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My ceiling fan is causing interference in my DAC/AMP

Azathoth

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Oct 18, 2020
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I noticed a faint crackle or pop sound and such in my audio system right now, an E30/L30 setup through my FD5s, and after looking around for an explanation I realized the ceiling fan I had up there is somehow showing signs of wear and tear, and it seems to be wobbling around, and it gives off the same sort of clicking/popping noise that syncs with what I hear in my system. I have the fan turned off right now, and the interference is completely gone.

How the hell does this happen? I have my PC and related device along with my L30 plugged into the same power strip, everything was fine before this. Any help is appreciated.
 
How the hell does this happen?
Noise on the AC power line... ;) Light dimmers are famous for generating power line noise and you probably won't find a "regular" light dimmer in a pro recording studio. It's also not that unusual to get a "click" in your sound system when a refrigerator kicks-on or off. It's not common when a motor is simply running continuously.

Probably the best solution is to replace the fan and "cross your fingers" that the new fan doesn't do that. You could try a filter but it would probably would require an expensive "power line conditioner".

...Depending on where I'm sitting sometimes I get a weird fluttering effect from the sound going-through the fan as it bounces off the ceiling! :D
 
Radiated interference is a possibility too. From the description I'd check for an intermittent electrical connection in the fan, such as a loose terminal with the wire moving as the fan wobbles.
 
If the click is coming through the headphones or speakers then I agree with @somebodyelse -- check the fan for a loose connection (or get an electrician or somebody else ;) to check it for you). If it really is an intermittent connection, perhaps worked loose by years of vibration, it could cause an arc and a fire down the road.
 
Could be a desoldered or broken interference supression capacitor at the motor of the fan. Let it check from someone who knows what he does or get a new fan.
 
Every time I turn on or off my ceiling fan or my neighbour on the flat below (yes) turns on/off its electric shutters, I hear a nasty sound on my 12 € usb powered desktop speakers. The rest of my systems don't seem to bother at all. It has become a good detector of "noise" (I don't know a better term for this disruption in the mains current) in the mains. That also helped to convince myself that the rest of equipment is properly designed to ignore such issues that actually exist and occur all the time. That is, don't buy any mains filter. :)
 
Noise on the AC power line... ;) Light dimmers are famous for generating power line noise and you probably won't find a "regular" light dimmer in a pro recording studio. It's also not that unusual to get a "click" in your sound system when a refrigerator kicks-on or off. It's not common when a motor is simply running continuously.

Probably the best solution is to replace the fan and "cross your fingers" that the new fan doesn't do that. You could try a filter but it would probably would require an expensive "power line conditioner".

...Depending on where I'm sitting sometimes I get a weird fluttering effect from the sound going-through the fan as it bounces off the ceiling! :D
Well I'll get an expert to look at it then.

If the click is coming through the headphones or speakers then I agree with @somebodyelse -- check the fan for a loose connection (or get an electrician or somebody else ;) to check it for you). If it really is an intermittent connection, perhaps worked loose by years of vibration, it could cause an arc and a fire down the road.

Yeah I don't want any fires. Good point.

I use the fan at night when it's already cold, aircon during the day. I already have an air conditioner.
 
I have a small system in my living room against a wall and a ceiling fan overhead in the center of the room. If I run the fan playing music, there's a warble effect in the music. Turn of the fan and it's gone. During the warm months, I now run a Vortex fan from the floor and, as it's below the speakers, it causes no warble effect. Weird stuff.
 
I have a small system in my living room against a wall and a ceiling fan overhead in the center of the room. If I run the fan playing music, there's a warble effect in the music. Turn of the fan and it's gone. During the warm months, I now run a Vortex fan from the floor and, as it's below the speakers, it causes no warble effect. Weird stuff.

It may be the higher fan speed and smaller blade diameter of the Vortex more than being below the speakers.
 
It may be the higher fan speed and smaller blade diameter of the Vortex more than being below the speakers.
No, I don't think so. The ceiling fan is never run higher than medium while the Vortex is usually run at higher speeds.
 
No, I don't think so. The ceiling fan is never run higher than medium while the Vortex is usually run at higher speeds.

Yes, I was thinking the higher Vortex fan speed may move the effect beyond the range of audibility, or at least beyond creating easier-to-hear LF pumping effects.
 
In order to control the fan speed of the ceiling fans I have seen, they use Pulse Width Modulation to power the motor, which allows for multiple speeds. Because of the PWM electrical modulation there tends to be interference put back on the line that goes to other devices powered on the same circuit. Audio electronics should be on their own dedicated circuit, and many people install one outlet in their audio room wired directly to its own breaker in the main breaker panel. Then additional outlets are added via outlet strips, all tied to the dedicated electric service outlet. This helps to isolate the electronics from potential interference, and assures the equipment is never starved for power by other appliances, etc.
 
I remember having a wobbly fan injecting 25Hz into my equipment (my country uses UK frequency)

Switching on/off inductive loads is a good source of clicks.
 
showing signs of wear and tear, and it seems to be wobbling around, and it gives off the same sort of clicking/popping noise
It might be arcing if this motor uses brushes and they lose contact due to wobbling axis.
I'd replace it.
 
You know what, It is the best practice to use aircon during the day. The weather is just cold at night and if we use AC at night it can be harmful for our health. With our health it is also beneficial for AC health. As we need some rest same as it is our home appliances also need some rest.
Well... that obviously depends on where you live and how cold it does get at night. Based on efficiency and cost concerns (and cooling takes a ton of electrical power), this guy argues exactly the opposite:

Every time I turn on or off my ceiling fan or my neighbour on the flat below (yes) turns on/off its electric shutters, I hear a nasty sound on my 12 € usb powered desktop speakers. The rest of my systems don't seem to bother at all. It has become a good detector of "noise" (I don't know a better term for this disruption in the mains current) in the mains.
On a side note, that noise is likely to miraculously disappear once the speakers start being powered by a USB charger of their own instead of the computer the audio comes from (note: avoid cheap dubious eBay and AliExpress jobs, watch DiodeGoneWild or Big Clive on why...). The latter is a guaranteed ground loop problem.
 
I've never noticed any interference/noise on the sound system from the overhead fan, but I only switch it on - the light - for a few minutes sometimes, like just to get something out the closet, because it makes a loud noise, it needs a new start capacitor or whatever those cylndrical things in them are. I never needed the fan during the last summer, not even once. And I've never switched on the aircon in this place, I dislike them. The office was the worst, I suffered from it for years - for more than 10 years I wore long-sleeve fleece sweaters in the office, when it was like 30 degrees and 90% humidity...And "illegally" screwed closed the vents above co-workers' desks when they were having a bad time with it.
 
On a side note, that noise is likely to miraculously disappear once the speakers start being powered by a USB charger of their own instead of the computer the audio comes from (note: avoid cheap dubious eBay and AliExpress jobs, watch DiodeGoneWild or Big Clive on why...). The latter is a guaranteed ground loop problem.

Thanks!

In fact they are powered from a separate usb power supply, as they have a usb for power and a jack for audio. The usb power supply is one of those integrated in a power strip, a regular one, not an audioquest xD. The audio comes from a Behringer 204. Just now I've made a simple test disconnecting the speakers from the interface, just leaving the usb power, and in this case the effect of the power switch gets reduced to almost nothing. Still there though.
 
I know this is an older thread but I am having the same issue but worse. My audio is on a completely separate 20 amp circuit from everything else but when I turn on any one of several ceiling fans in the same or adjoining rooms the amp actually trips the safety. All the electronics are going through a monster AVS 2000 and HTS2600 so they should be completely filtered from any spikes and wiring interference. If the fan is running already it doesnt affect it, only switching it off and on. Any thoughts or fixes?
 
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