The energy-saving LED bulb that switched off the radio

by , Senior Home Researcher Energy & Home 17 March 2013
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
22 - 1
avatar

We get sent some weird and wonderful tales of products going wrong, but one story piqued our interest so much that we just had to send it to the lab to test it out. Can you help us shed more light on the mystery?

An LED bulb lighting up the darkness

Last year we received this intriguing message:

‘I recently changed six halogen down-lighters to more energy efficient LED bulbs. Unfortunately when the lights were switched on, the DAB signal on my radio was wiped out!’

To try and figure out this conundrum, we sent a batch of cheap, generic 12V LED bulbs to our lab and found that when a digital radio was placed within a few metres of the switched-on bulbs the signal went fuzzy. When the radio was placed within a few centimetres of the LED bulbs, it cut out all together.

The plot thickens

LEDs are ultra energy efficient light bulbs that can last up to twenty years and have been hailed as the future of home lighting.

It seems our members are not the only ones who have had this problem. There are other accounts of LED bulbs affecting radios, with AVForums also collecting stories. Nick Tooley shared his experience:

‘I had the same problems with LED bulbs wiping out DAB reception and tried several types of bulbs, but to no avail.’

And it seems that the issue may not just be limited to digital radios – TVs may also be affected. After fitting LED down-lighters in his kitchen, Jackord noticed the following problem:

‘While the lights are much better, we then by accident noticed that the digital TV would not work (I was complaining that we had no reception at all, did not make any sense, began to think that there had been some sort of catastrophic disaster which stopped the TV stations from broadcasting…lol) then someone turned off the ceiling lights in the kitchen and, hey presto, on came the TV.’

Shedding light on cheap bulbs

So what bulbs are affected? We tested three 12V generic LED bulbs and we also compared them to branded 240V GU10 LEDs and some halogens. We found only a very minor interference with our radio signal. So at this stage, the issue seems to be limited to cheap knock-offs rather than branded goods.

We’ve only done preliminary tests on this problem, so can’t make any concrete conclusions on why this is happening or how widespread this bizarre problem is.

That’s where you come in. We need your help – have you had this problem? If so, please enlighten us in the comments below, including what model bulb you were using and where you bought it.

478 comments

Add your comments

avatar

malcolm r

I found the following on Voltimum’s website – just an extract:
“There are strict limits set on EMC for lighting products and most reputable suppliers test their products for compliance. The Lighting Industry Association (LIA) is aware of a number of reports of LEDs allegedly interfering with digital radio broadcasts and is in touch with both the BBC, which monitors this on behalf of the Government, and the EMCIA to establish just how bad the problem is.

………the LIA is conducting market surveillance on 2,000 LED retrofit lamps in its lab in Telford……”

I hadn’t come across EMCIA before – it is a UK Industry Association to look at EMC issues with its members – http://www.emcia.org. Delving into their site produced a link to what I thought was a very interesting document http://www.emcia.org/documents/members/LED%20Investigation.pdf. It shows what a mess there is, I think, and the disarray in taking resposibility for getting to grips with it.
Are Which? liaising with LIA and BBC on this problem? It seems to me that with the interest shown in LED interference this should be an active topic for Which? to follow up with other experts.

avatar

Gary M0PLT

It is nice to see an industry body taking note of the problem!

An easier to read version of the LED investigation can be found on the UKQRM Website:

http://www.ukqrm.org.uk/metecc/led-investigation.php

The PDF was only intended for the EMC industry, and it lacks explanation. METECC kindly allowed UKQRM to reproduce their report with added explanation of the tests and their results. You can click on the images for a larger view of the test results. Some of them have the incorrect EN test listed, but that is academic as many of the limits are the same.

The EMCIA’s early work on the issue of non-compliance of Power Line Technology can be found on the Ban PLT website (http://www.ban-plt.co.uk/). They, like UKQRM, have been raising the issue of non-EMC compliance since 2008.

avatar

malcolm r

More “work” from the EC who collated tests from member states on 168 LED products. 54% Chinese, 39% of unknown origin (!), 7% EU. These were tested against technical standards – emissions, immunity and harmonics – and administrative requirements – CE marking and Declarations of Conformity.
38% failed on emissions (EMC), 47% failed on harmonics, 9% were not CE marked. .In total only 17% met the technical and administrative requirements for them to be sold legally in the EU.
This work was reported in 2011. You wonder why no action appears to have resulted (or has it?). No product should be sold within the EU without a CE mark.
One way to stop those who disregard the regulations from importing and selling these products is to prosecute them – is there any sign of this happening?
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/electrical/files/emc/ms-campaign-fourth_en.pdf

avatar

Gary M0PLT

There is a conflict of interests stopping this. I have it on good authority from UKQRM members who attended meeting with Ofcom back in 2008. The “Men in Black” from DG Enterprises were present at the first meetings involving the issues of PLT. They spouted their mantra of “no barrier to free trade” and Ofcom were paralysed and refused to act. They continue to refuse to act, and whilst they are the Market Surveillance Authority (MSA) for EMC matters, nothing will change and junk electronics will continue to flood the market. If readers of this comments section have incurred costs and interference issues as a result of this, you must write to your MP and complaint. The issue of non-compliance can only be tackled by forcing the government to remove Ofcom and create a body who will enforce the law!

avatar

tonyp

I have long advocated a spilt between the part of Ofcom responsible for encouraging trade and that for regulatory and enforcement aspects. There was a precedent for this within the CAA when NATS (National Air Traffic System) and SRG (Safety and Regulatory Group) co-existed. Both fell under the overall cover of CAA but were operated quite separately. They did not even operate from the same premises, NATS HQ was in central London and SRG at Gatwick (the visitors’ restaurant at NATS had the better view, though!).

Perhaps the MIB from DG Enterprises should have been asked how far their dislike of ‘barriers to free trade’ extended. Would they accept, for instance, the import of drugs or weapons on this basis? If not, where would they draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable illegal imports?

avatar

mugwump

Noticed fm interference for the first time when changing to a single IKEA LEDARE LED bulb, two metres from bedside radio. Doesn’t seem to affect the DAB function though. Other websites have pointed to (some) manufacturers often skimping on harmonic suppression circuitry within the bulb electronics.

avatar

Dan Bown

I have been using Deltech 5W Mr16 LEDs as a replacement for 50W Mr16 ceiling spots for a number of years. I hve been unable to use them in areas near a DAB radio as they cmpletely cut out the signal. I understand the problem is made worse the weaker the DAB signal. I live in a modern reinforced concrete construction flat in London so receltion is not good. Thinking about how LEDs ork I am not sure if it is the transformers that work with them or the bulbs themselves. I have complained to Deltech who deny any problem.
More recently I have picked up the ;latest 7W Aurora LEDs from Amazon and they have the same problem so its needs sorting out one way of the other. I am trying to find transformer manuafacturers who have delt with the problem but no luck.

avatar

GraemeV

I bought these power supplies: http://www.ledhut.co.uk/drivers-fittings-switches/drivers-transformers/30-watt-led-transformer-driver-perfect-for-powering-sections-of-12-volt-led-lighting.html
+
http://www.ledhut.co.uk/drivers-fittings-switches/drivers-transformers/100-watt-led-transformer-driver-perfect-for-powering-large-sections-of-12-volt-led-lighting-360.html
(not withstanding the names, these are 20+30W supplies)
+ 7 of these lights:

http://www.ledhut.co.uk/mr16-smd-led-20-pice-best-internet-price.html

4 Watt MR16 LED Bulb – Wide Beam Angle Colour Option Cool White MR16-320-CW 4

I also installed a DAB external Ariel. (in loft)

When lights are installed in two bathroom ceilings. When I turn either set on:

1: DAB from the external Ariel drops off by a large amount (bubbling on sound , display show less than minimum usable signal)
2: DAB from internal Ariel stops
3: FM radio is covered in static (Radio4)

I installed ferrite cores on the “power supply” of one set (204V side + 12V side) to no effect.

If I’ve understood this correctly, the signal is produced at the bulb and is radiated via the 12V line acting as an Ariel. So if I install ferrite core very close to bulb (inside the IP65 enclosure) in each lamp, that should stop the radiation of the signal?

avatar

Gerry

It’s probably the power supply unit that’s the problem.

Try disconnecting the LEDs and connect the PSU to a 12 V tungsten car bulb instead, e.g. sidelight or interior light less than 20W.

If you still get the interference, then you know it’s not the LEDs. If so, try installing the filter on the mains input to the PSU.

avatar

wavechange

It is not possible to know the effect of adding ferrets – which autocorrect insists are ferrets. :-) I would be surprised if you are successful.

Gerry’s suggestion makes sense. Another suggestion would be to replace the LEDs with halogen bulbs, so that you can establish the combined effect of the power supply and wiring to the lamps at creating interference.

I cannot find any reference to radio interference on their website. I suggest you contact LED Hut to discuss the problem. You could ask if their products comply with the relevant legislation on EMC radiation. See Malcolm R.’s post at the top of this page.

DAB (and FM) aerials work much better if outside, rather than in the loft.

avatar

Gerry

I’m curious why you need a DAB loft aerial. Unless the transmitter is in the next-county-but-one or there’s a mountain in the way, it shouldn’t normally be necessary.

Assuming that you really are in a very weak signal area, I trust that your aerial is vertical and just a single dipole (to make it omni-directional)?

Using a multi-element DAB aerial is usually counter-productive because, unlike FM, receiving all sorts of reflected DAB signals is A Good Thing: they happily all add up to make the final signal better. A multi-element aerial will be directional and result in weaker signals from any transmitters that happen to be in the ‘wrong’ direction.

Also, if the loft aerial or its downlead are anywhere near the LEDs or the mains wiring… :-(

avatar

Dave D

I keep breaking my own vows never to join in these convo’s again but anyway …..

I agree with Gerry about the download being near LED’s and associated wiring being a bad thing … and indeed being near to a great many other electrical appliances and their wiring too.

I don’t understand Gerry’s understanding that a loft or external DAB aerial should rarely be necessary ….. I live in what is suppose dot be a super-strong signal area for both digital TV and DAB radio – indeed I am in line of sight of the transmitter and it’s less than 2 miles away as the crow files, on the top of the next hillside, just about on level with my house – and yet I and all my neighbours had to have newer, bigger, many more element-ed aerials for our TV’s to work when the switchover happened than we had ever needed for analogue. (In fact with Analogue TV, most of the neighbours never had any proper aerial at all – you could get perfectly watchable TV with the aerial unplugged!) Similarly FM radio reception was amazingly strong with no aerial at all, until they started to transmit DAB as well – at which time I assume that they reduced the FM output power – and now FM needs an external aerial and DAB, even with an external aerial is completely un-listenable.
I know there are issues over being too near to the transmitter and in it’s shadow and so on, but I don’t think any of us here are in the ‘shadow’ as the transmitter is on the highest hilltop for miles around and we are on the next highest hilltop which is only about 100 feet less above sea level than the transmitter.
I appreciate that my post is about the nature of digital (useless) broadcasting rather than LED interference, but I assume (perhaps wrongly) that there is some link between the difficulty in receiving DAB to start with and the affect of LEDs and other sources of Electrical interference.
I’d be interested to hear anything that any aerial installers or radio engineers might wish to add to this convo.

avatar

Dave D

In 2nd para 1st line above for DOWNLOAD read DOWNLEAD … blasted autocorrect!

avatar

wavechange

Decent external aerials are a great help for both good FM and DAB reception and one of the benefits is to minimise the effect of interference. Few would think of operating a TV without an aerial but even expensive radios often under-perform because they are never given a decent aerial. I don’t live in a weak signal area but have certainly seen considerable benefits from having external FM and DAB aerials. Owls wrecked my FM aerial and my temporary solution of installing a loft aerial has not proved nearly as satisfactory.

As Gerry says, it is important to keep aerial leads well away from sources of interference because there is only so much that the screening of the cable can achieve.

avatar

GraemeV

DAB Ariel is Basically this one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DAB-Digital-Radio-Omni-Antenna-F-connector-Outdoor-External-Aerial-mast-clamp-/350908671007

I also have FM (radio) and UHF (TV) external Ariel.
When DAB was first launched , the little telescope Ariel was all that was needed, then after a year or so it signal dropped so only external Ariel work (my Postcode is RG45 6AL … it says I cannot get DTV , but should get DAB. There has been a lot of debate about this on Radio 4. All the ‘experts’ say DAB is better everywhere, then everyone phones in and says (like me) they cannot get a good signal. … but without the LEDs being on, the external Ariel shows a pretty strong signal, the display style is:

1 —-O—— (very strong)
2 —-O— (strong)
3 —-O (min to get good signal)
4 — O (sound will break up)

It goes from 1 to 3 as I turn on LEDs

avatar

GraemeV

Gerry,

>It’s probably the power supply unit that’s the problem.

Ruled this out using a suggestion posted here (on in avforum) I bought a 20W Halogen lamp (MR16)
and:
1: removed 4 LED (4w) — no interference (probably no power either :-) )
2: Plugged in one 20W Halogen, no interference (power supply now under more load than 4Led)
3: added 1 ,2 and 3 LED (4W) … interference increases as they are added.

avatar

Old_codger

I went through similar pain (about which I posted much earlier in this conversation) -although I only bought the MR16 bulbs from LEDhut. I was using my existing transformers and just one bulb killed the DAB.

LEDhut never acknowledged that their bulbs were faulty -although I did get my money back on the bulbs, but only after an extensive email exchange explaining the distance selling regs to them. I had to pay for return postage as they said they weren’t at fault!

I won’t be shopping there again. However low their prices are.

avatar

David Farnell

I was hoping to install a DAB radio in our bathroom, unfortunately in 2012, I installed 12V 4W LEDs from a transformer, which killed the DAB reception up to about 10 metres away. I had to wait 12 months before I read that Philips 12V 4W LED solved this Which member’s signal problem. I have now installed them and as I swapped out each bulb with the Philips one, nothing happened to improve our reception, not until the very last bulb was swapped and then as if by magic the lights no longer affected any of our DAB radios!

We have 240V LEDs in the kitchen ceiling lights and these do not affect the DAB signal.

I posted this to Which but have not yet seen it published.

avatar

Bob Purbrick

Hi!
I have spent some time on this and I can assure you that it is the chopped mode power supplies! I installed John Lewis under unit LED lighting and wiped out FM! I kept the lighting and bought better power supplies and can now listen to the radio!
I had a go with ferrite rings and ferrite sleeves and they really to help if you can be bothered!
I also installed JL kickboard lights and no problem at all and I have GU10 LEDs with no interference whatsoever.
Some manufacturers do not try hard enough to meet the CE regs!
Bob

avatar

malcolm r

Bob, I too used John Lewis under-cabinet lighting in a line fed from one end. I put a couple of DAB radios and an FM radio close to the driver, and to the LEDs, to test reception with no interference at all. I suspect these are the same LED sets sold by IKEA (4 lengths of white plus driver) – I wonder if anyone else has used them.

avatar

wavechange

Bob and Malcolm – The last time you discussed these lights I suggested that interference may be being picked up by the radio circuitry rather than the aerial. In this case, one radio could be affected more than other models.

avatar

GraemeV

Bob,

>I can assure you that it is the chopped mode power supplies

I cannot argue with you on this as I lack the electrical knowledge. However I did note here ==> http://www.ukqrm.org.uk/metecc/led-investigation.php that some bulbs only radiate above a critical voltage, so could it simply be the supplies delivered +/- 0.5V
[ and I have tested with same power supply but halogen bulb ... no interference ]

avatar

Gerry

Just a few quick thoughts.

The DAB postcode checker suggests that in RG45 6AL you’ll get good DAB signals only on three multiplexes: BBC National (e.g. BBC 6Music) on Block 12B, Digital 1 (e.g. Planet Rock) on 11D and Reading (e.g. Pop Up Radio) on 12D.

So if you’re having problems with say, The Hits (London 1 mux, 12C), Jazz FM (London 2, 12A), The Arrow (London 3, 11B), Angel Digital (South Hampshire,11C) or Redstone FM (Surrey & N. Sussex, 10C) you must remember that you are outside their official coverage areas and any reception you get may therefore be iffy.

That said, LED lighting and power supplies shouldn’t generate interference and should be considered unfit for purpose if they do, especially if they affect stations that you can be expected to receive.

avatar

Old_codger

@GraemeV – try one of the Phillips MR16 LED Lamps from John Lewis . They are about £15 each but I was able to have the lights on and listen to the radio at the same time :) .

@Bob Purbrik – it’s to simplistic to say to say it is the chopped mode psu. The transformers I have work OK with regular halogen MR16 bulbs, they work OK with the Phillips LEDs , they don’t work with the LEDhut bulbs and some other Unbranded bulbs. I.e. It is an interaction between the transformer and some bulbs.

I should also add that all the bulbs I tried are claimed to be suitable for retrofit. They did the job of lighting the room – and some were even dimmable, but they killed the DAB….

avatar

GraemeV

I assume you mean this one

http://www.johnlewis.com/philips-5-5w-mr16-energy-saving-led-12v-spotlight-clear/p231770874

… oddly LEDhut offer this same bulb (and seem to be talking about an ‘upgrade’ :-) ) however it is narrow beam (36degreees) the bulbs I got are wide angle.

avatar

GraemeV

… oh not quite LEDHUT Philips bulb is 4.2W , John Lewis is 5.5W
(newer version?)

avatar

Old_codger

@GraemeV – I had to dig back through this conversation to find my posting: These are the ones I used that didn’t interfere with my DAB radio. I chose the bulbs on lumens, not wattage as its light I want!

Philips 5.5W MR16 Energy Saving LED 12V Spotlight, Clear
http://www.johnlewis.com/philips-5-5w-mr16-energy-saving-led-12v-spotlight-clear/p231770874

I also tried a dimmable bulb, again from Philips a MASTER LEDspot

Philips 7W Master Dimmable MR16 LED – Warm White (36°) from these folks
http://www.energybulbs.co.uk/philips+7w+master+dimmable+mr16+led+-+warm+white+(36%B0)/4170295111

I haven’t checked if the links are current though..

avatar

GraemeV

Hi,

Just taken delivery of 7 of the Philips MR16 bulb from John Lewis.
Tested a single bulb , it’s vastly WORSE than the LEDhut bulb. The LEDHut bulb reduces the signal. 4 LEDHut bulbs reduce it below minimum. The Philips bulb, a single bulb completely blocks the signal (unit reports no signal) . Retested with 20W Halogen , fine.

BTW, also tested with portable FM radio. Huge amount of noise from Philips , a Lots of Noise from the LEDHut, and some noise from Halogen (but only 2/3 feet away and only in certain orientations )

I’ve posted a warning review on John Lewis site (I’ll return the bulbs)

avatar

Old_codger

Wow, so sorry. Given my experience I had hoped it would be your answer. It just confirms that the problem is an interaction between the transformer and the bulb. I do hope JL are better about the return postage. It would be interesting to know you experience?

Out of interest did you buy the undimmable version?

avatar

wavechange

Old_codger – That is an interesting suggestion that interference could arise from interaction between the power supply and lamp on 12V systems. If this is the case, perhaps manufacturers should specify use of their own power supplies if that avoids the interference problem.

Mains voltage LED lamps do seem to be a better choice for radio listeners, though I suspect that they might be more affected by premature failure.

I hope the next Which? report on LED lighting will provide useful information about radio interference.

avatar

GraemeV

John Lewis seem (right now, before I try :-) ) very good

I can just take them back to my local Waitrose (where I collected them) and they will refund.
I did not have to pay postage in the 1st place.

I did note however that the ‘review’ I added in the JS site has failed to appear , so far.

They only did the one bulb (not dimmable) … from the web site:

Product code : 70327012
Lightbulb Wattage 5.5W
Lumens 300

However the pack (Philips) details differ:

5W -> 325 Lumen (less power, more light)

These do not seem very “good” values BTW, The LEDHut bulb was 4W = 320Lumen … and was actually much brighter than the Philips bulb

The report http://www.ukqrm.org.uk/metecc/led-investigation.php seemed to make it clear it was (often) a critical voltage , so the power supply affects it. Also note they had one which was “good” but went “bad” the the voltage drifted [over time?]

avatar

Dave D

JL seem to be developing a shocking reputation for abysmal customer service lately – within the last month I know of upwards of 7 problems with their on line operation, branches in Surrey and Nottinghamshire, and my old bug-bear, the Sheffield store, where the staff are rude and, much worse, utterly ignorant of the products which they are selling. The experiences I’ve come across relate to fridge-freezers, computer related items and in one case furniture. Based on these reports, and the fact that their light bulbs (in the Sheffield store) are limited to a ridiculously small ‘range’ (Henry Ford would be proud), all of which are excessively highly priced, I’m afraid I would not personally try LED bulbs from them unless I was willing to accept that, faulty or not, I would not be able to return them.
If anyone does get LED bulbs form them it would be interesting to hear about the experience.

avatar

wavechange

I have just had an interesting conversation with someone at LED Hut. Although radio interference is not mentioned on their website, they do know that some people have problems with their lamps and the power supplies used with 12 volt versions.

They were unable to give guidance on which lamps might be better than others. I asked if interference may relate to the manufacturers of the lamps but was told that LED Hut make their own lamps and sell them under the name Lumilife. I commented that in order to carry the CE mark, they lamps would have to comply with the EMC regulations. I said that I would mention this to Which? because I am concerned about products that do not comply with regulations.

I asked what would happen if I bought lamps and found I had interference problems. I was told that I have 30 days to return them. When I asked about return postage there was hesitation and the person I was speaking to said she would have to check. I said there should be no uncertainty because if the lamps cause interference they are not satisfactory. This time I was told that they are not faulty, even if they cause radio interference – so I would have to pay return postage.

LED Hut are aware of the recent Which? report about premature failure of certain LED lamps. I congratulated them on having a decent warranty – 5 years – and thanked the person I was speaking to for their help.

avatar

malcolm r

I suspect that LED Hut do not manufacture but distribute LED products. Their website refers to “manufacturing partners” which implies they buy from a number of sources. Not a problem – many do this – it just depends on how good those manufacturing partners are. As far as warranty is concerned I could find no proper terms and conditions on their website, so don’t know how they will honour a 5 year warranty. Can you point to it somewhere?
“Goods returned due to miss-pick, damage or failure should be sent Royal Mail 2nd Class Recorded Delivery as we will not reimburse any other method of shipment.” If returned within 30 days.

avatar

wavechange

Malcolm – I’m equally convinced that LED Hut is a distributor rather than a manufacturer. I presume that their products are branded Lumilife, though I have no idea of whether this is shown on the lamps or just on the packaging.

The terms and conditions are at the bottom of the page, but do not refer to the 5 year warranty. The standard warranty is for 2 years, extendable to 5 years by registration. I believe that terms and conditions should be comprehensive and in a form that can easily be retained for future reference, for example a pdf file.

From the information on returns:

For faulty goods:

– Within 30 days of delivery we will always offer you the choice of an exchange or refund (excluding postage).
– Within 5 years of delivery, if there is a fault with your product we will normally offer a prompt repair, exchange or credit (credit to include original postage).

My comments:
– Why is postage not refunded if you have to return a faulty product?
– There is no mention of the need to register your purchase to obtain free repair/exchange/credit, or what ‘original postage refers to.

avatar

Old_codger

What they say and what they do are, in my experience, very different things. Their no quibble returns policy took 20 plus emails to just get them to honour their obligations under the DSR. Their case for not reimbursing me the return second class postage was that the bulbs were not faulty.

I assume to them radio interference is not a fault!!!!

avatar

wavechange

It was made clear to me that radio interference is not regarded as a fault by LED Hut. It would be interesting if we could find out what other LED retailers have to say.

avatar

Old_codger

All of the experience here has convinced me that when I bight the bullet and replace the other 15 MR16 halogens here I will go the whole hog and switch to GU10. I now have several different types and none have the interference problems.

Is there any chance which could follow all this up with an investigation/report?

Hi, thanks for sharing your examples of LED bulbs interfering. Our researchers are still looking into it, and your experiences are essential in helping them do this.

avatar

GraemeV

This thread appears to have been truncated. I posted some results on the 22Feb . I now have a working setup. It appears to have been removed , along with all references to it (ie comments)
have you suffered a system failure?

Sorry Graeme, I see a few postings of yours with examples – if that’s not the one you’re thinking of, thanks for posting it again.

avatar

GraemeV

Just to add to the confusion :-(

I’ve now sent back most of LEDhut bulbs (and John Lewis bulbs) and today I received :
UF35B Noise Filter Ferrite Clip for 3mm Diameter Audio Vedio Cable 10 Pcs
(http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290913135459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649)

Tried fitting these in my one remaining LEDHut MR16 (inside the lamp enclosure) … it seems to make some difference ….however:

The biggest difference came from the fitting (lamp holder). There are lots of overlapping issues here:
1: Physical location (rooms)
2: One is inside an aluminium shower enclosure
3: Make of fitting
4: Testing via external DAB, internal (portable) DAB, portable FM

… however the actual LED lamp is the same one (I only have one left)

This one , in the shower produces almost no interference (2 X DAB or FM)
Linolite Sylvania Round Low Voltage F-Rated Downlight MR16 IP65 White 12V

This one, in bathroom ceiling , produces a lot of interference :
http://www.toolstation.com/shop/Lighting/Low+Voltage+Fire+Rated+Downlights/Fire+Rated+Cast+IP65+Downlighter+MR16+White/d220/sd2721/p54666

The difference between them is the toolstation unit has a short flexible cable inside the unit
which attaches to the bulb ( acts as an Ariel?)
The Linolite has a rigid mount into which the bulb plugs.

(or it could just be the the “aluminium shower enclosure” which suppresses the interference)

I next plan to try : http://www.ledhut.co.uk/spot-lights/mr16-led-bulbs/neu-3-8-watt-mr16-gu5-3-led-lampe.html , which they assure me , do not suffer the problem.

In any-case, I’ll also test with ferrite cores

avatar

GraemeV

Lost postings: (this the gist of the posting I made on 22nd , which now appears lost)

I have a working setup, which is as follows:

7off these: GU5.3-250-W1-CW (http://www.ledhut.co.uk/neu-3-8-watt-mr16-gu5-3-led-lampe.html)
Powered (in two bath rooms) by:

30 Watt LED Transformer / Driver Perfect for Powering Sections of 12 Volt LED Lighting
TRAN30 ( http://www.ledhut.co.uk/30-watt-led-transformer-driver-perfect-for-powering-sections-of-12-volt-led-lighting.html )

20 Watt LED Transformer / Driver Perfect for Powering 12 Volt LED Lighting
TRAN20 (http://www.ledhut.co.uk/100-watt-led-transformer-driver-perfect-for-powering-large-sections-of-12-volt-led-lighting-1260.html )

PLUS I’ve installed these ferrite cores INSIDE the Lamp holders [ UF35B Noise Filter Ferrite Clip for 3mm Diameter Audio Vedio Cable 10 Pcs ]] ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290913135459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 )

AND these on either side of (one of) the power supplies (did not appear to help) ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/250724456936?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 )

These did not work:

4 Watt MR16 LED Bulb – Wide Beam Angle ( http://www.ledhut.co.uk/mr16-smd-led-20-pice-best-internet-price.html )

These were worse:

7 x Philips 5.5W MR16 Energy Saving LED 12V Spotlight, Clear (John Lewis) ( http://www.johnlewis.com/philips-5-5w-mr16-energy-saving-led-12v-spotlight-clear/p231770874 )

The LONG VERSION:

1: The lamp enclosure seems to have an effect (see my prev post)
2: Adding each LED Lamp seemed to show a slow increase in interference, adding the INTERNAL ferrite cores reduced this.
3: After turning on all 7 lamps , it was still possible to get a DAB signal, the level was lower by about 1 bar (prev was no-signal, or at least well below min level)
4: The big difference was WRT FM. A portable FM radio in the bathroom , was filled with static using the “old bulbs” as soon as I switched
to the new bulbs, it was clear. I could get interference but only by putting the Ariel withing 2-3 inches of the bulbs (previously detected
two stories below!)

avatar

Tim Mackenzie

Cheap mains-voltage powered LED bulbs may cause more interference compared to properly designed ones, but where a low voltage system is installed, the transformers can be the weak link from an interference perspective. Most modern transformers for low voltage lighting are of the “switch mode” power converter type whereby the mains power is rectified to DC, then “chopped” through an inductive winding to give the converted power output. The chopping frequency is normally around 40kHz with a pulse width varying at the required output frequency (50 / 60 Hz). The result of this modulated chopping is a series of radiated harmonics every 40kHz (40, 80, 120 etc). What this amounts to, is that the power converter is potentially a very effective RF noise generator. A badly (or cheaply) designed power converter will completely obliterate the AM band (500 to 1700kHz) even when operated within its specification. The electrical noise from the power converters is worsened by using LED bulbs on an improperly designed unit because the chopping circuit is forced to use too narrow a pulse width to maintain the output waveform. Having analysed the output from a number of popular power converters, it is clear to me that they are probably the greater source of RFI in such lighting solutions. However the interaction of the non-linearity of LED lights and their considerably smaller power usage, (which causes the power converter to be operated outside of its rated specification), exacerbates the problem of an already electrically noisy device.

avatar

GraemeV

My initial guess would have been that the miniature power supply inside “mains LEDs” would
be worse (due to size restrictions), however the opposite proved to be the case. The tests reported here:

http://www.ukqrm.org.uk/metecc/led-investigation.php

Offer an explanation. The PSU drops 240VAC to 12VDC. The LED requires something lower (5V?)
this is achieved using some “cheap” on-board gadget (I forget the name and I’m not an electronic engineer) but this device seems to radiate when it’s fed an “over voltage” (e.g. 12.1VDC) and the critical voltage seem to vary by brand/item/age.

I did see somewhere that pre-built “sets” were much better (possibly because they could be built to work in series and so direct @ 12VDC) … but I guess the “Mains LEDs” don’t have the final stage? they are just to 240V to 5VDC (If I’ve got the 5V bit right?)

avatar

Dave D

Regulars know that I’ve had problems with both CFL’s and LED lamps – and not limited to radio interference.

However, I have recently discovered the BELL (British Electric Lighting Limited) range of G9 adaptors and both BELL’s 1.5w LED G9 Capsules (equivalent to a 40w incandescent) and the ‘MiniSun’ range of G9 Capsules (3 and 5 w, equivalent to 60 and 75w incandescents).

I have fitted these into many table lights and ceiling / wall fittings in my home, including ones where CFL’s had caused total loss of radio / TV signal, and also into exterior security lights, including one which is next to the VHF and UHF aerial downloads. There is absolutely not interference what so ever.

I therefore hypothesise that the issue arises with low voltage lighting systems, such as the infamous and ubiquitous 12v Halogen downlighter, when they are converted to LED.

I have no ideas as to why this should be the case, but Graeme’s suggestions above seem quite plausible.

I wonder if Wavechange has any ideas as I know he has a good deal of electronics expertise?

avatar

GraemeV

I think, I’ve given this info before (but I’ve noted this site loses posts)

1: I had 12V Halogen
2: Replaced JUST bulbs … these flickered AND one set (one PSU) pulsed on and off at about half second intervals … once they had “warmed up” (OK for about 15 mins) don’t know if these produced RF noise.
3: Replaced enclosures and power supplies … then started to notice the RF noise.

FYI: The ‘pulsing is, I believe, because the bulbs draw too little power
AFYI: The old enclosures were “open” at the back . The new ones are enclosed in a metal case (IP65) so I would have guessed the old enclosures were worse (but the flashing lights meant I never found out)

avatar

Iain

just had leds replacing halogens in the kitchen and thought I was going mad when the dab radio stopped even though the station still registered. This site has restored my sanity – now just have to solve the problem

avatar

Tom Oates

Have had a recent report of similar interference from a client causing his DAB radio to cease working when the LED down lighting circuit is on. Replaced with halogen MR16 all OK

A client on a recent project is using a high quality ‘retro-fit’ MR16 LED lamp by SORAA. After consulting with the manufactures of lamp, PSU and controller we have reached a conclusion that although each component may be tested individually for compliance with EMC regulations it is the combination in a circuit that results in problems. SORAA tested their lamp using shielded cables and recommend that ‘shielded cables or conduits that are earthed should be used with the lamp to avoid unwanted interference’ – hardly a retrofit solution !!

We are awaiting further advice.

Unfortunately is seems increasingly that each project has to be considered as a ‘one off’ and specification is a minefield of potential incompatibilty and other unforseen issues. Unless all main parties Lamp / PSU and Controls manufactures combine data to find meaningful solutions rather than testing in isolation the problems are not going to disappear.

avatar

John Dalton

I’m sure you’re right in your analysis, but SOME manufacturers HAVE achieved “retrofit” solutions that seem compliant. The MR16 LEDs I reported on in November, which came from Lidl and were remarkably inexpensive, cause no FM or DAB interference in my kitchen. I have three different HF transformers and two plain 50Hz transformers powering 11 of them and have had no interference whatsoever from them. Unfortunately, like most Lidl products, you can’t get them now. But it does show that it IS possible to design a replacement lamp that doesn’t cause interference.

The only problems I’ve had is flickering with one transformer (an Aurora, looks like all the others) but that was a low-load problem & didn’t cause interference. And two bulb failures out of the 20 I bought, which lidl refunded with no hassle; they’d gone dim, not dead, and cool white. These were Livarno Lux 5W (230 lumen) warm white GU5.3 and they only cost £4.50 each!

avatar

Buster

I think I managed to get some working. I had a problem with DAB completly cutting out but that is partly because I am in a valley with just about enough reception to get signal with the radio beside the window.

GU10/60SMD at http://www.lightrabbit.co.uk/60-smd-glass-covered-4-5-watt-gu10-led-bulb-40w-equivalent.html

I have 8 of these in the cieling – before just a single Philips lamp would knock out my signal.

I also have a single floor lamp. I went with a PAR shaped bulb in an E27 fitting. This is because the bulb case is thick and acts like a shield PAR38/LN/18W http://www.lightrabbit.co.uk/par38-e27-led-bulb-18watt-1000-lumens.html. It is 18W so pretty bright for an LED.

I also have some under counter lights so used a 20 Watt LED Transformer for powering 12 Volt LED Lighting
BQ/12V20W http://www.ledsupplies.co.uk/20-watt-led-transformer-driver.html

I took some advice from an electrician friend and installed ferrite cores inside the Lamp holders [ UF35B Noise Filter Ferrite Clip for 3mm Diameter Audio Vedio Cable 10 Pcs ]] ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290913135459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 )

All works well – I hope the above helps.

avatar

yclaire

I’ve got this problem with LEDsave’s 1.5w G4 LEDs – 19 of them in a pendant fitting 2 or 3m from the DAB radio. No problem before with halogens or when I replaced a few of them with Maplins G4s (though the latter may be because it was summer and we never happened to use the light and radio together).
LEDsave offered a full refund as soon as I called them; they were familiar with the problem from a previous type of bulb which they discontinued because of it.
The Maplin ones seem to have been discontinued now, so I guess I’ll go back to halogens, as people’s experience of alternatives doesn’t seem good.

avatar

old_codger

My own experience has been that the returns policy has some get outs. Most places won’t pay for return postage -that’s down to you. One even tried to deduct the original postage to me – illegally. After many emails they eventually refunded that as well.

Eventually decided to stop experimenting by post!

Sadly, it seems this problem continues to dog us DAB listeners and it was a surprise to see the DAB interference problem didn’t even get a mention in the magazine report last month.

avatar

Dave D

I can’t say that I have had the same problem with LED bulbs because despite what the relevant organisations say, I’m in a very poor DAB signal area (Digital TV is pretty rubbish too, even though there is no analogue anymore), so I don’t use a DAB radio.

HOWEVER … whilst slightly off-topic I can say that I have found that BELL LED lamps seem to be pretty good as lamps, but despite what their packaging states and what their technical support folk say, they are clearly NOT compatible with dawn to dusk photoelectric cells as I have fitted some into the outside lights an they fail within 30 seconds of switch on. This has happened with 4 bulbs after which I gave up and went back to tungsten GLS lamps (CFL’s are useless too, as documented at length in previous posts, as they fail after only a few days in summer and in winter won’t start up as they are too cold).

BELL LED lamps fitted indoors in fittings with just a standard switch work just fine and they have the advantage that they can be fitted with a huge range of screw-on glass covers which makes them suitable to replace almost every type of GLS tungsten lamp – candles, twisted candles, coloured, frosted, pearl, white, clear, globe, golf ball … you name it they do it. Really do recommend the BELL range to anyone looking to LED lamps for any BC, SBC, ES or SES fitting. Cheap too.

avatar

Goldenegg

Only discovered today that our replacement kitchen LED downlights interfere severely with BBC Radio 4 on FM. (Very loud buzzing)
I started to research on the internet and was on the point of asking the LEDHut why I had the problem, when I remembered that the units we now run are TCP Warm White GU10 5W – bought on offer from HOMEBASE! (I thought they were a bargain at the time!)
I took them out and refitted the Cool White GU10 20SMD units bought previously from the LEDHut and the problem has gone away.
I think that shows the problem lies in cheap product. Quality units like those from LEDHut (which I think are still great value) appear to be trouble-free.
Next step is to order some Warm Whites from LEDHut and see how they perform.
We have a number of their LED bulbs which seem not to cause anything more than the faintest background hum on the radio, but even that is slightly disconcerting.

avatar

Old_Codger

That’s the exact opposite of my experience. The Homebase GU10 units in our bathroom cause no problems with the DAB radio in the room next door, but the MR16 LEDhut Units in the kitchen killed the radio instantly, it took just one lamp in the set of 10 fittings to do this.

On DAB the effect was total, I.e it just stopped working, I got no buzzing on the radio, which I would expect from FM but not digital.

In fact I have had no problem with any GU10 LED lamp from Philips, Homebase, screwfix and others, just MR16s which have a separate transformer.

avatar

Steve

I have had a great deal of experience with retro fitting LED downlights and general lamps. There are some manufacturers that state compliance with RFI. These are genrally more expensive and supplied by electrical wholesalers to electricians who like their jobs to comply with BS7671. The current wiring regs have a section on detrimental electromagnetic effects, i.e. causing radio interference, so choosing the right lamps is critical. There are other suppliers, like LEDhut, who sell all sorts of LED replacement lamps but there is no guarantee from them that they are RFI compliant. In fact, they kind of admit it an state that it isn’t possible to predict which lamps will react and what the effects/cures may be. It is a particular problem for the MR16 replacements, regardless of which driver or transformer you use. I have tried fitting rf chokes on the tails from the lamp itself and even in conjunction with another rf choke on the primary side of the transformer. It hasn’t worked, and has always proven to be a problem with Lumilife lamps. In personal experience, LEDLite lamps have been problem free but are twice the price of the LEDhut versions.

avatar

wavechange

I expect that most or all of the lamps are CE-marked, meaning that the manufacturer has declared that they comply with all appropriate regulations including those for RFI. The only way of making CE-marking useful is for it to be carried out by a third party and obviously paid for by the manufacturers.

In education we would not trust people to mark their own exam papers so why are companies allowed to claim that their products are standards compliant.

avatar

malcolm r

There are a vast number of products that require CE Marks. There are insufficient third party resources available to test each and every product and its variants. Buy from trusted brands (and have them exposed if they let you down) or take your chances on others. We need properly-resourced trading standards to police this.

avatar

wavechange

I disagree, Malcolm. There is no need for companies to produce nearly as many variants of products, which just makes it harder to hold spares for products.

Let’s have decent quality products that are independently assessed for compliance with the applicable standards. That would help to discourage the sale of third rate products that could at best prove disappointing and at worst be downright dangerous.

avatar

malcolm r

The logic is sound, wavechange, but it is simply not the way the world works, and we are unlikely to change it. Manufacturers continually “upgrade” products to entice you to buy more – like phones, TVs, cars. We are stuck with it, so need to tackle the problem it creates.

avatar

dieseltaylor

I wonder how Stiftung Warentest deals with htis problem. Perhaps a someone here would like to give it a go – but it helps if you can read German rather than rely on Bing or Google translations. Possibly Rosetta is better at translations.

As to testing all products perhaps a testing body fins one or two that work and put an acceptable rating on it. Anything else essentially a bad buy unless it pays to be included in the testing regime. The Dutch consumer association Cosumentenbond do something along these lines for their tests.

It is quite farcical the current situation.

avatar

wavechange

What would entice me to buy a product would be to know that it had been independently tested. I am sure I am not alone and maybe manufacturers should think about this.

Radio interference is one area in which I have sympathy with manufacturers. There are so many factors beyond their control. Consider a 12V LED lamp. That might be fine on its own but used in conjunction with a power supply and dimmer made by other companies, there opportunity for interaction and generation of interference.

avatar

old_codger

I tend to agree with Malcolm R , the reality is we need to tackle the problems the complexity creates and trading standards aren’t an effective “police force” for matters this technical. We shouldn’t forget that the manufacturers barely recognise the problem – everyone points the finger at an other manufacturers parts.

In my own experience I tried several MR16 bulbs before I found one that didn’t cause interference. I had quite a fight with some manufacturers to get refunds with the blaming the transformer and the dimmer (which I eventually took out of the circuit!) Yet others with different components found the lamps that worked for me caused interference in their system. Wavechange gave some insight into this when he pointed at the work on voltages that seems to provide a clue?

I was surprised that when which? did their report last month they didn’t test for or even mention this, despite their involvement in this thread.

avatar

Richard M

I too thought it strange that there was no mention of this in the Which? report on bulbs recently. Perhaps Which? would comment here please?

avatar

wavechange

There was a brief comment in the September 2014 magazine, Richard. “All bulbs were checked for DAB radio interference and no issues were found.” I think it would have been worth checking for FM radio interference as well and pointing out that radio interference can be one of the drawbacks of LED lighting.

avatar

old_codger

I went back to the magazine and did eventually fine the comment about testing for DAB radio interference.

It was hard work finding it – buried as it was in the small print of the footnotes to the table under the heading “efficiency”. Hardly drawing attention to it.

avatar

wavechange

I missed the reference to lack of DAB radio interference when I read the magazine but searching for DAB found the brief reference. I suppose that there is no reason to highlight it if no problem was found, but I feel that the article should have drawn attention to the fact that DAB and FM interference is a problem to be aware of if you are interested in purchasing LED lighting.

avatar

Richard

I have alot of radio interference in the FM-radio with my LED bulbs on my car. H4 lamps from aliexpress.

[This comment has be edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

avatar

Greg

I have a very basic understanding of how these work however someone may be able to translate it into something more meaningful, as a data networks engineer it sounds similar to IT problems. The 230V (was 240V but got reduced to fit in with the EU) that is in your home wiring is too much for LEDs to handle so must have the power reduced down to in and around the energy requirements of your LED bulbs. This is done using a transformer similar to the one that would power a laptop but built in to the bulb. You can feel this working by the heat that is cast off hence the cooling fins and added weight on a lot of bulbs. This action also causes a lot of Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) which will interfere with any sensitive equipment nearby or will transfer via induction to unshielded cables within range eg internal wiring. A digital radio signal works similarly to how computer language works, either 1 or a 0, that is the signal is either above a certain value or below it. Analogue works through a greater range of variation in signal frequency. Therefore analogue is much more sensitive to interference as it requires almost all the signal to reach the receiver to make an intelligible output eg music on a radio whereas digital needs just enough to get over the threshold to tell it what it needs to know. Whilst digital is better it is still affected by EMI but just less so than analogue. Any source of EMI will affect it depending on its range resulting in a garbled or no output. More expensive manufacturers of LED bulbs are likely to have picked up on this and built in some shielding to the bulbs or a way of earthing it whereas cheaper ones are likely to have bypassed this expense. I cant think of a solution at this stage but unfortunately it seems as ever, buy nice or buy twice.

avatar

Gerry

The transformer itself doesn’t cause any problems because it merely changes the voltage. However, switch mode power supplies often generate interference. They are used because they are more efficient, with the higher frequency allowing cheaper and smaller transformers to be used.

Unfortunately it’s all to easy to reduce the costs by skimping on the interference suppression design and components.

DAB interference can be hard to detect and remedy because it’s inaudible; it can just seem like there’s little or no DAB signal. FM is generally resilient to interference if there are reasonable signal levels, but by definition MW and LW are vulnerable to impulsive interference because they use Amplitude Modulation.

avatar

Gord

I tried a LED bulb to save energy on the outside light. After a few nights of not being able to get a TV station we watch all the time. ( I use a digital anteana, no cable or sat for me.) The station showed up. Great until I let the dogs out and fliped on the light. The TV station froze. When the dog where done I flipped off the light and the TV worked. Turn on the light and the screen would freeze. Removed the bulb and put in an old style one, TV works fine.

avatar

Susie Bird

We bought numerous LED bulbs at Costco yesterday. Replacements for 60W standard bulbs, and replacements for recessed kitchen lights. Radio badly affected which shares a plug socket with a bedside lamp whose bulb was replaced. Turning off the lamp solved the problem – clearly LED caused. In the kitchen, with the new lights on the radio there is also affected with an increase of white noise.
http://www.costco.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/cos_2,cos_2.2,cos_2.2.3/167562
http://www.costco.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/cos_2,cos_2.2,cos_2.2.3/167991
We are very disappointed, but were loving the bright lighting.

avatar

dieseltaylor

Thanks for the warning Susie.

avatar

Jan N

I bought an LED light bulb from Homebase yesterday, for my bedside lamp. When I went to bed last night I switched the lamp on – fine , then I switched on my bedside digital radio – Radio 4 not there ! Tried every sort of adjustment to radio but absolutely nothing. Convinced myself radio faulty. Switched radio on again this morning – perfect signal ! – until I switched the light on. Light off – radio on, light on – radio signal gone. Light bulb is TCP brand LED Classic 60w equivalent. It was only £4.99 which does seem cheap for an LED but from other comments here not sure that’s the problem. Changed back to normal energy saving bulb and no further problem.

avatar

Old_Codger

Jan N

I can’t add to the stuff on reception or DAB tech but lamps I have some more info.

I have No DAB problems with ANY mains voltage lamps, be they cheap (Homebase, B&Q, Screwfix) or Branded (Phillips, Sylvania, Osram, Aurora (eBay/amazon)) even on a dimmer. Ihave all these in different places throughout the house – in GU10, SES Globe, E27 and “standard” GLS – BC22 fittings)

I do have problems with “low voltage” MR16/12V transformer types (dimmed and undimmed)

In the last month I have fitted 6 Globe Diall undimmable lamps from B&Q to two fittings on the landing. There has been no impact on the Robert DAB radio in the bedroom alongside or the no name system in the in the kitchen below. I also have 6 TCP/Homebase lamps in a unit in the bedroom.

My question would be are your bedside lamps the types that are dimmed as mine are(e.g. with a three stage touch to dim operation) – LED lamps need a trailing edge dimmer switch and I would suspect bedside lamps aren’t!

avatar

Alan

I am a computer and amateur radio techy (retired) and came across this post as I am trying to understand what happened to BBC Dab over the last few months. My UK Genus DU1 tuner/adapter is normally on Classic FM but recently found none of the BBC stations were working. The BBC signal strength is excellent (error 0 or 1, compared to 3 or 4 for Classic FM). The data and information and are all good for the BBC so the signal is good and the decoded signals are good – but the 10 year old Genus DU1 obviously is not able to decode the audio the BBC has moved to over the last few months or perhas a year. The DU1 is installed over some high powered LED downlighters – but switching these off did not cure the problem. I am in the London area and wonder if this change to the BBC encoding is affecting any other radios, tuners, adapters etc.? To emphasise if I turn the volume to max – I can hear the program but it is very low and the picked up buzzing is unpleasant. I can switch DRC off or on but this makes no difference (DRC=Dynamic Range Control). Software and chips are often common to many brands and models – so is this problem affecting others?

Alan

avatar

wavechange

I expect that the multiplexes are from different transmitters and something has changed at one of the transmitters. If it was a local interference problem then reception would only be affected at certain times unless caused by something in continuous use.

I chose DAB portables with provision for connection to an external aerial, though most of the time I get adequate reception from the telescopic aerial provided. As you will know from your amateur radio experience, a decent aerial can make a huge difference.

avatar

Alan

Just to clarify and emphasise – many stations including Classic FM coming from other multiplexes are working fine. Hence why I did not notice it until moved off Classic FM. As an adapter – it is supplementing the FM of a mini-HiFi so it is convenient to listen to spoken word / R4 on FM.

Alan

avatar

Gerry

Have you checked out the aerial system? Might be worth moving the tuner and aerial to another room, e.g. near a window.

I assume you’re using a proper DAB aerial (not a dangling bit of wire and not one intended for FM, TV or whatever) and it’s vertical? Have you performed a rescan / autotune? Have you used a portable analogue radio to check for local interference?

You may find the forums at Digital Spy give you a few ideas. Without knowing your details it’s hard to offer specific advice, but remember that directional (multi-element) DAB aerials are usually not required and can cause problems. For example if you pick up distant transmitters (>74km away) on the same frequency, the timing errors will cause problems.

http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2013146
http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2017010
http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2020840

There have been some atmospheric ‘lift’ conditions recently which may have brought about higher levels of distant interference.

There have also been occasional problems with some transmitters (e.g. Reigate) caused by timing errors, e.g. GPS faults. These can be hard to spot because the problems are only observed in the overlap areas served by more than one transmitter.

However, DRC won’t make any difference, it’s just a compression system and most broadcasters don’t use it.

avatar

Alan

As I both said – I am a techy (hence know about digital spy etc.) and the signal strength is excellent, in fact stronger than the Classic FM signal that is working correctly. So this is not a reception problem. The audio and information are both streams of digital data – if the signal is strong enough to decode the “information” data it is normally strong enough to decode the digital audio into audio.

I am looking for anyone who has excellent signal strength but finding BBC signals displaying data but almost inaudible. What other receivers and firmware have this problem?

Regards

Alan

avatar

old_codger

(Off topic. – but after some technical help)

I now have almost every lamp in the house as an LED of some sort or another.

From time to time I see a flicker in the lights which also affects the few remaining incandescent lamps I have (not worth changing the G9 halogens given how few hours a week we use them)

The flicker usually occurs when one or other of the GU10 based fittings is switched on.

When some, but not all and not even the same ones, lamps are switched on others flicker.

Can any suggest why this may become?

The only odd thing I have noticed is that LED lamps sem to have power factor of 0.9 – could this be relevant?

avatar

wavechange

Very strange. :-( Flickering of incandescent lamps is likely to be a problem with the supply or the wiring.

If you have LED and incandescent lamps running from a dimmer there is a remote possibility that the LEDs are affecting the dimmer. Not all LEDs are dimmer compatible and it’s usually recommended that dimmers intended for LEDs are used.

avatar

bib1

If the flickering only occurs when the GU10 lamps are on, it’s most likely an intermittent short in one of them.

Pehaps you can determine which one is shorting by removing some bulbs?

avatar

old_codger

Thanks both. The lamps in question aren’t on dimmed circuits and I don’t have “mixed” circuits. i.e. the various fittings are either completely LED or completely Incandescent (It just isn’t worth swapping the G9 halogens for their LED equivalents)

My (least) favourite idea is the intermittent short circuit as that means I need to remove the lamps one by one until the problem stops. And there’s only 34 or them….

I feel a sore neck coming on! :-(

avatar

dieseltaylor

How about removing half, and then a quarter …. : )

One of those mindbender questions actually maybe useful!?

avatar

wavechange

G9 lamps are mains voltage, so there is no electronic power supply involved. If these are flickering too, it can only be a problem with the supply or wiring.

avatar

old_codger

I had thought of that – but with my luck it would still be the last one left that was the faulty one :)

avatar

old_codger

As you say, I think what is happening is the dodgy lamp is causing all the lamps to flicker – including the G9′s. now all I have to do is find the beggar…

avatar

wavechange

A lamp taking sufficient current to cause others to flicker would probably explode. A more likely culprit would be a fridge or freezer, where the compressor takes a hight starting current, particularly if the compressor stalls due to a fault.

avatar

bib1

old_codger: “…. with my luck it would still be the last one ….”.

If that does happen, buy a lottery ticket immediately. No-one can be THAT unlucky twice running.

avatar

old_codger

> If that does happen, buy a lottery ticket immediately. No-one can be THAT unlucky twice

You will not believe this when I say it – but I really do wish you had been right!

Because the reverse happened. The first lamp I took out of its housing it was falling apart – the white “connector” segment had separated from the silvered metal reflector section…
It seems that things go right at completely the wrong time for me… ;-)

avatar

dieseltaylor

Here is an interesting heads-up on LED headlamps; benefits and in the last comment a downside that perhaps is not being considered. LED lights are colder than halogen and snow can build-up on them.
http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/safety-compliance/article/story/2014/10/led-headlights-the-best-choice-for-visibility.aspx?

Whether this is important , or not, I do not know but I imagine and hope at least Volvo trucks and cars maybe on the case.

avatar

bib1

dieseltaylor: ” …. LED headlamps … are colder than halogen and snow can build-up …”.

This is what I love about (slightly) off-topic comments – better than most mind-expanding drugs (most, not all ….).

The headlamps on my ’97 Saab 9000 mist up internally, droplets of water form and could corrode the (newly re-silvered) reflectors.

The solution is to dry them out by driving with heads on all the time – eat your heart out new-fangled, dazzling LED owners.

avatar

old_codger

> … headlamps on my ’97 Saab 9000

And there was me thinking all Swedish cars leave their lights on just to annoy the other road users on this planet :-)

Now I know its to stop them flooding I’ll be more sympathetic ;-)

avatar

Steve, g0xak

PROBLEM SOLVED.
MR16 led’s and switch mode drivers removed and replaced with GU10 led downlighters. Lighting looks exactly the same but now no interference on my radio equipment.

avatar

old_codger

That’s what I am doing little by little. Which GU10 lamps did you go for?

Back to top

Post a Comment

Commenting guidelines

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked

Tired of typing your name and email? Why not register.

Register or Log in

Browse by Category

Consumer Rights

776 Conversations

9614 Participants

27785 Comments

Energy & Home

655 Conversations

7255 Participants

25215 Comments

Money

824 Conversations

6292 Participants

16362 Comments

Technology

779 Conversations

7634 Participants

20043 Comments

Transport & Travel

601 Conversations

4829 Participants

13521 Comments