My S3 is humming and it's driving me nuts...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by MickeS, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2002


    Not sure how to deal with this, but it's driving me crazy.

    My Series 3 is in a wood cabinet, sitting on top of a Series 2.

    It emits a really, really annoying low frequency humming sound, that is cyclical in nature.

    HUMMMMMMhummmmm_________hummmmmmHUMMMMMMhummmmm and so on
    one cycle is roughly 5 seconds long.

    At first I couldn't even locate it, because it's not a very directional sound. It is also enhanced by the cabinet, which seems to work as a resonance box for it (it still makes the humming noise though when I pick it up).

    I have no idea how to deal with this, and I don't know what causes it, but it's really, really starting to annoy me. It also resonates throughout the house (which is very small), so I can't escape it...

    Anyone experienced it? Know how to fix it?
  2. shady

    shady Previously European TCF Club

    May 31, 2002
    I would start by setting it on a solid surface or shelf of its own
  3. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

    Jan 16, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Does it sound electrical?
  4. FLBoy

    FLBoy New Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    SW Florida
    It's probably the disc drive resonating with the wood cabinet. I have a computer that does the same thing. Try placing a 17.5-inch ceramic tile under it. You might also add some foam rubber under the tile. Just don't block any air vents under the S3.
  5. TerpBE

    TerpBE Go Terps!

    Jan 23, 2003
    Philly 'burbs


    Maybe it doesn't know the words.
  6. greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

    May 21, 2004
  7. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003
    can be one of two things, the drive or the fan
  8. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Exactly what I was going to say...the fan or the HDD. You might take a look at the fan vent to see if it's clogged with dust, etc. and vacuum it out carefully if so. The HDD shouldn't be making much noise except when the read/write heads are seeking. I wonder if there are any harmonics being generated between the HDD's since both TiVo's are sitting there together? Have you tried separating them?

    We have our S3 inside a wooden cabinet as well, but on a shelf by itself. You might try insulating the S3's (and maybe the S2's) feet from underneath with some padding. The thick, rubbery material they use for mouse pads and wet suits works very well.

    I'd also be a bit concerned about having your S3 on top of your S2 because of the heat generation. (Heat rises). IIRC I've seen some posts recommending raising the S3 to allow for more ventilation...some people said they were using bottle caps under each foot, etc. Having another hot component below it could shorten its life, particularly the HDD. Just a thought.

    Let us know what it turns out to be. :up:
  9. chrispitude

    chrispitude New Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    My S3 sits on top of a receiver which has no moving parts. It was quiet when new, but now likes to hum and vibrate. I usually tap it or put something heavy on it. One of these days I'll open it up and figure out what's going on, but right now I can usually mess with it to stop it when it acts up.

    - Chris
  10. Icarus

    Icarus Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    Try some vibrapods. I have the humming also in my enclosed wooden cabinet. with my S3. The vibrapods helped alot, but I can still here some humming when everything is off. I agree that it's a cyclical humming, so I know exactly what you were trying to describe. I think the next step is a layer of foam padding under the vibrapods. I would also put the S3 on the bottom and buy the number/type you need for the combined weight of the stack.

    I think the enclosed cabinet and the wood amplify the vibration sound. It is much better with the vibrapods. They are cheap enough to make it worth a try. I just have the pads. Maybe I should get the cones and add them to the pads.

  11. bfdhe

    bfdhe TiVo Junkie

    Dec 31, 2002
    Lexington, KY
    My HDTivo does the same thing. This one is in the bedroom and in a closed cabinet (vents in the back). It was very annoying until I figured out where it was coming from. Like yours, it ran in a cycle and would sometimes stop for long periods. I found if I put a heavy object on top of it, it stops for good. So I believe it is vibration from the spinning drive and fan.

    My S3 is very loud in general. Fan and Hdd. It is louder than any Tivo I have ever had. It is in the living room and we sit about 20 feet away, so it is not that bad, but it is noticeably louder. But, I have had ZERO issues with it so there is no way I am even touching it!!
  12. wickerbill

    wickerbill Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Tulsa, OK
    I would never put another piece of electronics on top of a receiver. They generate a lot of heat.
  13. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001
    Have you tried humming along with it?
  14. Fist of Death

    Fist of Death Bon Vivant

    Jan 4, 2002
    The Emerald...
    My S3 was doing exactly the same thing. I solved it by cutting a 1" thick rectangle of dense, closed-cell foam and placing it under the unit - effectively dampening the vibrational resonance. One note - there appears to be ventilation holes at the bottom front of the unit - make certain you don't block those.

    Since my wife is an equestrian, I made this "platform" out of an unused, thick, black, foam saddle pad, carefully cutting it with an Exacto knife to create the pad. Long story short, the humming resonance was reduced about 90% and is now virtually undetectable. Oh yeah, since it's black, you can't even see it in our entertainment center - the TiVo just looks taller.
  15. colin1497

    colin1497 New Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Amen to that. The amplifier is a huge heat generator, putting something above it is bad both for that thing and the ventilation of the amplifier.
  16. colin1497

    colin1497 New Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    I would bet on the fan:

    Funny thing is, after I put the original fan back in it didn't make any noise, so I never ordered the replacement fan. It started again in the middle of the night last night. ARGH!
  17. bdlucas

    bdlucas Right side up again.

    Feb 15, 2004
    My HD was making a bit of a humming sound, but I found it would go away if I pressed down on the top of the case. I think the top was just not seated completely solidly against the rest of the unit and was vibrating against it, because with a little twisting of the unit and pressing the top the noise mostly went away.
  18. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

    Mar 14, 2003
    My S3 actually had a humming problem and it was that the case was vibrating. I put a small stand up picture frame stand on it which prevented the case from vibrating and got rid of the humming.
  19. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2002

    After reading the responses, I decided to switch the units around so the Series 2 is on top of the Series 3, thus pressing down on it like most of you suggested. That helped a lot, but it didn't completely eliminate the problem. There is still a very low humming, but it is more constant and much lower in volume than before. I will keep experimenting with this and see what I can figure out... at least I'm not crazy. :) I think I will try Fist of Death's suggestion (man, what a username :D) and get some foam for under the unit. Michael's sells some foam that I think would work.

    I'm so glad this was THX certified... ;)

    I know having the TiVo on top of each other might not be optimal, but the cabinet has an open back and nothing else in it, so the heat has not been an issue.
  20. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Cool little gadgets. Thanks for the link. :up: Although one of the links to a dealer in CA. actually goes to a wine distributor. Hmmm...maybe the hum goes away after a couple of glasses of a good Napa Cabernet? :D

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