My attic noise was a low frequency short!

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

What do you think caused my attic noise?

Poll ended at Wed May 18, 2011 9:47 am

A mechanical device of some sort failed
5
4%
A mechanical device of some sort failed
5
4%
Truss lift was the culprit
30
25%
The roof sheathing was to tight
41
34%
The roof sheathing was to tight
41
34%
 
Total votes: 122

Cody
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 8:45 am

One of the many lessons I learned was there are some things in life that you think you understand, do the "right" stuff, figure it all out and then you get slapped in the face by a random event that you had never thought possible.

Maybe my book/article title should be "A Random Walk in an Attic."

Cody

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BigFoot48
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Post by BigFoot48 » Wed May 18, 2011 8:58 am

So I thought the noise stopped when you really, really insulated the attic? Did you simultaneously unplug your sub-woofer?
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Cody
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 9:16 am

No the insulation was just a fault lead (or hope). It was quite for 30 plus days, we got sick of the mess, had done everything we could do and we redid the room. Removed pop corn ceiling, painted the walls and sanded the floor.

So I had to take every thing out of the room. Then on the way back to "normal" I plugged in the sub woofer. If it hadn't gone "bang" with my ear 6 inches from the subwoofer we may have never come across the solution.

Cody

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woof755
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Post by woof755 » Wed May 18, 2011 9:24 am

Would be fun to get bogleheady input on the title of your book!
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HueyLD
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Post by HueyLD » Wed May 18, 2011 9:26 am

Now, the long running episode of "Sleepless in Stillwater" is over and a brand new episode of "How I Disable My Subwoofer" may be aired soon. Check your local listings.

Seriously, congrats and may you sleep well every night. Thanks for sharing and best wishes.

matt
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Post by matt » Wed May 18, 2011 9:30 am

matt wrote:Given the massive amount of information released on this topic, this poll should be a good test of the efficient market. The collective Boglehead wisdom will certainly know the right answer by a wide majority, even if individuals aren't sure, right?
With just 7% of the votes coming in correctly, I'm going to count this as an efficient market failure. See, there is still hope for you all to beat the market through better analysis!

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BigFoot48
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Post by BigFoot48 » Wed May 18, 2011 9:32 am

How fortunate that you were next to it when you plugged in the sub-woofer! I would have never thought of that as a suspect for the noise in a million years.

My own periodic ceiling pops continue, but my sub-woofer is unplugged and in the garage, so I can't blame it, unfortunately.

Congratulations on finding the real source at last!
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NAVigator
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Post by NAVigator » Wed May 18, 2011 9:34 am

Cody wrote:One of the many lessons I learned was there are some things in life that you think you understand, do the "right" stuff, figure it all out and then you get slapped in the face by a random event that you had never thought possible.

Maybe my book/article title should be "A Random Walk in an Attic."

Cody
So, you're saying you had a "black swan" in your attic? Back to animal possibilities. :wink:

Jerry
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graveday
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Post by graveday » Wed May 18, 2011 9:40 am

More like a red herring.

scouter
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Post by scouter » Wed May 18, 2011 9:54 am

Low frequency sound is pretty amazing. It can go right through or around just about anything, and it's often impossible to tell what direction it's coming from. That's because our brains use differences in phase, amplitude, and arrival times between our ears to locate sound, and low frequency waves are so long that all those methods fail us.

The military has experimented with focused low frequency sonic "cannons" that disorient the enemy and can even cause involuntary bowel movements. Glad that wasn't a problem in your house!

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Sheepdog
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Post by Sheepdog » Wed May 18, 2011 10:01 am

I still think ghost caused the sub woofer to go bad....or was it a poltergeist.?
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bottlecap
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Post by bottlecap » Wed May 18, 2011 10:09 am

That's simply fascinating. I'm glad your ordeal is over.

JT

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Cosmo
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Post by Cosmo » Wed May 18, 2011 10:39 am

Note to self: Update my sound system a little more frequently than, say, oh 20 years. :lol:

Cody
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 10:49 am

Don't you know retro is in - tubes and all!

I actually bought it use (its a Boston amp) from a second hand shop.

Do you remember the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark?" The box, sitting in the warehouse, just waiting for the next unsuspecting person. Hum, "Raiders of the Lost Amp?" Any takers?

Cody

porcupine
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Post by porcupine » Wed May 18, 2011 12:34 pm

Cody:

Congratulations on finding the source (and thanks for sharing with us).

- Porcupine

Easy Rhino
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Post by Easy Rhino » Wed May 18, 2011 12:53 pm

Congratulations, and you should probably check the subwoofer for ghosts.

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Post by MWCA » Wed May 18, 2011 1:34 pm

Just like I thought. Pirates and ninjas doing battle causing the short.
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Watty
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Post by Watty » Wed May 18, 2011 1:54 pm

I can only image if you had finally given up on the house and moved, and the first night in your new home, boom boom.......

I thought that you had tried turning the electricity off one night and that didn't stop it. If so, are you sure that that was it?

Greg

Cody
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 2:30 pm

Perhaps you have a better memory than me. I don't remember that I had turned off the electricity. I'll check. My guess is if I did that that circuit was not shut off.

Cody

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Post by sscritic » Wed May 18, 2011 2:38 pm

I haven't really been following along with the two threads, but my daughter's sub-woofer makes what I would describe as a pop rather than a bang. However, it only makes it when there is some input from the amplifier (tv, dvd, tuner, etc).

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greenspam
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Post by greenspam » Wed May 18, 2011 3:09 pm

congrats.

now,

would you be willing to sell me your faulty subwoofer?

...i need a good housewarming gift for a phasmophobic friend.
as always, | peace, | greenie.

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Frugal Al
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Post by Frugal Al » Wed May 18, 2011 3:18 pm

A subwoofer? OK, share with us what brand and the failure mode. Integrated amp that didn't switch off properly? Did you leave it on all the time?

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LadyGeek
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Re: The answer to my nightmare

Post by LadyGeek » Wed May 18, 2011 3:56 pm

Cody wrote:The unbelievable noise maker was a faulty component to my stereo - YES - a subwoofer gone bad.  Probably a faulty electrical impulse from a 20 year old subwoofer. That explains why it was so loud. That is what it’s suppose to be. In retrospect the noise sounds like an electromagnet doing something funky.

The loud banging was not even in the attic!!!!!  It was coming from below the den window, against the wall and bouncing sound off my ceiling.  We were three feet away from it many times when it banged and yet we could not tell it was the subwoofer (which was plugged in all the time).

I am currently researching low frequency sound (a sonic effect) and have learned that bass tones can play tricks on the ear. DAH!   That’s why people hide them behind furniture and guests in the room can not tell where its located. I discovered the solution when I had finished painting the room and putting it all back together. I plugged the subwoofer back in - "BANG".  I just about fainted.  I, later, recreated the sound in the basement (I was hiding the subwoofer there after I discovered it was the culprit.)
Hold on there. You haven't explained the time of occurrence. Why only at night? As Frugal Al says, what brand of sub-woofer is this?

Maybe you have intermittent wiring connections (or ungrounded), which is spiking the AC outlet where your sub-woofer is plugged in. For me, I'd put a power line monitor on that outlet to check line quality. What is turning on/off in the middle of the night?

Sub-woofers (or anything, for that matter) don't just decide to go off on their own. Something has to cause it. I've got a nice 15" sub-woofer that rattles the room when you unplug it. The speaker is one huge inductor (coil). When you unplug it, the current attempts to discharge immediately through the speaker coil, which results a in a large amount of electromotive force to move the speaker element. You hear a "thump." It doesn't decide to do this on its own.

Low frequency sound is an effect, not the root cause of your problem. The root cause is electrical, which is not one of your options. IMHO, the saga continues, except we now have to hunt for the ghosts traveling in the house wiring.
Last edited by LadyGeek on Wed May 18, 2011 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 3:57 pm

Frugal Al - it is an Atlantic Technology subwoofer (not Boston as I had thought) Model 162 BPM - 200 W maximum amp (so large and heavy). It was on all the time.

Now I can't even get the On/standby light to come on to recreate the sound. Don't know if that's good or bad but shows there is a problem.

I hear a slight click when I pug it in (very faint). I don't know what failure mode means?

Cody

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LadyGeek
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Post by LadyGeek » Wed May 18, 2011 4:08 pm

Do you mean instead the Atlantic Technology 162 PBM? Here's the manual: 162PBM Manual

The sub-woofer is designed the same as mine. Leave it plugged in and it will auto time-out after 8 - 10 minutes.

Does the AC power outlet have 2 prongs (ungrounded) or 3 prongs (grounded)? I can't tell from the picture. In any case, I think you may have a blown fuse which may have been caused by unplugging / re-plugging it in. The manual shows you how to replace the fuse yourself. Give it a shot.
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Post by Cody » Wed May 18, 2011 4:28 pm

The model number I said is correct. It is a two prong. I have no manual.

I had left it plugged in just ten minutes ago and the on light wouldn't go on (but I left it plugged in).

Well just a minute ago it did the big bang (pop) so I go to the basement and the light is on. (green). Hum?

Cody

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fishnskiguy
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Post by fishnskiguy » Wed May 18, 2011 4:38 pm

scouter wrote:Low frequency sound is pretty amazing. It can go right through or around just about anything, and it's often impossible to tell what direction it's coming from. That's because our brains use differences in phase, amplitude, and arrival times between our ears to locate sound, and low frequency waves are so long that all those methods fail us.

The military has experimented with focused low frequency sonic "cannons" that disorient the enemy and can even cause involuntary bowel movements. Glad that wasn't a problem in your house!
Actually, it's not our brains, it's the physics of sound. Any Navy Sonarman knows that as frequency decreases, bearing accuracy decreases. Physically increasing the size of the sonar improves directional accuracy, but even a 300 foot long towed array sonar only has a bearing accuracy of about plus or minus 30 degrees for a 50HZ source.

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Post by Call_Me_Op » Wed May 18, 2011 4:39 pm

Subwoofers don't just spontaneously vibrate. Are you sure it wasn't being excited by a ghost?
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Post by scouter » Wed May 18, 2011 5:06 pm

fishnskiguy wrote:
scouter wrote:Low frequency sound is pretty amazing. It can go right through or around just about anything, and it's often impossible to tell what direction it's coming from. That's because our brains use differences in phase, amplitude, and arrival times between our ears to locate sound, and low frequency waves are so long that all those methods fail us.

The military has experimented with focused low frequency sonic "cannons" that disorient the enemy and can even cause involuntary bowel movements. Glad that wasn't a problem in your house!
Actually, it's not our brains, it's the physics of sound. Any Navy Sonarman knows that as frequency decreases, bearing accuracy decreases. Physically increasing the size of the sonar improves directional accuracy, but even a 300 foot long towed array sonar only has a bearing accuracy of about plus or minus 30 degrees for a 50HZ source.

Chris
Well, our brains locate sound direction in the same way that sonar does, with the added ability (at mid and high frequencies) to detect the difference in frequency response between the two ears, as sound has to travel around the head to reach the further ear, and the highest frequencies are too directional to make that journey. So, just as with sonar, our incredible hearing system has trouble with directional accuracy at low frequencies.

I believe sonar only uses differences in arrival time and amplitude to calculate direction?

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Post by LadyGeek » Wed May 18, 2011 7:16 pm

Cody wrote:I had left it plugged in just ten minutes ago and the on light wouldn't go on (but I left it plugged in).

Well just a minute ago it did the big bang (pop) so I go to the basement and the light is on. (green). Hum?

Cody
The green light means that the Ecto Containment Unit has activated and you need to follow proper disposal procedures.

I will correct my previous statement and say that the root cause is a low frequency noise, emitted from the "sub-woofer." Let's hope that's the only Ecto unit you have to worry about.

Otherwise, I think it's time for a new sub-woofer. It sounds like you have an electronic component (leaking capacitor?) that's causing the time-out circuit to trip. Not worth repair. Or, try plugging it into a different circuit (not on the same circuit breaker) and see if the problem repeats.
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Post by jeff mc » Wed May 18, 2011 8:05 pm

i think nigel had this figured out long ago....
Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
Image

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Post by Cody » Thu May 19, 2011 8:11 am

You got it right jeff!! 11 is way better than 10. Ah Spinal Tap!

I often felt, during my quest to find the Big Bang, like I was Spinal Tap in the tunnel under the stadium where they were to perform. Felt close but wrong turn again.

Thanks,
Cody

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Post by Cody » Thu May 19, 2011 8:15 am

I plan to do that anyway but maybe I should have an autopsy first. :)

Or I might give it to some unsuspecting person for free. It could be like a Steven King novel. Anyone who possesses the "Thing" has their life upset/destroyed for 200 days. They get rid of it etc, etc.

Cody

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Post by NateH » Thu May 19, 2011 9:03 am

Cody wrote:I plan to do that anyway but maybe I should have an autopsy first. :)

Or I might give it to some unsuspecting person for free. It could be like a Steven King novel. Anyone who possesses the "Thing" has their life upset/destroyed for 200 days. They get rid of it etc, etc.

Cody
Unbelievable--congratulations Cody. After all of your trials and experiments, I can only imagine the feeling you felt when you plugged that sub back in and it 'spoke' to you.

Now, whenever you find yourself in a moment where patience is required, remember that the situation is not as bad as the mysterious bang in my house.

Cody
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Post by Cody » Thu May 19, 2011 9:43 am

Great advice NateH.

I have thought long and hard on the lesson of the "Big Bang". If and when I write an article or book on my adventure one important part will be "lessons learned".

It is surprising who/what the teacher of lessons will be. A subwoofer taught me lots.

Cody

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Post by greetje » Thu May 19, 2011 11:11 am

Just found your post. About a year ago we had this same problem, but we blamed it on the upper tenant. Talked to him about what that loud noise was from his unit. He just looked at us like we were nuts. Even contacted the management, but the noise was always silent when we complained! Then would come on again after they left.
Finally, we went out of town for a trip and unplugged some unused things, including the subwoofer. When we returned, we plugged all back in, except the subwoofer. When we plugged that in a few days later, it made the famous bang. We've unplugged it and it's been real quiet ever since. Better to have no subwoofer than that crazy noise!

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Post by Watty » Thu May 19, 2011 8:37 pm

Cody wrote:I plan to do that anyway but maybe I should have an autopsy first. :)

Or I might give it to some unsuspecting person for free. It could be like a Steven King novel. Anyone who possesses the "Thing" has their life upset/destroyed for 200 days. They get rid of it etc, etc.

Cody
Put it in your spare bedroom and plug it in when the in-laws stay too long.

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Post by NAVigator » Thu May 19, 2011 10:09 pm

You are not alone. I googled 'noise from subwoofer' and found this;

Subwoofer noise w no input??

Thankfully, he didn't think the noise was in the attic, so it saved some remodeling and repair costs. :)

The root cause in his case seemed to involve a cell phone as a catalyst.

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."

Cody
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Post by Cody » Fri May 20, 2011 5:29 pm

morgan - the interesting thing about your link is that the poster said "it thumped 2-3 times when it did it. I checked my old posts here and I had stated that it sounds like a "bounce" and then a secondary "bounce" as well somewhat softer though.

I emailed Atlantic Technologies but have not heard from them yet.

Cody

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Post by pteam » Sat May 21, 2011 12:38 am

How funny would that have been if u moved to get away from the sound and took the subwoofer with you to your new house. Lol

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Post by Cody » Sat May 21, 2011 7:14 am

The would have been a real hoot! Not.
Cody

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Re: My attic noise was a low frequency short!

Post by woof755 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:06 pm

Cody, perhaps you have some advice for this Wisconsin town?

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/201 ... t=1&f=1001
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Re:

Post by buccimane » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:09 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed May 18, 2011 1:54 pm
I can only image if you had finally given up on the house and moved, and the first night in your new home, boom boom.......

I thought that you had tried turning the electricity off one night and that didn't stop it. If so, are you sure that that was it?

Greg
Just read the entire original thread as well as this, but this has to be the funniest thing in either one!

If you haven't read the original thread it is a must read.. When I heard the 'bang' in his Youtube video I nearly cried laughing..
A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still

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