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My new LED Lights interfere with my DAB radio

Customer Question

A problem has ‘cropped up’.  The new lights interfere with my DAB radio.  Can only get BBC stations with any certainty.  Signal not brilliant here generally but now is very definitely linked to on/off of lights. Hopeful that by waltzing around the kitchen which is reasonably large I will find an ok spot.

 

Technical Tim

Hi,

I’ll need a few questions answered before I can advise further.

How many lamps do you have?

Are they in the kitchen?

What type of DAB radio?

Is the radio mains powered or battery powered?

Does it have a telescopic aerial or it the aerial external to the house like a TV aerial?

What is the nature of the interference, what does it sound like?

Does it stop the radio receiving stations, some or all?

A quick initial check from , BBC postcode checker for DAB availability indicates that your area at the moment does not have DAB coverage, i.e. it might have but it is not of acceptable quality. I believe the nearest transmitter is to the north west of Exeter.
I’ll carry out some initial tests and factor in the additional information. Generally though, all electrical products will generate electromagnetic disturbances but they must NOT exceed certain limits for the particular product classification; the lamps do meet the statutory requirement.

Conversely, products must also be manufactured to be immune to electromagnetic disturbances as long as they do not exceed a specified level.

Different manufacturers use different methods of converting the mains voltage to the low voltage required by the LED units themselves.

 

Customer

Found a spot in the kitchen for my radio that works ok – so my problem solved.  Although I prefered the radio where it used to be.

 

Technical Tim

Glad that you have found a sweet spot in your kitchen where the radio works, however if you let me know how many lamps you have I’ll arrange to have some ferrites shipped off to you as per the attached PDF.

These should have some effect on the reception you have (or haven’t) there.

We have carried out substantial tests with our products regarding “interference”, all electrical products generate electromagnetic signals when functioning and in order to be put them on to the market they must meet certain criteria for their specified class of product so as NOT to exceed the maximum level of electromagnetic disturbances stipulated in the regulations. Our products do meet these product approvals and furthermore have been tested by us in real world situations with various radio receivers operating on various wavebands, DAB, FM and MW.

Under normal circumstances providing the radio receiver in question is receiving a reasonable signal strength there should be no interference whatsoever.

 

Customer

8 x V7 7w LED (warm white).  Thanks for the suggestion, it would be nice to have the radio where it was before..

 

Technical Tim

We’re sending some units off to you though don’t know when you will get them though I’m afraid due to the time of year and elves busy.

Please let me know how you get on with them if you would and any relevant comments.

 

Customer

OK, have given up on the ferrites as trying to fit them to light units will require them to be in the ceiling and the whole lot unscrewed.  Life is too short and I’m too lacking in skills electrical.  Thank you very much for thinking of them though..

Apart from the radio bit all lights are still are working fine and long may that last.  Never had all these problems with the old fashioned ones, I feel quite the pioneer.

Finally, I want to leave some stupendously good feed back for you but there is no obvious place to leave it, or is it me?  Please advise me where it needs to be left.  Thanks.   Happy New Year proper by the way..

 

Technical Tim

Sorry you are having issues with the ferrites there, I thought it would be fairly simple, obviously not. You must have different fittings in the ceiling from the ones I was led to believe you had, similar to the ones in the attached photos, could you let me have a photo if possible please?

We have thoroughly tested the units in real word situations with FM and DAB radios in various locations and whilst theoretically it is possible for any LED unit to cause interference in certain circumstances it is most unlikely; no consolation for you though.

I actually have a DAB radio and 6 lamps operating without issue and suspect the problem is a combination of various factors, a photo of your LED installation would be much appreciated if at all possible.

My colleagues will contact you regarding the non-technical bits, thanks for your support and feedback.

 

Customer

Google Endon 654 sc as this will find a picture of one of my light fittings. The other fitting is identical other than having 5 bulbs rather than 4.

Did you see the video clip sent to chris stimson (name from memory, may be slightly different!) as to lights on/radio off and vice versa?  For your info.

 

Technical Tim

Thanks for the information and I see your problem with the track lights you have. It is obviously not possible to fit the ferrites to each light as intended, the only option is to fit one to the common incoming power cable which is under the circular cover/in the ceiling; something for someone with electrical knowledge I am afraid.

Yes I have seen the video, many thanks for that.

You may wish to try and fit one of the ferrites to the power cable feeding the DAB radio as an experiment though. Fit the ferrite unit to the white power cable as close as possible to the rear of the radio where the cable enters the radio itself, see photograph attached. You should be able to wrap/loop the white cable through the ferrite approximately 4 times, just feed it through and then round the outside and back through the centre again.

I’d be interested to hear the results from you but to be honest to stand a better chance of reducing any possible interaction it will be necessary to fit a ferrite as suggested to the power cable as suggested above or fit an external DAB aerial to ensure you receive the required signal level that the radio requires; go for the ferrites first!

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