I have a watch that does that. Every so often I get it into a mode where it "meeps" every hour, and I have to find and read the manual (no small task, especially the finding) to work out how to switch the hourly "meep" off.
And they always seem to make the "meeps" at a frequency where your ears are not very directional...
My wife bought me a watch for Christmas -- it looks like the control panel for a 747 -- it has so many knobs and dials that it's difficult to find the ones that tell the time (grin)
There's some sort of alarm function that goes off at 2:00am every morning -- I have no idea where I put the instructions -- so every night before I go to bed I have to bury the watch at the bottom of my sock drawer...
... I tell you, t=you wouldn't believe my life if you saw it as a sitcom on TV :-)
I had a watch like that, but the instructions didn't seem affect the way the watch worked. It also just beeped in the middle of the night. It aslo had a compass (just a magnet on a pivot) and it couldn't find north. It always pointed in the same direction, just not north. Uswed to tell the time OK, but I am not sure which time zone.
I have an alarm clock that every now and then ignores the switch setting (cured by a shpritz of switch cleaner) and beeps when it is off. I normally get up before the alarm anyway and turn it off. But it gets the wife... (nasty chuckle).
Are you telling us that you are the human incarnation of Dilbert and a reality show is in the works . . .
I agree with the statement, that the frequency of lowVoltage Battry warning could be improved. I have assumed that is intended to provide the longest warning possible to get our attention eventually, like a whining child.
I'm starting to think that Dilbert was modeled on me :-)
Re the warning signals -- I just think something could be done better -- it seems that everyone I talk to has spent hours trying to work out just which "thing" is beeping :-)
And of course it's always at night since batteries operate less efficiently at lower temperatures. Perhaps the need to latch the low battery trigger until a light sensor indicates it's no longer night time? ;-)
I remember long ago when every night about 3am my fire alarm would actually go off (no fires, though). I replaced the batteries, checked the wiring, everything I could think of. One night I was so annoyed I threw a shoe at it (luckily a slipper, not a boot). A cockroach fell out. A shot of Raid fixed the problem.
In Arizona, we have crickets that lead to midnight-annoyance.... but crickets are self-propelled.
When you look at those lights, just imagine that each is probably 25mW. You own ten, I own ten, everybody owns 10, and there are 300M Americans. That makes 75MW of glowing LEDs!!!
I was spending the night in my sister's guest/junk room, about to fall asleep when I hear what sounds like a cricket chirp. Try to ignore it, but it keeps repeating. Grab my shoe and try to find him, but hard to localize the sound, too brief.
Get my watch and time the period between chirps. Exactly the same, so it's artificial.
Knowing when the next chirp will be, I eventually find the general area of the sound: a group of moving boxes. After searching through several, I finally discover a smoke detector carefully packed away, battery on its last legs...
A truly evil prank: hide a detector with an aging battery where someone will never find it.
A friend some time ago gave me an electronic "Cricket" which he built from a kit and it didn't work. It beeps occasionally when it is dark, but it has a photocell on it and shuts up if it gets light on it. Object: to annoy the crap out of anyone who is near it. I gotta fix it sometime (after Max's atmosheric monitor and my HP counter and my calibrator and my DMM that doesnt work on ac and...and.....)
Reminds me of the retaliatory prank played on the late Jim Williams:
"To get back I bought 8 watches that beeped only once every 24 hours, they were expertly installed in his walls, bed, heating ducts and on his dog. He never found all of them.... they beeped for 5 years until the batteries died."
Not 'meep', but speaking of long term retaliatory did you ever hear about the woman who just before she left her husband and his girlfriend stuffed his curtain rods full of raw shrimp? Eeeuuu!
One of my kids once left his cordless phone in the living room under the newspaper basket. Of course when the battery got low it meeped, I hunted for the darn thing for hours and didn't even know what I was looking for. Wonder why they don't make every 10th meep longer duration?
I once worked on a project refitting a shop. The Project manager had a PC with a screen saver that had crickets, owls hooting and various other nocturnal noises. He also had one (only one) CD, of Simply Red, which he had on repeat play.... now, whenever I hear Simply Red songs, I wind up wondering where the cricketa and owls are....
The BBC engineers in london had a gadget that sounded just like their pagers but bleeped only briefly every so many minutes, just enough to stop whichever senior engineer was staying overnight in an office from sleeping but short enough burst to ensure they never found it. Apparently these evil pranks had been going on for some years, indeed they may still be doing so now. It was a fun place to start my career but I'm glad of the quieter life now. :-)
Wasn't Meep the little alien on Phineas and Ferb? Sorry about that. This actually happened to us about six weeks ago. Turns out the fire alarm in my son's bedroom in our recent addition had a faulty hot wire connection to the 110 volt house wiring. So the alarm ran off batteries for about six months and then complained. Since my meter didn't show the 110 volts present, I climbed into the attic to hunt down the problem. Then realized all I had to do was take the unit apart from the hallway to fix the wire. My wife says this is because I always expect the problem to be a worst case scenario. Bummer. But at least it was a low cost problem to fix.
My own meep story came to a conclusion fairly recently. Literally for years, something would meep at exactly midnight for exactly 1 minute in our basement rec room. As David A noted, the frequency was just high enough to conceal its direction. Since the room got second billing to our living/home-theatre room, it got little use and I just never bothered to try finding the source. One late evening as I sat down there, the "meep" commenced as usual, and I finally resolved to find it.
Deductive reasoning led me to suspect that the sound came from a closet full of now unused ski clothing and winter jackets. It took two nights due to the short duration of the meeping (gotta be a watch), of systematically unloading the closet during the sounding minute. The first night, the final meep was still in the closet and not in the pile of jackets on the nearby sofa. All hung back up and deemed "clean", the next night saw the remaining "unclean" items frantically dumped out before the source extinguished. It was definitely in that pile but stopped before I could zero in. One by one I checked pockets; a thigh pocket in an old pair of boarder pants yielded the culprit; a wristwatch. There was a moment of indescribable satisfaction in finally silencing the little bugger (by its buttons, not a hammer, of course).
I have a warm glow knowing that I am not alone -- when you are wandering around in the wee hours of the morning, there's a tendency to think that you are the only one who has this sort of a problem :-)
PS Why do you say "of course"? Personally I think reprogramming these little rascals with a mallet is a viable solution to the problem...
I had a similar problem with a smoke detector recently - beeping to indicate low battery. Even though I know the location of the three units in the house - standing under one and waiting a few minutes for the next beep - it was still frustratingly difficult to tell (due to echoes) if that was the one!
I certainly agree with the comments about inadequate usability design, for an object meant to be noticed!
The problem is the short duration of the beep - by the time you turn your head to get a fix on the direction, it has stopped. Also the high frequency is difficult to get a direction fix on.
They should make at least two sounds (beep-beep) to be more detectable.
Similar thing for an hourly chime on watches: many give a brief "pip" - just enough to disturb you, but too short for you to realise what it is. Again, they should use a beep-beep to be properly noticed - or turned off. [Bumping one button on my watch toggles chime on/off - annoying.]
When our children were younger (pre-school), it seemed that just about every toy played a tune, made beeps or spoke when touched. Invariably, while trying to move about quietly after bedtime, someone would bump a pile of toys and trigger sounds. A talking toy nearly gave their grandmother a heart-attack.
Most old toys in storage have now had their batteries removed, but sometimes I still hear a noise when moving boxes!
It must have something to do with solar flares.
Simply amazing the timing of this article, we had 3 meeps yesterday afternoon and then last night and all were traced to smoke detectors.
The bird was chirping back at the smoke detectors, the Cats were curious about the bird chirping and the dogs were being wimps due to the constant meeps.
All of these are AC powered with 9 volt alkaline backup battery.
Why can't the designers of these smoke detectors put a 9 volt rechargable battery in them with a suitable charging circuit that keeps the battery topped off all the time.
True it is pretty humorous except when it happens at 3AM.
My house sounded like an insane punk rock version of Old McDonalds Farm, what with the smoke detectors all out of sync, the bird chirping and flapping around, the Cats Meowing and the dogs wimpering.
I'm thinking of when I retire from electronics I may open up an electronic device skeet shooting (or MEEP shooting) range.
There's a thought. Ser up a shooting range with old PCs as targets (you could use old CRT monitors as well) beeping for bad POST tests or showing blue screens of death. I reckon the world would beat a path to your door. Who hasn't wanted to shoot their PC at some point??
I'm surprised nobody mentioned this frustrating curiosity of AC powered smoke detectors with backup batteries -- they also meep when they need replacement, presumably when their tiny amount of radioactive material is no longer sufficiently able to ionize the air in the detector.
More than once, I have been awakened in the middle of the night by the meep noise and had to locate the offending detector, unplug it from the AC connector dangling through the ceiling and then yank the back up battery too. Only then would the meeping stop!