Can Anyone Explain This Buzzing?

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Old 06-10-14, 11:40 PM
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Can Anyone Explain This Buzzing?

I keep hearing an "extra" buzz coming and going. I can hear it coming rather loudly through HID ballasts, and I can also hear it a little more faintly in a 300W incandescent, as well as my audio amplifier transformer and PF correction capacitors. It's pretty hard to describe, but it sounds close to someone MIG welding. I also know for a fact it's NOT an open neutral, as I just got a new service drop.(again) In addition, I hear the buzzing coming through in neighbors' houses as well as a house I'm working on 5 miles away which is fed off a different substation. Does anyone have any idea what it could be? I'm at a total loss and It's been bugging the crap out of me.
 
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Old 06-11-14, 04:49 AM
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If it's constant I would guess motor noise. You should also hear it ramp up and down. If it's in bursts it could be a welder. A scrap yard near our video production company had a huge electromagnet on a crane to move steel. All of them caused noise on the 60Hz wave.

Power is sloppy, innit?
 
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Old 06-11-14, 09:47 AM
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Maybe its normal 60 cycle hum....

Noisy filament, noisy transx, noisy ballast all makes sense to me.

Just curious, why would you associate hum or noise with a neutral issue?
 
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Old 06-11-14, 05:08 PM
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Does it sound like a bee (quite low pitch) or like a mosquito (medium pitch) or like a truck backup alarm (quite high pitch)?

How long does it last? Short bursts (or maybe just one burst) like a truck backup alarm? Minutes at a time?

Does the pitch vary (somewhat like a siren)?
 
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Old 06-11-14, 05:25 PM
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I heard a buzzing noise in my systems for years, then I got divorced, and it went away. Not sure that has any bearing, but just thought I'd add it in for "technical" context.

5-mile radius of the problem is quite interesting. Any big source generation capability or large KVA transmission lines right near/above the properties? Might also check for separation of overhead power and other copper communication and cable lines ... sure sounds like big power is getting in long distance sync with little power and cross-talking.

But as Mr. AlanJ can attest ... I'm an old fart with too many sparks, finger burns, and smoke in my past to advise wisely, so if all else fails, keep an eye out for my ex, and the aliens!!

V/R, NPT42
 
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Old 06-11-14, 06:16 PM
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Did you ever see the 1988 movie Pulse There is something living in the wires.
Pulse (1988 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(it's available on you tube)

Anything with a ballast or transformer can hum or actually resonate at 60hz. It's interesting listening to devices on different phases.
 
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Old 06-12-14, 11:25 PM
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Sorry for not responding, I've extremely been busy.


If it's constant I would guess motor noise. You should also hear it ramp up and down. If it's in bursts it could be a welder. A scrap yard near our video production company had a huge electromagnet on a crane to move steel. All of them caused noise on the 60Hz wave.

Power is sloppy, innit?
It's intermittent in 5-30 second blasts. I figure it's worth mentioning there's an Aluminum plant maybe 1500 feet from my house


Does it sound like a bee (quite low pitch) or like a mosquito (medium pitch) or like a truck backup alarm (quite high pitch)?

How long does it last? Short bursts (or maybe just one burst) like a truck backup alarm? Minutes at a time?

Does the pitch vary (somewhat like a siren)?
I will get back to you on the pitch, I can hear it best on HID lights, and I fried the bulb for the one in my bedroom.

What would be ideal is a recording, but I doubt I have a microphone that'll record it. (What I need is a good condenser mic)
 
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Old 06-13-14, 05:04 AM
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Any mic should be able to pick it up if you can hear it. If it's up at the extreme high frequency range (15kHz) it's more likely an oscillator.

Got a smart phone or tablet? Download a spectrum analyzer app. It will use the built-in mic to display frequencies. (That's also good for when you run live sound to identify feedback freqs so you can EQ them out.)
 
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Old 06-13-14, 08:58 AM
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It's intermittent in 5-30 second blasts. I figure it's worth mentioning there's an Aluminum plant maybe 1500 feet from my house
They use electric induction furnaces to melt the aluminum ingots.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 10:57 AM
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We were working in an old mixed use building. One of the tenants said they could hear an odd hum every so often from some electrical equipment other then the "standard" 60 cycle hum. It seams nothing to worry about, but as we wandered around we could hear it from the florescent lights, transformers, and even the radio. We traced it down a metal shop the was using a high draw spot welder.
 
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Old 06-13-14, 09:04 PM
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Well, today I was using a 400W metal halide with and Advance magnetic ballast as a worklight. When the buzzing would come on that thing, it sounded almost exactly like welding. I could also hear it over my music, which says something. This was at the house that is about 5 miles away.

Any mic should be able to pick it up if you can hear it. If it's up at the extreme high frequency range (15kHz) it's more likely an oscillator.

Got a smart phone or tablet? Download a spectrum analyzer app. It will use the built-in mic to display frequencies. (That's also good for when you run live sound to identify feedback freqs so you can EQ them out.)
Thanks! I have a smartphone and just downloaded the app. I will play with it tonight.

They use electric induction furnaces to melt the aluminum ingots.
That's what I'm hoping, considering I can hear the buzzing in a different town on a different substation.


We were working in an old mixed use building. One of the tenants said they could hear an odd hum every so often from some electrical equipment other then the "standard" 60 cycle hum. It seams nothing to worry about, but as we wandered around we could hear it from the florescent lights, transformers, and even the radio. We traced it down a metal shop the was using a high draw spot welder.
That sounds like here, except there's no rhyme or reason to it. And none of the nearby neighbors have welders AFAIK. (but then again the xfrmr that feeds my house feeds 14 other houses)
 
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Old 06-13-14, 09:27 PM
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Well I have the humming and it is/was transformer at the pole. 20 ft from the house. Additionally when it was worse I had a bad ground at the main. The service company came and redid the coupling/ground, from main to house was bad. They redid and it was better but never went away...

Has it always made this sound?

My advice is call power company and ask... They know more in terms of this stuff IMO...

Sometimes when I hear buzzing I put tinfoil in my hat... Mostly government control , and I can block most waves.....



Just my experience is all. probably irrelevant...
 

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Old 06-14-14, 12:12 AM
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I got a screenshot of the sound with and without the buzzing!
Without (Normal Ballast):
With (Same Ballast as above but buzzing)

Another thing I noticed too while the buzzing is happening, the Sylvania 5W dimmable CFL bulbs on a dimmer set to 100% flicker, too.
Now off to bed.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 05:48 PM
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It sounds like you are living around some industrial buildings (You mentioned an aluminum plant 1500 feet away) I would suspect that.

Do you have street lights? If so can you hear them make the noise at the same time?
 
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Old 06-15-14, 04:08 AM
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The one that's most dominant is probably the 1.2kHz spike since that's where our ears are more sensitive. 1.2kHz is also an overtone of the 60Hz fundamental.

What it (and the other spikes) tell you is that something is putting a bunch of overtone noise on the line that can damage electronic equipment.

Call the poco.
 
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Old 06-15-14, 08:52 PM
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Tolyn, I can't hear it over the neighbours air conditioners.

Rick, what should I tell the poco?

I'll post screenshots of Google maps when I'm on the computer.

Maybe this is why I fly through bulbs.
 
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Old 06-15-14, 09:23 PM
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Tolyn, I can't hear it over the neighbors air conditioners.
Move elsewhere in the neighborhood. You are all on the same electrical system. Maybe you can also check the transformer that serves your neighborhood.
 
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Old 06-15-14, 09:36 PM
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Move elsewhere in the neighborhood. You are all on the same electrical system. Maybe you can also check the transformer that serves your neighborhood.
I will do my best, this area is old houses built in the 1700s-early 1900s, and every house has window shakers everywhere.

Anyway, here's a screenshot with very poor labeling.(I'm on my laptop) It shows how massive the aluminum plant is.
Name:  Power problems.jpg
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Old 06-16-14, 04:59 AM
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Tell the poco that the electrical system in the neighborhood is making strange noises, and the noises are present in electrical and electronic devices. You're afraid it will damage something.
 
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Old 06-16-14, 05:43 AM
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For a situation like this, power factor correction (, that uses capacitors,) would reduce the noise.

Would the power company be willing to install power factor correction even if none was called for?
 
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