How to Fix Radio & TV Interference From LED Lights

We're big fans of LED lighting here at Reduction Revolution.

Over the last few years, we've sold hundreds of thousands of LED lights from quality brands like Philips, Osram and Verbatim.

In the vast majority of cases, LED lights do what they're meant to. They provide better lighting using up to 90% less energy. Occasionally, our customers do encounter a problem. One such problem is radio or TV interference.

Some customers have reported this interference on their TV or radio after upgrading MR16 downlights to LED. This only happens when the lights are switched on, but it can be annoying, especially if you enjoy AM radio! Apparently it can also happen with the mains voltage LED lamps, although we have not experienced this.

How To Fix Radio Interference from LED Lights

Here is a list of possible solutions that we are aware of:

  1. Use a quality LED bulb. All of our LED light bulbs are fully compliant with the relevant standards. Many LED lights from cheaper or no-name brands are not compliant.
  2. Change the transformer to one with better EMI suppression, such as our Verbatim LED transformer.
  3. Shorten the cable length, and if possible use a shielded cable.
  4. Add an EMI filter at the input / output of the transformer. These are also called ferrite beads or ferrite chokes.

Item 2 above is only suitable for low voltage LED lights. The other suggestions can also be used on mains voltage LED light bulbs.

Understanding RF / EMF Radio Interference

As some further background, let's clarify some of the terms used and how this all works.

  • RF - Radio Frequency
  • EMF - Electromagnetic Frequency
  • Transformer - Converts mains voltage (240V AC) into low voltage (12V).

Philips MR16 LED RF Interference

Important: The LED lamp is not the only, and not necessarily the most dominant, cause of radio interference. The full system must be considered.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

All Philips LED bulbs (and other reputable brands) have full EMC compliance. This testing is normally conducted by third parties to EMC standard CISPR15.

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) - Disturbance Source 

This refers to the device emitting electromagnetic energy (the source of the radio interference). In the case of LED lighting this could be:

  • LED light bulb or globe
  • Ballast
  • Transformer

Coupling Path - Conduction & Radiation

This refers to the interaction between the 'source' and the 'victim.' In the case of LED lighting it could be:

  • Light fitting or 'luminaire'
  • Cable
  • Ceiling

Electromagnetic Susceptibility (EMS) - Susceptible Item

This refers to the item that may be affected by the above radio interference and may include:

  • AM or Digital Radio
  • TV
  • Computer

Looking for Quality LED Lights? Browse our full range here.

By Ryan McCarthy |
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