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PlasmaTRUE Ionizer Noise is Indeed Obnoxious
on December 1, 2012
I purchased this hoping the author of the featured critical review was just being super sensitive about the PlasmaTRUE ionizer noise since there weren't any others that mention the noise. He is spot on though. My unit was delivered today and I noticed it as soon as I turned it on. The noise it produces is very obnoxious and I also don't know how others aren't hearing the same thing. Perhaps it's a defect in only some units. My wife can barely notice it, but for me it's deal breaker. I called Fellowes support and the nice CSR seemed oblivious about reports of high-frequency noise coming from the ionizer. He said a "clicking noise" is normal, but wasn't sure about a high pitched whine. I described it as sounding like muted, but continuous cricket chirping. Phone support wasn't much help and I didn't feel like returning the unit, so I took things into my own hands.
The noise became so annoying to me that I disassembled the housing and started inspecting the components. At first I was thinking that the ionizer leads just needed a cleaning or something, but they looked fine (they're just two small prongs in the upper left housing of the unit). I ended up removing the plug from the control board that powers the "Plasma Doctor WHO-1300" which is what they apparently re-brand as "PlasmaTRUE". The plug is behind the HEPA FILTER LED in the power control housing. Here some quick directions for doing this:
1. Unplug the unit and remove the filter cover.
2. Remove the top two screws that hold on the display panel and set the panel aside. It will still be tethered by the display panel control cable.
3. Remove the two screws that hold the black power control housing.
4. Lift up the power control housing and take the tape off that holds the display panel control cable in place.
5. The housing can be opened by hand enough where you can get to the power plug for the PlasmaTRUE (follow the black wire that runs along the outside of the bottom of the housing).
6. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, disengage the securing latch and gently pull upwards.
7. Tuck the plug under the housing and reassemble.
The unit works fine with the PlasmaTRUE powered down. The PlasmaTRUE indicator on the display still functions and it appears it is just for show. I am a huge fan of everything else about this product. The HEPA filtering is outstanding, the air quality sensor/auto control is legit, and the fan noise is barely audible when it is on low. I can deal with not having ionization if it means truly quiet operation.
If it were $30 cheaper or if I could disable the PlasmaTRUE without taking the unit apart I would give it 4/5 stars (5/5 stars if it were quiet). As it stands now I give it 3/5 for having to spend 5 minutes to disengage the ionizer and not being able to have the feature without the noise driving me crazy.