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Emerging Member
Posts: 55
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Accepted Solution

UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

My 2 UAP-PRO units that I received make noise.  They constantly tick when idle and scratch like a hard drive when transmitting data.

I contacted Ubiquiti support and they want to RMA them, but here is my question for the community.

I've read a few posts where people say that their units also make these sounds.  After they RMA'd them Ubiquiti simply says that they can't reproduce the sound in their test labs and returns the units.

Has anyone ever had them replace a noisy unit with a silent unit?  Is it just a waste of money to pay the shipping to RMA these units?

One last question; are the AC units quieter?  If they are, is it worth an upgrade?

 

SETUP:

My units are currently not mounted to the ceiling, but will be shortly.  I have 1 on the main floor of my house that is connected to a PoE switch via a 5ft Cat6 cable.  The other one is on the 2nd floor connected via the PoE adapter with a 5ft Cat6 cable.  Both make the same sounds.


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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

Hi Everybody!

 

To start, I want to thank everyone who has reported back on this thread, we appreciate it very much.

 

I’ve posted a few times some instructions on what to do if you happen to find yourself in the rare situation that you have a UAP of any model or vintage that emits some sort of ticking or scratching sound.  Those posts are getting shuffled in the traffic a little bit so I’m going to post a bit of an FAQ here and lock this thread so future visitors know what to do.

 

This is not particular to this thread, but there are a few that pertain to the same subject.  As I see them, they’ll all get this same message.

 

Q.  I have a UAP [insert model here] that makes a ticking/scratching noise, what do I do?

A.  Please RMA the unit.  You can do so by following this link: https://www.ubnt.com/support/rma/. In order to expedite your RMA, please feel free to email rma@ubnt.com with a link to this thread.  When you do, please include the email address that you used when you submitted your RMA so we can quickly find your RMA.  If you have already received an RMA number, include that as well.

 

Q.  My UAP is older than a year, can I still get a replacement?

A.  Yes, please continue to submit the RMA.  Please note that it is particularly important that you email rma@ubnt.com if your unit is older than a year.  The RMA system will automatically decline your RMA request, we must manually override it.

 

Q.  Does it matter where I am located?

A.  No, we ship globally.

 

Q.  Do the new 2nd generation Access Points (UAP-AC-Lite, UAP-AC-LR, UAP-AC-Pro, UAP-AC-EDU) have any undesired noise emissions?

A.  There has not been a single report of undesired noise with the 2nd generation of the UniFi Access Points at the time of this post.

 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to PM/email/mention me or one of the other UBNT employees and we’ll happy to assist.


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New Member
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎06-07-2013
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

  • I'd like to know the following onformation to help you on this.

 

  • Location of the affected AP
  • Since when the AP is making the noise
  • Any external device near the AP that can cause electrical interference (like Air conditioner, Cooler, Motor device)
  • Could you also check if the noise can be heard during daytime.
  • Any metal device or magnetic material beside device
Regular Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

UAP-AC also make a small noise when transferring data, but it's still a very very quiet noise, I can only hear it when putting my ears at 20cm of the AP or in a very very quiet environment.

Emerging Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

I'm not going to provide any more troubleshooting information.  I have already provided it to Uniquiti directly and in other forum posts.

 

I'm looking to see if anyone has RMA'd their UAP-PRO unit and recieved a quiter unit.  I don't want to waste money and time RMAing these units only to have them tell me they can't reproduce the sound in their lab (which I heard they do tell people).

Emerging Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise


renaud wrote:

UAP-AC also make a small noise when transferring data, but it's still a very very quiet noise, I can only hear it when putting my ears at 20cm of the AP or in a very very quiet environment.


Have you ever heard the UAP-PRO to compare?

Regular Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise


JeffWScott wrote:

renaud wrote:

UAP-AC also make a small noise when transferring data, but it's still a very very quiet noise, I can only hear it when putting my ears at 20cm of the AP or in a very very quiet environment.


Have you ever heard the UAP-PRO to compare?


Unfortunately, that's the only indoor model I don't have, so no, I cannot compare.

To be honest, rocket M2 and M5 also do this kind of noise, but I would say those are a little bit louder than the UAP-AC.

New Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

I wanted to chime in to say that I have 3 UAP-PRO units, all of which produce the same noise as you've described. For me it isn't an issue as all of my APs are ceiling-mounted inside of closets which are off the beaten path. The noise isn't so loud that you can hear it when the closet doors are closed.

So long as it does not affect performance then I don't care. If there is something wrong with my APs then I too would like to RMA them.

The sound is distinct and would likely be audible were I to record a video clip. I might have to try that when I get home.

For anyone else who is curious, my setup is thus: APs are ceiling-mounted. Backhaul is CAT6 to an 8-port ToughSwitch. AP noise occurs whether I use the included injectors or the ToughSwitch. I have connected the APs to various other network drops in numerous locations throughout my house; the noise consistently occurs. In their permanent location there are not any nearby sources of interference that I am aware of.

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise


originalprime wrote:

 who is curious, my setup is thus: APs are ceiling-mounted. Backhaul is CAT6 to an 8-port ToughSwitch. AP noise occurs whether I use the included injectors or the ToughSwitch. I have connected the APs to various other network drops in numerous locations throughout my house; the noise consistently occurs. In their permanent location there are not any nearby sources of interference that I am aware of.


I have the exact same setup and have not been able to remove the sound by moving it anywhere in my house.

Seems it is the units.  

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me if they were able to successfully RMA a unit.

 If I end up RMAing a unit successfully I will be sure to update this post.

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

 


JeffWScott wrote: Have you ever heard the UAP-PRO to compare?

Hi,

I have 2x 1249G UAP-Pros that are noisy. I have a different unit I'm testing currently (1335G). Both the 1249G Pros that I have were making the sound at initial power up, before provisioning. I have a HTPC hooked up to one of my LCD TVs and it's 7200RPM HDD is louder than the Pros, and as others mine are not directly in common areas, or immediately near sleeping areas.. This newer unit has yet to exhibit noise, but I've only had it up for a day. Realistically I'd like to test it for several weeks before commenting further.

The first AC I had in my lab, which is one of the pre-production units, exhibits a different noise. It's a high pitch (whine) sound and I noticed it at >100Mbps on HT80 5GHz, and it's heard at a much shorter range than the Pro is. At lower speeds it's even quieter (range of <1ft for sound). I haven't heard the same clicking sound. One user reported they did though. I have 2 newer units that I just received yesterday (along with the aforementioned Pro) that I'm testing. The two new units have not been "noise" tested yet.

Currently a pair of units powered off a TS8Pro and several off of the PoE injectors, all Cat6a STP on the power side. I'm in the middle of re-arranging my lab so not everything is hooked up currently.

Thanks,
Mike

SuperUser
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

The Power APN's did the same thing, so do the AirRouter HP's.  My Pro at home does it also.  Doesn't affect functionality whatsoever.

Tony Pierro
CTO - Wireless Internet Services, Inc.
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

 And to be really fair, even my desktop wired network card does this when I transfer at more than 300mbps or so.

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise


UBNT-MikeD wrote:

 


JeffWScott wrote: Have you ever heard the UAP-PRO to compare?

Hi,

I have 2x 1249G UAP-Pros that are noisy. I have a different unit I'm testing currently (1335G). Both the 1249G Pros that I have were making the sound at initial power up, before provisioning. I have a HTPC hooked up to one of my LCD TVs and it's 7200RPM HDD is louder than the Pros, and as others mine are not directly in common areas, or immediately near sleeping areas.. This newer unit has yet to exhibit noise, but I've only had it up for a day. Realistically I'd like to test it for several weeks before commenting further.

The first AC I had in my lab, which is one of the pre-production units, exhibits a different noise. It's a high pitch (whine) sound and I noticed it at >100Mbps on HT80 5GHz, and it's heard at a much shorter range than the Pro is. At lower speeds it's even quieter (range of <1ft for sound). I haven't heard the same clicking sound. One user reported they did though. I have 2 newer units that I just received yesterday (along with the aforementioned Pro) that I'm testing. The two new units have not been "noise" tested yet.

Currently a pair of units powered off a TS8Pro and several off of the PoE injectors, all Cat6a STP on the power side. I'm in the middle of re-arranging my lab so not everything is hooked up currently.

Thanks,
Mike


Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

I am eagerly awaiting your testing of the 1335G UAP-PRO unit.  My units are 1327G units and they for sure make noise.

Since you are very aware of this issue, is there anyway for my RMA to come to you for testing?  For some reason I I can't find the PM function on this forum, but I could e-mail you my RMA number if you wanted to look out for it (I have an approved 2 unit RMA but have yet to ship).

I guess what I'm more interested in is your testing of the 1335G.  If you find it produces far less noise then I would like to RMA my units for those.  Do you think it will take 2 weeks to test that unit?  The noise should be pretty apparent during the first use I would think.

Thanks again,

JeffWScott

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

JeffWScott wrote:

Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

I am eagerly awaiting your testing of the 1335G UAP-PRO unit.  My units are 1327G units and they for sure make noise.

Since you are very aware of this issue, is there anyway for my RMA to come to you for testing?  For some reason I I can't find the PM function on this forum, but I could e-mail you my RMA number if you wanted to look out for it (I have an approved 2 unit RMA but have yet to ship).

I guess what I'm more interested in is your testing of the 1335G.  If you find it produces far less noise then I would like to RMA my units for those.  Do you think it will take 2 weeks to test that unit?  The noise should be pretty apparent during the first use I would think.

Thanks again,

JeffWScott


Hi JeffWScott,

You're welcome. Sorry for the delay in my response, was a rather busy day yesterday as a number of us are at WISAPALOOZA (not me).

I'm not in the SJ office, otherwise I would say go ahead with that. The PM function is disabled under a certain post count, although I'm not sure what that is off the top of my head. I'll have to check whom would be the best to send to, if they want to check these ones out.

Today I'm going to do some stress testing to see what I can do with the new Pro that I have. I didn't have time for that yesterday either, but will make time today. So far it's quiet still, but it's not under much load (light browsing with only a few clients on it). Now, the other ones exhibit noise when idle and also during light browsing. I'll make sure to record a video for comparison too. If the noise doesn't happen I'll make a video for others input, although my hearing is very good. The test would take longer if it didn't appear, but I could maybe post daily updates or something.

I'll report back later.

Thanks,
Mike

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

All 3 of my UAP-LR's make noise, I figured it was just the nature of the beast.

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

[ Edited ]

And after todays testing I can confirm this 1335G Pro is making noise. Not as bad as the 1249Gs. And it wasn't instant like those models. Tested off TS8Pro and the PoE injector. Cat5e, cat6 and cat6a in both UTP and STP. I don't have any ftp on hand.

Thought I would report after my test.

Thanks,
Mike

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

I too have a UAP-Pro 1340G which was installed about a week ago.
It is currently sitting on a counter hooked up via ~30ft of Cat5 and running off the provided power injector.
There's a switch connected to the scondary port with a 6ft Cat5 and no special equipment / environmental isssues arround. It makes the described noise (like a working hard drive).

Is there any resolution to this?

New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-08-2013

Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

Just to chip in and say I hear my Pro making the hard disk noise when the house is quiet at night (kids gone to bed).

I have no apparent problems with the network so have ignored it so far.

Still a bit odd, what is generating the audible noise ?

Emerging Member
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

Just so everyone doesn't make the same mistake I did; don't bother with the RMA process. I mean, as far as the noise is concerned.

I wasted 2 months and was out the shipping cost to just have Ubiquiti send me 2 more units with the same issue. I tried to get some information on the testing results but was told that they don't even test them anymore. They have such high return rates because of this noise issue that they just ship you out replacements.

I'm assuming the business plan is to just keep that up until the customer is sick of paying to ship them in and just accepts the noise.

Anyway. Either keep them or send`em back but don't bother with the RMA. Ubiquiti doesn't give a **bleep**.
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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

There are a couple potential causes.

Option 1:

First off, ceramaic capacitors (MLCC) proliferate modern devices. Their electrical characteristics are attracive, and they have for example, performance that is unmatched for ESR.

These capacitors can have a piezoelectric effect, however, meaning that depending on the frequency of voltages/currents applied/induced, the capacitors can act as a piezoelectric speaker.

If you listen closely when working with electronics, you will notice that this happens more than you'd think with electonic devices.  In fact, I've confused piezoelectric noise with hard drive noise on many occasions.  It becomes clear that a laptop is doing this, for example, when you replace its spinning drive with an SSD.

This effect can be pronounced in networking gear, especially wireless networking gear, as the envelope of the waveforms/modulations present often has a significant frequency component in the audible range. These frequency components, before being converted to audible signals by the ceramic capacitor's piezoelectric effect, are electrical signals purely.

The interesting bit here is that ceramic capacitors, price-wise, are costly. Cheap designs avoid them like the plague. In fact, there are whole design efforts involved in purely removing as many decoupling capacitors, which are most often ceramic, as possible. The efforts either just delete them from the design (and then hope the design is still functional, or iteratively test it as they remove them), or hope to replace them with cheaper, bulk capacitance (tantalum or electrlytic - which do not exhibit the piezoelectric effect).  These efforts are typically at the expense of long-term device reliability, as electrolytics have a much shorter life than ceramics.

So, the potential irony is that the noise observed here could actually be because Ubiquiti has not tried to cost-reduce the design in this way.  If they would have 'gone cheap' on the design, by foregoing these ceramic capacitors, these units may be quiet.

Option 2:

The switching converters. Switching converters are an efficient way to change one voltage to another, and they also prliferate modern electronics (and are a main reason battery-powered devices can having meaningful battery lifes). They change voltages, not by simple heat dissapation as done by linear refulators, but by clever storing of energy back-and-forth in the magnetic field (in an inductor) and the electric field (in a capacitor).  The balance of storage become a simple algebraic expression that gives you the relationship between input and output voltage.

Both the capacitor (if it's ceramic; see above) and the inductor can produce noise.  The inductor is simply coils of wire around a ferrite material. As you learned in physics, changes in current through wire induces a force (just like changes in charge on plates induce a force - the basis of piezoelectric effect). This force then makes a noise.  The frequency of the change in current, the waveform, and the 'transfer-function' of the current to mechanical force vs. frequency determines how loud the noise will be and what it will sound like.  

For example, loosely-wound inductors will be prone to lots of noise, as it doesn't take much force (much change in current) to move the wires.  (This is why the inductors we hand-wound in college were super noisy.)  The tighter the winding, and the better the 'damping' in the inductor, the less noise it will make.

The reason all of this depends on load (device activity) is not a surprise, but is somewhat complicated. In the switching converter case, the electronics that control/monitor the switching converter, depending on make/model/manufacturer will change frequency as load changes, or change duty-cycle, or skip 'on-cycles', or do all of these. These all produce different frequency content, and different micro-mechanical vibrations with varying levels of transduction into the audible domain, all dependent on load in differing ways depending on the type of switch.

The idea is similar for other components (and the ceramic capacitors that serve as decoupling capacitors for these components). As the waveforms inside the chips of interest change (e.g. higher modulation rates for higher data rate), what are in essence beat frequencies of these modulations appear across the ceramic decoupling capacitors, and these capacitors then transduce them to audible noise.

It isn't necessary for high-loads to cause more noise.  For example, I have a Samsung 204T (I think that's the model) LCD, that when it sleeps, puts a siwtching converter into what I can only guess to be pulse-skip mode. Interestingly enough, the LED blinking on the front of the display causes the switcher to enter and exit pulse-skip mode commensurate with the blink. When the LED is on, the switcher has enough load to not have to enter pulse skip mode. When it's off, the switcher has to enter pulse-skip mode to not over-voltage its output. The result of pulse-skip mode is to reduce the switching frequency to around 800Hz. So, when the LED is off, there's a brief 800Hz wine, which disappears when the LED pops back on.

Long story short, this results in the monitor making a noise (when the display is sleeping) like there is a wrist-watch alarm going off somewhere burried in a desk or a wall. For a solid week, I seriously thought there was a wrist-watch alarm going off, buried somewhere in a desk or wall.

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Re: UAP-PRO ticking and scratching noise

I think they care. I think it's just a hard problem to solve, and one that's far from intuitive.

Give this a read, for example:

http://http://www.edn.com/design/components-and-packaging/4397351/Reducing-MLCCs--piezoelectric-effe...

Before you put a design into large-scale production, it's hard to even predict whether this will happen, as it's so dependent on the materials in use, and the prototype boards are often different electrical characteristics.  It's also kind of hard to even notice in a lab environment - so it's easy to miss even if it was present in prototypes - because lab environments often have fans and other things running in the background.

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