Harddisk causing speaker noise
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  1. #1
    Senior Member PacketThirst's Avatar
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    Harddisk causing speaker noise

    hi,

    I've got this strange problem with my old pc. Mobo is an a7v8x, 512MB RAM and two hard disks (Seagate 80GB & 160 GB). I'm not using a PC cabinet by the way. I keep hearing popping noises from my speaker when i watch videos on full screen mode/scroll web pages etc. I initially figured it was something wrong with my speakers, but found out that the same noises are also present when i use a head phone. I figured that moving the harddisks affected the noise.There are times when i absolutely get rid of all noises for some time by orienting the harddisk(s). Can anyone shed a light on this problem ?

    Cheers,
    PT

  2. #2
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Do you have a sound card or is it an onboard chipset?

    Sounds like some sort of interference but I would guess it is related to defective component(s) somewhere.

    Does it happen when you only have one hard drive?

    Does it happen when you have the volume turned down?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    My initial thoughts, ( I'll WAG it: )

    by orienting the harddisk(s).
    How and where?
    If both before and after reorientation the disks are nowhere near anything else, ( i.e. different stress on the cable is the only variable changed ) this might suggest a bad ribbon cable or connection.

    When you moved them, are you changing how they are positioned? ( i.e. one time flat, the next time on its' side ? )

    I'm not using a PC cabinet by the way
    The Mobo is grounded to the chassis ( normally. )
    When PCs first came out each hard drive had a separate ground connection. In more recent systems the hard drives are usually grounded to the chassis via the attaching screws.
    Each of these components have grounds to the power supply through the electrical connection, but also through the chassis ground ( earth.)

    If these grounds are not there it may be seeking ground through another means and picking up noise.

    When you reoriented them, were they touching anything that could ground them?
    ( or provide a better ground away from a noisy one. )

    If that doesn't help, ( and the placement of the hard drives alone is the only factor that corrects things ) I would look for external sources which may be hard to isolate.
    I have seen things such as gate motors on the other side of a building but tied to the same electrical circuit cause problems, desk lighting cause CRTs to flicker, etc.

    hope this helps
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Good thinking IKnowNot,

    Add desktop fans, mobile phones, cordless phones, other cordless devices.......... all can cause interference of one sort or another.

    I have also found systems that produce weird distortions either through speakers or headphones because the volume was turned up full.

    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  5. #5
    Senior Member PacketThirst's Avatar
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    Do you have a sound card or is it an onboard chipset?

    Sounds like some sort of interference but I would guess it is related to defective component(s) somewhere.

    Does it happen when you only have one hard drive?

    Does it happen when you have the volume turned down?
    I don't use a sound card and there is no noise when the sound is turned off. I'm going to check if there's any noise with just one hard drive.

    How and where?
    If both before and after reorientation the disks are nowhere near anything else, ( i.e. different stress on the cable is the only variable changed ) this might suggest a bad ribbon cable or connection.

    When you moved them, are you changing how they are positioned? ( i.e. one time flat, the next time on its' side ? )
    I did replace the ribbon cable. There was no noise for like 10-15 minutes, then it started all over again. There was no particular orientation that would like completely stop the noise. Sometimes keeping the hard disk vertical would solve the issue. After 5-10 minutes, i would have to keep it at 45 degrees!

    The Mobo is grounded to the chassis ( normally. )
    When PCs first came out each hard drive had a separate ground connection. In more recent systems the hard drives are usually grounded to the chassis via the attaching screws.
    Each of these components have grounds to the power supply through the electrical connection, but also through the chassis ground ( earth.)
    My mobo, hard disk and everything else are on a wooden table :-). They are not grounded at all. I've been using this pc in this way for about a year now.

    I'm going to try to use one hard disk at a time and then maybe put them all in a cabinet to see if the issue is solved.

    Will keep you folks updated ...

    Thanks for the help :-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member PacketThirst's Avatar
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    After placing everything in the cabinet, my machine started getting insanely slow. Booting up took about 20 minutes. I found that my 80GB hard disk was causing the issue. After removing it, the machine started to act normal. I noticed an additional partition that appears as a part of the drive in My Computer. Clicking on it would crash the pc. It also comes up during the hard disk check during boot-up. The check will crash unless skipped. Anyway, got rid of the noise! :-). I'll see if i can fix my HD...

    But i"m curious ... why is it that noise occurs when I'm scrolling/playing video files in full screen mode? How is this related to my 80 GB hard disk ?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    I noticed an additional partition that appears as a part of the drive in My Computer. Clicking on it would crash the pc. It also comes up during the hard disk check during boot-up. The check will crash unless skipped.
    Well, a new partition suggests that your drive has reached its normal (hidden) capacity to recover damaged sectors?

    I would just trash the thing and buy a new one
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  8. #8
    Senior Member PacketThirst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nihil View Post
    Well, a new partition suggests that your drive has reached its normal (hidden) capacity to recover damaged sectors?

    I would just trash the thing and buy a new one
    yea, tried formatting the HD and repartitioning using fdisk in Linux. Had little luck with partitioning. fdisk tells me the MBR is trashed. Guess the little noisy bastard should be trashed.

    Btw, any insight on the strange nature pf the noise described in the previous posts ? ... Im curious ... am i being contacted by alien life forms ? ;-)

  9. #9
    AO BOFH: Luser Abuser BModeratorFH gore's Avatar
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    I've heard some weird stuff a few times, such as:

    On my Laptop, if I have headphones in, and the HD or Processor seem to really get going, I'll hear what sounds like disk activity through them.

    The sound card in there is on board and I just sort of let it go since lately I'm to busy to investigate it lol.

    Oh, one more fun thing:

    Some Cell Phones will cause interference in speakers. TI's sort of neat to screw with and I can generally get my neighbor's phone calls to come in pretty clear. But of course that is in no way shape or form intentional, and is WRONG!... Though it is interesting.

    Take a cell phone, place it near the computer, like maybe underneath a monitor next to the case with the speakers right next to it, call it, and if you do it just right, when the cell phone is about to ring, you'll get noise in the speakers.

    Just one of those things that looks neat and is generally nothing more than the signal from the phone picking up the call and then screwing with the speakers.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    Btw, any insight on the strange nature pf the noise described in the previous posts ? ... Im curious ... am i being contacted by alien life forms ? ;-)
    Resistence is futile!

    These were my thoughts when I read your first post:

    ( BTW, full screen video, etc. could cause the hard drive to be accessed more frequently, hence the noise being more prevalent . )

    The hard drive has an electrical motor in it.
    I asked if they were re-positioned when you moved them.
    Moving them ( say flat, then on the side ) can put strain on different portions of the drive such as bearings. Especially as in the case of a hard drive going bad, worn bearings etc., where the platters can tilt ever-so-slightly, or something loose inside can rub against something, can cause electrical interference and can be picked up by other devices. The repositioning can alter the amount of stress ( thus noise ) which causes the interference.

    The interference is going to be most prominent in the electrical circuit of the hard drive, but, if the device is using, lets say, the EIDE interface as partial ground for the motor instead of a separate ground to earth, those noises can also be picked up by anything also connected to that interface. ( and don't forget the motherboard components doing the same thing if it is not properly grounded to chassis. )

    Ever wire a car stereo?
    Years ago, ( probably long before your time ) cars used to use the car chassis for the neg. ground on the speaker, and have just a single positive wire to the speaker. The speakers would pick up noises from other parts of the car. When someone was installing a high-end system they would always have to run their own wires with both positive and negative strands to eliminate these noises, usually a much thicker gauge wire then original to provide less resistence so the current would travel the new wires' path rather then seek a noisier one ( and handle the greater power outputs, but that is another topic. )

    As electricity will travel the path of least resistence, maybe resistence is not futile!

    ( I have not studied electronics in over 30 years and as its relevance to this situation is of less importance I am not going to get into a discussion of a computer case as a faraday cage. I'll leave that to others! )

    Hope this made sense.
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

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