Sonos one feels strange

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I have two ones and one of these feels strange when on even if it's not playing music. When you touch it there is a slight vibrating/static feeling which is hard to describe. The other device does not have this feeling at all. The strange feeling isn't accompanied by any strange noise just the feeling. Any ideas what could cause this?

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23 replies

The far bigger problem I have is getting static shocks from my car when the air is dry/cold. That can lead to some strange looking avoidance tactics.
Yes, I'm going around the house feeling everything now.

And, I'm sure that you will continue this practice while visiting friends and that you'll likely develop a reputation for being a strange electronics "touchy-feely" sort of guy.
You'll probably notice that a light touch results in more sensation than when you grab the unit in order to move it. This is due to the relationship between potential (Volts), current (Amps), and resistance (Ohms). With a light touch the resistance between your skin and the surface is relatively high, current is low, and potential will be highest. Your ability to sense is tied to potential. With a firm touch, skin contact resistance is much lower, current is higher and the potential collapses.

Of course, if there was a serious fault inside the unit and you were standing in a pool of water, current would not be limited, we would be learning about your adventure on the evening news, and we would not be having this discussion (with you).
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This isn't noticeable on any other electricals I have. Yes, I'm going around the house feeling everything now.
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Thanks for all of the replies. Ive done some further investigation and I can actually notice it on both my ones and on all sockets in the house (some which are much newer installations than others). Could there be an earthing issue that effects all the different ring circuits in the house? This is a very slight feeling that is more noticeable if you turn the Sonos off when feeling it. Maybe I need to try a Sonos in someone else's house or maybe I just need to stop rubbing the back of my speakers.
Humans are somewhat sensitive to this leakage and sensitivity varies from individual to individual, with moisture level in the skin, and pressure of the "touch".

Typically, electronics equipment is tested for leakage as part of the manufacturing process. Naturally, failures can occur along the way. These can be component failure, mechanical failure or introduction of a liquid. In terms of feeling the tingle, this is tied to the voltage, which is usually tied to the local mains voltage. If current is limited, there is no danger for the human. A circuit tester or voltmeter might indicate full mains voltage, but these devices don't draw much current and are virtually useless to assess danger to the human. Further, cheap testers might indicate lower voltages than expensive testers because the cheap testers draw more current.

Sorry, I couldn't find any easy to understand articles to quote.

Obviously, in this example there is a difference between the outlets. I suspect that there is a wiring fault, but with the information given, we cannot assess risk level to the human. In my experience, some electricians are able to deal with this sort of situation, especially if there is an obvious wiring fault. I have not seen any electricians who are equipped to make leakage measurements. Many electronic service centers are equipped to make these measurements. If the service center has a "HIPOT" tester, they could check the equipment for dangerous leakage.
Some research clarified why this is dangerous to people for things like toasters; but I am not sure there is any risk to the equipment itself. Using Sonos is probably ok, therefore, but the risk of other uses in future for the socket suggests that it is better to fix it.
3 of mine had live/neutral round the wrong way.

That must be it; but does it matter to equipment or human safety if left unaddressed?
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If you are in the UK get one of these

They are only cheap and useful for checking all sockets in the house. 3 of mine had live/neutral round the wrong way.

The Play one does not have an earth lead only the two pin figure of 8 lead which can be connected either way so polarity should not be an issue. I have had numerous items showing these signs, things like synthesisers, record decks etc.

All my Sonos units have a two pronged cable with similar sockets. I don't get any tingle at all. But I remember getting it off the body edges of my MacBook at times. I don't think this is a big issue.
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There's an article on the Dell website about similar issues in laptops. This is said to be due to the use of a two pronged power cable instead of three. Apparently it's nothing to be concerned about. Could this be the same cause with the One?
Can anyone else feel this, particularly on the smooth bit on the back of the One?
Typical symptoms of a grounding issue. Could be a broken ground contact on the plug itself or the entire circuit is affected but then all of the plugs connected to said circuit would show the same symptoms.
I've had such a situation in my old house. The metal cabinet of my stereo receiver also gave a kind of vibration as I touched it. When I put a voltage tester against the cabinet, the lamp would light up. An electrician said that there had to be something wrong with the electric wiring in the house. It can however take some time to research the problem. I never had it solved, just lived with it. In my new house this problem didn't occur.
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Not in the house now so will try laptop thing later. Passopp, I did notice that if I wave a voltage detector in front of either Sonos speaker it sets off, although this seems to be the case for a few different electrical devices so may mean nothing.
Bigskull, it appears an electrical current is running through your body when touching the speaker. Better get that plug checked out!
If you have a metal bodied laptop, do you get a tingle on edge of the body when touched lightly by a fingertip when connected to the same power socket?
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Thanks Kumar. I haven't turned the plug around as I'm in the UK therefore 3 pin plugs.
That suggests an issue with the mains power, with respect to earthing, I suspect. Presumably turning the plug around in the socket does not work.
I have some items like a laptop where this happens, and I have ignored the slight tingle to no ill effect.
But it might be a good idea to get a qualified electrician in to troubleshoot.
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Also, I'm starting to think I can feel the above feeling in both my speakers, especially on the smooth vertical surface at the back, it's just more pronounced when a speaker is in the position mentioned above. Has anyone else noticed this feeling when touching the back?
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Wow, thanks for the quick replies everyone. Tried all suggestions above and found out that if I switch the place of my two ones then the 'strange' unit also switches, i.e. the srange one no longer feels weird but the one that is now in its place does. The strange position is taking power from a different socket and I'm standing a different floor. If I stretch the cable I can try standing on the two different floors and I'd say the strange feeling is stronger when I stand on a tiled floor as oppose to a laminate floor.
Are the two ONE's using the same power outlet? Is the surface that you are standing on, sitting on, or touching while handling the ONE's similar?

Likely there is more "leakage current" associated with the "strange" unit. From here we cannot determine if this presents a hazard or not. Under some conditions humans can feel this current at levels that are far below hazardous levels.

Probably, your best plan would be to contact SONOS support.
What happens if you turn the mains plug around in the socket - assuming that this is physically possible for you?

If the speaker is not playing and in standby, then my thoughts would be to perhaps look at the speaker WiFi connection, LED status light and the microphone components in the first instance.

Does the “strange feeling” disappear if...

1. You cable the speaker to your network and turn off its WiFi radio in its “Room Settings”.
2. You turn off the status LED light.
3. You switch off the microphone (and the touch controls - also in “Room Settings”.)

Hopefully eliminating such things may help you to get to the root cause of the problem.

I would also consider powering off/on the speaker and ensure that’s it’s base/feet are all seated correctly on whatever surface you have placed it.

If you continue to have the issue, or believe there is a problem with the device, then I would suggest you Submit a Sonos System Diagnostic and then Contact Sonos Customer Care.