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 Post subject: Front Panel Audio Interference (Antec Mini P180)
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:51 pm 
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Location: Florida
Well, I just discovered one annoying problem with my new build - the front panel audio jack has a ton of interference. It seems like everything in the case is squealing into my headphones. I don't hear any interference when plugged into the rear audio jacks, but that defeats the purpose of having the front jacks in the first place.

Any simple solutions? The length of the cable gives me almost no choice in routing it. Are there better shielded after-market cables?


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:59 pm 
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Location: OV, The Netherlands
Did you connect your PC to a grounded wall outlet? Because my P180 mini hasnt got that problem. And how did you route that cable?

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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:34 am 
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Well, the PC is connected to my UPS which is connected to ground. In theory... I presume my UPS would squeal like a pig if it had bad ground.

Unfortunately I had to route the cable in a stupid way because the connector is at the back of my motherboard and the cable is short. So it goes over top of my video card. I would have liked to route it under the motherboard tray, but it's just too short. It also hugs up against the secondary motherboard power cable thing, I don't know what it's called, the thing with two four-pin plugs that plug in together.

I get most interference from my mouse (and presumably other USB devices) and some from my hard drives.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 6:50 am 
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What happens if your pc is directly connected to the wall?

Did you try to disable C1E in the bios? If not try that ;)

What PSU are you running?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:19 am 
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Location: Florida
I'm using a Nexus Value 430 (SPCR recommended :D ). I'll try directly connecting to the wall and see if that helps, and I have a spare UPS I can try. I'll also try turning off C1E (when I get home), though not sure why it would affect this.

I've actually found a lot of complaints about this problem in Antec cases with some additional searching. Seems some folks are able the solve the problem by disconnecting the ground wire that connects the front panel to the chassis (sometimes in combination with disconnecting the front USB, eSATA, firewire, etc.) My understanding is that the ground wire is there to prevent a problem older models had with rebooting when you plug in a USB device in the front jack and static discharge problems... And of course I want to be able to use the eSATA and USB ports...

There's also this guy's mod... Apparently a lot of Antec cases have all the grounds for the front panel USB ports, the chassis, the audio, etc. connected together which apparently is bad. He snipped a wire to make sure the audio was only grounded to the motherboard audio connector.

Edit: ACK. Google indexes too fast! I'm finding my own thread when I search for my problem. I'm accidentally stalking myself.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 8:34 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hey, that's great. I've always been pissed off with front panel headphone connections, I'll try cutting the common ground wire the next time I open up my case. My CPU HSF is due in for reapplication of thermal paste, and I'm about to replace my graphics HSF with an Accelero S1 anyway, just waiting on some ramsinks to arrive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 2:13 pm 
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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with this same issue, but in a 3480. I just figured it was because I had it routed funny (and a little tight).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 4:11 pm 
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I must report a big FAIL. I found the cause pretty definitively, but not a solution. I got home and tried plugging the box into an alternate UPS and directly into the wall in a few different outlets with no difference. I cracked the case and tried all possible combinations of eSATA, USB and the grounding wire connected/disconnected. If I disconnected both the grounding wire and USB the interference was gone, or at least extremely low. If I left the USB connected, but the ground wire disconnected it was reduced just slightly. The SATA connection seemed to have no effect, though hard drive related interference was harder to reproduce and more intermittent.

So I cracked open the front bezel and discovered the connectors are embedded in a solid molded plastic thing. No way to crack it open, no way to cut the common ground.

So I either have to live with the noise, or live without front USB, or forgo the use of front audio. But at least I know the cause - it's definitely a grounding-related issue, not EM interference or the routing of the cable.

BTW: I do not recommend removing the front bezel on this case. It was a pain, and I broke one of the plastic tabby things and one of the magnets came unglued and was a bear to get back in place cause it kept wanting to jump to the steel chassis.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Hm, interesting...I dunno about the mini P180, but I know the P183 (and by logical extension, P182 and P180) front bezel comes off fairly easily, as long as you take care when removing. Not as easy as the Solo/P150 of course, but still reasonable.


Last edited by KayDat on Wed May 19, 2010 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 7:56 am 
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I (among others after searching) had major problems with the mini p180. Front audio was terrible. Also... plugging anything in the front was making all of my usb peripherals (mouse, keyboard, etc) shut off. I even had an arc to my usb thumb drive as I went to plug it in and it fried it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:16 am 
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When I have more time I'm going to contact Antec support to see if they have a solution (or at least an excuse). If I get the energy I'm going to give it another try. I might just get fed up and try sawing the molded front panel thing in half. In theory, the only connection between the audio and the usb/sata portions should be that common ground. :-) Worst case scenario, I render the thing useless (a mere 60% increase in uselessness). If that doesn't work, I can get a separate HD audio header thing and glue it into the appropriate holes in the front bezel.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 2:07 am 
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It is such a shame. I've been through so many cases for different sized builds in my time, and the mini p180 had everything and more that I was looking for. The overall frame, bays, cable-routing, layout, and so on are all so solid. Then they go and goof up on this front panel thing and chase me away. I can't afford to toast more flash drives or more expensive components and/or peripherals, so I have to move away from Antec.

Let us know how your dealings with support go. I may do the same.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:02 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
wow, toasting usb devices huh? Sounds like something is seriously wrong. Have you tried contacting Antec? There's an Antec Rep around on the forums here as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:22 pm 
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I fixed it! I had the case apart to fiddle with my fans so I decided to give it another shot. I pulled the module out of the front bezel and cut it open with a Dremel. It was more or less as I expected. The audio part of it was in its own sub-unit made of translucent plastic embedded in the molded black plastic thing. Cutting through enough of the surrounding plastic revealed let me separate it and sever the common ground, which was the only wire connecting the different parts.

I covered up the exposed ends of wire with electrical tape, stuck it back in the bezel, and now I've got working USB, eSATA and a headphone jack with no interference!

I gotta say be careful with this though, it's impossible to see what you're doing, so you have to be very careful not to cut into the sub-module too much. I very nearly cut a wire inside the audio part, which would have ruined it.

It's funny, there's a lot of misleading information on the web about this problem. Most people seem to think it's either EM interference because of an unshielded cable or just an inherent problem with on-board audio. But it's definitely a grounding issue. You learn something new every day!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:12 am 
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That's great news. But damn, I hope I don't have to cut up my module to get to the ground cable... =[


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 Post subject: hooray
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:14 pm 
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Location: Baltimore, USA
I have the same issue with the 3480. I'm glad to see there is a solution! :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Location: Vancouver BC
Hopefully Antec_Rep will come in here and maybe talk to their engineering folks to get this fixed (and maybe provide us with a way to swap out our boxes)

I don't particularly want to hack up my USB/eSATA "box" either since with my limited skills, I'd probably demolish the box and cut right through all the wires and end up with a useless box!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 2:03 am 
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KayDat wrote:
wow, toasting usb devices huh? Sounds like something is seriously wrong. Have you tried contacting Antec? There's an Antec Rep around on the forums here as well.


Yeah... I contacted them and they were quick to reply. They are sending me a new front panel connector setup. Will see how helpful it is whenever it gets here. So far Antec gets a +1 for customer service from me.


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 Post subject: Re: Front Panel Audio Interference (Antec Mini P180)
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:37 pm
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Location: Fremont, CA
fwiffo wrote:
Well, I just discovered one annoying problem with my new build - the front panel audio jack has a ton of interference. It seems like everything in the case is squealing into my headphones. I don't hear any interference when plugged into the rear audio jacks, but that defeats the purpose of having the front jacks in the first place.

Any simple solutions? The length of the cable gives me almost no choice in routing it. Are there better shielded after-market cables?


Hi Fwiffo,

I apologize for the problem you are experiencing with the P180. This seems to be a problem that we are unaware of in the past. I spoke with customer support regarding this problem and they recommend contacting them for a front panel replacement. Please submit a ticket through the link below and customer support will contact you with a solution/replacement within 2 business days

http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/index.p ... ort_online

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me through PM or reply to this thread.

Antec


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Thanks for your response. I filled out the form; will let you know if I have any other questions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 10:58 pm 
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Location: Vancouver BC
fwiffo wrote:
Thanks for your response. I filled out the form; will let you know if I have any other questions.


Let us know if the replacement fixes the problem! I'm more than anxious to know if it does. It's annoying enough on my P183 that I've stopped using my front headphone jack as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:50 am 
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Just got the replacement module from Antec today. We'll see how it goes when I get home. Support was pretty responsive, and the module appears at least slightly different from the old one (the USB connector is two separate 5 pin plugs instead of one 10-pin plug).

But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:01 am 
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fwiffo wrote:
Just got the replacement module from Antec today. We'll see how it goes when I get home. Support was pretty responsive, and the module appears at least slightly different from the old one (the USB connector is two separate 5 pin plugs instead of one 10-pin plug).

But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


Did they charge you for the replacement or did they replace it under warranty?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:35 pm 
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I think i ran into this problem a few years ago when I made a new build using the P180. Tons of interference from the front audio port. Google searching only got me generic guesses about EMI or bad on-board audio like what fwiffo said. It's good to know what the real problem is, and knowing the solution is even better! Little nuggets of info like this is what makes SPCR great!

As an aside, this little design problem seems to hit almost all of Antec's line of cases. I wonder if they will offer front panel replacements for older customers who are out of warranty.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:50 pm 
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It works! I'm sitting here listening to my headphones making no noise whatsoever, which is what they're supposed to be doing when my computer isn't playing any sound. :-) And they still make the noises when asked to do so, just not at other irrelevant times like when I move my mouse or use my hard drive. And my front eSATA and USB ports still work too.

So, for me, getting a replacement front panel module from Antec support (mailed to me at no charge) did the trick. I give them high marks for reasonably fast turnaround and for being courteous. Thank you, Antec_Rep. I've had so many negative support experiences with so many other companies that I was pleasantly surprised. Usually they give you the runaround and treat you like a freaking freshman. But Antec managed to solve my problem without giving me any crap at all! Imagine that!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:24 pm 
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I'm glad you contacted Antec. I have an NSK 4480-II with the same problem. I thought it was a bad MB, so I took the front connectors from another case and plugged that into the audio on my mb. No interference. And now you have paved the way for me and others to contact Antec for a fix. Bravo!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:33 pm 
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I also contacted Antec for a replacement. Took about 3 weeks to get from US to Canada (but I blame Canadian customs for that since everything from the US takes that long).

I can thank USPS and Canada Post for beating the crap out of the replacement module. One of the USB jacks and the eSATA jack was a bit mangled by the time I got it and it took a bit of work with the needle nose pliers to straighten things out. However, the replacement works great! No more buzzing in my headphones anymore.

Another bonus - a problematic 8GB OCZ USB memory stick I had before seems to work a lot better with the new module. Before, it wouldn't recognize it (or would rapidly switch from working to not working all the time) and now it's working great!

Kudos to Antec for their great support.

One more thing - maybe for people that are wondering if their unit is affected - the replacement module I received had a blue semicircle sticker on it, while my old one did not. Not sure what it means, but maybe some of the other folks that got a replacement can check to see if theirs is the same? Maybe it denotes a repaired/fixed module?


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 Post subject: Antec Solo Front Audio Interference
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:50 pm 
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Hello all, I ran into the same problem but with the Antec Solo. I contacted Antec about the problem, and they swiftly send me a replacement header. However, I found that the new header was just as defective as the old one. I guess I didn't get one from the blue sticker bin :(

In the end, I had to cut a wire that connected the headphone jack to the USB ports of the front panel header. I'm not sure if this is exactly what others have done, but I've written and taken pictures about the process:

btmura.blogspot. com/2010/07/antec-solo-front-audio-interference.html

It says I'm not allowed to post links until I've done three posts, so I added some spaces to the above URL to make it pass the test :(

I'm not sure if its safe or not, but it is working as expected now :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:32 am 
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Location: Milton Keynes, UK
I had (past tense :) ) exactly the same issue with LOADS of interference on my Antec 300 case. cracked open the front panel, cut the white wire (which I guessed is the "common" ground as it's running between all the ports) from the USB to Audio, and voila! worked like a charm. no more interference, but more importantly the sound quality and volume is 100 000 x better!

thanks very much to everyone's input and solutions! you have made me a very very happy bunny :D just joined the forum to say that!


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 Post subject: Re: Front Panel Audio Interference (Antec Mini P180)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:45 pm 
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A very old thread but thought another mini p180 user may stumble here... had lots of HDD noise on the front audio assembly I fixed this by simply unplugging the esata port. This is good to know since Antec Australia would not send me a replacement front panel cluster (I was willing to pay whatever it takes). They said they are unavailable even though they are in stock in the US.

Ah well hope it helps some one else.


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