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OfflineJigs
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Registered: 02/06/19
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Last seen: 6 months, 4 days
A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help!
    #836230 - 02/06/19 12:48 PM (6 months, 7 days ago)

Hey guys,

New to the board and a fairly seasoned grower myself.

Soo.. I had an unexpected visit from my local power supply company..

Turns out my LED grow light caused interference with the remote access electrical meter, which affected the power readings of other electrical meters in my entire neighborhood and therefore, they came to investigate, ending up at my doorstep.

Now I'm lucky they were cool and didn't bust me for what I was doing (growing). They could have turned me in.
They checked my internet router first, because those usually caused this type of issue with electrical interference/electrical noise(EMI, EMC, I am not sure). 

So the problem was my LED. I've had it running for two years without any sorts of unwanted attention and they told me, that it was only recently that they noticed the disturbance on the powernet. (They were actually some quite cool fellas).

They told me, that it could be because my LED grow light had malfunctioned which now caused it to make disturbances. The LED is still working perfectly fine, but I can't use it anymore. Then I might have some not so cool guys show up at my doorstep.

Has anyone of you ever heard or had a similar case before? Is this normal for LED growlights to course this type of interference? Could it be that something within my LED has malfunctioned or is it a common problem with LED growlights? - It's an expensive one. The LED itself has no ballast or anything, just a powercord like what you get for the powersupply of a desktop PC.

I could go ahead and buy a new one, but if it causes the same issue immediately or over time again, i might not be so lucky.

Can I prevent this in anyway? Some general knowledge if you have it would be highly appreciated!


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InvisiblephychotronM
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Registered: 02/17/11
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: Jigs]
    #836231 - 02/06/19 06:16 PM (6 months, 6 days ago)

Contact the manufacturer and see if they can give any feedback as to why you would be giving RF interference. Cheap drivers maybe.


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InvisibleDataM
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: phychotron]
    #836233 - 02/07/19 10:43 AM (6 months, 6 days ago)

So it sounds like either its emitting RF directly from the LED unit, or its back feeding noise into the grid.

Did they recently upgrade to smart power meters? If so, then this thing may have been generating RFI the while time and they just noticed it after installation of the smart meters.

If not, then you've probably lost some filtering capacitor in the power supply. Most smart meters operate at or above 900MHz. I'm not familiar with normal switching frequencies of an LED power supply, but without filtering capacitors on the output with that kind of current draw, you're going to get some crazy ripple on the output, which may be a source of broadspectrum RF.

Without an oscilloscope to test the mains voltage, its going to be tough to check whether its radiating internally or back feeding into the grid and radiating in some arbitrary run of wire in your house. You could try adding an RF choke on the power cable to prevent backfeed, and if you wanted to get crazy you could try building a faraday cage around your grow area. But if it has a blown filtering cap, then you're looking at premature LED failure in the near future regardless.

It may be good if you have the cash to get a 900Mhz ISM band signal analyzer for about 200 dollars and test out different RFI suppression techniques (turn LED on for a few minutes max to see if the RFI still spikes on the spectrum analyzer). In all honesty, it's a good idea to have a spectrum analyzer or signal strength detector capable of looking at as broad a spectrum as is affordable for any digital lighting or fan speed control items in your grow room, they are all capable of generating RFI unless built the right way and operating as designed. If you are worried about drawing attention to yourself...extreme heat and RF emissions are the primary long-range detection methods.

Otherwise, it might be a good idea to look into repair or a new LED unit :sad:


--------------------
“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you” -NDT


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OfflineRider420
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Registered: 06/21/17
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: Data]
    #836239 - 02/07/19 05:27 PM (6 months, 6 days ago)

Quote:

How to Block RF Interference
Keep cables as short as possible and pay attention to routing. Generally, the longer the cable, the better it will make an antenna. ...
Use cables with heavy-gauge shields. ...
Double-check your connectors to verify quality signal. ...
Install RFI filters in the signal path.
How to Block RF Interference | It Still Works
https://itstillworks.com/block-rf-interference-8494201.html




I've read about digital ballets for HID lights causing RFI but not LED lights.

A cheap $15 and quick solution is an power outlet with EMI and RFI noise filters like the one below.

https://www.amazon.com/Uninex-Outlet-Protector-Filters-Sliding/dp/B01MTEMNRX?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_4

:Uninex 6 Outlet 4 FT 14/3 AWG 750 Joules Surge Protector Flat Plug EMI RFI Noise Filters Sliding Safety Covers UL

:goodluck:


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OfflineJigs
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Registered: 02/06/19
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: Rider420]
    #836240 - 02/07/19 05:42 PM (6 months, 5 days ago)

Thx for the nice replies, guys!

Very helpful post, Data, thx!

Yea, I have been doing some research myself. A solution could be purchasing an RF filter set, like the one they offer at nanoluxtech.com.

I'm probably going to get that anyhow, even if I get a new LED lamp, to ensure that if the new one malfunctions in the same way the old one did, at least I will have a second line of defense.

I've had the smart power meter for a couple of years. I've read that, the noise-limit is set to be A-band 9 - 95Khz (If this makes any sense) and I think they told me that my lamp outputted 55MHz. I'm not too sure if I remember correctly about the lamp output. But the output of the lamp is way over the top, if what I mentioned is the case.

What might have happened to the LED lamp could be, that the noise reducing components in the lamp has been damaged. The lamp will still work as intended and this can happen to other electrical devices as well, without the user noticing.

I will give a heads up in the future as to what solution I found.
Might be useful to know for others, if they do not want any sort of unexpected attention like that. :-P


Edited by Jigs (02/07/19 06:20 PM)


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OfflineRider420
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: Jigs]
    #836247 - 02/08/19 12:40 PM (6 months, 5 days ago)

If you want to sure not to cause any RFI from your grow lights go old school.


Quote:

The biggest advantage to a magnetic ballast is that it will last forever. Well, maybe not forever, but the average lifespan of a magnetic ballast is 10 times that of the other types. One of the downsides of living in the future is everything is seemingly meant to break after a while. You won’t have that problem with your magnetic ballast.

Another problem you won’t have with a magnetic ballast is radio frequency (RF) interference. On the other hand, electronic and digital ballasts give off RF interference, a problem old school technology doesn’t have.




https://www.maximumyield.com/is-it-time-to-upgrade-your-magnetic-ballasts-to-digital-ballasts/2/1516

BTW I've been running a HPS and MH 400 watt ballasts since 1988. Last year I had to replace the capacitor in the MH unit after 30 years the HPS is still working fine. And yes I have gone through a lot of bulbs. :bigblunt:

Note oil based capacitors dry out over time and will need to be replaced other then that were talking a 100 plus life span for magnetic ballasts.


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OfflineJigs
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Registered: 02/06/19
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Re: A visit from the local power company. LED growlight question. Help! [Re: Rider420]
    #836263 - 02/09/19 01:50 PM (6 months, 4 days ago)

Noted, Rider420, ty. ^_^

I'll see what solution I figure out. Gonna contact the retailer who sold me the lamp to start with and see what he has to say. Their lamps might be screwing other over as well. xD

And maybe I can get it repaired. :smile:


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