Radio reception affected by lights


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DaveDanger
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Radio reception affected by lights

Postby DaveDanger » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:38 pm



Good evening Wingers,
I recently added a pair of 10 watt LED driving lights, mounted to my case guards, and tied the wiring into my existing aftermarket running lights (Markland). It took me a while to realize what was happening, because I haven't done much night riding where I had all the extra lighting turned on, but my radio reception is affected when I turn on those lights. The radio instantly seems to be receiving a distant station instead of a nice strong nearby station. It definitely is the LED's since this never happened previous to adding them to that circuit. I can't imagine a pair of LED's generating high frequency RF or something like that, but proximity shouldn't be causing it either, but danged if I can figure out what's happening.
I did not install a relay for that pair of LED's since I was only adding two amps load to the existing circuit, but I have purchased a pair of High/low tone Fiam Freeway Blaster horns to install and I plan to install a relay for them, and plan to retrofit a relay to those LED driving lights at the same time.
Anyone have any ideas on the LED's causing radio interference??


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WingAdmin
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:35 am

This is a fairly common problem. High-power LEDs normally have driver circuitry in them to modulate voltage and current, and often this includes a high-frequency DC to DC converter. Some cheaper LEDs use little to no shielding against high frequency converters, so they blast out a bunch of RF - EMI, which kills your radio reception.

Assuming the cases of the LEDs are metal, the circuitry itself will be shielded - in which case it means the power leads coming from the LEDs are acting as a broadcast antenna.

Add a ferrite choke to the LED power leads, as close as possible to the LEDs themselves. This means winding the power leads several times through the center of the ferrite choke. The easiest way to do this on components already installed is to use a split choke that can be snapped together after the wire is wound through:





(I would wind it much tighter than shown in the image above)

That will likely go a long way towards solving your problem.

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DaveDanger
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby DaveDanger » Sun May 01, 2016 9:29 pm

Thanks WingAdmin,
That makes sense when explained. I simply never would have imagined LED's or their circuitry, generating RF like that.
I just yesterday purchased the half-ton motorcycle lift from the brand new Harbor Freight across the street:)
I now have a project which will be much easier performed about 30" off the ground (in addition to installing my new Fiamm Freeway Blasters)
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Greenwinger
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby Greenwinger » Mon May 02, 2016 7:15 pm

Any ideas for suppliers of the split choke??

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DaveDanger
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby DaveDanger » Mon May 02, 2016 8:12 pm

WingAdmin, Would it possibly make any difference to use a shielded coaxial wire pair to power the LED driving lights? Just curious as to whether that would be effective. (Whether by itself or in tandem with the ferrite choke)?

DD
A successful leader is someone who may be chased down the street by an angry mob but will make it look like he is leading a triumphal parade.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 02, 2016 10:18 pm

DaveDanger wrote:WingAdmin, Would it possibly make any difference to use a shielded coaxial wire pair to power the LED driving lights? Just curious as to whether that would be effective. (Whether by itself or in tandem with the ferrite choke)?

DD


That would just shield the signal to the point where it hooked into the electrical bus and at that point the bus would become the antenna - just like a regular antenna does. You need to BLOCK the RF coming out from the lights, not just move it to a different place, which is what coax would do.

Just put a split choke, like this one as close to the lights as possible, with three or four turns of wire through it, and that should be the end of the problem.

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DaveDanger
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Re: Radio reception affected by lights

Postby DaveDanger » Tue May 03, 2016 7:10 am

Ordered the recommended ferrite chokes and will install them upon receipt. Going to go ahead and install a relay to power those lights, and my new horns (and relay) as well. I'm slowly improving my ride:)


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