An issue that causes the board to temporarily fail

Whenever I turn a nearby box fan on or off, the Tone Board (usually) stops outputting anything instantly. Can be rectified by unplugging/plugging back in the USB cable. The box fan isn’t even very close to the board.

I can kind of understand why this is happening, but honestly, I figured if the design literally has the board naked to the elements, then surely it isn’t excessively susceptible to that kind of interference. Certainly not to the point that I have to physically reboot the thing every time I use an unrelated electrical device.

What the heck am I supposed to do about this?

Hello, What power source are you using to power the Tone?
Try to make sure the fan and Tone are not on the same circuit.

The Tone Board is powered via USB from the PC. The PC is plugged into the wall. The box fan is not using the same outlet, plus the power provided to USB is shaped by the PC’s PSU so whatever is implied by the above suggestion should be a total non-issue.

Very strange, but keep in mind that “not the same outlet” doesn’t mean “not on the same circuit”, especially if it’s in the same room.
Can you try to plug it in a different circuit and check if the problem is still there ?

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Evidently not. Requiring that the device be powered from, what, a separate room? A separate household? This is not feasible. Even if I managed to bend over backwards to accommodate the Tone Board’s needs, I’d have merely satisfied a rather arbitrary curiosity—not solved my issue.

Perhaps @Eric68 can help determine if there is an issue with your Tone.
Good luck.

Indeed, I do understand where you are coming from. However to solve your issue, we do need to logically determine a few things step-by-step.

  1. Firstly, check if your box fan has proper certification, CE, CCC, RoHS. Devices that are not certified may sometimes produce aberrant or spurious interference that could affect other devices. In other words, this device “does not play well” with other devices. Turning a fan on and off can sometimes induce feedback currents, which if large enough can produce a substantial (albeit temporary) electromagnetic field. This EM field could induce currents in sensitive devices (e.g. a Tone Board), that would cause the device to crash.

  2. Secondly, to verify if your A/C power circuit is indeed not causing the issue, disconnect your laptop from the wall-socket, then play some music on your Tone Board, then switch on and off your fan. If the issue remains, then the problem does indeed reside in either the PC or your Tone Board.

  3. Thirdly, if all else fails, and we know for sure that it is not the box fan, not your house A/C circuit, not the laptop, but indeed some sort of “wireless interaction” between your Tone Board and the box fan (perhaps via the induced current), then the simple solution would be to put your Tone Board inside an aluminium box, or suitable Faraday Cage, that will shield out all external EMF.

All the best, and I hope you resolve your issue :slight_smile:

Man shielded from high-voltage using a Faraday Cage. If it works for the Tesla Coil, it will certainly work for your box fan.


Hi, it’s not “requiring”, it’s for the test. Just using temporarily a extension cord to power the box fan from a different room than your PC+Tone board.
To really resolve the issue, we need first to find the cause