend it, anymore than the next...but if the OP feel he can remove the panel cover and get a picture. So why recommend, sniffing? Tell me.
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton ➡️
Did I say Dig? Have you ever? Are you tha Man? I don't recommend it, anymore than the next...but if the OP feel he can remove the panel cover and get a picture. So why recommend, sniffing? Tell me.
If you really don't understand why I said the above, then fine..
I did electrical works for years and still do some for certain reasons.
But still prefer caution..
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #40
Lives for gear
 
Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➡️
If you really don't understand why I said the above, then fine..
I did electrical works for years and still do some for certain reasons.
But still prefer caution..
I don't understand why you all would allow the OP to invest in sniffers and not to touch if you suspect you've found something. Also I allowed IF the OP felt comfortable. I've done electrical work probably longer than you've been around.

"and still do some for certain reasons" WTF is that? You either do or don't.
Old 12th December 2020
  #41
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Starbelly, if you *do* decide to unscrew & remove the safety cover from the panel, be sure to have the correct music playing. It's crucial!

https://youtu.be/4V_eoR6r1Tw?t=10
Old 12th December 2020 | Show parent
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 ➡️
Starbelly, if you *do* decide to unscrew & remove the safety cover from the panel, be sure to have the correct music playing. It's crucial!

https://youtu.be/4V_eoR6r1Tw?t=10
Oh Nightwish, haha. I used to like them back in high school but now I can’t really deal with that sub genre of metal.
Old 13th December 2020
  #43
Gear Head
 
I'm going through something very similar, with similar observations. Started my own thread so I wouldn't hijack yours but have a question for you: did you find a resource on tuning your AM radio to reproduce the same sound you hear on your amp? I seem to have very few open frequencies in my area and while I do hear static and buzz on my radio it isn't quite the same.
Old 13th December 2020
  #44
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
AM radio won't (and can't) duplicate the noise you hear via your guitar. What's important is whether you do or don't hear "hash" on the AM band. Its tone is irrelevant.
Old 13th December 2020 | Show parent
  #45
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 ➡️
AM radio won't (and can't) duplicate the noise you hear via your guitar. What's important is whether you do or don't hear "hash" on the AM band. Its tone is irrelevant.
Got it, thank you. I get so many interference noises in the walls/around outlets/at the ceiling that it's almost comical, but I'm not sure which ones to focus in on. (Or maybe the answer is all of them?) I'll take/share recordings of some in case there are telltale signs I should be listening for.
Old 13th December 2020
  #46
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Well, as the saying goes, "I've got good news, and I've got bad news."

The good news is that 99% of what you need is already here in this (multi-page) thread. Those of us who've dealt with issues like this for decades have already provided tons of reliable advice for someone else with similar noise problems. Read it carefully, with a detailed eye. Could be most of it applies to you as well.

The bad news is that you share a structure with other people, and so you don't have exclusive control over the interference. By that I mean what other people do and what they're willing to tolerate in terms of in-wall surgery *if* that turns out to be necessary. I mean costs and schedule disruptions and all that. Add another level of sludge if there's a landlord involved. So, your options for a) finding and b) killing the source(s) of the noise may be limited. (Don't mean to wreck your Sunday, just trying to be objective.)

BTW, that pole photo... Yikes.
Old 13th December 2020 | Show parent
  #47
As requested, here is a picture of the power pole right outside my house (these are not the high voltage power lines that are farther away, which I believe are 220KV).
Attached Thumbnails
Moved to a new house and amps are buzzing like crazy; power lines?-img_1587.jpg  
Old 13th December 2020 | Show parent
  #48
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
As requested, here is a picture of the power pole right outside my house (these are not the high voltage power lines that are farther away, which I believe are 220KV).
Those are more like 8KV.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #49
I was doing a bit of exploring around the house with the AM radio (I didn't have time to test each individual circuit in the house this weekend) and made a few observations:
  • As soon as I walk next to the side of the house that has the room with my gear, I get a sort of resonant note in the radio static. This seems to be coming from the electric meter and conduit leading to the breaker panel in the room.
  • The high voltage power lines do seem to be emitting some noise that can be picked up on the AM radio. I wonder if I could get a professional to verify this.
  • If I'm in my backyard facing the high voltage power lines, I will start to pick up what I believe to be their interference if I walk out about 10-15 feet from my back door.

I have an electrician coming by tomorrow and I will be relaying all this info to them.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #50
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
As requested, here is a picture of the power pole right outside my house (these are not the high voltage power lines that are farther away, which I believe are 220KV).
There seems to be a 220 pair (wrapped around a neutral) running roughly southwest in the pic, toward the tree. Is that the pair that feeds your place?

If so, where's the step-down transformer located? Can't see one on this pole.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 ➡️
There seems to be a 220 pair (wrapped around a neutral) running roughly southwest in the pic, toward the tree. Is that the pair that feeds your place?

If so, where's the step-down transformer located? Can't see one on this pole.
The pair you are referring to is not what is feeding my house. It's too dark outside to get a clear view of which is feeding my house, but I believe it may be the roughly northeast power cables.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #52
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
I was doing a bit of exploring around the house with the AM radio (I didn't have time to test each individual circuit in the house this weekend) and made a few observations:
  • As soon as I walk next to the side of the house that has the room with my gear, I get a sort of resonant note in the radio static. This seems to be coming from the electric meter and conduit leading to the breaker panel in the room.
  • The high voltage power lines do seem to be emitting some noise that can be picked up on the AM radio. I wonder if I could get a professional to verify this.
  • If I'm in my backyard facing the high voltage power lines, I will start to pick up what I believe to be their interference if I walk out about 10-15 feet from my back door.

I have an electrician coming by tomorrow and I will be relaying all this info to them.
Well, I must say it's looking more and more like the local grid, and not the big towers. (I'm guessing DiodeBridge nailed it.) Will be interesting to know what the electrician says. Nice detective work with the radio! And thank you for the updates.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 ➡️
Well, I must say it's looking more and more like the local grid, and not the big towers. (I'm guessing DiodeBridge nailed it.) Will be interesting to know what the electrician says. Nice detective work with the radio! And thank you for the updates.
I really, really appreciate all of the tips that you all have provided me; it means a lot!

One update I failed to mention was that I located my ground wire coming from the breaker panel and traced it to my ground rod. The connection might be a little dirty or corroded, and the electrician will look at it tomorrow. The two main goals will be to see if things are actually grounded at the panel, if the ground wire is properly connected to the ground rod, and if the ground rod has the correct impedance.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #54
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
The pair you are referring to is not what is feeding my house. It's too dark outside to get a clear view of which is feeding my house, but I believe it may be the roughly northeast power cables.
Ok. The electrician will show you the path from grid -> transformer -> 220 pair -> meter. Ask him to if he doesn't.

Have him check the ground rod as well. If it's the original, it's over half a century old and has likely deteriorated to the point where it's providing only a token ground at best, rather than a low-resistance one. That's a tough test to perform, though. Or is this a place with city water and the grounding is done to the metal inlet pipe? If so, all those wires & clamps should be checked for corrosion. The "sweating" from constant temp changes from the water flow can cause it. I grew up in a place like that.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #55
Here is the contact point between the ground wire and ground rod. Given my lack of expertise, I can't say if this looks normal or not.
Attached Thumbnails
Moved to a new house and amps are buzzing like crazy; power lines?-img_1584.jpg  
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #56
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
LOL... I'm writing too fast & stepping on your posts. Sorry 'bout that!
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #57
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _starbelly ➡️
Here is the contact point between the ground wire and ground rod. Given my lack of expertise, I can't say if this looks normal or not.
Holy ****, that looks nasty. I think you found the problem. Or if not THE problem, then at least a major contributor.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 ➡️
Holy ****, that looks nasty. I think you found the problem. Or if not THE problem, then at least a major contributor.
To my untrained eye, it does indeed look nasty, haha.

I know the panel is new, but perhaps they used the old ground rod.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #59
Gear Nut
 
c1010's Avatar
 
The dilemma is that even if he cleans up that clamp and the top of the ground rod (where the clamp fastens), and runs a new ground wire to the panel, there's no guarantee what shape the rod itself is in. Those things are often 8 feet long and good luck pulling them to check. There are pullers available but they're not cheap. Maybe he'll have one on the truck. Anyway, tough to say from above ground even what material it's made of (galvanized steel or copper clad), let alone its condition.
Old 14th December 2020 | Show parent
  #60
Lives for gear
 
foxwaves's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Two new ground rods at least 6 feet apart might be helpful. Good luck!
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