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Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/27/2018 6:25 PM

When I was younger I had an 80's or so stereo amplifier. It had a radio and cassette deck built in but I only ever really used the radio as this was around 2002 and cassettes weren't readily available. I used it for several months and after that it started to do something weird.

Out of nowhere it would pop. The weird part is that the pop wasn't inside the receiver. It would pop about 2 feet away. It was because of this I could not for the life of me figure out where the popping was coming from and it took a long while to narrow down the source. It was loud too and sounded like the pop from a bottle rocket. Every once in a great while I would catch it out of the corner of my eye and it would look like a small flash in mid air. It woould happen once every few hours to once every few days.

One day I just happen to be looking in the direction it was occurring when it went off. I saw a small bead of light fly out from the receiver in a slight arc into the air and pop about 2 feet away. Finally I narrowed down where this sound where coming from. The receiver did die after a few months of this popping.

I've always wondered what could have caused this. The case was intact on the receiver so if it truly was coming from it then it would have had to have been flying out through the little vent holes which as I am typing seems very unlikely. This being said there was nothing else around that I would think would cause this and I did see it come from the receiver. I'd really like to replicate this phenomenon but I simply have no idea where to start. Any ideas or possible paths to research would be helpful in getting started. Has anyone else in the field seen this happen?

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#1

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 6:34 PM

The little musicians caged inside the radio were shooting out flares in hopes of being rescued.

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#2
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:06 PM

Oh that was good...

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#4
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:20 PM

Or maybe you were having some sort of failure of either an electrolytic capacitor or film capacitor? In over 40 years of electronics work, I have not come across anything quite like that.

Progressive, intermittent failures are very unusual in electronics. Usually the magic smoke comes out all at once.

Here is a picture of a film capacitor that shorted internally.

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#3

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:10 PM

Something was shorting out or over heating and melting into a bubble, then the bubble would burst and send some of the material flying off. Most likely winding insulation on a small transformer or inductor that was failing, which would explain why it kept working for a while longer after the fireworks began.

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#5
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:30 PM

I thought of this but it I don't think that would account for the light emission.

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#6

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:34 PM

Did you happen to be smoking some skunk weed at the time? Or doing LSD?

Otherwise, I have no clue.

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#10
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 8:43 PM

Careful, you're telling your age and ......

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#13
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 10:27 PM

OT, really?

I get it, no humor allowed.

I guess a lmgtfy entry would have been better received?

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#14
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 11:00 PM

I thought it humorous

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#16
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 11:48 PM

Thanks. And for that you got 5 OT's.

Not sure what's happened here.

I have un-marked my response as OT. We'll see if the mods, or the OT bot, notice.

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#19
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/28/2018 8:41 AM

I see it and wouldn't mark it OT -- unless this side conversation takes over the thread. We all need a little more humor these days. Of course it's not my moderating shift ...

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#27
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/30/2018 12:03 AM

Moderators have shift's ? Do they also have over time and vacation pay ?

Exactly how does one become a moderator ? Are they appointed, voted in or nominated ?

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#31
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/30/2018 8:30 AM

Last question first: only IEEE GlobalSpec employees can be moderators. So yes, we have paid vacation along with other benefits. All the mods are volunteers; we volunteered because we're interested in the community and are invested in its success. We have assigned shifts but it's common to drop in anytime to keep up with a thread or start a new one.

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#7

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 7:59 PM

OK, somebody has to say it...You weren't playing POPS music, were you?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pops_orchestra

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#8
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 8:08 PM

lol nope smoking anything and was usually just tuned into the local rock station.

Trust me when I say I understand this is unusual. I have wondered about this for years since I saw it. I've never seen anything like it since. I wish I was wise enough back then to take it apart and look through it. I was proly around 14 or 15 when this happened so my head was most likely elsewhere.

Either way I'd love to be able to reproduce it and get to the bottom of it.

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#9
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 8:38 PM

On the serious side, the only electronic components I can think of that might eject material are electrolytic capacitors, and I'm not sure this would occur repeatedly. You might look and see if there are any swollen capacitors visible. (This is just a wild guess!)

https://www.quora.com/What-causes-capacitors-to-explode

Oops, just reread your post. I guess this is a historical account and you can't go look.

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#18
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/28/2018 8:37 AM

Oh you must be Hutchison. Weren't you?

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#34
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/30/2018 11:36 AM

Solid iron liquify? All three terms are clearly false!

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#11

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 9:22 PM

must have been a

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#12

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 10:18 PM

Was it really a stereo? Or was it...

AN INTEROCITER!!!

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#25
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Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/29/2018 10:08 AM

Yup! had to be an Interociter! It eventualy blew itself up.

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#15

Re: Weird phenomenon with old stereo receiver

03/27/2018 11:29 PM

I think you had a rather industrious spider living in the receiver....every day she would spin some web here and there and likely there was a support linking a live wire to ground....she had many babies that would at any one time would be traversing this particular anchor point of the web, and that is what you saw, exploding baby spiders.....haha

A phantom dingo ate my babies...

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#17

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/28/2018 8:22 AM

"Every once in a great while I would catch it out of the corner of my eye and it would look like a small flash in mid air."

Ball lightning? Seems highly unlikely that it could generate the voltages required.

Somewhat off-topic, but I used to experience a 'pinging' sound in my living room for about a year before I finally traced the source. It turned out to be from a cheap ceramic ashtray, many of which were given out at an exhibition by Cambridge Scientific Instruments. It must have been under stress and as it passed through a certain temperature it emitted this very noticeable sound. There were no visible flaws on it's surface.

Then, of course, there was the 'thud' in our house just before a nearby lightning strike occurred, which I posted on this site a few years back and received several responses from others who had also experienced this.

Unusual phenomena - always interesting.

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#20
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/28/2018 9:19 AM

Pea sized ball lightning is the best description I have come up with over the years of thinking about it. It would explain the light output, movement, the pop at the end. Though I have no idea what could be the cause. I have no idea what voltages are need to reproduce this but it seems to only require the components inside an 80's stereo receiver.

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#21

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/28/2018 10:26 AM

This wouldn't happen to be a stereo tube amplifier? Many audio tube amplifiers drive the input of a step down transformer with high voltage low current power to output low voltage high current power a speaker uses. This would be unusual for an 80's era stereo with a built in cassette deck but not impossible. Lots of esoteric audio designs exist.

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#22
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/28/2018 11:04 AM

I can say with 90% - 95% certainty that it was not tube based. If it was I would have kept it around.

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#23

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/28/2018 1:11 PM

OK, here are some theories...

1. Sometimes it's hard to localize sound if, for example, there is a reflecting surface like a wall. So possibly the sound actually originated inside the stereo and was reflected.

2. I have experienced a phenomenon called synesthesia, usually late at night just before falling asleep. If there is a sudden noise, I see a flash of light. Maybe this explains the flashes of light. Sometimes the brain puts sparse sensory data together into a logical scenario.

3. Memory of an event in the past is not always accurate. When you recall an event, you also recall the last time you recalled the event, and so on, making memories like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox... degraded over time, changing a little each time it is recalled.

https://www.livescience.com/5045-scientists-sound.html

These explanations may seem far out, but your phenomenon is pretty remarkable also.

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#29
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/30/2018 12:18 AM

Is #3 like fish stories ?

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#32
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/30/2018 9:36 AM

I think you are on the right track, and that this is a biologically driven phenomena....actually quite a common thing called floaters and flashes...

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/your-eyes-understanding-flashes-and-floaters/

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#33
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/30/2018 11:02 AM

Memories easily fail. Particularly a memory of something not understood.

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#24

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/29/2018 5:01 AM

Can you, or anyone else in your family remember what the make and model was. It's very unlikely that yours was the only one that produced these pyrotechnics.

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#26

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/29/2018 11:25 AM

@Rixter lol while those could in some circumstances explain this it is highly unlikely as this would happen at any point in the day and was heard by multiple people.

@Randall I wish I did. If I did I'd hop on ebay and look for another one to buy. The pic in the link below kinda sorta looks like it.

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#30
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/30/2018 12:24 AM

Those were the stereos with the brushed metal front panel and real artificial hardwood looking wooden cabinets.

You can see quite a few of these being sold at estate sales here in Hemet.

If you happen to be in this neck of the woods.

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#28

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

03/30/2018 12:08 AM

Do you have a video or a still image ?

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#35

Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

04/02/2018 7:29 PM

I here there are miniature UFO's that can invade stereo equipment.

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#36
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Re: Weird Phenomenon With Old Stereo Receiver

04/09/2018 5:05 AM

here: as in here, there and everywhere;

hear: as in ear

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