Input lag, RFI/EMI issues?

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Sep 2, 2020
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Hello, I've been experiencing a weird issue for some time now since moving to my new apartement. I'll try my best to explain it as detailed and as best as possible, please bear in mind that I do not have any or atleast very little knowledge about electricity. Mainly, what I'm experiencing is overall input lag, a loss of response, slow response of my USB devices which contain mainly, keyboard and mouse, and next to that a steering wheel and pedals when racing. I'm a simracer, this is basically racing but taken a bit more seriously if I can put it like that. It's on a pretty decent level, so you can imagine that you want a good response of your inputs and most importantly consistent. Now, this is totally not the case, the sim I'm using is iRacing, first few seconds it's alright, but the more time I'm driving, the worse it gets, when I'm weaving around (flicking steering wheel left to right when driving) to test the response, it's really bad. I can just feel it being completely off and that something is limiting it from being responsive and the way it should respond considering my hardware equipment. It's hard to explain really again, but it's inconsistent, so basically every corner I get a different response, this means that I have to adapt to it every corner. Imagine it like you have to guess what will come, rather then in a normal situation, you feel from the force feedback from the wheel what is coming, and you can feel when exactly you have to turn, what grip you'll have, you get so much more information from the wheel alone. Now this aswell is not there, I can feel that this is delayed and that like I said kinda have to guess when I will have to turn in, it's as if the force feedback, the inputs of my steering wheel, pedals, are all delayed to the image that I'm seeing. This ofcourse makes driving almost impossible for me, especially after a lap or something it gets really bad and it's just as if you're using some kind of high latency TV, although that's a different delay. For me, something like that is easy to adapt to, like a wireless controller from a console, this also ofcourse has a noticeable delay, everything has delay no matter what, but this is easy to adapt to, what I'm experiencing is as if it's constantly a different response you get, and totally unpredictable. Now, again, I hope I explained this well enough, all kinds of questions or advice is welcome, I'll now advance by explaining detailedly what I'm experiencing and what I've already tried to make it any better.

What are the symptoms? What have you experienced?
  • Overall input lag, loss of mouse/keyboard response, not anywhere near of what you'd expect from a good computer, feels as if you're using an old computer.
  • When watching a youtube video or a livestream on twitch for example, video and audio completely out of sync, get the feeling that music/audio is playing at a slower rate then what I'm used to compared to listening to it on my iPhone. I also see microstuttering in videos, so it's far from running smoothly.
  • Overall loss of performance, just everything opening up slower and less smooth then you'd expect from a computer like this.
  • Basically, changing any setting in windows, no matter what, from stopping certain services, to changing settings in the NVIDIA control panel, to changing settings in the BIOS all has an impact on the mouse response. Although, after a certain amount of time (few seconds in most cases), it goes back to what it was before.
  • I always experience a noticeable ''peak'', what I like to call it. Touching my computer's case, putting my feet on the ground, in the air, putting cables further away from each other, grabbing cables next to eachother, etc... This all has an impact on the response of the USB devices. For example, I'm testing my mouse response by doing circles with my feet on the ground, now, I put my feet in the air, and I can feel for let's say 2-3 seconds that my mouse response gets a peak of a noticeably better mouse response. After these 2-3 seconds, it's back to what it was before. Now, if I put my feet back on the ground, same story. Same thing if I touch my PC, play with the cables and putting them on a different place, basically making any electrical change if that makes sense?
  • Somebody told me to never bundle your 230V cable with any datacable (HDMI cable for example), so I tried to put them away from eachother, and to be honest I discovered the further away they are from eachother, the better. Although I have the feeling that after doing that, I feel the response is better, but no matter what after a while it's back to what it was before. Seems like any change I make makes it temporairly better, but fundamentally it still comes back and remains after a certain amount of time.
  • If I for example open Google Chrome, and open some stuff, I can feel that it gets worse, same story when closing it, I can feel the response getting better.
  • I have a Fanatec CSL Elite V1.1 Steering Wheel which should use only up to 180W maximum (nowhere close to that when not being used). I can feel that when I plug it in the wall, the response already getting alot worse when I didn't even turn it on. When I turn it on, it gets even more bad, especially during the boot sequence, the sequence of it turning on. Eventually when it is turned on, it's better, but still I'd say worse to what it was before. Also tried this in living room with the different PC there, connecting it only to the wall (not connected with PC by USB, only wall) so no connection with the PC, and I could feel exactly the same there.
  • If I want a better mouse response overall, I can especially feel this after a clean install when settings are reverted to default that the response is bad again, I'd have to everywhere choose for the most performance gaining options, settings. For example in NVIDIA control panel, adjust for best performance in Windows Settings, fiddling around with drivers, stopping services I don't need, make less programs start on startup of the computer, putting the lowest settings in a game (in my case iRacing, higher settings makes it alot worse tbh). Then the mouse response gets a bit better overall if I tweak settings here and there but fundamentally really the thing is still there.
  • When not touching my mouse, not using my computer for a few seconds, and then touching my mouse, using it and testing the response, I can feel it is better to what it was before when I was consistently using it. But after 2-3 seconds, it gets worse because I'm using the mouse. So actually, not using the computer for a while, and then testing also makes it better, but then ofcourse it gets back to what it was before by using it.
  • I do have the feeling, and I'm almost sure that the other PC in the living room is experiencing exactly the same thing.
  • When listening to my microphone by my headphone, I can hear a buzzing noise. When I touch my PC case, buzzing is gone.
What have you tried to make it any better? What attempts did you make in order to solve this issue?
  • I have an aluminium simracing rig, and an aluminium triple monitor stand. This ofcourse could be sensitive to static electricity, and could generate this all. This is why I went to the living room, with only 1 monitor, keyboard, mouse, and only the cables that are mandatory. Was completely the same, didn't see any improvement.
  • I did several clean installs, now I did one again just to make sure, and it's exactly the same. So software, everything is fine, no virusses, malware or anything like that.
  • Tried to replace my PSU and GPU, PSU was a CX750 which was bronze efficiency, GPU was an RX 480. Before I knew this could be something to do with the electricity, I thought maybe both were failing, or my GPU was not capable of doing what I was asking from it. Replaced PSU with an RM750X, and a NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super. Both were new.
  • I maybe thought my CPU overclock could cause this all, but I fiddled around with settings alot to see maybe something was not right, I ended up running load optimized defaults and it's exactly the same thing. I saw that it had an impact on the mouse response though, overclock, no overclock for a short time, but in the end, in general, ended up being the same.
  • Tested my SSD in the other PC here, tested the other PC's SSD in my computer, same thing.
  • Disconnected my fan controller and WD 1TB HDD in order to see if those were maybe causing it.
  • Used ferrite cores on my USB cables which made the mouse response more consistent but still fundamentally no changes.
  • Used an ESD wrist strap, I tried to put the crocodile clip on several places, again, when clipping it on a metal part, I notice that famous ''peak'' for a few seconds, the mouse response getting noticeably better, and then back to what it was before really.
  • Tried an isolation transformer, think this also helped in terms of consistency, ended up in returning it since it in the end kinda ended up in the same thing.
  • Tested different power cables, different HDMI to DP cables, and HDMI to HDMI cables.
  • Tested all of my 3 monitors seperately, also tested with the monitor of the other PC.
  • Tested onboard graphics instead of using the GPU's graphics.
  • Tested the RAM of my PC in the other PC and vice versa.
  • Tested different USB ports.
  • Tested without my pedals and steering wheel obviously.
  • Tested a different power strip.
  • Tested a different wall outlet.
  • Tested without my AUX and microphone cable.
  • Tested the other PC, which has exactly the same thing I believe. Also loss of mouse response when opening chrome, stuttering, inconsistent mouse response when making a change (feet in the air, on ground example, also the ''peak'' I talked about).
  • Tested a different mouse, different keyboard.
  • Grabbing USB cables by eachother, bundling them, making a ''ponytail'' makes it better, although in general, again, after a while it's back to what it was before.
  • Tried to shut off all breakers, expect mine to see if maybe some kind of device was causing it all, but was exactly the same. Also tried to run my PC on a different breaker, so not the one from my room and again shutting off all the others, but no luck.
  • ...
For information, I'm situated in Belgium, Europe, where we use 230V, 50Hz.

From my side, I think I tried everything I could regarding my knowledge. Only thing I could think of is maybe the motherboard or CPU failing, but I guess that these sort of things are not really symptoms you'd expect from these components. I seriously have no idea anymore, and I think it could be maybe down to the electricity. I still live with my parents, so I can't really decide something on my own. Since we're only here since January, we had to sort the electricity, so an electrician came here and had to change the power box, did alot of work there, and then weirdly enough some wall outlets including mine wasn't grounded, he ended up in grounding all the wall outlets here by extending the cables of the ones that were grounded I suppose. Now, I ofcourse hoped this could be the big fix, but unfortunately, it didn't. I also talked with him about my situation, he said that stuff like computers and aluminium rigs are very sensitive to static electricity, so he said to maybe make a seperate grounding for myself. Also, I asked him if he couldn't check the quality of the grounding maybe being poor, or checking the quality of the electricity maybe that there is some kind of loss anywhere, he answered that he didn't have the tools to do that, that the costs for them were too high for the few times he needs them. So yeah, I was kinda disappointed, it's really frustrating because I, myself have not really any clue about electricity. I did talk to a person on reddit who is an electricity engineer, like stated above, he told me to try and grab my USB cables together, and see if it was any better, and indeed. He stated that I could have a ''capacitive coupling'' problem or electrical noise. Also heard that you can test with an AM radio or something where the noise could be created from, but again, my knowledge is really small regarding electricity so I'm not gonna make any statement.

I hope that you guys could maybe help me out, or atleast give me some explaination of what exactly could be causing this all, because for myself it is really a mystery and a dead end, making me quit my hobby eventually.
I'd like you thank you in advance for your time and your efforts.

Specs:

ASUS PRIME Z370-A
G.Skill 16GB RAM 2x8GB F4-3200C16D-16GVKB
Intel Core i5 8600K (currently stock)
Gigabyte NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Samsung SSD 250GB
WD Blue 1TB HDD
Corsair RM750X Gold
Corsair H115i
2x Acer K242HQL & Acer K242HL, 24 inch 1920x1080 @60Hz
Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard
Logitech G303 Mouse
Fanatec CSL Elite V1.1 Wheelbase
Fanatec V3 Pedals
Windows 10 Pro x64
 
Reactions: MrVIT

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
I think you need another electrician.

Electricity is flowing somewhere/someway it should not be flowing and some of that flow (very small part perhaps) may be going through your body.

That electrician should have had a multimeter (basic, common device/tool) and should have been able to check for such current flows.

And if the original grounding is not correct or has some problem (loose wire) then simply extending the grounding through other outlets would probably not solve any problems.

You may be able to identify the problem by some elimination testing. However, that is probably a bit risky both to you and your devices.

Get someone else to really check your circuits, wiring, and outlets.

My thought is a ground loop caused by faulty or incorrect wiring connections.

FYI:

https://www.epanorama.net/documents/groundloop/basics.html
 
Sep 2, 2020
5
1
15
0
I think you need another electrician.

Electricity is flowing somewhere/someway it should not be flowing and some of that flow (very small part perhaps) may be going through your body.

That electrician should have had a multimeter (basic, common device/tool) and should have been able to check for such current flows.

And if the original grounding is not correct or has some problem (loose wire) then simply extending the grounding through other outlets would probably not solve any problems.

You may be able to identify the problem by some elimination testing. However, that is probably a bit risky both to you and your devices.

Get someone else to really check your circuits, wiring, and outlets.

My thought is a ground loop caused by faulty or incorrect wiring connections.

FYI:

https://www.epanorama.net/documents/groundloop/basics.html
Thanks alot for your very fast answer, I appreciate it alot! Thanks for the information, I did contact another electrician, will tell him about the story and maybe what could be a possible cause as you point out a possible ground loop or incorrect wiring connections. I agree on the first part though, I already found it a bit weird why he couldn't just check anything with the multimeter. Only thing he really did was extending the grounding cable to the other outlets that didn't have grounding. This ofcourse doesn't change the quality of the actual grounding.
 
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