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Amplified Speaker Issues

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MetalCarnage

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Ajax Ontario
So i bought a new amplified speaker the other day :

MFJ383 Mobile Amplified Communications 2-3/4" Speaker With Volume Control Canada

Reason for buying this speaker is because my previous amplified speaker was a set amplification and only had on/off capability. The amplified speaker is for a BCD396T, i wanted the ability to control the volume at the speaker instead of using the knob on the radio. Anyways, i installed it last night on my 2005 Grand Prix, but unfortunatly installed it with the engine not running (installation included plugging in the cigarette lighter into a 1-to-3 adapter and plugging the jack into the scanner, how difficult). As a background i also have a BC796D installed in the car and running an amplified speaker as well. Currently i am using the BCD396T off of batteries and using a typical Maxrad antenna, blah blah.

So back to my situation, as soon as i start up the car, the speaker lets out a high pitch whine that follows the RPMs of the car, higher rpm, higher pitch. This occurs even if i unplug the scanner, as long as the speaker is on, no matter the volume level, i can hear it. The speaker is located down by the floorboard underneath the front centre console. I never had any issues with either of the other amplified speakers, nor any noise picked up by either scanner.

Is there any ideas on how i can get rid of this problem? Is the speaker just garbage (as another side note, the other two amplified speakers are quite cheap compared to this one and doubt that they use better components)
Would moving the speaker help? Is there someway to ground it better? Would using the scanner with the AC Adapter help at all? Input appreciated, thanks.
 

SCPD

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I would guess it is some type of electrical interference of some type. I remember back in the 70s, we'd listen for that whining sound and know that police were in the area. Come to think of it, they had squeaky brakes too that we listened for.
 

jackj

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You have alternator wine. The alternator is an AC generator and uses diodes to rectify the AC into DC that your car needs. The wine is a ripple on the DC and is there because of poor filtering in the device, shorted diodes or a bad battery. If you have the wine even with the speaker disconnected from everything except the power then you don't have a ground loop.

Two things to try: 1. Get a DC filter from an auto parts store. 2. Wire the speaker direct to the battery (put a fuse in the power line).
 
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kb0nly

Guest
Alternator whine... a PITA to eliminate sometimes...

Where is the other two amplified speakers powered from? The Cig lighter is a poor place to power anything other than a cell phone charger and the lighter.. Why? Usually because the wiring to that lighter socket routes through a couple harnesses with all the other dash electronics wiring, picking up noise along the way.

Power the new speaker off the same source as your other ones. See if that helps. If not then your going to need to add filtering to the power input on the MFJ speaker. MFJ is known for skimping out on the basics, i would guess they didn't filter it very well if at all inside. An inline filter should help if not eliminate the problem. Most places that sell car stereos will have them also.
 

MetalCarnage

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Ajax Ontario
All the amplified speakers, well, to be more specific, everything in the car, is powered from the same individual cigarette lighter (including the 12V line to the 796D), always has been, and have never had probs until this amplified speaker. I know that wiring to the battery is always the best bet, but i really dont feel like finding a route through the firewall and going through all that just for a speaker that i wont be permanently installing in the vehicle. I found a DC line filter from OPEK that seems to have good reviews that i am going to purchase tonight and give a shot. We will see.
 
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kb0nly

Guest
Ok, well thats why i asked, if they were being powered from the same source, not saying it was horrible to do that way, just not the best but you know that. We do what we gotta do!

That should be a good filter. Worse case you will have to take apart the MFJ and add some filtering inside also.

Most likely they didn't do anything other than run the power through a regulator and to the amp. I had one of their older amplified speakers, after a couple days of tinkering i got it pretty quiet. Biggest problem was they didn't filter the incoming power and fed it straight to the audio amp through a regulator. I added a cap and a few components and got better regulation and less noise, but still ended up adding a power filter inline as well.

Just curious, what is the brand of the other two speakers you mentioned didn't have any problem?
 

MetalCarnage

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Messages
735
Location
Ajax Ontario
Ok, well thats why i asked, if they were being powered from the same source, not saying it was horrible to do that way, just not the best but you know that. We do what we gotta do!

That should be a good filter. Worse case you will have to take apart the MFJ and add some filtering inside also.

Most likely they didn't do anything other than run the power through a regulator and to the amp. I had one of their older amplified speakers, after a couple days of tinkering i got it pretty quiet. Biggest problem was they didn't filter the incoming power and fed it straight to the audio amp through a regulator. I added a cap and a few components and got better regulation and less noise, but still ended up adding a power filter inline as well.

Just curious, what is the brand of the other two speakers you mentioned didn't have any problem?
The other two were Workman Speakers...

So i just had an interesting experience, went and got the inline power filter, which btw was on sale for 25% off. I installed in in-line with the cigarette lighter extension that goes to the speaker, positive input to positive, negative input to negative and the same on the output, taped it exteremely well to make sure it would never become exposed. Went to the car, plugged it in to the cigarette lighter, and just before i started the car and go to plug in the speaker i hear a light buzzing, which was coming from the filter, have a second later it makes a nice pop, and starts oozing out cap. oil. Not impressed, afterwords i double checked my wiring, and everything was fine. On a side not i even replaced the 10A fuse i had in-line with a 5A last week, and it didnt pop, so i dont think it was a short. I am having no luck with buying things from Durham Radio lately.

Had to have been a manufacturing defect.
 

MetalCarnage

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Messages
735
Location
Ajax Ontario
As another side note, the picture on the site has OPEK on the front, the one i bought says "Bandit", same SKU though.

http://www.durhamradio.com/nf20-filter-electrical-noise-ontario-canada.html

Anyone have any suggestions, i just want to resolve the problem, its annoying me.

BTW, it also says an operating range of 9-12V for the workman, but max16VDC for the OPEK, i assume that is safe for cars, it does say it is for auto power source fed, or did it maybe blow because it saw more then 12V?
 
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jackj

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There was a reason why it was on sale for 25% off. Take it back to them and tell them that you want your money back, that you really don't need to blow any more capacitors so you won't take a replacement. As for voltage, you shouldn't have had any problem. If the unit is intended for use in a car then it should be able to handle a car's normal electrical voltage, 12.6v with the engine off and 14.4 with the engine running. The capacitors should have been rated for 25 vdc as a minimum, not 16 vdc.
 

MetalCarnage

Member
Joined
May 12, 2005
Messages
735
Location
Ajax Ontario
There was a reason why it was on sale for 25% off. Take it back to them and tell them that you want your money back, that you really don't need to blow any more capacitors so you won't take a replacement. As for voltage, you shouldn't have had any problem. If the unit is intended for use in a car then it should be able to handle a car's normal electrical voltage, 12.6v with the engine off and 14.4 with the engine running. The capacitors should have been rated for 25 vdc as a minimum, not 16 vdc.
I was kind of curious about components and was going to take a look, but there was so much crap oozing from it i decided against it due to the fact smelt of lovely melted toxins :)

Like i can understand if i drove too much current through it, but a) 5A fuse on a filter that is supposed to handle 10A, fuse would have popped long before the filter would have seen that kind of current b) I didnt have a load on it, output was attached to air.

I guess i learned my lesson, dont buy stuff that is listed as on sale, might be on sale for a reason.
 
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