Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

FM does it with frequency!
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archer66
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:31 pm

Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

Post by archer66 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:47 pm

Hello all!!!

I'm not a radio expert...barely a novice. I'm also not an electrician....just above novice. However all electrical installation described below was done with the assistance of my father who is a qualified electrician.

I recently built a 30x40 stud framed pole barn sided and roofed with sheet metal. I installed a 200 amp service panel which I grounded with an 8 foot copper rod. I framed in on one end of the building a 15x30 workshop area and inside that area Iinstalled a dozen standard 120 volt outlets and 3 eight foot T8 two bulb light fluorescent fixtures with reflector shields. The outlets are on two different circuits and the lights share a different circuit.

Here's my question:

My FM radio works perfectly when I have the lights off, but as soon as I turn the lights on I get nothing but a loud buzz over the speakers totally obscuring the radio station which I assume is due to RF interference. It is my understanding that ballast manufacturers are required to produce ballasts that do not interfere with FM frequencies but alas I have interference. If I run an extension cord from the house and plug the radio in to it I still get the buzz so I believe the interference is in the air not feedback through the electrical system.

What can I do to remedy this? I've got 240 in those lights so my preference is not to replace them.

ChuckG
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Re: Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

Post by ChuckG » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:31 pm

I'd guess one or more of the ballasts are faulty. Disconnect one by one to see if the interference resolves.
Hopefully you used class "B" residential ballasts, and not "A" commercial, which have less noise suppression.
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Deep Thought
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Re: Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:35 pm

Do you get the interference on a battery-powered radio not connected to AC power? Running a cord from the house doesn't isolate the radio from the power line if you're on the same power transformer.

Unfortunately there are a lot of noncompliant electronic ballasts out there, but it is possible you just have one bad one. I would remove the tubes from the fixtures and check for interference. It none, then start replacing the tubes until you find the bad one. If you still have interference with all the tubes out it is going to be a bit more difficult to track down the culprit.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

archer66
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Re: Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

Post by archer66 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:43 pm

Deep Thought wrote:Do you get the interference on a battery-powered radio not connected to AC power? Running a cord from the house doesn't isolate the radio from the power line if you're on the same power transformer.

Unfortunately there are a lot of noncompliant electronic ballasts out there, but it is possible you just have one bad one. I would remove the tubes from the fixtures and check for interference. It none, then start replacing the tubes until you find the bad one. If you still have interference with all the tubes out it is going to be a bit more difficult to track down the culprit.
Ah...yes..meant to add that. I get interference using battery operated radios as well as my truck radio....starts as soon as the antenna crosses the threshold into the building.

archer66
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Re: Fixing interference caused by Fluorescent lighting

Post by archer66 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:45 pm

ChuckG wrote:I'd guess one or more of the ballasts are faulty. Disconnect one by one to see if the interference resolves.
Hopefully you used class "B" residential ballasts, and not "A" commercial, which have less noise suppression.

Hmm...I bet they're commercial..

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