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Microphone Hum, electrocuted case


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#1
Ozmontus

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I started with the mild inconvience of my Mic humming when trying to talk to people using the program Skype. After searching for a while I found that the problem might be from grounding and tried touching the case and not touching the case while using the mic and noticed a significant difference.

To try and fix this obvoius grounding problem I got a stereo wire and connected it to a heater pipe for grounding and then touched the other end to my computer case. This set off a rather large amount of sparks which I was able to see even with all my lights on. I then turned off the computer and unplugged it yet still when I touched the wire from the heater pipe to the computer case it sparked, though with not as much power.

I have now connected the wire to my case by fastening it under one of my screws in the back of my computer, still have the humming problem with my mic and would appreciate ANY ideas on how I can premanantly fix this problem.

Also too note I believe that the outlets in my room might not be grounded since it's a old house.
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#2
audioboy

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I would recommend getting a grounding plug for you computer outlet. it has 2 prongs, and usually there is a tab sticking out the bottom, this is meant for the screw that holds the outlet plate cover to go through.
remove the screw, holding the cover plate in place. put the grounding plug in the top outlet, then replace the cover screw through the tab on the bottom of the grounding plug. this will tie that outlet to the ground of the electrical system.
test it with a lamp or something to make sure it works ok.
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#3
Ozmontus

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Thank you for the idea, I have tried my computer on another outlet and don't have the problem any more with the sparking so I'm sure it's that one outlet and I'm having an electrician come by and ground it, but my mic still has a hum. It's not as bad as before but it's still there. The really wierd thing is when I touch my computer with my hand the hum decreases but not totally, but if I ground the computer again with a wire to my heating pipe the hum does not change at all. I then tried using the mic and touching the grounding wire with my finger while using it and this made it sound even better than when touching the computer case, therefore I'm pretty sure that this is a mic grounding problem, any advice in fixing this?

Edited by Ozmontus, 21 May 2005 - 10:42 AM.

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#4
audioboy

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once the outlet is grounded properly, that should clean it up. your body was acting to connect the ground, which is safe at the very low voltages a mic uses. once the outlet is grounded, the comp will be grounded properly, the mic plugs into the comp, giving that signal a good ground, so all should be well.
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#5
Ozmontus

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that's the problem, my computer is now plugged into a properly grounded outlet, now the huming has decreased but it is still there. My computer is showing now signs of not being grounded and as I said when I attempt to ground my computer more with a wire to a heater pipe it doesn't change the sound of the mic, but if I touch the grounding wire with my finger it does clear up the mic some, this means that it's a grounding problem with my mic I think, I just want to know how I might fix this.
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#6
audioboy

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is this a headset mic?
one thing to check is what the wire for mic crosses, ie other wires. if it is running parallel with a power cord, that could induce some hum. if you cant physically separate the wires, try to have the mic cable cross a power cable at a 90 degree angle. that minimizes the amount of exposed area, reducing cross talk.

if you move the mic wire around some at the connector where it goes into the case, does it make any noise (static, hum increase or decrease)? if so, the joints at the connector good be cheezy...if you or someone you know is handy with a soldering iron, you could redo it.

check those, and we can go from there.
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#7
Ozmontus

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Ok, it is a headset mic, made by the company sharkoon. The wires for the mic and headphones are wrapped together.

As for checking the connector, when I spin it sometimes I might hear a tiny little pop, but other than that there is no change in the hum at all.

As I said before though, by touching the ground cable with my hand almost all the hum vanishes.
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#8
audioboy

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we are running out of options for a simple grounding fix...
no odd noises when you move the plug, that good, shows the wires are good.
are you using an onboard sound card or a PCI sound card? and are you plugged into the connectors on the back, or front panel connectors?
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#9
Ozmontus

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I'm using a PCI Sound Card, Creative Labs Live!!, I think. And I'm plugged into a router type of thing that allows me to switch between my speakers and headphone, but I have also tryed plugging the mic directly into the computer and get that same [bleep] hum.
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#10
audioboy

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Im about out of ideas here. if you could try that headset on another pc, and try another mic or headset on yours, it would be interesting to see if the problem follows your headset or not. or if it stays on your pc...

I looked up the sharkoon site, and couldnt find anything of help here, short of their support address, support@sharkoon dot com.

if you can try things out on other machines, etc. let me know the results.
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#11
Ozmontus

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Yeah I have tried the mic on another computer and it had the same problem, and another mic on my computer works fine, tiny bit of distortion then but it's so much quieter than my voice that's it's hard to hear. This is one of the most baffuling problems I've had lol.
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#12
audioboy

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urk, that means the problem is in the mic on your headset. not much can be done about that, unless you feel like always grounding yourself anytime you use it.
at least we ruled any problems with your soundcard!
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#13
Ozmontus

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Yeah lol, well thanks for your help on the matter though, just going to have to see if I can get the mic sent back to the manufacutrer to see if I can get it repaired then.
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