How to retrofit an alarm clock against cell-phone buzz?
April 26, 2008 2:10 PM   Subscribe

How to retrofit an alarm clock against cell-phone buzz?

I have a new alarm clock which I really like, but which is also unfortunately susceptible to the dreaded 'GSM buzz.' I like to keep my phone charging on my nightstand at night, so I can't really separate the phone and alarm too much.

I want to 'buzz-proof' my alarm clock. I suspect some strategically placed foil or ferrite rings in the right place might do the trick -- if only I knew which components I needed to shield.

(to be specific, it's a Sony ICFC180 AM/FM Clock Radio, but even a general idea of where to start on any model would be appreciated.)

P.S. I already tried detaching the radio antennas to no effect.
posted by tkolar to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
I have the same problem, but only if the alarm is set in radio mode. If I used the buzzer instead, it's not a problem.

I realize that's not the exact info you're looking for, but it's a workaround until you figure out how to hack the clock.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:34 PM on April 26, 2008

The buzzing is caused by radio waves being transmitted from your phone communicating back to a tower, and vice versa (hence the audible buzz that's herd in any nearby speakers when your phones about to ring, etc). Your phone will almost constantly buzz since I'm guessing it's tri-band and is probably receiving WAP info and information like network status messages on the GSM band.

To retrofit your alarm clock seems pretty unlikely- unless you can find a way to enclose it in some sort of metallic casing. Since that defeats most purposes of an alarm clock, I suggest either finding a new clock- one with no radio capabilities and maybe even (gasp) analog.

Or just keep them separated enough.
posted by pedmands at 3:09 PM on April 26, 2008

Honestly, I would just find somewhere else to charge the phone that is far enough away from the radio.

I just discovered this nifty little mobile phone holder that instantly makes any wall outlet a much more practical place to plug in your phone. Maybe that would help you find another place to plug it in?
posted by radioamy at 3:55 PM on April 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: pedmands wrote...
To retrofit your alarm clock seems pretty unlikely-

Why so, exactly? There are alarm clocks built to have (for example) iPhones plugged into them that do not appear to experience this problem. In what way are they shielded and why is it unlikely I could reproduce that on my clock?

posted by tkolar at 4:54 PM on April 26, 2008

Can you take it out of the plastic with out breaking it? If so, they make spray paint with metal in it that will provide some shielding... Spray the inside and put it back together. You could try adding some foil to the inside too.
posted by magikker at 1:04 AM on April 27, 2008

and when I said spray the inside, I meant the plastic... not the circuits...
posted by magikker at 1:04 AM on April 27, 2008

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