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T8 fluorescent fixture and FM radio signal

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Forum topic by TurnTurnTurn posted 589 days ago 1773 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TurnTurnTurn

585 posts in 1714 days


589 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

HELP!!! Up to now all of my shop lighting is provided by t40 fluorescent fixtures that included a cord and plug. I had to replace one of the fixture and bought a T8 direct wire fixture. Since I wanted to plug it in I simply added 2 wires and a plug. The light works fine, but I cannot put my FM radio within about 5-6 feet of this light because it will not get any reception. If I set the radio near the light the radio gets no signal until I unplug the light fixture and then the FM signal returns so I know it has something to do with this light. Any thoughts or suggestions to fix this issue? Thanks

-- TurnTurnTurn


17 replies so far

View Gary's profile

Gary

7004 posts in 2037 days


#1 posted 589 days ago

Had the same problem. Had to add the extra ground wire, then the radio worked

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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JoeinGa

3107 posts in 611 days


#2 posted 589 days ago

If you like (or need) the light where it is, find another place for the radio. Like across the shop maybe? That’s what I did when I encountered the same issue.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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TurnTurnTurn

585 posts in 1714 days


#3 posted 589 days ago

Thanks Gary, I will give that a try.

-- TurnTurnTurn

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

561 posts in 982 days


#4 posted 589 days ago

That is interesting. I am not aware of this. What make and model is it?
Most likely it is the ballast of the fixture (like a transformer) that interfers with the radio signal.
EMI (lelectromagnetic interference) perhaps. I would think the fixture are suppose to meet certain EMI standard.

Folks with electronic device on their body for heath reasons (like a pacemaker) need to be concern about these things.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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TopamaxSurvivor

14619 posts in 2280 days


#5 posted 589 days ago

All these electronic ballasts and other electronic devices do strange things to electrical systems and equipment.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View redryder's profile

redryder

2107 posts in 1706 days


#6 posted 589 days ago

Go to satellite radio like I did. That FM radio will be in your next garage sale. You’ll never look back…...............

-- mike...............

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kizerpea

746 posts in 972 days


#7 posted 589 days ago

make a home made antenna an mount outside shop…i did an got alot more stations ..i bought a tunner with remote an speakers $40 from a yard sale now it rocks da shop!!!!google how to build a fm antenna..

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1157 posts in 901 days


#8 posted 589 days ago

An old set of TV rabbit ears or a small rooftop VHF antenna is a good radio antenna (the FM spectrum resides on VHF channel 6). Satellite radio isn’t for everyone and 15-16 bucks a month is hard to swallow when local radio is free.

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Sarit

466 posts in 1744 days


#9 posted 589 days ago

The electronic ballast in these lights that are rated for commercial duty, often don’t have enough RFI shielding. Its best to get ones rated for residential applications. If you call the manufacturer of your ballast they will sometimes replace yours for another one that may work or at least recommend which version to use.

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Sarit

466 posts in 1744 days


#10 posted 589 days ago

FYI, these are the lights I’m planning on getting once my garage remodel is done:
http://www.homedepot.com/buy/lithonia-lighting-4-ft-wraparound-fluorescent-ceiling-fixture-sb-2-32-120-gesb.html#.UNH5uXf91TY

View teejk's profile

teejk

1207 posts in 1289 days


#11 posted 589 days ago

I have a steel building so I never got to see the impact of the lights since I already had issues. I had to take a wire outside the building. it is only cheap speaker wire (small hole) that I split to form a T and unless the deer knock it down, it works.

AM actually works better with the lights although there I have problems with cordless tool chargers (“click, click. click”).

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1119 days


#12 posted 589 days ago

Sarit, yours come rated with the residential ballast, you should be OK. TTT, adding the ground wire should eliminate most of the RF. Cheap ballast T8 units set up a magnetic field that acts as a shield for certain wavelengths of the radio spectrum. I’ve had the same problem setting up guitars – the pickups go nuts under certain types of cheap lights. I’d ground the light and later on, buy residential rated ones. Should say right on the box. I don’t think there is any reason to worry about pacemakers, otherwise every person with a pacemaker would be in trouble every time they walked into a building with a commercial flourescent fixture. Microwave band is much, much higher on the spectrum.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View teejk's profile

teejk

1207 posts in 1289 days


#13 posted 589 days ago

tennessee…I think all the T-8 fixtures are grounded since they use electronic “ballasts” (I heard that the primary reason for premature failure/warranty claims is because of poor ground).

T-12’s are soon to be dino’s (I think they got extensions on the US mandate until mid 2014)...as people transition to the new stuff, the issue will certainly get more focus. Until then, get a cheap antenna outside.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3343 posts in 1575 days


#14 posted 589 days ago

I’d be looking at T-5 bulbs and fixtures if I were you guys.

FYI the T# refers to the diameter of the tube. T-12 = 1 1/4” diameter, T-8 = 1” diameter, T-5 = 5/8” diameter.

After LEDs, which are very pricey, the next best product out there is the T-5 HO which stands for Hi Output. A nominal 48” long T-5 HO tube uses about 54 watts and produces more than twice the lumen output of a T-8 32watt tube. Also, they are electronically controlled so they can cycle on and off without degrading. Life expectancy is much greater. In industrial installations we install thousands of these T-5 lights to replace metal halide and similar fixtures.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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teejk

1207 posts in 1289 days


#15 posted 589 days ago

thanks for that crank…not sure I’ve seen them in the big box stores yet but the concept is appealing. I have 2 banks of T8’s on my ceiling (bright white steel) and they are more than enough for general lighting (the bright white helps alot there and I would recommend that anybody doing a shop pay attention to that). But I do plan on adding task lighting over benches (if I ever get them cleaned off) and those T-5’s sound like the ticket.

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