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My new home studio is being ruined by electro-magnetic aliens...
Old 8th September 2011
  #31
Gear Nut
 

Again, I am getting the noise REGARDLESS of whether or not the guitars are running on battery, completely removed from the house's electric circuit, or plugged into the wall. The noise is being caused radiantly by what I can only assume to be an electromagnetic field of some sort. The question is what the hell in the wiring could be causing such a powerful electromagnetic field.

If anyone has any ideas? Like do you think that if the metal conduit that the old cloth wire is wrapped in were to become electrified would that do it? Anything else that could be making such a strong radiant field?
Old 8th September 2011
  #32
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ritelec's Avatar
 

Did you isolate the circuit or circuits.

Try finding the one circuit you need, and switch all other circuits off. Any hum? Start turning other breakers back on.

What's the lay of the land. Is the conduit run exposed? Is it in the walls. Is it one or multiple circuits in that conduit?

If that one circuit is a problem, and all other circuits are ok, you may want to feed a new circuit to your gear (run an extension from somewhere else to make sure) and abandon all the wiring from around that room that was on that circuit and refeed the circuit where it continues through the house.

Can you re-pull new wire thru the conduit. Just a thought.....maybe the insulation is old and compromised. If the hot was hitting the conduit and the conduits grounded it should short and trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

Plug a lamp in the receptacle you need. Go thru the breakers one at a time turning on and off each one till you find that circuit. After finding that circuit, go through the house and see what else is off.
Then turn that circuit back on and turn off all the others. Check your gear. Is it humming? If so, turn that circuit off, turn all others back on. Run an extension chord from another circuit. Is it humming. No? Run a new circuit and refeed as mentioned above the rest of that circuit. Or if it was humming from the extension chord from another circuit then other circuits or your whole house is in play. Note: It's in conduit right? After locating the circuit in question., open the panel, and see if that circuit is sharing its neutral with another circuit. If 3 wires are coming off breakers going into that pipe and 6 wires total going into that pipe then they are separate neutrals 3 of the 6 should be going to the neutral block... If three wires are coming off breakers and are going into the pipe and 2 wires are coming off the neutral block going into the pipe then 2 circuits are sharing a neutral an one circuit has its own neutral.

If the questionable circuit is sharing its neutral with another circuit., try to keep that in mind while testing for hums and if you refeed the existing circuit that would have to be addressed.

Is it the whole house (other circuits) or the one circuit doing it?

Grab a extension from a known other receptacle circuit (probably kitchen) and turn that studio circuit in the room off. Do a test.
Old 8th September 2011
  #33
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ritelec's Avatar
 

Outside, do you have neighbors.........do you have neighbors with a dog and maybe an invisible electric fence installed. You said in a post the effect was in that room, hall and outside. Just a thought.

Inside, do you have neighbors, do they have something funky hooked up?

Apartment-Huge house in Boston. Maybe your house has the electric fence or some other type of something installed thats at play. (shortwave,longwave...)
Is there a radio station nearby.

Can you move your stuff to another room and see what happens .... different circuit and different location.

Check basement / attic for anything suspicious.
Old 8th September 2011
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by oakleaf View Post
... And it is in fact cloth wire (two wires) running through metal conduit which is what everything is grounded to.
Running conduit in a home is weird. In a garage, yes, but I've never seen it in a home. There is something fishy about all this. You mentioned it looked like DIY work from before? Run away and call an electrician ASAP. You could have two sides of the 220 on two receptacle circuits in your room and that would be a big problem.
The conduit could at 'neutral' and not ground. Depending on the age of the house, grounding didn't really start to happen until the mid 1970's and even then, it was kitchens and baths mostly.
Interior lath and plaster walls did not usually have the wire mesh, just the outside stucco had it, as well as tile substrate areas. An electrician will have current detection equipment that can find current paths in walls that may uncover the problem.
Old 8th September 2011
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Can you be more specific because this doesn't make a lick of sense.
What im trying to say is to get a electricity somewhere else(not from your room), to bypass any of the "electro magnets".
Old 8th September 2011
  #36
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ritelec's Avatar
 

Hey Bill,
I've done some wiring in big old houses in Jersey with conduit systems in the walls. So it's possible his big ole house has it.

As mentioned, could be a good thing if someone was going to replace the wire.

ha ha ha...I'm very interested in this case....I have a good mind to jump in my truck and take a road trip heh.

oak........if you can definitely rule out that it's not your gear, I would have to agree with Bill that you should get someone in there "hands on" to evaluate.

Please keep us posted......I'm very curious.

Thanks
-rich
Old 8th September 2011
  #37
Time to call....

Old 8th September 2011
  #38
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Time to call....

Good idea! Actually I'm going to try to have an electrician friend of mine come by next week. I'm just glad I was able to determine that it was originating in the house, as I live quite close to Logan Airport and for awhile I was freaking out that it was out of my control.

I will definitely keep everyone posted as I've never seen anything so strange in my life and I think it warrants being documented.
Old 8th September 2011
  #39
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hmmm...........
airport ----

could be related to their radar
i have seen radar light up florescent lights that were switched off
Old 8th September 2011
  #40
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
hmmm...........
airport ----

could be related to their radar
i have seen radar light up florescent lights that were switched off
As I mentioned, because the hum goes away when I turn off power to the building it is a local issue not related to the gear, or external forces, just the wiring in the building... and I will report back with more details when my electrician comes to take a look next week.
Old 8th September 2011
  #41
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ritelec's Avatar
 

Airport???

In your trouble shooting, your convincing your self that it has to be the electric, closing yourself off or possibly directing you away from what the cause may be.

(Not knowing,but...) What if the radar is passing through the room with the electric off and with the electric on another field is created.

I've been thinking a bit about this. If you tested the circuit with one of them 3 pole plug testers (hot/neut/grd) it it says it's good, it probably is good and wired as it should be.

You may want to get the electrician in there for peace of mind (safety), but I'm betting that circuits fine, and other than redirecting that circuit away from the room (if that would even work), there will be nothing he can do.

EDIT: And again on a reread......you mention turning power off to the "Building".....and the problem goes away. This doesn't mean that the wiring is wrong and causing your issue but that you've added a different variable.
EDIT EDIT: One more thought Oak before I put this to bed, doing a search or two on radar and emf.......long story short......besides cramping you up musically, these emf's may have an affect on you and your wifes health.
EDIT EDIT EDIT: And another thing........with all this check this, do that, isolate this, rewire that.................................It would have been nice if from the get go you mentioned that you live next to an Airport.("patient"- Doctor, I've had this splitting head ache for about a week now, "doctor"- are you drinking alot of coffee, "patient"- nomore than usual, "doctor"- Stressed at work,"patient"- no more than usual, "doctor"- stressed with bills,"patient"-no more than usual, "doctor"- eating properly or drinking too much alcohol, (you get the idea), finally after a week or two of copays and office visits................the patient visits the doctor again and asks if the headaches might have anything to do with a Grand piano that had fallen on his head.

Yes.Hand me that piano..........
Old 8th September 2011
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ritelec View Post
Yes.Hand me that piano..........
Oh, yeah... George Carlin was the best...
JUMBO shrimp...

Anyway, yes, the airport my have the ILS beacon pointed right at you. It's a strong, directional radio beam that gives the pilot a signal on final approach about altitude and runway lineup. Are you in the Chelsea or Everett area, about 1-3 miles from runway 15L? (it's the main runway for planes landing from the northwest)
Old 12th September 2011
  #43
Here for the gear
 

A similar story

I have a similar story, except I know what causes my buzzing. It's a small CRT television. When it's on, my Yamaha Pacifica guitar buzzes badly when one single coil is selected. No buzzing though when the humbucker or 2 single coils together in humbucking mode are selected. I was disappointed, because I had spent ages carefully shielding all the cavities and the scratchplate with kitchen foil (aluminium I hope), yet the guitar buzzes just as badly as another un-shielded Pacifica I also have. I too experimented with wrapping the entire guitar body in kitchen foil (grounded via the guitar strings) - no improvement at all. Putting a thick sheet of aluminium (aprox 1 or 2 mm thick) between the guitar and the TV reduces the buzzing massively, regardless if the aluminium is touching the strings or not.
Some suggestions.... Firstly, do you have an anti-power-surge mains extension that the devices are plugged into? - maybe that's implicated somehow. Make sure each electrical device in the room is plugged straight into the wall socket, not into an extension lead. This is to remove any mains extension leads or power strips from the equation. Secondly, consider whether low-energy light bulbs might be the cause. I know someone who fitted one of these bulbs into a table lamp, and from that point onwards, turning on the table lamp causes his stereo system to switch off. They can and do have strange effects on things.
Old 12th September 2011
  #44
Here for the gear
 

and another thing...

Oh, and another thing just came to me. It could be that the hum originates in a transformer in one of the devices you have plugged into the mains. Would the following scenario fit what you are experiencing?.... Cut off power to the house. Hum gone away. Restore power to the house. Hum still gone away - transformer is off because device is not in "standby". Turn on devices. Hum appears because transformer is now running. Switch off devices, Hum still there because devices are in "standby" with transformer still running. Could you run through this scenario, and then disconnect all devices from the mains to see if the hum then disappears?
Old 28th October 2011
  #45
Gear Nut
 

Conclusion!

Ok, so after many weeks and much frustration (and expense) I still was getting nowhere. So then I did the smart thing (which I should have done in the first place) and went out and bought an EMF detector. Kind of a funny story, but it turns out that EMF detectors are what the whack jobs use to track down ghosts, so my original post title turned out to be more relevant then I could have ever imagined. heh

Anyways, what it turns out was causing the strong Electro Magnetic Field in the room (almost 200mili gauss where normal air-born levels are around .5mili gauss!!!!) was current running though the ground that travels under the floor of my studio before grounding itself in the plumbing. The solution would be to either drive in a new earth ground outside the fuse box (which is rather expensive) or to simply relocate the ground pipe so that it is no longer 6" beneath the studio. Will probably run it on the floor of the basement and cover it with some sand bags for good measure.

What this has taught me is that an EMF meter is a really good investment for any guitarist. It's only about $50 but my god will it save you a lot of frustration if you are planning to move into a new house or apartment, building a studio, or just playing in an unfamiliar environment. God knows that I spent a lot of money trying to fix a ground problem, and then an amp problem, only to realize there was no ground problem or no amp problem, but an EMF problem.

Hope this post will one day save some poor bastard the headache and expense that I had to go through to get this thing figured out.
Old 30th October 2011
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by oakleaf View Post
Ok, so after many weeks and much frustration (and expense) I still was getting nowhere. So then I did the smart thing (which I should have done in the first place) and went out and bought an EMF detector. Kind of a funny story, but it turns out that EMF detectors are what the whack jobs use to track down ghosts, so my original post title turned out to be more relevant then I could have ever imagined. heh

Anyways, what it turns out was causing the strong Electro Magnetic Field in the room (almost 200mili gauss where normal air-born levels are around .5mili gauss!!!!) was current running though the ground that travels under the floor of my studio before grounding itself in the plumbing. The solution would be to either drive in a new earth ground outside the fuse box (which is rather expensive) or to simply relocate the ground pipe so that it is no longer 6" beneath the studio. Will probably run it on the floor of the basement and cover it with some sand bags for good measure.

What this has taught me is that an EMF meter is a really good investment for any guitarist. It's only about $50 but my god will it save you a lot of frustration if you are planning to move into a new house or apartment, building a studio, or just playing in an unfamiliar environment. God knows that I spent a lot of money trying to fix a ground problem, and then an amp problem, only to realize there was no ground problem or no amp problem, but an EMF problem.

Hope this post will one day save some poor bastard the headache and expense that I had to go through to get this thing figured out.
I once had electromagnetic interference in my studio. It was from a new step down isolation transformer. I swapped it for a custom made model with an electromagnetic shield and the interference was gone. Those without an EMF meter could possibly pin point the problem by moving around the amp or speaker causing the problem by connecting it to a long extension cord to see when it gets worse.
Old 30th October 2011
  #47
Lives for gear
 
ritelec's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oakleaf View Post
Ok, so after many weeks and much frustration (and expense) I still was getting nowhere. So then I did the smart thing (which I should have done in the first place) and went out and bought an EMF detector. Kind of a funny story, but it turns out that EMF detectors are what the whack jobs use to track down ghosts, so my original post title turned out to be more relevant then I could have ever imagined. heh

Anyways, what it turns out was causing the strong Electro Magnetic Field in the room (almost 200mili gauss where normal air-born levels are around .5mili gauss!!!!) was current running though the ground that travels under the floor of my studio before grounding itself in the plumbing. The solution would be to either drive in a new earth ground outside the fuse box (which is rather expensive) or to simply relocate the ground pipe so that it is no longer 6" beneath the studio. Will probably run it on the floor of the basement and cover it with some sand bags for good measure.

What this has taught me is that an EMF meter is a really good investment for any guitarist. It's only about $50 but my god will it save you a lot of frustration if you are planning to move into a new house or apartment, building a studio, or just playing in an unfamiliar environment. God knows that I spent a lot of money trying to fix a ground problem, and then an amp problem, only to realize there was no ground problem or no amp problem, but an EMF problem.

Hope this post will one day save some poor bastard the headache and expense that I had to go through to get this thing figured out.
Good to see you found some type of solution.

New earth ground only to first over-current protection of building..and only one. Do not derive separate earth grounds.

Current running along ground???........ current should run across the neutral. The neutral is a grounded Current carrying conductor. The ground is a grounding Non Current carrying conductor.

New ground covered with sand??? Check reaction of copper with soil and sand. Re-grounding service ....ground rod and cu wire to service ground and water-meter seems much less expensive than a plumber and relocating water lines???


I still think its a spook. A frustrated earth bound frustrated musician spook.

heh
Old 30th October 2011
  #48
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ritelec's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oakleaf View Post
or to simply relocate the ground pipe so that it is no longer 6" beneath the studio. Will probably run it on the floor of the basement and cover it with some sand bags for good measure.
ground pipe?

Water pipe???

The ground wire should be brought to the water service entrance (meter and jumped), not to a water pipe located somewhere else in the house.

DID YOU GET AN ELECTRICIAN TO LOOK AT IT?
Old 30th October 2011
  #49
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lynngraber's Avatar
what EMI detector did you get? i cant find one for under $150.
Old 31st October 2011
  #50
Gear Nut
 

There are cheaper ones out there (some as low as $25) but you need something that is still accurate around high levels of EMF.

This is the one I bought:
Amazon.com: Lutron 822-A Fully Digital EMF Meter (Wide Range, High Resolution): Home Improvement
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