Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby N6KB [OP] » February 1st 2014, 1:18am

I'm using a smart phone to get music from Pandora. Using a Belkin FM transmitter to listen to the music on the stock AM/FM radio. Even with the phone running on only it's internal battery and the Belkin transmitter running on the cigar lighter convenience outlet there is a pulsing noise in the audio that is only there when the engine is running. It is not alternator whine or ignition noise, and probably not injector switching noise, since it does not correlate directly to engine RPM. The noise does seem to change depending on how much I put my foot into the pedal, going up hills and such, but not directly with RPM as alternator whine or ignition noise would. I am pretty sure the noise is on the 12 VDC power, and probably comes from the computers in the Astro. I am thinking of building some sort of filter to feed the convenience outlets, to clean up the noise. Maybe a couple of electrolytic capacitors and a big choke.

I wonder if someone else has already done this and can tell me what worked and what did not? Any recommendations to source a choke (inductor) to use that would have current capacity that would still allow me to use the convenience outlets at full capacity. (I think they are fused with a 30 Amp fuse)

How/where do the wires run to feed the outlets? Is there an easy place to put a filter in that would feed all of the outlets on the dog house. (in this van that is the only place there are any outlets) Maybe I can find the wire that feeds all of the outlets, under the dash, without removing the dog house?
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby Big_kid » February 1st 2014, 5:11pm

Sounds to me like you're on the right path with your plan. Not sure where to source a choke, the first thing to come to mind is use one side of an old microwave oven transformer? Not sure if this is a budget build or if you're looking to order parts somewhere. I'd say that whatever filter you install will help not only with your power ports, but the filtration should carry through the rest of the van too.

Keep the thread updated, I'm curious to see what you come up with.
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby DR_defreeze » February 1st 2014, 7:34pm

get a blue tooth deck
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby chevymaher » February 1st 2014, 10:19pm

Most issues like this usually end up being a stereo ground. Find it and run a larger gauge wire to chassis. Ground is not in the wiring harness anymore to get feedback from other electrical components it is running next to.
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby N6KB [OP] » February 4th 2014, 7:29pm

The noise on the 12VDC power gets into both the FM transmitter and the cell phone, if the cig lighter charger is connected to it. So replacing the entire stereo system with a new one, just to have bluetooth, would not be a solution, unless we want to drain the cellphone battery while we use it in the van. Much better to be charging cell phone whenever in the van, so it has full charge when out of the van. A suggestion that is just as good as "get a blue tooth deck" is "buy a new van". Thanks to the other folks who posted thoughtful replies.
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby 97cargocrawler » February 4th 2014, 10:42pm

Depending on where you are picking up the noise Bluetooth could remedy the issue since it is a digitally encoded link. If there was a severe noise problem you would just have drop outs in the signal. If the head unit is picking up the noise then no it wouldn't help.

After reading your first post it sounds to me like you already have the know how to start experimenting with chokes etc. I don't think you need anything like a microwave transformer though. If you have checked the grounds and speaker/head unit wires integrity I think it's time to put on your foil hat and start experimenting.

My GF had one of those FM transmitters and it always sucked.
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby Rayvan » February 4th 2014, 10:52pm

Mine was noisy also, after I installed an aux. input to my 2005.
I eventually traced the noise to the engine cover ground, of all things.
To fix it I removed the wire that hooks to the engine cover. I made a new wire and ran it to chassis ground.
The original factory ground wire runs right into the harness that controls the sound system.
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Re: Noise on convenience outlet power 2005 Astro cargo

Postby N6KB [OP] » February 23rd 2014, 7:45pm

Experimented more carefully. Determined FM transmitter with no audio input was completely quiet on the FM radio. Also the cell phone playing Pandora over powered speakers at home (not in the van) has the same noise. Conclusion: the objectionable noise is being generated by the phone, NOT by power supply noise to the FM transmitter or the cell phone booster or the radio. Maybe some setting on the phone could change it. It could be short drop outs of the audio due to insufficient data rate from the cell phone network. Maybe setting the phone to lower quality audio would not need as much data to reproduce, and I would not notice lower quality while driving.
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