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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed a Kustom 6 zone amplifier in my house and have had problems with its operation since day one. I am pretty sure my environment is to blame but don't know where to start to solve the problem


The problem: I live about 150 yards from a radio transmitter. When I moved into my house you could clearly hear the radio bleeding through the phone line. I called the phone company and they came out and installed a filter.


When I installed the whole house audio system I would hear the radio station come through my whole house stereo speakers usually very faintly. However this activity led my controllers to believe that a source was playing on the stereo. During the winter this affect is much worse and often when a CD is being played the controller will interrupt the signal and the music will cut in and out.


I believe the problem I am experiencing is RF interference on my AC lines. I have installed a Isolation Transformer on the outlet that serves the whole house amp. This immediately provided relief but after about a month the system went back to being continually interrupted. I have found that if I unplug everything for a couple of days that usually will get me a few weeks of relief from this problem. I am guessing that my ground isn't good enough to dump the RF noise and it is building up in my Kustom amp.


If I knew of someone with the appropriate training in Madison, WI I would have hired them to trouble shoot this but as every electrician I have talked with looked at me like I was from Mars I knew better than to throw good money down the drain having them look into this problem.


If any one has any suggestions or knows an expert in this area I would appreciate a heads up either way.


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Halveb
IThe problem: I live about 150 yards from a radio transmitter. When I moved into my house you could clearly hear the radio bleeding through the phone line. I called the phone company and they came out and installed a filter.
I have a question for you: A commercial transmitter? If so, have you tried contacting the station to see if they have any suggestions?


-Stephen
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SGunn,


I acutally did think of that and did a little research. I bought a book on RF interference which was very enlightening but unfortunately what it indicated was that commercial radio transmitters rarely exceed their assigned power and frequency so there is nothing you can ask them to do. Typically the RF interference is faulty consumer grade equipment that normally doesn't rear its ugly head since it is not usually located so near a broadcast facility.


I am only guessing that the RF is coming through on the power lines but based on the experience I had with the phone system I think it is a reasonable assumption. :(
 

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Here's some ideas: There are 4 possible ways for the RF to get into your system that I can think of.

1. Through the low level inputs from the source equipment. This could be through the cables or directly into the source component.

2. Through the AC power line

3. Directly into the Kustom preamp/amp

4. Induced into the speaker wires. (not too likely)


1. I'd start by putting shorting RCA plugs into any unused inputs. Next try disconnecting each input one at a time. See if that helps


2./3. Try grounding the Kustom. Run a 14 ga wire from the Kustom's chassis to a cold water pipe (I realize how hard this might be, but given the symptoms you describe this might be the best hope.)


If none of the above helps there are more esoteric things like wrapping the leads around ferrite beads, etc. but try the above first.


BTW have you called Kustom? They may have some ideas


George
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DrDSL,


I currently use only one input and that is from the CD Jukebox. By shorting RCA plugs I assume you mean to plug the left channel input into the right channel input but I am not sure. Are there special RCA shorting plugs?


Actuall running the wire from the chassis to a cold water pipe is an excellent suggestion as it happens the whole house system is in the basement and not too far from the water pipes. Mmmmm hope this helps.


I did call Kustom early on in the process and they were fairly helpful but at the time I didn't know half of what I know now. Perhaps that will be my next move assuming suggestion 1 and 2/3 don't work. A friend of mine suggested that I live in a ground plan and he thinks that signal may be coming back up through the ground. Sounds weird but who knows.


Thanks for the suggestions. I will report back once I have had a chance to try them.
 

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Halveb,


Looping the left, right channels won't work since you will still have an "antenna" formed by the looped cable. What I mean by shorting plugs is a single RCA plug that directly shorts the center pin to the outside ring. Kustom actually ships these with their NuVo products to terminate unused inputs. You might try getting them from Kustom/Nuvo. If you have a small soldering iron you can easily make your own with unterminated RCA plugs from Radio Shack.


If you try grounding the chassis to a cold water pipe, make sure you get good connections at both ends. At the amp end, make sure the wire is under a screw and on bare metal - use a little sandpaper on the metal. At the pipe end, get a device from Home Depot that is intended for this purpose - it clamps around the pipe and has a compression screw for the wire.


Good Luck!


George
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
George,


Thanks Kustom didn't include that in my old version (I purchased before they had the NUVO line...too bad those look pretty nice). I will try and locate some and if necessary create some myself. I doubt this is the problem but I am willing to try anything since nothing I have done has solved the problem yet (only delayed it occurance). :D


I have seen the grounding straps or whatever they are called on pipes. I'll check there may already be one on a pipe somewhere nearby. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Thanks again for the advice.


Bob Halverson
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Halveb


If I knew of someone with the appropriate training in Madison, WI I would have hired them to trouble shoot this but as every electrician I have talked with looked at me like I was from Mars I knew better than to throw good money down the drain having them look into this problem.


Thanks
Well, you should try to isolate which piece of equipment is picking up the rf, whether it's the cd player or the kustom equipment. The Kustom piece would probably be my guess, because all those longs runs of cat 5 and speaker wire will inevitably end up acting like antennas. They do sell shielded cat5, I don't know about shielded speaker wire, but I don't know if getting shielded wire will actually help in your situation.


I still say you should contact the station. You want an expert? I guarantee you the chief engineer for the station will know a thing or two about RF. I wouldn't call them and blame them, just say you live close to the transmitter, you're having a problem and wonder if they could help. The worst that can happen is that they'll say no.


-Stephen
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also suspect the Kustom amp since the problem is manifesting itself through both the speakers and controllers. Haven't had a chance to ground the unit yet. Probably will go to Home Depot this weekend to get a grounding unit for the cold water pipe.


If that fails I will give the station a call. Perhaps the Radio Station will be able to shed some light on my suspected grounding ideas or maybe suggest some sort of filter that could be applied to my power source.


I will try them next. Thanks for the ideas.
 
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