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How to quickly & easily fix coil-whine(coil choke noise)

Mussels

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In my experience, that not only doesn't work, it boarders on being "Smoke & Mirrors" kind of thing.

Coil whine generally exists when a system is NOT under load. Creating a load just makes it louder. The proper solution is to seal the coil so that the vibrations being generated can not produce sound, or produce much less sound.
I've only ever heard two types, one at very low loads (moving mouse around, etc - usually mobo) and one at high unbalanced load (loading screens in game, usually GPU or PSU)

IME, the idle one is more common

Good guide, i hadnt thought of superglue soaking 'in' the coils and use hotglue outside them when i've ran into this
 
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Weird. I've never been able to make hot glue work well. Maybe I was using the wrong type?
There are certainly different types designed for different purposes and melting points.

As noted above, glue sticks rated for 120 - 130°C work best for this purpose. And while that is still considered a "low temperature" glue, it is higher than many sticks rated for "arts and crafts" which may be closer to 90°C.

Or you might have had high temperature glue in a low temperature gun and the melted glue was thin enough for a crafts project, but too thick to get squeezed in between the windings enough.

Also, note the trick I suggested above - make sure the coils (or transformer plates) are warmed up first. Transformer plates especially (even though the plates are made of steel) when cold would zap the heat (and fluidity) out of the glue quickly. Careful blasting with a hot air gun (or hair dryer) works well for that too.

Another possibility was an incorrect strategic placement of tongue! ;)

Way back in the early 70s in tech school, we were taught to use epoxy putty on transformer plates as a permanent solution. But one of the problems with epoxy is the same as with RTV; it needs 24 hours to cure. And in the military, when a mission critical system, in this case, radio frequency, is "down", waiting 24 hours is unacceptable. So we started using hot glue guns with great success. :)

Another problem with epoxy putty is once cured, it really is permanent. With hot glue, and a robust thumb nail. most of the hot glue can be removed, if needed.

I'm not a fan of using super glue near heat sources as the fumes given off by cooked super glue can be pretty brutal
I don't see this being a problem. You are only talking a couple drops of super glue. I would just be cautious about standing directly over the device the first time it is fired up - which to me, should be a lesson learned during its application when the fumes are really bad.
 
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@lexluthermiester "Love ya, dude" followed your advice exactly didn't have the time to mess around with my UV mask so went for super-glue forgot about it for a day and just saw it now plugged it in with a load and nothing!!! Not a peep!!!

Might get that pile of crap thermaltake PSU I have, out of the cupboard and take a look!
 
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@lexluthermiester "Love ya, dude" followed your advice exactly didn't have the time to mess around with my UV mask so went for super-glue forgot about it for a day and just saw it now plugged it in with a load and nothing!!! Not a peep!!!
You're welcome, glad it helped!

Isn't this kinda why you see glue like stuff around big caps on amplifier circuits?
Generally speaking, yes.
 

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I wish I've known this trick ~10 years ago, my GTX 470 SOC which I had then, made louder coil whine noise than all the other cards I've had combined.

Good card otherwise back then.
 
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Isn't this kinda why you see glue like stuff around big caps on amplifier circuits?
Possibly, but that glue has a more important role, which is to help carry the weight of capacitors (and other heavy components). Solder joints aren't very good at that, the solder has little mechanical strength and it gets worse with age and repeated strain/vibration.

I'd love to know what that black glue in old hi-fi stuff is. After several decades, it shows no signs of decay, never comes off, remains a bit elastic and looks like it had been applied with a paintbrush rather than glue gun.
 
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I used to use black automotive RTV sealant for this, back when I had to fix a bad coil transformer in a big ass 55" Panasonic plasma screen that sounded like an electric bug zapper or something. I don't know if it's better, but it's more electronically safe I think than glue. Not that either is particularly dangerous, but I was just being extra careful (I was once on a pretty fixed budget).

The thing about the RTV sealant is it "gives" a bit when it hardens (becomes rather rubbery), so you tend to need to use gobs and gobs of it. Unless the surface area is huge like mine, your idea is probably better. Good guide.
that sounds more like a crack in the transformer allowing air to get in and an arc to start (the buzzing fly zapper noise) it used to be a common problem with CRT TV's usually shortly after moving house
 
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I heard about the hot glue method before but not the super glue, kinda interesting.

My current GPU under my specs has a very weird way of whining, its not the typical coil whine but more like a lower buzz and it only happens when the fans spin so not necessarily under 3D load.
Tried that while in desktop and rasied the fan speed in MSI Afterburner and it started that noise same as in games.

Its not that annoying since I'm using a headset and its not a high pitched noise but still I'm wondering whats the deal with that. 'Apparently the previous owner wasn't even aware of this, he kept his PC further away than I do'

Other than that I had a coil whiny Cooler Master PSU before that had a low pitched whine as long as my PC wasn't completely powered off, that means I had to switch the PSU button off every night when I went to the bed cause I could hear that in my bed.. 'I have sensitive ears'

Also lest say I would go for this, how do I tell which 'coil' is the whiny one or just go all out and glue all of them? 'I'm not an expert to know a PCB and its components in detail and my current GPU is a rather overbuilt one'
 

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Thank You.

Weird. I've never been able to make hot glue work well. Maybe I was using the wrong type? I used my the glue and gun my wife used for her crafts and stuff.
I wasn't using them on this type of square thingy, more the ones with exposed coils

I am absolutely a troglodyte with electronics, my PSU has half a stick of hot glue to stop the whine i got with the aorus 3080 (that immediately went away when i got the 3090)
 
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I wasn't using them on this type of square thingy, more the ones with exposed coils

I am absolutely a troglodyte with electronics, my PSU has half a stick of hot glue to stop the whine i got with the aorus 3080 (that immediately went away when i got the 3090)
Well, the good thing is, hot glue is easily removed if you want to try this method.
 
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that sounds more like a crack in the transformer allowing air to get in and an arc to start
I don't believe that is what is happening. First, transformers are not sealed devices - except for large, oil filled transformers and in that case, if there was a crack, you would see oil or at least oil stains where the oil has seeped out. So air getting in is not an issue. In fact, if anything, transformers depend on air for cooling.

Also, air is a very effective insulator. So if a crack appeared, that would create a gap. It takes a lot of "potential" for voltage to jump (arc) across a gap. The bigger the gap, the more voltage is needed to jump that gap. If voltage in a transformer is arcing, that would be due to a short (not open) somewhere and most likely the system would not be working at all.

it used to be a common problem with CRT TV's usually shortly after moving house
Correct! But that was because rough handling caused the coil windings or transformer plates to come loose and start vibrating. It was that vibration that made the noise, not arcing. Arcing creates a different sound, and typically is accompanied by a burning smell.

I used to do part-time overflow work for a TV repair shop near a military base. We frequently got TVs in from service members who just transferred in to the base and now their TVs were buzzing. And it was because those sets were bounced around as they were transported across the country - or the 7 seas.

For some larger transformer, the plates are actually bolted together so simply tightening the nuts, then applying a little loctite solved it. Other times, hot glue did the trick.

And BTW, it was not because they were "CRT" TVs that this was not an uncommon problem. It was because CRT TVs were big, bulky, and heavy, along with the fact they needed 17,000 or more (25,000 plus!!!) volts on the anode of the tube. And that required big, heavy transformers that did not like being bounced around.
 
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I heard about the hot glue method before but not the super glue, kinda interesting.

My current GPU under my specs has a very weird way of whining, its not the typical coil whine but more like a lower buzz and it only happens when the fans spin so not necessarily under 3D load.
Tried that while in desktop and rasied the fan speed in MSI Afterburner and it started that noise same as in games.

Its not that annoying since I'm using a headset and its not a high pitched noise but still I'm wondering whats the deal with that. 'Apparently the previous owner wasn't even aware of this, he kept his PC further away than I do'

Other than that I had a coil whiny Cooler Master PSU before that had a low pitched whine as long as my PC wasn't completely powered off, that means I had to switch the PSU button off every night when I went to the bed cause I could hear that in my bed.. 'I have sensitive ears'

Also lest say I would go for this, how do I tell which 'coil' is the whiny one or just go all out and glue all of them? 'I'm not an expert to know a PCB and its components in detail and my current GPU is a rather overbuilt one'
I use a tube and a mic or my ear and search for the sound.
 
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In my experience, that not only doesn't work, it boarders on being "Smoke & Mirrors" kind of thing.

Coil whine generally exists when a system is NOT under load. Creating a load just makes it louder. The proper solution is to seal the coil so that the vibrations being generated can not produce sound, or produce much less sound.

I did read many reports claiming that a FPS cap drastically reduced coil whine. It works esp. in low demanding games where you hit 240-1000fps. Which makes sense, since in higher FPS the hertz rate increates, resulting in qicker vibrating coils, which is the reason for coil whine.

Sure a manual hardware fix would be ideal, some folks just do not want to take the risk of damaging their stuff. ;) So it's worth a shot.

All you are doing, Andy, is verifying what was said before. We must do our homework first to ensure we buy products that are safe to be used for whatever we are doing.

In this case, make sure you only buy electronic grade silicone sealants and adhesives. They are easy to find.

And I will point out that there are even many silicone adhesive TIMs (thermal interface materials) that are specifically designed to glue heat sinks on to devices that do not use a mechanical heat sink mounting mechanism. For example, MasterSil 705TC Silicone Adhesive or Easycargo Heatsink with Silicone Thermal Glue Kit.

Is that the stuff PSU manufacturers use in their PSU's? Because that would be the ideal I suppose.
 
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Is that the stuff PSU manufacturers use in their PSU's? Because that would be the ideal I suppose.
There's several different "stuffs" in there so I have no clue what "stuff" in PSUs you are talking about. That said, I am sure it is hot glue simply because it is very inexpensive compared to many other adhesives, and it sets quickly - which is very important when it comes to production. Time is money so having to wait for anything to set and cure costs money.
 
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There's several different "stuffs" in there so I have no clue what "stuff" in PSUs you are talking about. That said, I am sure it is hot glue simply because it is very inexpensive compared to many other adhesives, and it sets quickly - which is very important when it comes to production. Time is money so having to wait for anything to set and cure costs money.

I mean the stuff f.e. like you can see here, it's all over the place. Sometimes it's black, looks very "rubbery". For sure no hot glue.
 
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What a mess! :( That's hot glue done by a 3 year old. I see why too. Look on top of the two transformers - one word says it all: Bestec! :(

My advice is to buy a quality PSU from EVGA or Seasonic, then pull that one and use it for testing fans, drive motors, and as a very temporary spare.
 
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I did read many reports claiming that a FPS cap drastically reduced coil whine.
I have never seen that. Coil whine that is emitted from GPU's does increase with GPU load, sure, but It when it is present it is always audible regardless of load.
I mean the stuff f.e. like you can see here, it's all over the place. Sometimes it's black, looks very "rubbery". For sure no hot glue.
That is some sloppy work, but that silicone is not for coil noise, it's to keep parts from physically touching and thus shorting. Sloppy but harmless. Properly applied, I imagine it would work ok to minimize coil noise. However, there is no "wicking" action from silicone sealant type materials and when it cures it's not a rigid as super glue and will still resonate somewhat.

Years of experimentation with many different types of material are why I ultimately settled on super glue is the best solution to this problem. The ease of application, the chemical stability, the electrical insulation properties and the final rigidity of the physical state of the cured glue are what all work together to make it an excellent permanent solution. Thus the guide I created here.
 
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I don't believe that is what is happening. First, transformers are not sealed devices - except for large, oil filled transformers and in that case, if there was a crack, you would see oil or at least oil stains where the oil has seeped out. So air getting in is not an issue. In fact, if anything, transformers depend on air for cooling.

Also, air is a very effective insulator. So if a crack appeared, that would create a gap. It takes a lot of "potential" for voltage to jump (arc) across a gap. The bigger the gap, the more voltage is needed to jump that gap. If voltage in a transformer is arcing, that would be due to a short (not open) somewhere and most likely the system would not be working at all.


Correct! But that was because rough handling caused the coil windings or transformer plates to come loose and start vibrating. It was that vibration that made the noise, not arcing. Arcing creates a different sound, and typically is accompanied by a burning smell.

I used to do part-time overflow work for a TV repair shop near a military base. We frequently got TVs in from service members who just transferred in to the base and now their TVs were buzzing. And it was because those sets were bounced around as they were transported across the country - or the 7 seas.

For some larger transformer, the plates are actually bolted together so simply tightening the nuts, then applying a little loctite solved it. Other times, hot glue did the trick.

And BTW, it was not because they were "CRT" TVs that this was not an uncommon problem. It was because CRT TVs were big, bulky, and heavy, along with the fact they needed 17,000 or more (25,000 plus!!!) volts on the anode of the tube. And that required big, heavy transformers that did not like being bounced around.
Did you read RTB's post that I replied to did you see the bit where it said buzzing like and electric bug zapper then that's exactly what happens and if you manage to watch it while it's buzzing you'll see an electrical arc forming in the crack it was part of my Electronics Technicians course and was the high voltage transformer doing it looks really cool but you don't want to touch it unless you like the feeling of a size 700 boot in the ass
 
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@Athlonite - Then I am sure your electronics course taught you that you are talking about something else. Mine sure did. The sound made by electricity arcing across a gap is not coil whine (or transformer hum). They are two totally different phenomenon with two totally different causes.

Arcing (sparks flying!!!) - when not by design - is a genuine electrical fault that could result in a major catastrophe (fire!) and needs to be repaired ASAP!

Coil whine is NOT an electrical fault and may not even be a mechanical fault. It may be annoying, but its actually a natural occurrence - like the humming of overhead high-voltage transmission lines or big power transformers as seen (and heard) at power distribution stations. The difference between a the "hum" and "whine" is simply due to the frequency. Power distribution transformers are running at 50/60Hz where coil whine may be into the 1000s of Hz.

A bug zapper works because the bug flies in between the two electrodes thus reducing the size of the "gap". As I said above, the larger the gap, the higher the voltage potential needs to be to jump (arc) across that gap. The "juicy" (for a split second longer) bug, with its lower resistance than the air, reduces that gap allowing the high voltage electricity to jump across that gap.

In fact, if you get up close to a bug zapper when there are no bugs around, it is still humming - and that is NOT from arcing.
 

eidairaman1

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What a mess! :( That's hot glue done by a 3 year old. I see why too. Look on top of the two transformers - one word says it all: Bestec! :(

My advice is to buy a quality PSU from EVGA or Seasonic, then pull that one and use it for testing fans, drive motors, and as a very temporary spare.
Bestec are known criminals
 
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Last edited:

eidairaman1

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I mean the stuff f.e. like you can see here, it's all over the place. Sometimes it's black, looks very "rubbery". For sure no hot glue.

When I recap a power supply I remove and don't replace the glue.
 
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