Librem 14 - Annoying high-pitched electrical noise

I received my Librem 14 laptop in the past week and have been trying it out with PureOS. I have noticed that there is an annoying high-pitched electrical noise coming from the bottom left side of the laptop. It randomly gets louder sometimes, where it can be heard from several feet away. If I put my ear to the bottom of the laptop I can always hear a faint electronic crackle.

It seems that this reddit post may be talking about something similar: https://reddit.com/r/Purism/comments/nz1sr9/purism_14_valuation_review_after_a_few_weeks_of/

Is anyone else experiencing this?

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I also commented in the reddit thread, but I get it when my keyboard backlight is off. I’ve been emailing with purism support and so far they’ve attempted a firmware update which seems to have impacted the sound but not eliminated it. Here is a video (no audio) of me using an audio spectrum analyzer (jaaa) to show the spikes in the different frequencies. Explanation for the various timestamps since I didn’t narrate the video or anything:

Starts with keyboard backlight on

12 seconds: I hold my microphone above the “r” key, a spike appears around 17khz

19 seconds: I lift my microphone and bring it back down again to show the spike disappearing and reappearing to indicate that the spike is coming from the laptop

28 seconds: I use Fn+F4 to turn the backlight off, the spike immediately moves to ~9khz

37 seconds: I tap Fn+F4 a couple of times to go up the 5 brightness levels back to full keyboard backlight, the peak at 9khz disappears and the one at 17khz reappears

45 seconds: I turn the backlight off again to show the peak once again moving from 17khz to 9khz

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Same issue. Is it related to the audio/headphone jack? I tried plugging in buds and it started to get louder. Additionally Pureos crashed/ rebooted afterward too. All I had open was vlc player.

Yup, I can hear it right now. Sounds like… the hissing of an air leak, except electrical and more tinny.

I wonder if this is a hardware fault or can be resolve with EC software update?

This is called coil whine. While it is most common in GPUs it is also found in high power mobile processors (or some other part of the laptops motherboard). Pretty much nothing that you can do about it. My L14 doesn’t have this (at least audiable to my ear) but my ThinkPad (8th gen intel processor) has this same annoyance.

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I haven’t had a piece of computing equipment (other than GPUs) whine like this since the early 2000s, which isn’t surprising because this laptop’s build quality reminds me of those…

If Purism confirms this is coil whine, I’m hoping they’ll provide some more information so we can figure out a way to dampen it. For those of us with sensitive ears, this is very annoying.

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Does that mean the build quality is good or bad? [quote=“wanderingshort, post:7, topic:13720, full:true”]
I haven’t had a piece of computing equipment (other than GPUs) whine like this since the early 2000s, which isn’t surprising because this laptop’s build quality reminds me of those…

If Purism confirms this is coil whine, I’m hoping they’ll provide some more information so we can figure out a way to dampen it. For those of us with sensitive ears, this is very annoying.
[/quote]

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This is probably Irrelevant, but does anybody else’s audio jack have metal (copper?) exposed near the base of the port?

Well, except replace the defective parts. Something I’m hoping purism will do because right now I’d never use this laptop in public. Between the coil whine and the tonal fan, this laptop is nothing but a nuisance.

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Just wanted to let everyone know that i received yesterday my librem 14 (in spain, oh the customs were like 400euros, just as info, not saying it has anything to do with purism)
And i confirm too i have a high pitched sound that is messing up with my tinnitus.
Following this thread…!

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I also hear the pitch. But I’m sensitive, I used to be able to hear if a tv was on in another room because of the staticy high pitched whine that it would make (before flat screens)

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Hi,
I just got my Librem 14 yesterday and I immediately noticed this strange noise.
It sounds a bit like calling a fax machine or like a dial up modem. The sound character is changing rapidly over time and it is super annoying. I can hear it clearly with the window open and street noise outside.

I wrote the support, and sent some sound files I recorded. Here is what I got as a response.
“Are you sure it is that loud? I will forward to our engineer and ask for advice, stand-by please.”

After complaining that this is really not normal I got the following response.

“Our engineer checked the files you sent. Her opinion is that this is no louder than usually is. So as far as your device is about, we believe it is operating normally. We did all we could in software to reduce this noise, and we will work with manufacturer to see what can be changed in design to further reduce it. Any way it does not affect functionality.”

I cannot understand how you can ship a product like that, in case it is really the same for every unit shipped. Yes, it may not affect functionality on a technical level, but if I cannot use it without freaking out by that crazy loud noise it is affecting me.
I really would not mind a louder normal fan noise, that is tolerable. But high frequency noises constantly changing in tonality is really unbearable.

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I honestly don’t have this issue, so one might surmise that there are unwanted variations in quality control occurring? Surely someone heard the difference in the testing phase before shipping?

Thanks for sharing that information. I can hear it from very far away.
It seems like they do not want to admit they have a quality problem in this area. Clearly some people have this issue more than others. I would also be really surprised if it were the same for all units and this thread not exploding.

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I’m pretty disappointed in this noise and the response by Purism. I’m starting to regret my purchase as this doesn’t seem like the polished device that it was sold as. The flex of the screen also feels quite cheap and flimsy compared to a MBP.

Did Purism say what part was making this noise?

It might help other if someone could upload the sound file.

Here’s two files. The first contains the fan and the electrical noise. The second is just the electrical noise. Best heard with headphones and the volume turned almost all the way up. Audio was recorded with a phone.

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Soundcloud decided to delete the above since it wasn’t music. Reuploaded to audiomack:

Recording 1
Recording 2
Recording 3

I am having this issue as well.