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Old 09-11-2009, 07:47   #1
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Question re: LED Interference with VHF

Hello. I just installed an LED tri-color and an LED anchor light. Unfortunately, now whenever I have either light on I only hear static on all stations on my VHF, no matter what I do with the squelch. Its no good because its important that I have the tri-color and the VHF working properly at the same time for night sailing. Any suggestions as to what is causing this?

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Old 09-11-2009, 08:27   #2
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I found this on Panbo regarding OrcaGreen, but I bet it's widespread amongst LEDs vs VHF.
Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: LED nav lights, a fast moving target

After several conversations with those few folks who are experiencing RF interference with their LED TriAnchor light, we think we have narrowed the cause down to the newer more sensitive VHF radios (and/or positioning of the antenna to the light). The radios that seem to be the most sensitive (and thus the interference) are ICOM 504 or 522 and also the West Marine/Uniden 600 models. Older radios or less sensitive radios don't seem to have any issues with interference, so the issue is very isolated as we can tell, however we are working on a way to eliminate the possibility going forward as newer technology becomes available. Our engineering team has devised a fix for the current TriAnchor light using a very specific ferrite bead (Fair-Rite P/N0 431167281), which can be purchased from a variety of electronic parts stores including Mouser and DigiKey. If you have one of the above radios and are experiencing RF interference, you can purchase one of these directly or call us for one.
To Install the Fair-Rite P/N 0431164781 bead, wrap the bead around a section of the wire with 1 loop in it and as close to the end by the light as possible. The wires should pass through it twice (as shown in photo). The Ferrite bead is a clamp on type, so no rewiring is required as long as you have enough play in the wire to make the loop.
Again, this is a very small percentage of folks and currently we've honed it to the very sensitive newer VHF radios. As mentioned in our earlier FAQ, we are designing a more eloquent fix into the new circuitry of our 12-24V TriAnchor light which will be available later this spring. We will also include this ferrite bead in our packaging, though most folks won't need it. We encourage you to test your light prior to installation and if you do need it, you will have it readily available.
The link with the "fix". Just like the ferrite bead on a USB cable.

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Old 09-11-2009, 13:11   #3
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And this shows that the LED lights still aren't ready yet. The whole story is from a sales droid who refuses to admit they f*&^cked up. You don't need new emerging technology to make a voltage regulator without RF interference and it certainly isn't the fault of good sensitive VHF radio's. What a lame way of dealing with the issue!

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Old 09-11-2009, 13:45   #4
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Agreed Jedi. One should not have to buy an additional patch for a problem. Make it right the first time.

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Old 09-11-2009, 13:54   #5
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LEDs make no noise

LEDs do not make radio interference it is the power supply that makes the interference. Switch-mode power supplies must be designed initially with EMI minimisation in mind from the beginning. Those running light manufactures who do utilize the RAdio Shack method of design are not power supply designers. There are switch-mode supplies that are designed to drive LEDs without generating interferencs. Problem is that we buyers do not know which products are designed with minimum EMI in mind.

LED assemblies made without switch-mode supplies merely burn up excess power as heat and, therefore, are way less efficient than those designed with switc-mode supplies.

We must look for LED assemblies that have good swich-mode supplies and good optics and good LED quality. Not cheap.
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