Stop the buzzing - Wii AV switcher problem
July 8, 2014 5:49 PM   Subscribe

I just set up my game systems to an AV switcher to accommodate all of them, but now I think I have a ground loop that I can't solve that's making (only) the Wii buzz!

Here's my basic setup.

Left Outlet: Grounded power strip, currently just moved stuff as part of troubleshooting so it only has the modem, router, and Xbox 360. Speakers (not used with TV) are plugged into the regular outlet.

Right Outlet: Clock and Lamp. Grounded power strip now with TV, Apple TV, Super Nintendo, N64, Dresmcast, and Wii.

Apple TV and Xbox 360 use HDMI - no problems. Super Nintendo goes in through the cable input - no problems.

Wii, N64, and Dreamcast are set up through this AV switcher. The N64 and Dreamcast are having no sound or video problems.

The Wii, however, has a buzzing, which sounds like it's a ground loop. I'm not sure how to fix it. I'm sure I can get an AV to HDMI (since I have 2 spare HDMI ports) but I'd like to avoid that if possible.

Moved all (and only) the stuff on the switcher + TV to the right hand power strip. No luck.
Tried having the Wii buzzing while unplugging various items. No Luck.
Tried the Wii on the regular outlet. No luck.
I can't run an extension cord from anywhere else as they all would cross doorways, including an outside door. I'm also in a rental.

Any other ideas or should I just spring for the HDMI converter?
I'm pretty good with tech stuff, but everything I found about grounding loops is about amps or is too electricity-mumbo-jumbo for me to understand.
posted by Crystalinne to Technology (11 answers total)
Oh! And I have to use a switcher as my smart TV only has one combined AV/Component input. (I mean it's big enough to fit like 10 of them back there... [oldschool gamer problems]) It's too large to reach to the back to manually switch out items.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:50 PM on July 8, 2014

Might be that you didn't mention it because it's too obvious, but did you check if the buzzing there when the Wii is plugged directly into the TV AV?
posted by kagredon at 6:53 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wait, never mind, missed the part where you said that you'd just set it up.
posted by kagredon at 6:54 PM on July 8, 2014

Yep, it's totally fine when plugged directly into the TV.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:50 PM on July 8, 2014

Did you try the Wii plugged in to a different input on the switcher? A different cable? Does it buzz if you run it through the switcher but disconnect the other devices on the switcher? Try just the Wii on the left power strip and leaving the other devices on the switcher on the right.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:49 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely try another input on the switcher. If that still doesn't fix the problem then try plugging only the left & and then only the right audio channels and check to see if you are getting the correct left and right channels to the TV.

If you get a buzz on all of the switcher inputs and for both the left and the right cables individually - then something very strange is going on and I would get out the extension cords to start testing (I know this can't be permanent) to isolate the issue further.

But my money is on a bad switcher input and you find an input is either floating (disconnected) or you have a misconnection inside the switcher between the video and audio input connectors...
posted by NoDef at 9:41 PM on July 8, 2014

Is it possible to put the wii on a component input, rather than getting an HDMI adapter? I have one on mine, and it really makes a difference in video quality, especially if you use it in widescreen mode(which you should!)

I've had all kinds of problems with interference and stuff like this on those cheap switches. I just got the cheapest wii>component knockoff cable on amazon(this, i think) and i not only got a big improvement in the non-blurriness of the picture, but eliminated any dumb problems like this.

If you really want to troubleshoot this in place though, disconnect ANYTHING plugged into the other outlet from the tv. Connect just the tv and the wii to any outlet/power strip, and move forward one thing at a time from there. I've had serious ground loop problems mix and matching things from two outlets like this before. It turned out that they were on two separate circuits coming from two actual separate runs from the telephone pole(apartments, heh) and the phase was fucked up. I got a gigantic power conditioning power strip unit and threw everything on one outlet. Bam, solved.
posted by emptythought at 10:12 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does the Wii have a Skylanders portal nearby? Ours makes our switch box play up.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:58 AM on July 9, 2014

I guess I'll try playing with the outlets again. Although my current setup means many things can't stretch all the way, plus I have a few of those power adaptors that take up 2 spaces each.

I unfortunately can't do component, as I mentioned I only have one component/AV input. So it's either component or AV, not both.

I have tried all the inputs on the switcher. As I said the Dreamcast and N64 are not having this problem through the switcher.

I'll probably have to spring for the AV to HDMI, yarg! So many cords!
posted by Crystalinne at 6:46 AM on July 9, 2014

Regarding brick power adapters that take up two spaces. You can by special "spider" power strips to solve this problem or buy very short extension cords.
posted by mmascolino at 7:34 AM on July 9, 2014

If you're going to get an HDMI adaptor, don't just go composite->hdmi because you'll be capped at 480i for the Wii. Spend a couple extra dollars and buy this wii to hdmi adaptor ($27). Since your TV shares the component/composite it's probably the easiest to get the Wii at 480p and will solve your ground loop to boot.
posted by notpeter at 11:02 PM on July 9, 2014

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