HORRIBLE ground Loop problem with EP4000/Cap 2400 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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So I have a HORRIBLE ground loop hum with my Cap 2400 set-up. Here is what is my set-up...

In one outlet...

Samsung Plasma
Yamaha rx-765V
Slim PS3
DirecTV

All of this is into a standard power strip and plugged into the wall. Into the same outlet, but is my XPA-3

Into another outlet but on the same breaker...

EP4000 and Mic2200

Now, recently, I had two ceiling fans put in. The switch that turns them on, is different from the breaker thats mentioned above. However, they WERE on a dimmer switch that is since now just an on/off switch. I noticed a significant hum increase when the fans were installed. This was well before my current set-up. Previously, I had an Epik Empire and only noticed the hum of the ceiling fan.

First, I know that cheater plugs are not recommended, but without one, the hum makes watching TV very not fun. 2nd, I turned off the power switch and unplugged the XPA3 and there was not any change in the hum. 3. I have 2 other dimmer switches in my house. One of which is on the same breaker as the EP4000/Mic2200. Another is in my master bath on its own breaker.

Looking for ideas/help/suggestions. (something like this maybe Hum X )?
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post #2 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 12:08 PM
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do you get the hum with no content playing on the TV. I mean does it hum with just the amps and AVR turned on?

if yes unscrew the coax for your cable from the wall

does the hum go away?

If yes this should work
http://www.amazon.com/Viewsonics-VSIS-EU-Cable-Ground-Isolator/dp/B0017I3K9M
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post #3 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 12:48 PM
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What Sibuna linked worked for me back when I had a Cap hopefully it will for you too. I recently had hum issues again with the minidsp so I know how frustrating that can be.
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post #4 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 12:55 PM
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i didnt think those worked with Direct TV

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post #5 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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First, thanks for trying to help. 2nd, I isolated it to the same breaker that the ceiling fans are on AND the high hat dining room lights. Like I said in my OP, the ceiling fans used to be on a dimmer switch but is now just a simple on/off switch. With just the ceiling fans on, I can hear a hum from the fans. When the dining room lights are on, AND the EP4000, I can hear the hum change pitch when I adjust the lights from light to dark. All of this is with all of my other equipment unplugged. Now, the Directv cable is still attached to the box, but unplugged, so I dont know it that might be a culprit.

sooooooooo frustrating.
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post #6 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 01:08 PM
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You mean the power was unplugged on the Direct TV? try it with the TV power unplugged, then the PS3.

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post #7 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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The Directv, AVR, Apple TV, TV, and PS3 are all plugged into the same power strip. I unplugged that strip from the outlet as well as the XPA from the same outlet. Still has the hum.
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post #8 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 01:28 PM
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what if you plug the XPA in where the ep4000 is and plug the ep4K into the outlet the power strip is in?

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post #9 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 01:40 PM
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It is likely there are some shared neutrals and who knows what else is going on with ground connections.

As I suggested when you posted similar in the Cap thread, first ground the receiver by a phono ground terminal or the shell of the FM antenna's F connector. Next you can start by physically disconnecting all Cable/SAT connections to the system. It sounds like you have a buzz not a hum if you are hearing it change with the dimmers. The key is to resist the urge to change everything at once and step through the connections until you narrow down the culprit. You might want to start by unplugging all source components from the receiver (turning off doesn't count). Is the sound still there?

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post #10 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Mark,

I will try that (Brian, I will try your idea as well). However, (and forgive my noobish questions), but just unplugging everything from a completely different circuit wont matter?
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post #11 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

It is likely there are some shared neutrals and who knows what else is going on with ground connections.
+1. Using two outlets that go to the same breaker doesn't help, as that doesn't minimize the length of wire carrying ground current. Conceivably the two outlets could have separate cables all the way back to the box. Everything needs to be plugged into the same outlet, preferably one dedicated to the HT. Then you start with a minimalist setup, the AVR and sub and nothing else. If there's no problem add one component to the system at a time until the culprit is revealed. Then transformer isolate that component.

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post #12 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 04:22 PM
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Breakers only control hot-wires, not neutral-wires nor ground-wires FYI.
So it doesn't matter if the appliance is on the same breaker or a different one, the hum can still exist in both cases.

All neutral and ground wires are shared with ALL the appliances in a house, as one large circuit; independent of the breaker it uses.
and THAT enables the problem to exist.

What further enables the problem, is that RCA cables and the HDMI wires allow power to flow through the ground wire between devices.
Optical cables are immune to this effect; not sure about XLR cables, they are probably noise-resistant at least.

If all cables were shielded on both ends to a common ground, and the signal-grounds were floated but shielded from noise, then ground hums would be rare. But that ideal is never achieved.

TV box cables are known for inducing grounding issues 99 out of 100 times; this is because they are grounded at a different point to the earth, increasing the chance of a voltage difference.

Most hums are induced by induction from things such as fan motors and transformers, or a malfunctioning device that are bleeding line power.


I had a similar issue last week.
Turns out it was the HDMI cable between my TV cable box and my sound processor, it induced a hum in my RCA cables to my BFD, and all down stream amps.

The cable box itself had no ground plug (not grounded), but my sound processor IS grounded, so the power from the cable shield decided to use the grounded HDMI wire as a return path, which is the same ground that my RCA cables use.
The cable box grounded their HDMI port to the floating Cable shield instead of earth ground (made in China, that's all I have to say rolleyes.gif).

All it takes is a few miliohms or milivolts upon the shared ground, and presto, a hum is born.

My temporary solution was to unplug the HDMI cable. biggrin.gif
I'll have to look into grounding their coax cable as a more permanent solution.

Mark is correct BTW, you have to disconnect all conductor paths, turning a device off is almost never sufficient.
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post #13 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replys, it's a lot to take in. As a firefighter/paramedic, my knowledge of electronics and circuitry is, at best, on par with a 5th grader. I am going to follow al, the advice here, starting with Mark's suggestion of a phono ground terminal. Even after a few minutes on Google, I'm still not sure if I know what that is. Is he talking about http://www.turntableneedles.com/Technics-SJPB7M-Ground-Wire_p_3819.html <<< this and does it go http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/fullimage.php?image=356 <<< here. If yes and yes, where does the other end go?

(Please bear with me)
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post #14 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 05:33 PM
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Do you have one of those cheater plug adapters that takes the gound plug out ? Try putting that on the plug of the amp and then plug in the amp with the cheater adapter in the mix... Take the ground out. for a test
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post #15 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mantha3 View Post

Do you have one of those cheater plug adapters that takes the gound plug out ? Try putting that on the plug of the amp and then plug in the amp with the cheater adapter in the mix... Take the ground out. for a test

Yes, I am using that now and I know that its not good, but it is only a temp solution. It has no effect on any of my components whether its in the mix or not. As far as the amp goes, with it, its very manageable meaning that I can deal with it. Without it, its ridiculous.
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post #16 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post

Breakers only control hot-wires, not neutral-wires nor ground-wires FYI.
So it doesn't matter if the appliance is on the same breaker or a different one, the hum can still exist in both cases.
True, but that's not the whole story by any means. This is. It explains why ground loops aren't the result of bad grounding or most of the other reasons usually attributed:
http://www.rane.com/note110.html
Ground loop noise is the product the clash of perfectly valid grounding techniques and unbalanced audio connections. When audio uses properly implemented balanced connections ground loop noise never occurs, but consumer grade electronics aren't balanced. Add another path to ground via a TV cable connection and it's a wonder that HT sound works at all.

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post #17 of 39 Old 04-15-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

True, but that's not the whole story by any means. This is. It explains why ground loops aren't the result of bad grounding or most of the other reasons usually attributed:
http://www.rane.com/note110.html
Ground loop noise is the product the clash of perfectly valid grounding techniques and unbalanced audio connections. When audio uses properly implemented balanced connections ground loop noise never occurs, but consumer grade electronics aren't balanced. Add another path to ground via a TV cable connection and it's a wonder that HT sound works at all.

Bill,

When you say TV cable connection do you mean DirecTV as well?
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post #18 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

Bill,

When you say TV cable connection do you mean DirecTV as well?
Yes. I know it's not the same as cable per se, but since it involves electronics there are paths to ground the same as with an AVR or DVD player, so it can be a ground loop source. It's easy enough to find out. Hook up the AVR, sub and TV. If there's no hum then so far so good. Plug in the feed from the direct tv box to the TV or AVR, if hum occurs you've found the problem. The only TV source that would not be a possible source of a ground loop is a passive antenna.

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post #19 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 08:42 AM
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Trying random changes will more likely drive you nuts rather than solving the problem. Disconnect things, see if there is noise with nothing but the receiver and subwoofer connected. If so we can help. If not, start connecting things one at a time and note which causes the noise. From there we can help. At this point we could give you a dozen possible fixes of which probably only 2 will work.

I had linked the full description in the JTR thread about grounding the receiver. You can either connect a coax cable from your FM antenna input to a surge protector with cable/or sat output (the shield is grounded in the surge protector) or you can connect any wire to the phono ground screw on the back of your receiver and the other end to either a ground lug on an rack style surge protector or to any other item grounded to the 3rd pin ground (could be the case of another component, but has to be under a screw as the black coating insulates).

The primary issue is that the receiver has a floating ground, so any other ground connection will create a path for possible noise generation.

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post #20 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 09:27 AM
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I agree with Mark Seaton.

Disconnect all the sources from the amp/receiver and have just the amp/receiver hooked up to the speakers. Set the volume to about 30 % and test Does it hum? If not... Take off the AC cheater plug and test again. No hum.. You should not run an amp/receiver without a source connected for a long time if at all but I've done it for some troubleshooting for short times like this without issue.

Then add a simple source like a cd player or perhaps a MP3 player hooked up.. Does it hum

working from the amp/receiver back can shed light on the component that triggers the hum. Lots of times the pieces are fine alone but some combo triggers this hum

On a side note... Cable boxes and or Dish boxes that you get fror service providers can be junkey at times.
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post #21 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 09:33 AM
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PS - I'm going to bet that just the amp to speakers - no hum
amp to speakers without cheater plug - no hum.

Then somet componenet introduced into the mix this hum gets back into the picture. If you report back that the amp alone to the speakers is not an issue and that something added then causes this to come into the picture then I think some ideas for you will come and pretty quick.

I run tube amps and this sort of challenge comes into play at times.
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post #22 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 10:16 AM
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Last bit... Remove any cheater plugs before testing what I suggested above. With a little creativity you can eliminate them.

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post #23 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 11:02 AM
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The reason for the 3rd test being a hand held MP3... Using a hand held batter operated device has perhaps the least chance of hum introduction by not having any AC powering in it....
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post #24 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, So I will try the above ideas when I get home tonight and when the kids are in bed. I think I have learned a few things so far but someone correct me if I am wrong.

1. Typically, there is only one ground in the average house. No matter how many breakers/circuits?
2. Even with everything off but the Amp/Cap, AND unplugged, I can still hear a hum.
3. One of the biggest culprits tends to be some sort of cable/sat. box.

I know that there is a grounding rod that is supposed to be used with my DirecTv. I am trying to remember if anything from my DirecTV dish/cabling is attached to that. Would that be of any contribution to the hum?
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post #25 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

I know that there is a grounding rod that is supposed to be used with my DirecTv. I am trying to remember if anything from my DirecTV dish/cabling is attached to that. Would that be of any contribution to the hum?
Yes. The problem isn't that there's a ground. The problem is that there is more than one way for the ground connection on your sub to get there. Each separate connection to ground, ie., the AC, more than one AC line, the cable, etc., provides another ground path, and more than one is too many. That's why transformer isolation is used, it passes signal while breaking a secondary ground connection.

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post #26 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 12:03 PM
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1. Typically, there is only one ground in the average house. No matter how many breakers/circuits? - Correct - This is typically by the main water supply pipe running into your home. A brass/copper thick wire without shielding that is connected above your water meeter and again below it to code.

2. Even with everything off but the Amp/Cap, AND unplugged, I can still hear a hum. - Having things off but still connected is not telling you what you need to know at this point... Ya still got the hum mad.gif
Pull the amp out. Disconnect all sources. turn on and advise if you hear the hum.
Pull the amp out. Disconnect all sources. remove the AC cheater plug turn on and advise if you hear the hum.
Pull the amp out. connect a hand held MP3 player or other batter operated music player. and advise if you hear the hum.
If at this point you are still hum free then start connecting each component one by one and test for hum. When you find the piece that adds the hum smash it as you see done to the printer on Office Space or... Better yet come back to this thread and we can give ideas on how to rid yourself of the hum smile.gif



If you want a quick idea... Yank the RCA/wire from your DirecTV box to your amp and turn the amp on... You may luck out and that is it. then we can toss out ideas on the DirecTV box issue with the amp

I know that there is a grounding rod that is supposed to be used with my DirecTv. I am trying to remember if anything from my DirecTV dish/cabling is attached to that. Would that be of any contribution to the hum? - Remove the wires running from the Direct TV box to the amp and ee if the hum goes away... If it does then we can possible issues like this one you mention
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post #27 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mantha3 View Post


2. Even with everything off but the Amp/Cap, AND unplugged, I can still hear a hum. - Having things off but still connected is not telling you what you need to know at this point... Ya still got the hum mad.gif
Pull the amp out. Disconnect all sources. turn on and advise if you hear the hum.
Pull the amp out. Disconnect all sources. remove the AC cheater plug turn on and advise if you hear the hum.
Pull the amp out. connect a hand held MP3 player or other batter operated music player. and advise if you hear the hum.
If at this point you are still hum free then start connecting each component one by one and test for hum. When you find the piece that adds the hum smash it as you see done to the printer on Office Space or... Better yet come back to this thread and we can give ideas on how to rid yourself of the hum smile.gif

Pull the amp out? You mean my AVR?
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post #28 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 01:37 PM
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If the battery-powered iPod (only) test doesn't work, then you could have a major grounding issue somewhere in your house eek.gif
It better work! If that's not the case, you may want to get a certified person to inspect your house (not the same one that did the fan install).
Either that or your AVR and/or AMP is toast.

Does the hum come out of just the sub or is it all the speakers?
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post #29 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 01:41 PM
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I get a hum when I go receiver > NU3000DSP, with nothing else plugged in (plugged in to the same outlet/different outlet/with or without cheater plugs- it makes no difference). It then gets way worse when I hook up the cable tv connection. I've since ordered a RCA ground loop isolator and installed a Jensen VRD-1FF on the cable connection. I tried grounding the chassis of the receiver, but that didn't make any difference.
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post #30 of 39 Old 04-16-2013, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post

If the battery-powered iPod (only) test doesn't work, then you could have a major grounding issue somewhere in your house eek.gif
It better work! If that's not the case, you may want to get a certified person to inspect your house (not the same one that did the fan install).
Either that or your AVR and/or AMP is toast.

Does the hum come out of just the sub or is it all the speakers?

just the sub.
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