Audio clicking & noise - only when charger plugged in

Hi there - I use my Inspiron 6000 a lot with my band, for playing back with a PA and through big speakers etc, as well as recording.
When there is no charger connected, everything is fine - however when the charger is connected there is a lot of noise and a sort of tapping/clicking sound, when recording and playing back.
The sound is on even when the volume on the laptop is muted... and the really strange thing is that say with the PA system, when I'm trying to record from the PA into the line in, the PA's speakers will sound the clicking noise even though I am just using its outputs!
I cannot hear the sound through the inbuilt laptop speakers.
(The issue is not with the PA system btw, I am just using it as an example it seems to happen with any sort of speaker.)
I've tried the plugging the charger into various sockets etc. - any solution?
Many thanks

Message Edited by jonesy889 on 05-08-200609:17 AM

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Jim Coates

Re: Audio clicking & noise - only when charger plugged in

You don't have any of these problems when running on battery? If so then it's the infamous Dell ground loop. Symptoms would include a scratchy staticy noise when moving the cursor, and the noises occurring only when the computer is plugged into the power adapter and connected to another device (like a mixer, power amp, etc) that is also plugged into a/c current. If that is the problem:

1. Eliminate the ground either on the computer or on the other device it is connected to, by using a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter. This fix should only be used for diagnosing the problem ... if this eliminates the noise use one of the other solutions for long term.

2. Or isolate the grounds from each other by using a ground isolator or a direct box with ground lifter. Some members have given us positive reports on Radio Shack's $16 Ground Loop Isolator (270-054). Of course there are more expensive and better units on the market if you need pro quality.

3. Or use non-conducting material to connect the 2 devices; specifically by using optical spdif to transfer the audio signal rather than copper cables. This would require having an external soundcard that has optical spdif.

Remember that if the noise does not disappear when running the computer off battery power then it isn't this ground loop problem.


Jim Coates -- 14 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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