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Computer interferes with Grandpas Radio


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#1 TheEgg

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 08:21 PM

My computer isn't complying with part 15 of FCC rules (lol).

My grandpa has to listen to certian political am programing on the radio from 12:00pm-4:00pm then From 6:00pm to about 7-7:30pm.

My computer interferes with his radio. I put this computer together myself.

I tried searching for the best way to fix this but didn't find good results. I saw something once about a sound card interfering with the computer itself. The site explained how he fixed it my making an EMI (or RFI ?) shield on the sound card by basically making a sandwich of aluminum foil and cardboard.

Is there anything I can buy? (if its expensive, I don't want it, lol). Can I fix this problem by making a cardboard aluminum foil sandwich and taping it to the inside of the case doors?

Any help would be appreciated.

I was thinking of getting him one of those internet radios but they are expensive.

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#2 rsd79

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:04 PM

Exactly, how close in proximity is your PC and your grandpa's radio? Like same room or different levels of the house? Might as well try that free sandwich trick. Same thing happens to me but that is only if I bring the radio within 3 feet of the PC.
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#3 garmanma

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:43 PM

What sort of interference?
Constant static, or your speakers broadcasting through his radio?

Is everything plugged into the same outlet? Same house circuit?
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#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:37 PM

Ive had issues with cheap power supplies interfering with radios/intercoms. they actually make a cord thats supposed to fix it, but Ive always found the best way is to go out and purchase a high quality PSU from a company like cooler master or antec. the other solution is turn the computer off while grandpas listening to his radio.
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#5 TheEgg

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:01 AM

1. My computer is down stairs. The Radio is upstairs. Computer and Radio are both close to the stairway. I'd say they are about 10-12 yards away?

2. The interference is loud static in the radio. Bzzzzz shshshhhh is the sound the radio makes. He keeps the radio on the couch. The back of the couch is like a barrier between the radio and computer. I found that when I put the radio close against the back of the couch and put the antenna DOWN, it helps a lot. The radio doesn't need the antenna up anyway. Also when I touch the antenna, the static seems to go away. Maybe I should discuss better positioning of the radio with him. But its the principle. It shouldnt be doing this!

They are plugged into different outlets. Different circuits too.

3. This is a good quality OCZ Modular 80 plus 500w power supply. I believe its a very good PSU.

Don't use the computer when grandpa listens to the radio? I might as well go kill myself. lol. Thats what I try to do now. If I can get a real job, I probably wouldn't be home those hours so that would solve the problem too.

Right now I'm looking for a good gently used labtop. This computer is to be used for games, but a labtop could be used for everything else without having to come down here and fire this thing up everytime. Plus I can post on BC while I'm on the bowl (terlit that is). Just the thought of that disturbs me. hahaha.

But yeah, I'm really thinking of the sandwich thing. I have lots of cardboard and enough foil.

Edited by TheEgg, 08 December 2009 - 01:02 AM.


#6 garmanma

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 12:02 PM

These are cheap enough to try
If you look at your peripherals, you might notice that you already have some
NOISE SUPPRESSORS
http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searc...FTOKEN=20522475

Get one the size of you computer power cord and place it close to the male plug end
Get the large one and loop it through Grandpa's radio cord

This is a reputable company that I have used in the past
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#7 Platypus

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:53 PM

A few thoughts:

Does the computer interfere with other stations or only the one he listens to? If his favourite is particularly affected, it may just be an unfortunate combination of signal strength and the station frequency being a multiple of one of the operating frequencies in the computer system. That can be difficult to solve. One thing to try is look in the computer's BIOS setup and see if there is an option called Spread Spectrum, enabling that may help.

To check if the computer is indeed emitting abnormal EMI, can you try borrowing a different radio to see if it also suffers the same interference?

Is the radio mains-powered, battery or both? If it's on mains but it can be battery powered, disconnecting it from the mains can check if the interference is being carried on the power cabling. If it is, looping both computer and radio mains leads through ferrite toroids (or suppressor clamps as garmanma posted while I was typing) could help.

Poor earthing of the mains can also make the computer's EMI shielding less effective. Not easy to check for, but wiring the computer case to a known good earth point would show if that's the problem.

Edited by Platypus, 08 December 2009 - 05:54 PM.

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#8 the_patriot11

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 10:53 PM

These are cheap enough to try
If you look at your peripherals, you might notice that you already have some
NOISE SUPPRESSORS
http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searc...FTOKEN=20522475

Get one the size of you computer power cord and place it close to the male plug end
Get the large one and loop it through Grandpa's radio cord

This is a reputable company that I have used in the past


yeah, those were what I was thinking of I just couldnt think of the name. my middle brother had to get those for his computer cuz he had those issues, and my youngest brother needs them, though it doesnt cause quite as much static problems.
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#9 TheEgg

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:11 AM

To answer your questions

1. Yes, unfortunately it just happens to be THIS particular station that is affected. There might be others, haven't tried them all, but I know other stations don't seem to have this problem.

2. The computer is plugged into the wall. It can run on batteries. I will try putting batteries in there just to see what happens.


My grandpa keeps saying that he thinks its the power cord or something and that there is supposed to be an adapter that plugs between the radio plug and the wall that fixes it. I don't believe it. I think electrons are radiating from this computer and hitting the antenna. Because why then does me touching the antenna make everything better.

#10 the_patriot11

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:17 AM

you need a noise suppresser, like in the link garman suggested.
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#11 Platypus

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:57 AM

unfortunately it just happens to be THIS particular station that is affected.... I think electrons are radiating from this computer and hitting the antenna. Because why then does me touching the antenna make everything better.

It does sound as if it's a station whose frequency just happens to coincide with something in the computer. If it's not a strong station, the radio has to have its gain wound up fairly high. When you touch the antenna, your body acts as a better antenna for radio than it does for the computer noise, and the radio turns its AGC (Automatic Gain Control) down, reducing the effect of the interference.

Unless you can rig up an external radio antenna, you'll have to just experiment with anything that may reduce the computer's electrical noise output.
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#12 TheEgg

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 11:49 AM

unfortunately it just happens to be THIS particular station that is affected.... I think electrons are radiating from this computer and hitting the antenna. Because why then does me touching the antenna make everything better.

It does sound as if it's a station whose frequency just happens to coincide with something in the computer. If it's not a strong station, the radio has to have its gain wound up fairly high. When you touch the antenna, your body acts as a better antenna for radio than it does for the computer noise, and the radio turns its AGC (Automatic Gain Control) down, reducing the effect of the interference.

Unless you can rig up an external radio antenna, you'll have to just experiment with anything that may reduce the computer's electrical noise output.



Yeah. Well sometimes my grandpa tells me that they're not broadcasting powerful enough. Like one day a sports game was on instead of his show and he said "Listen to that. They're broadcasting with more power" (or something like that). And there was little to no interference. So IDK. I never usually listen to old people because they're almost always wrong, lol. But maybe the old guy's right after all? *scared* :thumbsup:

#13 garmanma

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:58 PM

I never usually listen to old people because they're almost always wrong,


:thumbsup: The 3 of us answering your questions are probably old enough to be your grandfather :flowers:
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#14 audioAl

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 05:30 AM

Interesting answers, I've never encountered this problem, thank God, EMI RFI interference is the enemy of audio, as you know, I am a music Freak. It hurt just to read this post. Hope he gets it straighten out for gramps sake.
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#15 TheEgg

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 11:05 PM

I think the problem is the HARD DRIVE. I turned on the computer with the hard drive (power and IDE cable) disconnected and it didn't make the noise. This is the SAME hard drive I had in my old computer with NO PROBLEMS. I put it in this computer and I have problems.

So maybe the case is not really good. I know the doors of this case don't secure nearly as tightly as my old case. There are quite a few spaces in the case. But a case can't be air tight. I mean it has holes on the side for ventilation.

I put aluminum foil around the hard drive. Not directly on it, but around it. And on the inside of the front of the computer and on the inside of the doors. I thought that would do something. I GIVE UP. I'm gonna try to get my grandpa a digital radio. The radio quality sucks as it is, if you ask me, so maybe we would all benefit with a new radio.

This is what I'm looking at

http://www.amazon.com/Coby-CX789-Digital-A...9122&sr=8-3

P.S. Do you really think those clips for the power wire will really do anything knowing that the hard drive is causing it and the computer and radio are plugged into 2 different circuits?




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