Today I've been trying to work out why the sound on my Eee sometimes stops working. I've narrowed it down to one slightly surprising cause: the fridge! I can leave the audio (SuperCollider via jackd) running absolutely fine for three-quarters of an hour, fine... and then the fridge's thermostat kicks in, turning the fridge on - and at the exact same moment the audio stops!
I know that the fridge emits some kind of radio interference when the thermostat kicks in/out, since it always disrupts the Freeview TV signal for a fraction of a second. So how would that affect the sound on my Eee PC?
- First suspect: wifi activity. Maybe some kind of weird wifi reaction is triggered by the fridge's outburst, and the computer's response to that trips up the audio. But I can turn off the wifi and it still happens. (That doesn't completely rule it out - maybe the wireless card still does something weird, even if the system isn't trying to maintain any wireless connections.)
- Second suspect: a blip in the AC power supply. It's quite likely that the fridge kicking in/out warps the mains electricity in our little place, and maybe the computer reacts badly to that. No, doesn't seem so, since it happens even if the Eee is running on battery power.
- Third suspect: is it possible that the fridge's radio outburst does something to the USB connection between the Eee and the audio interface? I'm not sure exactly - seems less likely than the other two candidates, to me. I haven't yet tried to make the glitch to occur while using system built-in audio rather than the audio interface.
Well it's a strange case and I haven't solved it yet. Turning off the fridge while using my computer would be a bit of a hassle...