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is this chirping from the electrical wiring?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by bflous, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. bflous

    bflous

    3
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    Oct 20, 2012
    We started noticing chirping (3 chirps) in our family room 2 weeks ago. We thought a bird in the fireplace. Then we realized it never stopped chirping day or night. We clocked it --every 2.5minutes. Then we mapped it--it went totally around the room --particularly near electrical outlets. the room has huge floor-to-ceiling windows and 3 doorways and a fireplace. The chirping is NOT heard in any other room. We unplugged all the electronics in the room overnight--chirping kept up every 2.5 minutes throughout the night. We shut the circuit breaker to that room several hours--still the chirping every 2.5 minutes. We had an exterminator exam the house and the room--no critters. Now the chirping seems to go diagonally from one corner of the room to the other. We have aluminum wiring in the house and had a new circuit box put in several years ago. We have lived in the house 30 years and have checked all the smoke alarms, appliances, and garage door opener and electronics.

    Any ideas as to what to do next, I need your suggestions--I am concerned about fire and safety. help! This going into the third week
     
  2. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

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    Oct 15, 2011
    How very very odd. Have you checked the plumbing? That would be my first suspicion.

    If youre really convinced its the wiring, try to graph any activity over a couple of these 2.5 minute periods. I dont knwo what youd use for this - maybe something along the lines of one of these digital oscilloscopes recording the output on your pc or laptop.
     
  3. screwball

    screwball

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    Jan 9, 2012
    Is the chirping exactly 2.5 minutes give or take a few seconds every time?
    If its exactly 2.5minutes between every chirp every time, then that pretty much cancels out the chance of it being some sort of critter, the chirp is then likely something to do with something with an electrical/electronic timer

    If you turned of the circuit breaker to that room and it continued to chirp for a while then that pretty much cancels out the chance of it being the electrical installation wiring. Although if there is something electronic with a timer with a backup supply or something of that sort then it could be that.

    Is the socket outlets fitted into solid brick wall or through plasterboard with a cavity?
    If there is a cavity you could try remove a socket with the power off preferably and listen closer as chances are its coming from the cavity if the noise is from all around the edge of the room.
     
  4. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

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    7
    Oct 15, 2011
    Water pipes make chirpy noises and the regularity is easily explained by the fixed size of header tanks etc.
     
  5. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

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    Nov 17, 2011
    A smoke detector alarming due to low battery?
     
  6. CocaCola

    CocaCola

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    Apr 7, 2012
    I'm going to toss a +1 behind that, the low battery tone is pretty hard to location identify thus in many instances it doesn't appear to be coming from the detector...

    If not that copper water pipes can make similar noises, but to get a 2.5 minute repeat there would have to be something happening with the water system every 2.5 causing a flow of water... If you have a recycle pump on the hot water lines this could explain it but it's not a common device to have installed...
     
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    I will also +1 that its the most likely cause.
    have heard that regular chirp more than once over the years
    the first time it went on for weeks before we figured out where it was coming from
    it drove us bananas (nutz)... the second time we werent fooled ;)

    you should be swapping the battery (whether it needs it or not) once a year anyway

    cheers
    Dave
     
  8. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

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    Aug 13, 2011
    Smoke detectors also do that when their Americium is depleted so if changing the battery doesn't solve it or the detector is more than 15 years old, replace the unit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. bflous

    bflous

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    0
    Oct 20, 2012
    The chirping is still going every 2.5 minutes and seems to be coming from different areas of the room. It is definitely not from an electronic device. In fact we unplugged all the electronics--wireless router, laptops, tv, dvd player, cable modem. It is not kitchen appliances. We only hear this in the family room. we have checked out the fireplace also.

    We have checked the circuit breaker box--it is not hot and none of the circuits have been tripped. If it were a low battery in something--by now, starting 3 weeks, I would think the battery would be dead. The chirping is like a bird and is loud enough to be heard in another room--but you know it is coming from the family room. the exterminator we had come it to check things out asked if this were a Candid Camera event it seems so bizarre--I am thinking about calling the fire department because this can not be safe---please more of your suggestions!!!!!! We do not have hot water heat. And we have listened closely to the copper water pipes in the bathrooms but do not hear anything. I think this is getting serious!!!
     
  10. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    sooooooooooo ..... where are your smoke detectors located ?

    seems you are still ignoring the obvious ;)
    as per my experience as I said earlier it will chirp for weeks!!

    Dave
     
  11. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
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    Apr 7, 2012
    You would be incorrect, smoke detector batteries last easily for 6 months to over a year on average... The low battery waring is just that it's low not dead, it will chirp for weeks upon weeks before it goes dead... Also if it's a battery backup smoke detector that runs of the mains 99.9% of the time the battery will last even longer...

    Check the smoke detectors, you seem to have repeated your first post and ignored the answers given to check the smoke detector... As I said in the previous post the frequency and tone is one that the human ear has a hard time locating and getting a fixed direction on, thus it will sound like it coming from all over the place exactly as you describe...
     
  12. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Agreed. I have 2 in the house. If one starts chirping it is almost impossible to tell which one it is unless you're standing right under it when it chirps. They're very widely spread in the house, I know what it is, yet I still can't easily locate it.

    If I wanted to be a real dick, I'd put one of these in ceiling cavity and not tell the home owner.

    Mine are mains powered too. Once the battery goes flat they will chirp forever (as long as the power is connected). Turning off the power won't stop the chirping (at least while the battery has any power left in it)

    Davenn's question is a very valid one. It's a very large and grey thing with huge flapping ears and it's standing in your living room.
     
  13. BobK

    BobK

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    I have 8 (I think the fire codes in my state must be written by smoke and CO detector vendors.)

    I finally gave up and started replacing the batteries each daylight savings time change, after being awakened in the night and taking like 1/2 hour to locate the chirping one, only to have the next one go the same night.

    Bob
     
  14. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Yeah, I think we're encouraged here to do them on 1 April. I buy "good" batteries and they last way more than 1 year, so I don't bother. Perhaps I should buy cheaper batteries.

    Oh, as an amusing aside, when I remove the batteries, I retain them for powering circuits I breadboard. They still have significant remaining charge, and for stuff that you want to be careful about high currents (see my SMPS) they are ideal :)
     
  15. bflous

    bflous

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    Oct 20, 2012
    We finally discovered the source of the chirping--you all will never believe this. Thank you all for your suggestions we looked everywhere.

    It was the mini key finder on a set of car keys that we always keep on the coffee table in the family room. We discovered this when we got in the car and heard the same chirp but very low chirping. At first we thought it was part of the car alert system because it was not loud. Then it followed us into a store, then we purposely put the keys on a table in a restaurant. That is when it got loud. We replaced the battery and the chirping stopped.
     
  16. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Congratulations!

    We all were pretty certain that it was a smoke alarm. We were wrong.

    Bob
     
  17. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,174
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    Jan 21, 2010
    Bwahahaha! Sure fooled us. But it does indicate that these beeping things can be great at getting attention whilst being awfully hard to actually locate.
     
  18. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

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    Nov 17, 2011
    A keyfinder is almost as good :)

    Good thing you found the source of the chirping not to be a fault in the plumbing or wiring of the house.

    Harald
     
  19. Rleo6965

    Rleo6965

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    Jan 22, 2012
    the cause was already found a few posts ago ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2012
  20. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

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    Nov 17, 2011
    We already know it is not the plumbing.
     
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