Question about Homedics iSoundSpa Max Clock Radio with Docking Station for Apple iPod

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Humming noise Hi, this is the second one in two years. First, just quit, but this one has a persistent humming noise when not playing sounds or music. Hard to sleep with an annoying spa. Any thoughts?

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  • mlloberg Nov 09, 2008

    Humming actually comes from the DC adapter. And is more like a high pitched squeel.


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If this is like my unit it is a high pitched squeal. I received my unit as a gift for Christmas 2007 and I thought it was defective. I contacted Homedics and they sent me a replacement but the problem persisted. As licensed amateur radio operator I am versed in electronics so I decided to track down the source of the noise. It turns out that the 16VDC power adapter is the source of the noise. It is what is called a "switching power supply" and is unfortunately not well filtered causing the high pitched squeal. I was able to get rid of the noise by modifying the power adapter and adding a 2200 microfarad capacitor in parallel with the output. This filters out the high frequency ripple and gets rid of the squeal. An alternative solution would be to search the Internet for a better 16VDC power adapter. It must supply 2 amps of power and have a 5.5mm OD/2.1mm ID center positive power connector.

Posted on Sep 27, 2009

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If the hum is a low note continuous hum, its at 'mains' frequency. The power cables to the unit (or inside it) are getting too close to the cables that carry sound signals to the center speaker. The mains power naturally hums and if mains wires are near to audio kit wires they pick up this sound and play it through their system/speakers. Check the wires to and from it make sure the connections are good and firm. Seperate these wires by at least one inch from any power cables, use tape to hold them down and away from each other.

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Usually this happens in small stereo systems because of running them at high volumes for a long time. If you want to listen to loud music, you would be better off putting the money into a higher-power system.

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It is assumed that the hum is coming down the aerial wire it self....The hum should be eliminated
dissappear if you remove the wire from its connector at the rear of the receiver.

If this is the case then reconnect the aerial and try to find a radio station to listen to..

When you find a station you will find the hum dissappears as follows:

When there is no station detected the receiver tweaks up its sensitivity via the Automatic Gain Control, (AGC) and when this happens any thing that is detected on the aerial is reproduced at the speakers and in your case its just a hum.

I have heard this event lots of times and mostly its scrackles or scratchs or other weird sounds which come down the aerial while the AGC is flat out at maximum..

The radio station transmits a sound "carrier" and within this carrier there is the music content.

The receiver detects the "carrier" when you tune to the radio station, and then it sets its receive
level to the setting made by the volume control and then lovely music is presented at the speakers..

So in fact your receiver is working as it should be ,.,,, no worries mate....

Now if the hum is still there when the music is there then you have a fault, but as you havent mentiond this aspect your receiver is in my view quite "normal".

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The frequencies do not sound right, unless you are in Europe.
Low frequency hum almost always results from:

1) stray input pickup = Damaged cables, poor shielding,
Missing ground connections,
or ground loops.

This pickup occurs at the power line frequency:
50 Hz in Europe and Asia
60 Hz in North America

Harmonics (multiples) may occur as Fourier components
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50, 100, 150, 200 .... in Europe
60, 120, 180, 240 .... in North America

Sub-harmonics such as 25 Hz are mathematically
impossible to derive from power line frequencies unless
there is some kind of weird inter-modulation, mixing
or frequency beating going on.

2) Defective power supply most often occurs at twice the
power-line frequency because of full wave rectification.

100, 200, 300... In Europe
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Except for switching supplies, like those in a computer,
which can produce a high freq whistle at any frequency.

3) Amplifier feed back and other malfunctions can produce
other low frequencies, often by rectifying and detecting
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(This kind of behavior is unlikely in a well designed amplifier)

By correctly identifying the noise frequency and
the environment, it is possible to narrow down the culprit:

1) Have you actually measured or observed the frequency
on an oscilloscope ?

If not, do you have the equipment to do so?

2) Where are you, and what is your power line frequency?


If you have line frequency noise, possibly stray pickup,
check the cables, shields, make sure the turntable is
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between two auxiliary devices.

If you have twice the line frequency noise, check the
power supply filter capacitors and voltage regulator
chips and/or transistors within the power supply.

Power supply filter capacitors (electrolytic type) can dry out,
degrade and die during long periods of not being used.
They need to be periodically charged to regenerate the
dielectric insulation coating.

Also if you are actually getting line frequency noise
from the power supply, then check the rectifiers.

Full wave rectifier => twice the line frequency
Half wave rectifier => line frequency

A full wave rectifier with a blown diode behaves like half-wave.

From the description of your symptoms, hum is not affected
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or perhaps in a broken feed-back loop within the output
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A burned out power transistor in the output amplifier
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feed-back circuit is trying to balance the DC operating
point of the amplifier but it can't.

Forget the voltmeter. If you have an oscilloscope, check
the power supply ripple, and scope key points in the output


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