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Play:1 Woofer Vibration and Air Pressure from Ethernet Port


So here’s a head scratcher I would appreciate some advice on.
 

I was moving one of my old surround Play:1’s to do some cleaning and accidentally dropped it. Luckily, it landed flat base down on the rubber feet and it was quite a thud but structurally, it seems to be fine and it still plays.

Now when it’s being used at normal levels, it’s fine but the woofer starts creating an audible speaker buzz when playing back at certain low frequencies and volumes (above 30%).

Confusing more still is the fact that as it’s playing , I can feel a fair amount of air pressure from the driver being forced out of the ethernet port at the back as it’s playing (?!?!). I’ve checked my other Play:1’s and they nothing of the sort.
 

What’s interesting is that when I “plug” the Ethernet port with my thumb and try to create a seal, naturally the air escaping is reduced but then the buzzing from the speaker on the lows and loud reduces as well (as far as my thumb prevents air from escaping). When I remove my thumb, the air escapes and the speaker buzz returns.
 

Seems like something helping create a vacuum to create pressure has come loose or something. Not sure I’m imagining it be feel a bit of air from the mounting hole but still could be air from the Ethernet port travelling up and out.


Has anyone experienced this before or any advice?It’s an old speaker well and far out of warranty (this may have been a second hand one as well) but I kind of feel loathed to let it go and add it to the environment impacting technical debt mountain if its fixable. Don’t want to buy another one just because.
 

I’m not afraid to open it up to have a look if need be if I know what I’m looking for. Any thoughts, suggestions or experience anyone can share? Would appreciate any advice.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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Best answer by Dean_H 20 May 2021, 14:21

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8 replies

 

when I “plug” the Ethernet port with my thumb and try to create a seal, naturally the air escaping is reduced but then the buzzing from the speaker on the lows and loud reduces as well (as far as my thumb prevents air from escaping). 

 

Does the speaker sound fine though when you plug the port? Not clear from what you say.

I’ll try and explain better Kumar. The problem is there whether it’s wired or wireless.

After the drop, air is venting out of the Ethernet port on lower frequencies. Connecting an ethernet cable in the port doesn’t help as the buzzing from the woofer and air venting continue, I think because it doesn’t create a seal so compressed air can vent around it.

When I press my thumb in/on the ethernet port (as the most basic of tests), I think it moulds around the port to create a better seal. In doing so, the air can’t escape as much which leads to the buzzing reducing. When I take my thumb away, problem returns.

I’m kind of tempted to just fill in or around the ethernet port with hot glue to create a solid seal to see if that works but it’s a bit of an ugly solution. Hoping for something more elegant before I get “creative”.

Hope that makes better sense.

 

I’m kind of tempted to just fill in or around the ethernet port with hot glue to create a solid seal to see if that works but it’s a bit of an ugly solution. Hoping for something more elegant before I get “creative”.

 

That is close to what I was going to suggest - except using chewing gum, or blue tac to pack the port. Less chance of permanent damage if it does not work!

That is why I asked if the thumb trick restores sound quality. If so, there are ways to replicate that before doing anything like taking the unit apart, two suggested above.

Thanks Kumar.

I’ve been reading around and found an article, both on this forum and on iFixit with someone experiencing a similar problem. Their resolution involved swapping out the woofers with new ones but I am kind of curious to know why the air is being vented out of the back. That seems to be the root cause of the problem given when the port is blocked/sealed, the issue goes away and sound quality is “restored” (as much as a weak thumb seal allows)

Might try the blue tac approach first and see how it works and if it fixes it :-) failing that, I could always go full MacGyver and pop it open, disconnect the in-built woofer and wire the terminal to an old active sub I have lying around but would rather keep the integrity of the existing product. Also kind of defeats the purpose of having a “wireless” speaker then but if it saves a few $$$ and keeps it from the electrical trash heap, all the better.

I can only think that there is some sort vacuum/air compression that is happening within the speaker and something came loose when it fell thus creating an exhaust out of the RJ45 port. Would appreciate any other suggestions or insights.

creating an exhaust out of the RJ45 port.

Good luck for sure in not adding to landfills... This port certainly seems to be an odd place for such venting to occur, and others here may have more useful ideas.

PS: let me know if blue tac works though, I am fan of this along with scotch and duct tapes for lots of fixes around the home.

So! I think I found the root cause of the problem and it’s not what I thought. It’s been bugging me all day and given it’s out of warranty, I decided I had little to lose so I opened it up.

I’m no expert (never disassembled an electrical device before) but first impressions, disappointed that it come out of quality control in manufacturing. The foam along the joins was also not properly lined up (two strips had gaps along the edges) and the hot glue/resin keeping the electronics down looks like it was done by a 5 year old (I mean little mountains of glue, leaking over the board and swirly patterns on the circuit board!)

After getting rid of some normal dust, all the wiring looks to be generally sound and okay but on cleaning, I found a small thin circular wafer of metal sitting at the bottom of the case which corresponded to the screw mounting hole on the metal backplate.

Unless I’m misreading things, the air wasn’t exhausting from the RJ45 but was actually from the mounting hole (must have just been travelling down to the ethernet). It was nowhere near as thick as the rest of the supporting metal frame at the back of the speaker and showed what I guess must be stress fractures because it was jagged and rough. I guess when it dropped, it must have just broken off.

I’ve temporarily plugged the mounting hole with a small rubber grommet from an old water proof camera case and some blu tak (thanks Kumar) and reassembled the speaker and so far (touch wood), sounds pretty much like it did before. I might try and find a friend with a soldering iron for a permanent solution and seal it properly with solder or something

End result: Arguably it started with a clumsy mistake but quite satisfying about being able to solve it myself. More importantly, I saved money and something from needlessly going to landfill. Just a bit disappointed it doesn’t appear to be as well manufactured on the inside as it is on outside.

Hope my experience helps someone.

The foam along the joins was also not properly lined up (two strips had gaps along the edges) and the hot glue/resin keeping the electronics down looks like it was done by a 5 year old

I am surprised too. And this is a unit that you bought new and not used and therefore has never been opened?

The foam along the joins was also not properly lined up (two strips had gaps along the edges) and the hot glue/resin keeping the electronics down looks like it was done by a 5 year old

I am surprised too. And this is a unit that you bought new and not used and therefore has never been opened?

Nope. Definitely never opened before and it was one of units I bought new. All the seals and foam were intact and none of the screws had been threaded or scratched. Very surprising