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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs

Dale Rogers (WA9WBV) on April 20, 2007
View comments about this article!


A couple months back in another ham radio forum, I mentioned the RF pollution effects of various electronic devices and their danger to all frequencies below 1GHz, with possibly the most dangerous being the "compact florescent" light bulbs. A potentially much worse problem than BPL.

Well, one of my fellow hams (wa9wjb) back in my midwest roots hometown area who I first discovered this major problem with has done his impeccable research and yes, you can read up on his findings on the following website.

Read and shiver. Where does one address this challenge? The ARRL, our Federal Congress, the FCC, WalMart, China manufacturers??? Who knows how to stop billions of these things being deployed? Oh, and the mercury disposal problem, well thats no different than properly disposing of billions of batteries...

Enjoy reading and save your low band dxing by offering all your neighbors free incandescent light bulbs for the asking!

73,

Dale

wa9wbv/6

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by G3LBS on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news -
1. All mine produced excessive noise.
2. In addition they had deadly mercury.
3. Many people will not filter them out of their general trash.

The good news for me -
All my 'long-life energy-saving' bulbs have failed in a short time!

Buffalo Gil W2/G3LBS
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1XZ on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The good news:
I have a house full of them and they all are quiet. In fact I have one directly over my radio desk and 5 feet from the 450 ohm feeder.
They can be recycled and last a long time.
They use a whole lot less energy.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KX8N on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The bad news -
....
2. In addition they had deadly mercury.
...."

All fluorescent bulbs have mercury in them. Almost anybody who works indoors is probably around them all day long. And it's only an issue if you break one, anyway. "Manual" thermometers and thermostats have way more mercury in them than a fluorescent bulb.

As far as noise, I've had fluorescent bulbs in my shack for years and I've never noticed anything major as far as noise. There isn't anything there when I turn it on that isn't there when I turn it off. Of course I guess that depends on how many you use. But I think using good quality coax, connectors, and having a sound ground system will do wonders for correcting any noise you might be experiencing.

You're going to find that most of the noise in the shack is going to come from computer monitors, though.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W5HSJ on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I also have nothing but fluorescents in my house - have had for several years - and not a problem at all. The only detectable noise is on a Panasonic RF-2900 portable SWL receiver sitting on my night stand with its antenna about 6 inches from the bulb. And, only on the AM broadcast band but still not enough to overpower any stations.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by VA3SAX on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I also have a house full of them and an indoor antenna. the only time they make any noise is a click when you turn them on but that happens for other lights too
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by G6LFT on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I noticed this problem a few years ago when I changed all our bulbs for low energy ones, they were on special offer and very cheap (= noisy?). Filtering the mains did not help so I went round changing bulbs back to incandescent, finding which were the worst. I found some units were more noisy than others (even from the same manufacturer) and eventually managed to find a set that didn't appear to increase the rf noise.

However, now everyone seems to be using the bulbs (a small handheld optical spectrometer will show the characteristic line spectra of the bulbs even through neighbours windows!) and the noise on the low bands is S9+. This is, of course, not just bulbs but all the cheap switching supplies that invade our homes. It was very revealing to power up the rig from a car battery during a power outage, the noise fell to S3 and there was some glorious DX; alas the power company were too efficient and the noise returned all too soon.

73, graham
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N4VNV on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
All I can do is get on the bandwagon with W1XZ. I have a whole house full of them, one is two feet from my Kenwood TS-2000. I work 160M in the morning AND evening hours with no noise from these bulbs. I've been using them over three years. My "before" rig was an Icom 746PRO and it received no noise from them either. I have 13 of them that are on except when I am asleep. AND my house is in the center of my horizontal Loop antenna. I am very active on all HF bands and 2M's as well. I'm retired and spend a lot of time on the air. All I can do is tell you how it is at my station, I am not an electrical engineer. My home was built in 1977. The biggest problem I've had is lamps with "dimmer" switches.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by SV1IYG on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hello.

I have two of these lamps in my house and only recently i discovered that they are awful RF polluters.

Recently i bought a baby monitor device and the receiver has some sort of signal strength on it, with 5 points.

Well with this lamp on, the noise is about 1 and 1/2 on the monitors scale.

The baby monitor operates around 40MHz

I am sure that there might be such lamps of different qualities, with respect to RF pollution, but an ordinary man (without some sort of a receiver) has no way of knowing what his desk-lamp is doing to the spectrum :-(
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W8JI on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It would help if people named the brands that were bad, and the brands that were no problem.

It would also help a great deal if a "good noise-free bulb" was tested in a controlled test against a "bad bulb".

Unless this is all done any article or any response to that article has very limited usefulness.

I have a fixture for measuring 120V devices (like switching power supplies) for FCC compliance. It would be interesting to compare a lamp from a "clean installation" to a lamp from a "dirty installation" and see how much difference there is.

Also we should keep in mind the USA is now simply an importer and we have very little control over what comes in. Look at the pet food problem. Even if a product passes testing it doesn't mean some cheap dishonest person halfway around the world won't make a business decision that ups his profit at the expense of safety or laws.

We allowed the government to set ourselves up for this type of life when we downsized the wrong areas of Government.

73 Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1XZ on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Two brands that are quiet. N:Vision and Philips...both made in China. I have all bands from 160 to 2 meters AM/SSB and really hear nothing. My computers/monitors are far more RF unfriendly than the lighting as is a guitar effects pedal that makes a real fuss on 20 meters. I also have 3 sets of 4 foot florescent tubes in the basement that are also quiet.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W4KDA on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have a house full of these with no problems on HF (160-10) or VHF (6-2). They are GREAT bulbs, bright, long lasting, and use very little power for the same light output. I think all of mine are Sylvania brand, but I'm not sure about that.

The last one I got had a warning note in the package that it could emit HF RF. It suggested that if there was a problem to move the radio equipment away from the light (HA!). Out of curiosity, I installed that one in the lamp next to my shack table. There is no noise from it at all, no matter which antenna I connect to any of my HF/VHF rigs.

I WILL BE BUYING MORE OF THESE LIGHTS IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT HESITATION.

73,
Kyle
W4KDA
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N4CQR on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Noise is worse for those on 50hz rather than 60hz. US is 60hz.

I have 7 and no noise.

J C S
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N1XBP on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I mentioned on a reflector how many headaches compact flourescent bulbs had caused me, and inadvertantly made a stir. The group in question were technically capable, and most had test equipment on hand, so the debate degenerated into many of us going off and testing our bulbs.

The informal result was that most (a percentage figure would be meaningless) CF bulbs were near totally RF silent, with a few bad apples here an there. Usually the offenders were a cheap brand, and there seemed to be a bad batch a few years back sold at WalMart, but quite a few people had quiet WalMart bulbs.

Apparently my 9 or 10 noisy bulbs were the result of some other hex, curse or affliction all my own, but a Timewave ANC-4 takes care of the issue nicely.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K6AER on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I had installed them in my ham shack and found no problem with radiated RF to my antenna 250 feet away in the back yard. I do wonder about their intended usefulness. The actual lumens output is well under a standard 60 watt incandescent bulb. In order to obtain the same brilliance many home owners are doubling up on the amount of bulbs to get the same amount of light. No energy savings there.

A larger problem is I have had two of them short out and catch fire. Luckily I was in the room and heard the arcing and smelled the smoke. I have pulled all the units and gone back to regular incandescent bulbs.

What is the energy savings when your home could burn down.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by WU8P on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have 13 Compact Florescent lamps in our house. 4 in my shack. I operate HF VHF UHF and don't have any problems. I do have EVERYTHING grounded very well and use shielded cable.
I enjoy lower temps and utility bills.
73
Phil WU8P
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by STRAIGHTKEY on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have a house full of these bulbs, too, and haven't had any issues.

This is "impeccable research"? I see only one brand of bulb mentioned. It's not a news flash that flourescent bulbs require a high voltage power supply and that fat bulb base must contain some kind of electronics. Another supposed news flash: switching power supplies can be noisy. The operative word is CAN.

There's no real measurements in the linked web page and no comparison of brands. There needs to be much, much more research before we can even think about addressing this with the FCC or getting upset over it.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by G0RTN on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It all depends on the brand. Some are good and some are frankly awful. In the EU the noisy ones will also be in breach of the EMC Directive. If you find a particularly noisy brand, it might be worth sending them a letter to let them know.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N1QKH on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have had no RF noise problems but, two of these had internal failures that left burnt - brown spots on the case and put smoke into the room. I wonder if any of these have started fires in people's homes.

73 de Don N1QKH
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W5RUM on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I was in the ARRL headquarters Test lab a few weeks ago and they where in the process of testing numerous compact fluorescents from various manufacturers for RF emissions. Most, not all, of the lamps were RF clean. If you know of a brand that’s giving you RF problems, fire off an email to Mike in the test lab…. They can include it in their testing.
Tom W5RUM
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W1YW on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is a real problem with great inconsistency amongst manufacturers from an RFI standpoint.

This is a case where the ARRL's RFI efforts are useful and agnostic to technologies.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K0BG on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is another problem with them which most people will never find out about on their own. Here it is.

I have three IR light switches in my home (master BD closet, laundry room, and garage). They're very handy when you have your hands full, or when you drive into the garage at night. In my case, the garage has several florescent fixtures over the workbench, and up until recently, the other standard light was a Phillips halogen. It eventually burned out (took nearly 6 years!), and I replaced it with a compact florescent.

Upon doing so, the other florescent fixtures (twin F40CW, with electronic ballasts) would no longer light unless you used the bypass switch on the IR unit, even though it is meant to be used with them. I also notice the compact unit remained "on" slightly. I pondered what was going on, and figured it was something in the IR unit.

I decided to replace the compact with a standard bulb. When I went out to do so, the compact unit came on with a loud pop, and enough smoke to set off the smoke alarm.

After taking it apart, I discovered a .01, 100 volt cap had failed. I measured the voltage at the lamp's socket, and when the IR unit was off, there was a DC leakage of about 30 volts, apparently from the triac inside. Replacing the IR unit DID NOT fix the problem. Just for fun, I put in a new compact lamp. It lasted for two trips, and poof.

They tell you right on the package you can't use one with a dimmer, but you know someone is going to do that, if for no other reason than by accident.

So, I tried that too. As soon as the dimmer was about 1/2 way on, the unit exploded with enough force to split the base open! It must have shorted as the dimmer failed, and the breaker tripped.

The short story is, don't use one of them in any circuit not switched by a standard, everyday wall switch!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by K5NT on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have one in my desk lamp, overhanging my OMNI VI+. It produces no noise on 40 or 20, which is where I spend my operating time. Mine came from Home Depot, as I recall. The brand on the base is "Commercial Electric", and the SKU# is 772-879. The model number is EDSO-9.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K3AN on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I noted significant noise from a compact fluorescent bulb I bought probably 10 years ago. I guess I better not say what I did with it.

Within the last year I bought some Sylvania brand CF bulbs and installed three of them in lamps and overhead fixtures that tend to stay on for longer periods of time. I live in a rather rural environment, so the noise floor on most HF bands here doesn't move the S-meter. When I first installed the bulbs, I ran tests to see if they were going to be noisy. I was unable to measure any increase in noise when these CF bulbs were turned on.

BTW, don't believe the lumen rating they show on the package. If a 60 Watt incandescent bulb provided sufficient light, you will need the CF bulb rated to replace a 75 Watt incandescent to provide approximately equivalent brightness (you'll still save energy). Even then, it takes a while to get used to the weird color. I guess that's probably due to the fact that the spectrum is not continuous, but consists of light at just a few discrete frequencies.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KT8K on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I could be mis-remembering, but I have found noisy flourescent lights to often be failing. Either the ballast is starting to short out, or something else is going wrong, but electrical noise often seemed associated with impending failure of the light. So it might not be just the cheap units, but also the lights that are telling you of their imminent demise.

In my non-dimmered fixtures I have installed compact flourescents, but in my dimmered circuits I have installed the most efficient halogen bulbs I can. So far, no noticeable increase in RF noise (though the wireless water meter reading device the city put in gives me a horrible mess of traveling spurs, every 4.8 kHz or so, across the 1-30 mHz bands).

And I've always remembered that using a dimmer to cut back an incandescent bulb by 5-10% increased its life five-fold. THAT's a meaningful environmental savings, too.

I haven't got any evidence (yet), but I still believe that dimmers reduce energy usage, though I don't expect them to be linear in that. Some people (non-engineers, generally) have told me that dimmers don't save energy, but I haven't seen proof of that and question it. I'm looking for it, though, as it might change my home conservation strategies.
73 de kt8k - Tim
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1XZ on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is some good information Alan. Thanks. Like with everything in life there are problems. From the original article I thought all bulbs were bad, and the end was at hand (again) for ham radio. Yes, some generate noise, but they are all returnable (especially at places like Walmart and Home Depot.) Yes, they contain mercury but so do hundreds of other electronic devices, and they are all recyclable. Anything I can do to make my grid use go down I will at least try.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KT8K on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A quick dig on the internet finds that the claims that dimmers don't save energy was based on the use of rheostats to dim lights. I have never knowingly seen one of those, but the solid state dimmers in use most of my life DO save energy, according to http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/lighting.html.

We're still using 16 times the global energy per capita average here in the US, I've heard, and getting back to the average is sorely needed. Is it possible, though? We've got a lot of reworking of our infrastructure, economy, and personal lives to accomplish that. Is there a choice? I don't think so. And ... sooner or later we'll have to face the fact that our population is out of control, and driving our energy, climate change, and most other large scale problems. Hopefully we can prove ourselves more adaptable than lemmings.

Keep saving energy (and money), folks. (Hey, my proclivity for QRP operation ... that saves energy and money, too!) best rx & 73 de kt8k - Tim
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K4KRW on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My experience with the bulbs has been pretty positive. I only use them for outside lighting. I leave my outside lights most of the time on so it made sense to try to save some energy. My oldest bulbs are two exterior flood lights. I imagine they have been up there since 2001. I just replaced one on the front porch. I write the date that I install them on the base with a Sharpie. The one I replaced had been there since August of 2002. Not bad. I have not noticed any noise from them. The ones I use are from Home Depot. I think they are the 'Commercial Electric' brand.

73,

Richard
K4KRW
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KT8K on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Interestingly, in Michigan the local energy utility has embraced alternative energy (they say) and will let you buy alternatively-generated electricity. I wonder how much profit they make from overpricing what they sell us when they can't possibly have the alternative generating capacity to actually provide it. It sounds like a scam to me, but their radio ads this week are ... glowing!

Interestingly, our energy company has thrown up a horde of paperwork barriers in recent years that virtually prevent anyone with a solar panel from getting any money for energy they might supply back into the grid. This discourages individuals from gearing up to generate their own energy -- there is so much more incentive if they can sell some of it back into the grid. I have written the governor to look into this, and to see why the public service commission isn't managing it. I fear that, if national events are any indication, it's possible the recent Republican-dominated era in state government probably left the Public Service Commission securely in the pocket of the utility.
Write letters to your legislators, folks. What else can you do (besides vote -- please do that, too)?
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N3OX on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have a house full of them and no problems either, at least compared to other noise generators (the grid itself is on and off trouble here). This would make an excellent QST review.

I can't support any campaign to stop the deployment of compact fluorescents. The energy savings are very important. On the other hand we should hold manufacturers to good electromagnetic emissions standards, but that's true across the board.

As far as the mercury issue:

"Oh, and the mercury disposal problem, well thats no different than properly disposing of billions of batteries..."

"2. In addition they had deadly mercury.
3. Many people will not filter them out of their general trash."

"Yes, they contain mercury but so do hundreds of other electronic devices, and they are all recyclable."

I'd much rather have the few milligrams of mercury per bulb in the CFL's hit a plastic-lined landfill somewhere than for those few milligrams of mercury to enter the atmosphere directly while burning coal to generate extra electricity to power incandescent bulbs which then needs more coal burnt to air condition that heat away...

The mercury thing is very possibly a red herring. If you don't like the RF noise, fine, but don't start talking about "deadly mercury" like these bulbs are time-bombs of poison...

You'd have to look at full life-cycle analysis of compact fluorescent lamps to know where the mercury comes from and where it goes vs. the mercury released into the environment from electricity generation.

Anyway, mine aren't a problem that I can notice above the normal beeps, bloops and crackles of a suburban environment, and they're not so expensive that you couldn't buy your nearest neighbors new RFI-free ones to replace their noisy ones.

Try to do that with their $350 Ionic Breeze air purifier or their $10,000 plasma TV...


Dan
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W6OPO on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have been using compact florescents since about 2003. I have 18 in the house - no incandescents. The originals are just starting to go at 3-4 years of use. They are the ones that run around 8 hours daily. Failure rate is about 10% fail within 1-2 days but I get a free replacement each time.

Model: Philips Marathon

Can't find Philips anymore at Home Depot or OSH - anywhere so replacements are Nvision.

I'm on HF perhaps 8 hours daily and have tested to see if there is noise - knowing the scuttle-butt. Using my FT-1000D and IC-781 can't find a noise anywhere from 160-10 meters. Those test of course used an outside antenna a substantial distance from the bulb. Using a Sony ICF-2010 portable I could hear a noise when the radio was within 3 inches of the bulb. At 4-5 inches - silence.

Using an HP spectrum anlyzer and a whip antenna on its Antenna In port I have been unable to find anything in the grass either.

Obvisously there is a fundamental but I don't know where it is - not in the HF ham bands for sure.

Bob - W6OPO
San Jose
 
Don’t feel guilty about mercury release  
by WZ7I on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Don’t feel guilty about mercury release

Recently I was at a meeting of the American Chemical Society and was having coffee with an official from the EPA. I told him I had a household of these compact fluorescent bulbs and liked the lower energy costs but I was feeling guilty about the mercury pollution their disposal would cause. He laughed and said the savings in electricity would result in far less coal use with its consequent mercury release. He said this savings swamps the small amount of mercury released by the disposal of fluorescent lamps.

Wes Cosand, PhD
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W4VR on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Here's some background info on the matter. I'm surprised this has surfaced only recently within the ham radio community. When I worked for the US Coast Guard we were made aware of the potential interference problem from GE compact fluorescent lightbulbs and decided to work with GE to figure out a way to make people aware of the interference to MF/HF from these bulbs...this was roughly 12 years ago. The concern at the time was use of these bulbs aboard ships at sea where distress and safety radio equipment was in use. I had done some preliminary testing on a specific bulb and discovered that it was emitting RF on discrete frequencies in certain MF and lower HF maritime bands. NTIA did extensive testing in their Boulder CO labs and verified the problem. At the time these bulbs were being sold overseas and GE was trying to get FCC permission to market these bulbs in the US. Since there was little the Coast Guard could do to prevent them from marketing these bulbs we asked for a labeling requirement on each package alerting the user of the potential interference to marine radio equipment. Incidentally, I use these bulbs throughout my two homes and have never observed interference in the amateur bands. As I recall from the subjective testing I did 12 years ago the interference was generally limited to the MF and lower HF bands, but with the newer bulbs the interference may be more widespread.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by NN4E on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I have 16 can lights with such bulbs just in my shack, and probably another 20+ arround the house - this is the only type of bulb I am using and I dont have ANY problems with RF noise - not on 160m. not on 80m, even LF and VLF are clean.
As others said - the mecury is only a problem if you break the bulb, and you have to break a lot of them before it presents as a hazzard! You can recyle them if you like!
These bulbs save a lot of energy and money! I'll be using them until the LED bulbs become cheaper!
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WA7NCL on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is a non-issue. Another chicken little eham article.

The major source of EMI at my house is hi res computer monitors, neighbors plasma TVs, and all those crappy wall wart switching power supplies that go with all the computer crap the neighbors have.

Let's worry about something else.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by KB1GMX on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have CF lamps of many manufacters and some are quiet and some noisy to varying degrees. The worst offenders
are the off brands and a "shoplight" 2 T8 with an electronics ballast from home depot (cheap) as that one has a broad noise peak right around 75m. I've exterminated the nasty ones. I find Phillips to be generally quiet and of course the older magnetic ballasted units to be just fine.

Dimmers are mostly nasty for noise and I've found few
decent ones.

Plasme and LCD TVs and a lot of the Motorola digital cable boxes are pretty noisy. most of the noise being
from their switchmode power supplies (surprise).
They are also very difficult to quiet down as I've
found ferrite on the power leads and other inputs
don't seem to help.

Swichmode wall warts run the gamut on noise too
and I have some that are fairly quiet to horribly
noisy.

The base article is a bit chicken little though but, there are an increasing number of little radiators
out there. They take the form of wall warts, CF
lamps, Drill battery chargers and others yet unnamed.
I'd say some attention is needed.

Allison
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WA1RNE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It would help if people named the brands that were bad, and the brands that were no problem.

It would also help a great deal if a "good noise-free bulb" was tested in a controlled test against a "bad bulb".

Unless this is all done any article or any response to that article has very limited usefulness.


>>> I'll second Tom's suggestions. It is very likely that one OEM's bulbs are quiet while others may radiate excessive EMI all over our bands.

This can be caused by the switching power supply topology and/or the lack of sufficient AC input filtering. Characterizing individual lights by model and manufacturer and sending a report to the FCC OET and Spectrum Enforcement Division is the best way to get lighting off the shelves that doesn't meet radiated emission standards.

I'm currently going through a similar process with the FCC concerning Plasma TV interference. One make and model radiates excessively while other models from the same manufacturer are very quiet.


...WA1RNE
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by PA7WWO on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Everyone

I use several of the fluorisent lightbulbs in my house and I haven't gat any problems of QRM from them on HF 2 mtrs and 70 cm.

We have different type's of the bulbs and they are 7 watt, 9 watt, 11 watt and 15 watt.

Overhere I buy them for about €2 a piece ($ 2,70), they last long enough and overhere no QRM.

I do have a lot of QRM from my daughters mobile phone batterycharger a Siemens C55 type.
And I had a lot of trouble with a switching power supply for some little halogeen spotlights the switching power supply QRM'ed on HF from 500 kHz to 10 MHz with QRM far over S9 and 160, 80, 40 and 30 mtrs bands were completely unusable.

greetings Jos pa7wwo
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by WB2LCW on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have them all over the house! I have absolutely no problems.I also have the cheapest ones you can buy!

I have the Home depot 6 pack for $9.95 and no problems.

Some of the circular units will produce noise when the bulb is on the way out.

And also my station is not well grounded and shielded!

73

Mike WB2LCW
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KG4RUL on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Forget the RFI, the light from those units is AWFUL! I predict a black market in incandescent bulbs starting in California.

Dennis KG4RUL
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by KB9RQZ on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
adapt or or die it is just that simple CF bulb kept my power usage at level where I my wind and soalr systems can start to make their own that are everywhere and will spread further

can't hear the noise myself either
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by NI0C on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have a half dozen compact fluorescent bulbs in my house, and have been aware of the potential noise problem for some time. However, I've experimented with them, turning them on/off, and never noticed any RFI.

I suspect that those who have the most problems with interference from these and other household appliances have antennas that are located close to the house. I keep my antennas as far away from houses as practical (my coax runs are a minimum of 125 feet).

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by AC7NA on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If you think the light is "awful," try another color. Most find that "soft white" is easiest on the eyes in a home setting. I like to use "cool whites" in my workshop. I would avoid "daylight" variants...they give off a bluish hue that is pretty hard to take for long, and seem to accentuate the stroboscopic effect of flourescent lamps.

Brian AC7NA
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W9WHE-II on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WHY doesn't arrl send FCC a letter "demanding" that FCC issue an order shutting down manufacturing of these bulbs?
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WD8BIL on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"It would also help a great deal if a "good noise-free bulb" was tested in a controlled test against a "bad bulb". "

Not exactly good against bad but I did some conducted and radiated scans on a Phillips 23watter. The conducted scan has the CFL compared to a standard bulb.

It appears that radiated noise from this, and possibly others, will be quite low. Probably due to the lack of radiating structure within the bulb.

Below 4 Mhz or so the culprit seems to be conducted noise back onto the power lines.

See: http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?topic=10826.0

for the scans. They were done at an FCC registered site.

 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WD8BIL on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Correction.... it was a sylvania 23 watter.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by WX4O on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have ONLY compact flourescents in my home and have never had noise from them. There are 4 in the shack itself. Until compact LED bulbs become affordable, compact flourescents, which save quite a lot of $ are the only way to go for me.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W8JJI on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I had many of them in my home and they did produce RF interference to HF reception .

Give me incandesent bulbs anyday! I'd rather be guaranteed less radio interference.

Besides, after having those new compact florescent bulbs in my home for over a year, MY ELECTRIC BILL WAS NOT ANY LESS.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WA9SVD on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The CF bulbs here in So. Cal. are subsidized by the power companies (either SDG&E or So Cal. Edison.)
Lately, the 75 Watt equivalent bulbs (OptoLight brand) have been on sale for $0.20 each, and in San Diego, I got two 100 Watt dimmable equals for $1.00.
I hear NO RF interference between AM BCB and 1.2 GHz, but the dimmable (usable with ordinary trica based incandescent dimmers) bulb, at certain light levels, DOES interfere with the IR Remote Control for the TV! GO FIGURE!

I only wish someone would produce a CF bulb with the light output of a 150 or 200 Watt bulb. I need that much light in a couple of lamps, and there isn't room to install two bulbs in any way in the lamps.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N3JBH on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
And Tom W8JI said this.

“Also we should keep in mind the USA is now simply an importer and we have very little control over what comes in. Look at the pet food problem. Even if a product passes testing it doesn't mean some cheap dishonest person halfway around the world won't make a business decision that ups his profit at the expense of safety or laws.

We allowed the government to set ourselves up for this type of life when we downsized the wrong areas of Government.”


You are correct Tom. I have been preaching that same sermon for years now.
I always found most folks are like sheep if you can just get one to do it the will all follow it. Between big business and the legislator they our turning this country in to a third world dictatorship. Oh sure it has not happened yet. But by god it is not far down the road. We the USA preach democracy to the rest of the world and try to persuade them to be that way. u are correct Tom. I have been preaching that same sermon for years now.
I always found most folks are like sheep if you can just get one to do it the will all follow it. Between big business and the legislator they our turning this country in to a third world dictatorship. Oh sure it has not happened yet. But by god it is not far down the road. We the USA preach democracy to the rest of the world and try to persuade them to be that way. Yet every day we move closer to communists thinking. All I can say is wake up folks before it to late.

We as citizens never had the power to elect a president. And we always been held hostage to his appointments as well. But we still have the power to change the lower cabinets of government. And I strongly suggest we do it and do it soon.

This message is approved by Jeff N3JBH

 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W6TH on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
by W9WHE
WHY doesn't arrl send FCC a letter "demanding" that FCC issue an order shutting down manufacturing of these bulbs?


Won't work as this is capitalism; An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

We need tougher laws to have more control of its citizens (less freedom).

.:
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K3AN on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with KG4RUL. I'm already starting to stock the 65 watt incandescent floods used in our ceiling "can" fixtures. I buy a few whenever there's a sale. The EPA can have them when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers. ;-)

 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KA5ROW on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
We have fluorescent lights in the kitchen, garage and even the aquarium. My shack is in a room within the garage, maybe 15 feet from the garage light, no noise at all. Not even on the AM broadcast band. So those of you that have a problem do you think it could be one brand of bulb over another ?
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N3OX on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"So those of you that have a problem do you think it could be one brand of bulb over another ?"

I think that's possible.

I should say that the ones I'm using and have no trouble with are also the ones that others have mentioned from Home Depot.

Dan
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by KE4DRN on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
hi,

no problems using Philips brand cfl that are not from china.
I snapped up most of them on clearance sale at home depot.

I also use the 22w circle fluorescent lamps in all the table lamps in my home,
they last about four years before replacing the bulb, the ballast fixture is GE.

73 james

 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N0AH on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It comes down to two things.

First, no matter what any of us do outside of living in the country, we are serwed upright and in fetal position on noise. It happens.

Second, buy the best rig you can with filtering matching your noise source to minimize what you can. IGNORE products promising to wipe out noise. You need a good radio and thats about all you can do. My Icom Pro-3 was an amazing improvemt for me over my Yaesu FT-1000.

Of course you can always unplug the coax.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by ONAIR on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I notice interference from them when I do TV DXing. They generate waves on the screen when a weak signal is coming in.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
How many hams does it take to change a light bulb?
ONE. He just holds the light bulb and the world revolves around him!

This may come as a shock to most hams, but there are more important things in this world than a ham playing with his radios! One of those things is ENERGY CONSERVATION! Another one of those things is an AFFORDABLE ENERGY BILL!
One of the first things I did when I bought this house, over two years ago, was to remove every incandescent light bulb in the house and replace them with compact fluorescents. The bulbs have been reliable, they haven't made noise in any of my radios including an FT-990 HF radio, they stopped converting my hard earned money to unwanted heat and they have GREATLY reduced my electricity bill. With benefits like that, ham radio can be da****!
As for the downsides, there are some to EVERY technology, especially newer ones. Why is the mercury in a compact fluorescent more of an environmental issue than in a linear fluorescent? Up until very recently, EVERY alkaline battery on the face of the planet had mercury in it. I'll bet there wasn't one single ham that insisted on sticking with carbon/zinc dry cells in the interest of protecting the environment. How many hams recycle their alkaline batteries? Be honest now! Could it just be that the sudden interest in the environment springs from a PERCEIVED threat to the ham's playtime? Finally, if you're so darned interested in eliminating noise, is your COMPUTER in the dumpster yet? The widespread use of these bulbs is in it's infancy and improvements in performance and environmental friendliness will surely be forthcoming. This is a significant first step in reducing the increasing demands on our power generation capabilities. We don't need a bunch of whiners attempting to undermine it's implementation.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by VK2GWK on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe I am just lucky but I do NOT have any noise from:
my computer,
the CFL right above the radio desk,
any other compact fluorescent in the house,
our Plasma TV,
various switching power supplies around the house that are on most of the time,
and so on......

Am I just plain lucky or is there a lot of complaining just for the sake of it....

BTW the Australian goverment has announced that to save energy in principle all incandescent bulbs will be banned within two years and will have to be replaced with CFL's. There are still a lot of practical issues of course but it is the trend....
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC8VWM on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I agree not all CF lights are created equal.

To suggest they all cause RF pollution is simply not accurate.

I have been using CF lighting in my home and some solar specific applications since 1997.

Some early CF bulbs were indeed very noisy. In fact, you could even hear a faint audible buzz emanating from them however CF bulb technology has evolved significantly since that time.

When purchasing CF bulbs I usually look for the Grey colored "FCC logo" on the base of the bulb. What this means exactly is that these CF bulbs are in compliance with FCC 47 CFR, including Part 2 and Part 18 requirements for consumer limits involving electromagnetic interference which affect radio reception operation.

The cheaper CF bulbs typically found in most dollar stores simply don't measure up nor do they bear compliance markings on them. Some of these are not even UL rated for that matter so therefore I choose not to purchase them even though they might only cost a buck.

Yeah, like anything else in life, it seems you get what you pay for.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K0RFD on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KB5DPE, this may come as a shock to YOU, but if we don't protect our spectrum, nobody's going to do it for us.

By far the biggest problem I have, and I venture to say I'm not that different from other people, is Part 15 devices. We don't need more RF polluters adding to the noise floor. It's bad enough already.

This was a good post, and the answers were even more informative. If you want to save the world without regard for the RF spectrum, that's your business. Me, I appreciate hearing who's had good and bad experiences. Cleaning up my noise floor starts at home.

Besides, I think wall warts are the low-hanging fruit at this point. How many lamps do you have in your house? How many are on at this very instant? How many wall warts? How many of those are plugged in all the time?
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC0NPF on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
LED

'nough said
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Am I just plain lucky or is there a lot of complaining just for the sake of it...."

By George, I think he's got it!
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by ICR71A on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The bottom line is that retail giants like WalMart and Target are forcing incandescent manufacturers to "rethink" their product lines. WalMart is leading the charge. Add the green folks to that, legislation in California and Europe that is eliminating the sale of conventional incandescent technology, and the inevitable is on the wall. Squawk all we want but the deed is done.

That said, there is little comparison between the noise generated by todays lamps versus the lamps of just a few years ago. The first ones (in the frosted globes) were absolutely awful. Of all the various brands I have used in the past several years, none have contributed any detectable RF noise. For the most part this is a non-issue.

"Duke" and the so-called article he writes that is given at the beginning of this thread are sheer populist nonsense--absolutely no supporting information is given--no measurements, just extrapolation and conjecture based on the fact that the lamp has a circuit board in it. This fellow would last just a few minutes in an academic or research environment. The sky is falling....

I would think by now that most people would know that common fluorescent fixtures are not intended for use with dimmers. Then again...

73 de Patrick, N4PRT
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB1LMO on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have gotten some short range noise walking around town on 2m from some fluorescents and neons, but the only place at home I notice fluorescent light noise is through my power lines when I have my guitar amp in the same circuit and turned on at the same time.

I might get the same issue with my gear, but it's on a different circuit so I don't know and I'm too lazy to drag it across the house to the studio to check.

The mercury thing sucks though, Not to mention the heavy metals in the HVPS. There really needs to be a nationwide education effort to remind people that these are hazardous waste. Don't want to poison the future playgrounds of America.
 
F.U.D.  
by KF6IIU on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have half the house on them and a few of them produce about 1/4 S Unit noise if they are within 6 feet or so of the antenna or feedline. My Daiwa SS-330W switching power supply is a lot more noisy :-(

The 18W cheap ones I bought for $2 produce less RFI than the tiny little 3W ones I paid $6 for.

The mercury argument is right wing AM radio nut job propaganda. Yes, the CFs have mercury. But so does coal. Over the life of the bulb, it will save much more than enough energy to offset the mercury-laden emissions required to power an incandescent produced from coal fired power plants. A CF bulb can be properly disposed of. I'll take my mercury pollution concentrated in liquid form in an easily disposed-of capsule rather than spread around in the air everyone breathes, thanks.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"How many lamps do you have in your house? How many are on at this very instant? How many wall warts? How many of those are plugged in all the time?"

Including overhead and outside fixtures, 9; 3 are on at present. One stays on all night so, if I have to get up, I don't trip over my dog.

8 wall warts, none of them stay on all the time. All but 2 are only on when the computer's on (an hour, two at most, per day). Most of my wall warts are still linear types because that's what came with the object they're attached to but, if they wear out/break they'll be replaced with switchers.
Tom


 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by PLANKEYE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I did have these in my shack at one time. My kids were playing above, my shack is in the basement, and it fell out and broke on my head and my rigs. Ruined a good Ham day. I'm not sure if this would be considered RF pollution, I guess it depends on if the old Golden Eagle was keyed when it dropped. I can't remember. Good article, I would suggest candles. Can't go wrong with simplicity.

PLANKEYE
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KX8N on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The mercury thing sucks though, Not to mention the heavy metals in the HVPS. There really needs to be a nationwide education effort to remind people that these are hazardous waste. Don't want to poison the future playgrounds of America. "

We used to play with vials of mercury in chemistry class when I was a child. And my mother put a tube of mercury in my mouth every time I had a fever. And right now, according to the installation manual that came with it, there is a small amount of radioactive material in my smoke detector.

I'd worry more about the mercury being pumped into rivers and lakes by factories LONG before I would worry about the tiny, tiny amount inside a light bulb.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I remember, in the 60's, there was an electronics surplus store in California, near my home, that had a pint canning jar full of mercury. When we'd go there, we used to like to pick it up just to see how heavy it was. I think they wanted five or ten dollars for the whole thing. Probably came from some technician that saved the mercury from thermostat switches or mercury switches or something similar. When I read articles like this one, I remember that jar and wonder who bought it and what they did with it. I can't help but think it probably wound up in a land fill somewhere, probably in the S. F. Bay Area where it was sold.
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WA9SVD on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I would think by now that most people would know that common fluorescent fixtures are not intended for use with dimmers. Then again...

73 de Patrick, N4PRT
=============

Patrick,
What you say is partly true, NOW. While most of the CF bulbs state that they can NOT be used with regular dimmers intended for incandescent bulbs (TRIAC based,) there ARE CF bulbs that are specifically marketed as "dimmable." (And they are!)
I was able to pick up a box of two for $1.00 at a discount store (discount courtesy of San Diego Gas and Electric;) made by "U Lighting," they are 23 Watt (100 Watt equal) and guaranteed 2 years (with 4 hours/day usage) and predicted life is seven years/8000 hours.
The bulbs do NOT cause any detectable RF noise whether used with a dimmer or not; in fact, the dimmer produced a slight bit of noise when used with an incandescent bulb, but that's now gone. I also have a regular CF bulb at my operating position, sometimes within a foot or two of my radio, and there's no change in my noise level whether the light is on or off.
Given my experience, I doubt the use of CF bulbs by any of my neighbors (typically close spaced residential lots 50' wide...) will cause my any problems.
The new bulbs are usually not noise-makers. I only wish they made CF bulbs with higher light output, say the equal of 150 or 200 Watt incandescent bulbs.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I only wish they made CF bulbs with higher light output, say the equal of 150 or 200 Watt"

I know I've seen some rated more than 100w equivalent but I can't remember where or any of the details. Don't THINK I was halucinating! Pretty sure there are some, though.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KL7IPV on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have two of Phillips' 13 watt bulbs in my radio shack plus a 18" florescent tube right above the desk. I have 3 way Phillips in the living room. I just put four 13 watt bulbs in the front of my house and a 23 watt in my garage. NONE of them can be heard on my radios. I just paid half price for the Phillips bulbs at Home Depot because the local power company is subsidizing their use to reduce our power drain. I heard someone on the radio say the other day that if everyone in the US switched out all the incandescent bulbs to florescents, the power savings would be enough to power another 31 million homes. From what I see reading here, the ham community is out in front on this one.
Frank
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The Neighborhood Conservation Services, a local private agency here in Ohio, in conjunction with some state agency, provides and installs these bulbs free of charge for low income families to reduce their electric consumption. From all of the interest in these, its pretty clear that the days of the incandescent bulb are numbered.
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K9KJM on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I too have been using the CF bulbs for many years now.
A few of the early ones (Straight tubes, Not the sprial types) did make some noise. I simply stopped buying that style. I have had NO problems at all with any of the several brands of the sprial types as shown on the big "expose"

I HAVE had trouble with most any type of light dimmer switch on the market, So have finally just given up on those, And the BIG noise is the computer monitors!

I fear the new "In House" BPL systems that are coming on the market....... "Death by a thousand cuts" if lots of those show up in any neighborhood.
BPL may be close to dead in the water for large scale deployment in cities, But these little in house systems are just starting to take off.... BEWARE!!!!
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by WA9WBV on April 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well quite a lot of response here! Sounds like the good news is that folks have been finding less noisy brand compact florescents than the featured dissected one on Dukes website. Guess we need to collect a recommended light bulb list!

However, in expanding the topic of RF Pollution several hams have noted that some of the other major sources are dimmer switches, under cabinet low voltage lights (mine eliminated 160 mtrs until I replaced all the switcher PS's with plane ole analog xmfrs which do get hot but sure took care of the RF pollution problem!), and of course those in house BPL toys, etc, etc. consumer electronic stuff.

Bottom line, though is in today's world, we all can't live in the country with our antenna's far away from all the neighboring homes. Since the FCC seems to have gotten very lax on enforcing clean RF producing products of whatever type, we as a community need to do whatever we can to try and protect the spread of RF pollution. It seems that in only 10 years or so my average noise level has gone from s1 to s6/7. That means there are hundreds or thousands of normally workable signals that are no longer being heard. Tough in todays world where many hams are forced into less than desirable antenna situations due to CCR's, city/suburban living, etc.

Hey, maybe the ARRL can come out with a "RF Pollution Free" product endorsement stamp of approval - kind of like Consumer Reports. The ARRL could make $$$$ and help protect the RF spectrum!!!

Dale
wa9wbv/6
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K5MO on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"deadly mercury"?

So...don't eat them!
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K5MO on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
""We need tougher laws to have more control of its citizens (less freedom)."" (W6TH)

You gotta keep an eye on this "freedom" stuff, lest it get out of hand! First you've got the freedom to purchase the light bulb you want, next thing you know, people will be demanding the freedom to say what they want, or go to the church of their choice!

Dangerous stuff, freedom....
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W8JI on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Unfortunately there isn't very much useful in subjective reports.

Many installations are terrible so far as picking up signals from incidental radiators. They might have antennas with strong common mode response like end-fed half waves, verticals with small or poor ground systems, and antennas just feet from power lines.

Other installations, even in small lots, can be much better.

What we feel also depends on how we use our radios. A fellow working weaker signals on CW has a substantially different requirement than a person ragchewing on SSB with 30 over nine buddies on one frequency.

Unless or until someone does some actual useful measurements on various bulbs using some standard test setup, none of this really tells us much of anything.

73 Tom



 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W4LGH on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I replaced most of the "Non-dimmer controlled lights" in my house with the newest low wattage compact florecent bulbs. The light from the newest (cool white) bulbs is fantastic! 13watts of power gives you better than 40watts of incandesent, a pretty good trade off for the "deadly mercury".

All were tested for several things before installation. First..Noise, all passed with flying colors, no noise heard on any used HF freq. Second, they were tested running my house generator, as some generators produce a very high spike and will blow them. Also the use of a DC to AC inverter will blow them into little pieces.

As far as noise goes, I have found that the "cheap" versions of light dimmers create more noise than they are worth. I have found most of the name brand dimmers are pretty quiet. Another source of weird noise can be the Halagon desk lamp you placed on your desk. A lot of these lamps use really bad un-filtered switch-mode power supplies that tear HF a up, and in some cases the BULB itself was creating the noise.

I guess the lessons to be learned here is to always test a new product before making a major change. And if using the new compact florescents and one breaks, DON'T eat the mercury in it! Eating enough of the mercury in these lamps could be bad for your health.

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com

PS.. I have seen several NEW models of Compact Florescents that say you CAN use it with a Dimmer. Haven't tested one yet, but they are out there.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC0JEZ on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Personally, I consider CFL's to be yet another way for big business to make money while waving the "save the planet" flag. Between the mercury, heat, varying real life lifespans, weird light, disposal pain in the butt, and all the rest, I'm sticking with regular bulbs until the lunatics manage to ban them....AND I've stocked up, so even if they're banned from sale, I've got enough to last my lifetime and make me a few zillion bucks on the lightbulb black market. They never seem to figure into the cost the extra charges to dispose of them (some communities charge a couple bucks EACH to thro them out!) And to heck with the mercury in them on a consumer level..how about the mercury in the factories making them? Too much pain in the butt for me. Here's a pretty good article, with a lot of specifics.

http://www.execulink.com/%7Eimpact/fluorescent_lights.htm
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WB9JTK on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It has been mentioned that they can be recycled.

Where and how? I toss them in the garbage because I cannot find out where to recycle them. I also put lithium batteries in the garbage.

I think it should be illegal to call anything recyclable unless it actually is recyclable.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC8VWM on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
OMG you thow out used CF bulbs in the trash and kill 100's of trees and baby seals in the process?

Unbelievable that another ham would even consider doing anything like that.

Yeah I suppose they can be recycled alright.

Didn't you read the recycling manual for CF bulbs?

Page 321:

"Remove all specs or evidence of existing glass and polish the light socket connector to it original luster and be sure remove any fingerprints or collected dust from the used lightbulb base."

Page 322:

"Proceed to rub the used CF lightbulb on your bellybutton 3 times and do 6 turns while holding the lighbulb in your left hand."

Page 326:

"Please refer to page 321"

------------

Basically, I don't see how it should pose any problem to recycle CF bulbs at all.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W2WO on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is an interesting subthread here. A number of comments describe both "weird light" and "quick failures". These are both characteristic of the just-a-buck CFLs, but not (in general) of the name brand CFLs. Hams really are a cheap bunch (myself included)!

If your sole experience is with the just-a-buck variety, you should try the better ones. They do have advantages in energy savings, heat reduction, less frequent access to awkward places, and so forth. AFAIK, I have no HF noise from mine.

Dimmers are a different story, even the expensive ones!

Bill - W2WO
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by WA8MEA on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is bull-pucky! I learned about these "curly cue" light bulbs from a fellow ham a half decade or more ago. The reason why he said he switched to them was because he cut his electric bill by 40%.

I started off with a handful. I did notice quite a drop in the electric bill. So I then embarked on doing the ENTIRE house!

I have them in my shack; I have them OUTSIDE lighting the back yard and garage. I have them in my closets. I don't have a conventional light bulb at my QTH.

Gov. Arnold doesn't have to use "forced consumerism' on the people of California. If the people only knew just how much they can save on their electric bill, they would understand that's reason alone to switch.

And if you do have a bulb that is giving you problems with QRM on your HF rig, it means the bulb is going bad. Replace it.

And that reminds me: many of these curly cue bulbs have significant warranties on them.....such as seven years. TAKE THE COMPANY UP ON THOSE WARRANTIES! Keep your receipts and if they only last a couple of years, send them back to the mfg. I guarantee they will not only replace the bad bulb, but GIVE you new, latest technology curly cues for your trouble.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WA8MEA on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Another item:

I see that quite a few folks in this thread are complaining about not enough light.

In situations such as that, I simple buy a "Y" socket from the hardware store for a couple of bucks. Put a couple of 13 watt "curly cue" light bulbs in the "Y" adapter and you've got PLENTY of bright light!

I use "Y" sockets for duel bulb operation both outside....for increased security...and in the basement....so I can see better and not trip over the junk stored down here.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W4VR on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For those complaining about not enough light...don't be so cheap and buy the 100-watt equivalent bulbs. Also, just to set the record straight on the type of interference caused by these bulbs...it's conducted emissions for the most part!
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W4VR on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For those of you with a good technical background go to this website http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/pub/ntia-rpt/99-366/99-366.pdf to view a report on spectrum measurements for an RF-driven lighting device. This is the same bulb I tested when I worked for the Coast Guard and had NTIA do some measurements on the device to validate the problem. Ron, W4VR
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"It has been mentioned that they can be recycled.

Where and how? I toss them in the garbage because I cannot find out where to recycle them. I also put lithium batteries in the garbage.

I think it should be illegal to call anything recyclable unless it actually is recyclable"

GOOD GRIEF!!!! If everything hams THINK should be illegal WAS illegal, everytime you hiccuped there'd be a "hiccup cop" ready to haul you away. Take some PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your own life for a change and let the law handle the "little stuff" like murder, robbery and the like!!! As far as recycling, in my community (they use independent trash collectors) the trash company will provide a separate "recycle container" upon request. As far as I know, most communities have similar programs. Contact your trash company or the city/county agency that operates the local program. They will provide the information you need and ALL OF YOU, STOP THROWING THIS STUFF IN THE LANDFILL. You may think it's a joke but your kids and grandkids will tell you it's NOT. HERE COME THE FLAMES!!! I don't care, though; it needs to be said.
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Contact your trash company or the city/county agency that operates the local program. They will provide the information you need"

AND in the unlikely event that you can't get the information from them, every package tha your batteries come in and probably your CF's too, will give contact information for recycle centers nearest to you. NO EXCUSE to be lazy!
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"For those complaining about not enough light...don't be so cheap and buy the 100-watt equivalent bulbs"

I've also found that the light output increases a few minutes after the light is turned on, particularly when it's cold, as when the light is used outside in the winter. Within a minute or two, lights that I thought were too dim come up to their rated brightness and are totally satisfactory without going to a higher output bulb. When I want to let the dogs outside in the winter, I just turn the light on a minute or two before I let them out. The savings are worth the little forthought it takes.
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC8VWM on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
They will provide the information you need and ALL OF YOU, STOP THROWING THIS STUFF IN THE LANDFILL. You may think it's a joke but your kids and grandkids will tell you it's NOT. HERE COME THE FLAMES!!! I don't care, though; it needs to be said.

----

Actually Tom, despite my previous attempt at displaying a paradoxical sense of humor, I actually had to agree with your sensible comments in my own mind somewhere in the range of +20 db over S-9 or perhaps even 110%.

I suppose I will just have to save the flame thrower for soldering those more difficult Pl 259's.

On another note the other Tom was looking for side by side documentation which relates to EMI radiated from various brands of CFL bulbs.

I seem to recall that I once read such a side by side comparison that was documented on the web however I fail to recall the web page it existed on exactly.

Oh well maybe someone else will find it and paste it on here for the sole benefit of further enlighten the rest of us. ...Get it ? "enlighten" ha ha.. :) OK I'll stop it already.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N7WS on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I can't speak to the CF bulbs, since I only have one in my front porch fixture.

OTOH, I installed four, four-tube Lithonia four-foot fixtures from Home Depot in my garage workshop and they put out so much crap they were wiping out channel 4 TV inside the house.

The documentation with them clearly said that they were for "industrial" use and that they would cause RFI.

Since I had run conduit, etc. to make these semi-permanent I did not want to have to replace them, so I determined doing some web research that there was a different version for residential use that had filtered ballasts.

I reminded the folks at Home Depot that the first word in their name was "Home" and that selling these to homeowners for residential use was clearly a disservice. After some education about RFI from me, they agreed to special order replacement ballasts (that cost them more than I paid for the fixtures) and I agreed to do the labor to replace them.

These are now almost (but not totally) RFI free.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by NT4XT on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My home is filled with them. The coiled kind. There are also tube kind, throughout the house. 2 are generally always on, sometimes as many as 10 are on in the house (the tube kind).
One of the coiled kind is in my shack lamp that looks like a tea-pot, 2.5 feet from my Rig, 1.5 feet from my tuner and all feedlines.

No noise on any of them. They get warm but emit less heat than incandesent bulbs, and use much less energy for the same lumens.

However, there does need to be some national regulations concerning the proper disposal of anything having mercury in them, obviously.

The only remaining incandesents are, in the microwave, in the normal oven, in the freezer, in the fridge, and several 4 Watt night-lights.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"However, there does need to be some national regulations concerning the proper disposal of anything having mercury in them, obviously."

There are. Their disposal is covered under "hazardous waste" laws just as NiCd's, Alkalines and other potentially harmful material is. In a few words, these materials cannot be disposed of in the normal trash collection stream and must be recycled or "disposed of properly", in other words, collected by someone authorized to properly dispose of hazardous waste. Contact your waste disposal agency for details in your area. By the way, pretty stiff fines exist for violations of the hazardous waste laws and they are now being brought against private individuals as well as industrial polluters.
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K4JSR on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Oh well maybe someone else will find it and paste it on here for the sole benefit of further enlighten the rest of us. ...Get it ? "enlighten" ha ha.. :)"

Charles, as one who would never stoop to making a play on words, I demand that you do immediate PUNITENCE for that remark!

I too have a house full of those little "gassy tubes". To date not one has caused me any problems with RFI. I get far more noise from my computer.

Seven and a three, Cal
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by NA0AA on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
When we had the electrical issues a few years back, I changed out about 1/2 of our bulbs with the expensive, new CF lamps. Got used to lower light outputs, warm up time and paying $15 each. Had a few bad bulbs but no major problems.

Now I get 'em as cheap as I can at Home Despot [TM] and have pretty much the entire house done in CF bulbs - excepting a couple of closets we never use.

Now, they do take getting used to, and like someone else said, I upgrade to using a 75 watt eq. in place of 60's, but that's still only like 23 watts vs 20. The newest ones light quickly, warm up faster and are brighter white than earlier bulbs and seem to be of higher quality overall. Now that you can buy equals up to like 150 watts, unless you are needing rugged service for a drop light, it's hard to justify buying old fashioned bulbs.

I don't really have noise issues - they seem to pulse when switched on, then the noise goes away. No issues.

Now the charger for my new screwdriver - whoa, THAT's noisy - enough so that I unplugged it right after hearing it.

 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W6LAR on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
No problem with the CFL's that I have here but I do agree about the proliferation of Part 15 devices and the resultant RF garbage they throw out. I have two repeaters that I operate. One is on 147.180Mhz and is just a low level repeater that has the antenna mounted on the top of a city water tank. Well about a year ago we noticed a degredation of the repeaters ability to hear weak signals. It got worse and ended up that almost no one on an HT could use it. So I discovered a Part 15 Security TV repeater mounted on a mast only 10 ft from my antenna. It had two plastic housings with a receiver in one and a transmitter on 5.8 Ghz in the other. It seems the local Police had put it there to monitor a local school. It took me over 5 weeks to get them to work with me after threatening them with FCC action. It turned out to be a cheap China 500mA switching power supply in the receiver housing. They are now on notice that they can't cause interference to other licensed users and I will turn them off if it happens again.

Give me CFL's any day. Oh and buy the way, the City said they are going to put more up all around town.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W4LGH on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If you are NOT getting enough light, as said earlier, increase the size. The 100watt versions only use 30watts of electricity, 1/2 of what your 60watt bulb used and I know you will have more light! They have really improved on the frequency of the light too. Many of them are just about the same color as the incandesent cousins.

If you are using the cheap brands, you may experience premature failure, but I have found the GE's to be about the best, and their COOL WHITE color is very close.

As for re-cycling, why bother? This next generation of "ME-ME-ME", and "I am entitled to it" won't need to worry about it, as when all of us are gone, who's gonna OWE it to them? I certainly won't be here, so honestly, I am not trying to be ugly, why should I care?? A law you say? Hell we have more laws now than anyone of us could ever count, much less understand, and they pass 1000's more each year. There were 10 rules written several thousand years ago, now look at the mess we have.

Use CFL's enjoy the saving, but buy quality name brand ones. They work much better. As long as you don't eat the mercury in them you'll be just fine!
And if you are eating the mercury, then you have bigger problems to worry about.

73 de W4LGH - Alan
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N6JN on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Another problem with these units is that they cause
interfer with WWVB (60kHZ). My "atomic clock" will
not update at 0200Z when one of these operating in
the next room. All of these units, I have seen, are
made in China.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by K8VF on April 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I bought 2 G/E 100 watt bulbs. No RF I could detect.

Now I have 25 or so all over the house, of various wattages, inside and out.

No RF problems after 3 months.

All my 100 watt bulbs have burned out, they were hung pendant style.

The good news is that GE stands behind their 5 yr guarantee and sends a $10 certificate good for ANY ge bulbs.

The mercury is an issue, hopefully we will have a recycle means here soon.

k8vf
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC8VWM on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Hi Cal, before you get any bright ideas I just thought I would shed a little light on the subject of Mercury. :)

While CF lighting contains Mercury and Incandescent bulbs contain none, believe it or not, the incandescent bulbs actually introduce about twice as much Mercury pollution to the environment than the CF bulbs do.

Why?

While CF lighting does contain mercury inside the bulbs, it draws approx. 75% less energy from a coal burning plant which actually serves to reduce the amount of mercury emissions that are released into the environment when compared to incandescent bulbs which contain no mercury at all inside them.

According to the EPA, using CF lighting actually reduces mercury emissions a little over half when compared to using an incandescent bulbs over a 5 year period.

You can read the EPA report here:

http://www.nema.org/lamprecycle/epafactsheet-cfl.pdf

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KB5DPE on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"As for re-cycling, why bother? This next generation of "ME-ME-ME", and "I am entitled to it" won't need to worry about it, as when all of us are gone, who's gonna OWE it to them?"

One of the hallmarks of the "ME-ME-ME generation" is their indifference to the needs of others, INCLUDING those of future generations. While this generation is getting a great deal of attention from the "old folks" and, I suspect, their numbers are increasing, they have always been around (witness Marie Antoinette of "let them eat cake [bread]" fame). Why, I'll bet, if we really looked, we could even find one right here on eham, maybe even on this thread!
Tom
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by AA4PB on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
In regard to the RFI I imagine it is highly dependent on the particular electronic ballast design. On an earlier thread there were numerous complains of RFI from florescent lights. I have them in and around the shack and never experienced any RFI so I though perhaps it is because my antennas are 100 feet away. I hooked up my hand held HF receiver with a short whip antenna and found I had to be within about 6-inches of the fixture to pick up any RFI at all.

In years past (1960's) florescent fixtures had those little round plug in starters and they were notorious RFI producers. All of the fixtures here (some 20 years old) have electronic ballast's.

I have also noticed a big difference in light dimmers. Some quiet and some produce a lot of RFI. In the wholesale electronic supply houses I notice that you can purchase inexpensive dimmers or more expensive dimmers claimed to contain RFI filtering.
 
Little to no RFI, substantial savings.  
by W1WFG on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'm down to three incandescents in the whole house. The remaining filament bulbs are where it gets cold in the winter (<40F), where the fluorescents don't start up well. I have been replacing a lot of 60W and 75W incandescents with 27W fluorescents -- much more light, for considerably less energy. I have noticed lower electric bills during the winter, when they're on a lot.

The only RF noise-culprit is a flat, four-tube daylight spectrum bulb in a reading lamp. None of the screw-in ones designed to replace the old incandescents has been a source of trouble.

In Maine the state public utility commission ran a very successful promotion through the home centers with rebates, etc. And since there is a serious mercury issue here -- limited eating of fresh water fish, for example -- I'm guessing that the argument that the mercury from coal-fired plants -- we're downwind of *everyone* is more of an impact than the mercury from incorrect disposal is a sound one.
 
RE: Little to no RFI, substantial savings.  
by AD5FD on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
hmm cfbs outdoors? what do u do when its ccccccold out? takes forever for them to warm up when its cold...

200 watt....sure i bought one at wally awhile back for my reading lamp..its an energizer bunny keeps going and going and going...

 
RE: Little to no RFI, substantial savings.  
by KB5DPE on April 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"hmm cfbs outdoors? what do u do when its ccccccold out? takes forever for them to warm up when its cold"

No, it doesn't take that long. I've got two of them outside, both 100w equiv. and I turn them on about five minutes before I let the dogs out. Even in NE Ohio winters, that's more than enough to get good light output. Actually, it doesn't take that long. Somethies I'll forget and by the time I give them their treats, the light is ready. I was surprised, it takes longer than that for linear fluorescents to warm up and stop flickering although I'm sure these operate at much higher frequency.
Tom
 
RE: Little to no RFI, substantial savings.  
by W9WHE-II on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The arrl should IMMEADIATELY fire off one of its wildly successful "demand" letters to FCC, INSISTING that FCC order a complete and total clampdown on the manufacture, sale and distrubution of these bulbs before they end ham radio as we know it.

What......you think FCC will ignore arrl's demand, much the way that FCC ignored arrl on BPL...?
Well.........never mind then.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1RFI on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A quick preliminary report:

I went to Home Depot and WalMart and bought one each of the RF bulbs that were in stock. We first tested them for conducted emissions on HF. They ranged from 20 to 30 dB below the FCC Part 18 conducted emissions limits (somewhat more stringent than Part 15).

W1MG took a few home, where they caused no perceptible interference to his home station, with a dipole antenna with one end pretty close to the house.

He also took the bulbs to W1AW, in the "attic" classroom there. There is a 60-meter antenna about 20 feet above the building. He could not hear the bulbs in operation.

Back to the Lab, in an uncontrolled test in the middle of the Lab floor, we found that using an active loop (EMCO 6502) and an HF EMC receiver (R&S FSH-3), we could hear the bulb when it was located closer than 2 feet to the antenna. The bulb resulted in a noise level equivalent to S8 when the bulb was placed inside the loop.

Most of the reports here indicate the same, but if anyone can provide a brand and/or model number of a noisy bulb (and a source, if you recall), we can get a few of those and test them. The "real" tests are conducted emissions, although if we do find interference, we can make a measurement of field strength, too.

But from what I have seen, the ones we tested look to be 20-40 dB lower in noise than the computer I am using to type this message.

I saw one web page that essentially reported these as the mother of all RFI devices, but it looked as if the conclusions were based more on speculation of the reasons that the units had a label warning about interference. Part 15 and Part 18 require that such labeling be put on some types of equipment, so things should not be read into that, as a rule.

I had a nice chat about this with Steve Ford, and we may try to pull all this together into an article or white paper of some sort. We just got the LISNs to do the conducted emission testing, and I need to have Mike Gruber build up a dedicated test fixture complying with the requirements of ANSI std. C63.4. The real data will be within a few dB of what we measured, but this will serve as a good test for the new equipment if used fully compliant with industry standards.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by ICR71A on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks Ed for your well thought out and researched post. Facts always go much further than speculation. There is still the mercury issue, which as we all know will decimate all life on the planet within a few years if we don't recycle properly, but I have discovered that this is minor compared to the real threat of these bulbs.

I am not going to argue that these bulbs are more efficient. My XYL received an award from the Governor, DOE, and HUD last year for the "Energy Star" homes that she builds. But what are we going to do when these bulbs kill off all of our pets?

Here is what I know. Six years ago, I began replacing all of the incandescent lamps in everything except specialty darkroom and projection equipment. Wet chemistry photographers everywhere are in a state of panic over this changeover, the world is coming to an end. But I digress. Last week, one of my cats walked over, looked at one of these CFLs, got a glazed look in its eye and rolfed up right on the spot.

Then, I have noticed that the other cats lie lethargically around the house. Some of them even APPEAR TO HAVE WORMS. It is obviously the effect of the light spectrum and some unknown radiation generated by the lamps that is causing this effect. I remember reading something about that radiation in the Luddite Monthly Gazette some time ago. It looks like this terrible and lethal malady takes a few years to manifest itself. I tried to take one of the cats apart to see if I could spot the damage done, but was not really successful on the reassembly part. The end is near for our pets--so write your representatives in the legislature today...

73 de Patrick, N4PRT
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by ICR71A on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
PS. I have discovered that if I encase the cats in a tinfoil suit and provide a good connection to the station ground it negates the effect of the lamps and makes them infinitly more active. I shall post a technical article about the subject on the web and in the Elmers section in the very near future...
 
RE: THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!  
by W9WHE-II on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, Ed, I'm amazed.
I was sure that this would form another "the sky is falling" plea and beg for contributions to some arrl fund. The fact that you got right out in front of this issue (with preliminary data) which undercuts any arrl "the sky is falling" plea for money IS encouraging.

Bravo!
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by NV8A on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The ones I looked at in my local Home Depot (I think they are a "store brand," but I don't recall the name) even have warning labels about RFI, pointing out that they should not be used close to emergency communications equipment.

OTOH, I have used a bunch of Sylvania CF bulbs that seem to be "clean" enough -- but they do not last seven years: we've replaced many of the ones that we bough only after moving into this house a little over three years ago.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N0SOY on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I really do not like most of the compact florescent light bulbs. I just do not like most florescent lights in general. However, the new LED bulbs put all of the florescents to sham in energy usage, light quality, stability and life. As far as I know the LED lasts indefinitely. Hence not landfill problem. They are pricey but if you do not have to be replaced so the cost is worth while.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by KC0KP on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
But can you solder a compact flourescent to the output of your 75 Watt CW transmitter as a dummy load????????
About the only contact I made as a novice was with the GE 100 Watt light bulb I used to load up into.
WN5JBV calling cq all light bulbs......
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC9OD on April 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have had both good and bad with CFLs.The little spiral ones seem to be quiet.But one lasted only a year in continuous service.Another has lasted two years.These are lighting where safety is more important than saving every last peeny by having to grope for a switch.So replacing the incandescent with CFL made sense. LED would be even better but I want the price to come down .LED flashlights are great,not so much for the brightness(at least of the several years old models I have)but for the battery life.

I found using only fluorescent lighting in conjuction with a crt computer monitor was hard on my eyes.

I now use CFL where "just light" is needed,but incandescent for closer work and love the light of the blue-glas incandescent from Phillips and others.It actually seems like daylight without the harsh of the fluorescent.I wonder if some people are more able to discern the flicker that is the fluoescent turning on/off so many times a second.

There are various ways to look at the economics such as :excellent crt monitors of large screen size can be bought for a few dollars or even gotten free versus $150plus? for the new lcd unit.It will take a long while before the energy costs and price of the two equalize. Just as by buying a new fuel-efficient car one's actual expenses can soar because new car payments,excise taxes,sales taxes,and higher insurance costs can swamp the fuel savings.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N4VNV on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
2nd Comment - Mine are the GE "Energy Star" brand. I have NEVER had any problems with interference. Even on the 60M band. I've been on 60M about 2.5 years. Out of 13 bulbs, three have burned out in 3 years. They do have a disclaimer about possible RFI on the package. Since they have NEVER CAUSED ANY PROBLEMS for me, this is my LAST comment about this.
 
RE: THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!  
by W1RFI on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> I was sure that this would form another "the sky is
> falling" plea and beg for contributions to some arrl
> fund. The fact that you got right out in front of
> this issue (with preliminary data) which undercuts
> any arrl "the sky is falling" plea for money IS
> encouraging.

Sometimes, Jonathan, people see what they set out to see. ARRL will not be raising money to fight this issue for a number of reasons: The League will not incur extraordinary costs dealing with this issue, ro in doing a single series of tests. There is no rulemaking on the plate. Most manufacturers appear to be making reasonable products. Interference, should it occur, will be localized to the area of the bulbs, not propagated and repeated down miles of overhead power lines.

Perhaps the most important is that there are no precedents being set in legislation, such as found nt eh BPL rules wiht the premise -- and rule -- that says that because HF mobile communication is claimed by FCC to unreliable below a noise level that is S8 by the standardized scale, interference at that level is not harmful interference as defined by FCC's rules.

That latter principle applies to nearly every communication that hams do, at least some of the time.

The bottom line is that ARRL does not need to ask hams for special help with the CF bulbs because there is nothing extraordinary about their operation, and any issues can be handled as a routine matter by ARRL staff.

When I did the analysis of the bulbs, I didn't find a problem. When I did an analysis of BPL, I did find a problem. At this point, having been to about 20 different BPL installations, I have seen interference to Amateur Radio all over the map, from literally S9+50 dB (measured about 30 dB over the FCC limits) in the ham bands and elsewhere to systems that are operating within the FCC limits and that have good notching in the ham bands.

See http://p1k.arrl.org/~ehare/bpl/reports/individual/w1rfi-11-10-2006.htm

The progress that is being made with BPL would not have happened had Amateur Radio NOT been firm in its position that harmful interference will not be tolerated. The industry is responding.

At this point, I am continuing ARRL's work with HomePlug, to help better define that progress, and with several of the BPL companies, including Corinex, the company operating in Houston, the subject of the above report. I was just lining up a group consisting of the Concord Municipal folks, the local hams there, Corinex and PowerGrid, the BPL integrator, but the system in Concord may have hit a few snags and at this point may or may not be going in place. That's unfortunate, as I think that some positive publicity for the progress being made is important at this point.

Unfortunately, most of the BPL systems are pretty small, and it is hard to draw firm conclusions that what can be done in a small system can be fully implemented in a large one. I am discussing that with the involved BPL manufacturers, and when I can get more feedback from local hams in some of these systems, as was done in Cincinnati, I think that sooner or later we can reach some firm conclusions about whether BPL systems can be deployed without major interference problems involving Amateur Radio.

When BPL was first brought into play, the manufacturers were, for the most part, NOT notching the ham bands; were sometimes operating at illegal power levels; were making unsupportable claims that BPL would be inaudible when in actual use and a host of other actions that required a strong response.

At this point, some, but not all, of the manufacturers are making some progress. Without good rules, though, each new entrant into this arena is repeating the mistakes of those that went before. The work in the regulatory arena is not over. The work with manufacturers is not over, either, and that has consumed more of my time than I care to think about, with no end in sight that I can see.

Trying to put HF and low VHF signals onto overhead power lines without strong emissions on the ham bands is a tremendous challenge. Clearly, at 30 uV/m at 30 meters distance, there will be strong interference on any spectrum they are using. This ranges from devastating on those systems that transmit steady carriers whether they are in operation or not, to pretty serious in those systems that make noise when in use, such as the system in Manassas.

Ed, W1RFI





 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K5WOB on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The good news for me - All my 'long-life energy-saving' bulbs have failed in a short time! Buffalo Gil W2/G3LBS"

That hasn't been my experience; my CF bulbs have been much more durable than equivalent incandescents. Two lamps on one circuit were going through a bunch of bulbs until I replaced them with CFs. Maybe older incarnations of CFs were less robust?

Cheaper to run, less energy use, relatively quiet, what's not to love?

Alan K5WOB
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W6UDO on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Another interesting aside regarding these bulbs: A few years ago a new cable tv box issued by my local provider kept jumping channels. I called the company about getting a replacement, and the first thing the rep asked me was, "Is there a compact flourescent light in the room with the tv?" Turns out the lamp was causing the problem; moving it out of the room cured it.
With all the talk about taking the incandescents off the market, I'd been concerned about what these CF bulbs would do to my HF reception. It's nice to read here there are some on the market that are better than others. Tnx...
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by K0RGR on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I started using CF's years ago, and I've never detected any RF noise on them. Lightbulbs don't last long in my unheated garage, and these do. I wish they'd make them a little sturdier for use in garage door openers. I have had 3 of them in a ceiling fan for well over a year, now.

Now, 'wall warts' are another story - including those provided by some 'name brand' polluters. I recently bought a COMPAQ laptop for my son, and the 'wall wart' for it wipes out HF reception totally. I've also had trouble with the power supply for an IBM laptop, but only one of three such units. The wall wart for a set of powered speakers also produces horrendous broadband noise.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1RFI on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Although ARRL does have a few reports of noisy switch-mode supplies, alas, most don't include brand and/or model information. I got one report from one of the HomePlug in-premise BPL companies, related to a rodent repeller, but when we bought one, it was quite low in noise. The company bought another, and it was quite low at that point, too, so the problem was either corrected or was a single defective unit.

In general, most of the reports I have seen also involve an Amateur interfering with his/her own operation. The way the rules are written, the manufacturer must meet the emissions limits, but the operator of an unlicensed emitter must do so in a way that doesn't cause harmful interference. Riley has been tempted to respond to the few hams that have complained about their own equipment with an offer to fine the operator of the device $10k, but so far, he has managed to hold himself back. :-) The bottom line is that the FCC won't have much sympathy for an otherwise legal device in a licensee's own home.

ARRL has received a few reports from Part-15-regulated equipment being operated by neighbors of hams, and FCC has offered some support. We have a few cases in the queue, and a few letters sent to FCC as a result. See:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/part15.html

(I haven't had a chance to go over the above site content in a while, so if anyone sees anything out of date, let me know.)

Copies of the FCC letters are posted at:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/FCC_enforcement/part-15/

ARRL was involved in most of those cases, often having provided the ham with information for the neighbor, apparently unheeded. In about the same number of cases, neighbors were more cooperative and didn't get an FCC letter.

At this point, I am looking to identify the worst of the noisy devices. Those are apt to exceed the limits. If a device is operating under the FCC limits (most of the ones we have tested to date), and there is no harmful interference, the old tree-in-the-forest adage applies. If one is above the limits, even without interference, it is a problem for a number of reasons. If anyone can provide current brand and model information, or devices that have proven noisy, contact me at ARRL HQ.

Ed Hare, W1RFI@arrl.org
Tel: 860-594-0318
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KA1MDA on April 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I first ran across this problem in the early 80's. I had just bought a used Icom IC-02AT HT, and upon receiving it, I thought the guy I bought it from sold me a lemon! I could hear the local .94 repeater on .91, .94, .97, etc. There seemed to be an image every 30 khz! Then by a stroke of luck, I happened to turn off the ceiling light in the shack- and all the images disappeared! I traced the problem back the the compact fluorescent bulb! Apparently, the electronic ballast was generating strong 30 khz RFI, which was acting as a local oscillator in the HT when it was tuned to a very strong signal, pushing the front end into the non-linear region! I always wondered what would happen if someone installed a bunch of those lamps at a repeater site. I was really glad I stumbled across that problem before calling the seller and complaining!

Currently, I have had very good luck with most CF bulbs. I use a bunch of GE and MAX LITE bulbs all over the house with no problem at all.

The one exception I have experienced is with any product made by LIGHTS OF AMERICA, or LOA. This brand used to be distributed by my local utility under their energy savings promotion, and also was carried by Home Depot, among others. Without exception, the electronic ballasts in every single LOA CF lamp or fixture I ever had (about 7 total) have failed within 6 months of installation. A few of them literally exploded in a shower of sparks and smoke! Luckily, I was home at the time to shut the lamp off and make sure no fires were started. After the second one exploded, I refused to leave the house unattended with any LOA product turned on and quickly ripped all those fixtures out and replaced them with name brand units. I have never had that kind of problem with any other brand.

The LOA ceiling fixtures with the circular lamps and electronic ballasts were also extremely bad RFI producers. I had 1 ceiling fixture in the ham shack, and turning it on would cause an S7 to an S9+10 broadband buzzing noise across most of the 10 meter band, and lower noise levels on other HF bands as well. In fact, that 1 fixture caused more noise than all the other CF fixtures in my house turned on at the same time! Three desk lamps with GE CF bulbs, one of which sits 2 inches from the radio, cause no interference at all. The one ceiling fixture, mounted in the center of the room, with the wall switch on the wall opposite the radio position wipes out the entire band!

Pics of the lamp and RFI at:
www.ka1mda.org/ham/rfi/index.htm

73, de Tom, KA1MDA
www.ka1mda.org


 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W6FCC on April 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If you can create some hype about RF exposure, it might appeal to the tree-hugging liberals who look for any excuse to find a vast conspiracy, a way to kill some business, or a way to appear sensitive and caring while they promote whatever is the latest cause. It worked for Al Gore and Global Warming, why not for all these dangerous and harmful RF generating toxic light bulbs ?? <<grin>>
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by AE6RO on April 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I've noticed some "audio" pollution where some compact flourescent bulbs generate very annoying ultrasonic noise. But not every bulb does that. Never had a problem with RFI from one, either. However, I don't think they are cost effective when compared to the much cheaper incandescents. The only time they would be is in a stand-alone solar-electric system where you want to conserve every possible watt.
<BTW> saw a very interesting PBS show on solar energy. It seems Germany is way ahead of the US in subsidizing solar power.
I'm not recommending it, but they are great fun to open up when they go out. Not too much harder than extracting the base from a vacuum tube. But care is needed.
You'd be surprised at all the electronic parts in there that might be fun to salvage. I've found high voltage electrolytic capacitors (200 Volt) for a boat anchor power supply. Also had success using the electronic ballast from a c.f.b. to run a standard tube of the same wattage.
I'm surprised no-one else here has tried opening them. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KC8VWM on April 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A few of them literally exploded in a shower of sparks and smoke!

-----------

I wouldn't necessarily blame the bulb.

Perhaps the quality of your electrical service in your home is in question?

Whatever you do, please be safe.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K0XP on April 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>But can you solder a compact flourescent to the
>output of your 75 Watt CW transmitter as a dummy
>load????????
>About the only contact I made as a novice was with
>the GE 100 Watt light bulb I used to load up into.
>WN5JBV calling cq all light bulbs......

Heh.... I hope the statute of limitations has run out; otherwise, I'll likely be hearing from Riley's Guys in Black Suits..... ;o(

Decades and decades and decades ago, I somehow managed to convince my PhD father that I had actually received my Novice ticket. He never bothered to actually ask to see the license, though. So there I was, 40m CW on 7162.5, 7177, 7172, and probly also 7182, dang near every night calling whomever I could find, using a W6 Novice callsign I picked outta the clear blue sky. Recall that I sed I "managed to convince my father that I had actually received my Novice ticket..." ;o| I was still sufficiently inexperienced as to not realize that the callsign I was using, should have EXPIRED by the time that I was actually using it. And several of my contacts actually remarked upon that fact, which made me more cautious from there on.

But having tasted the greener grass through making actual contacts, I couldn't let go, and continued using that callsign.

Anyway: I started with a DX40 but the power transformer blew out one sad night. Several weeks later, I managed to persuade my folks that what I REALLY needed for my birthday was a brand, new Knightkit T-60. In the ads, those lil dinky things just looked SO cute; and it was rated at more output power than my old DX40, too ;o) So somehow, my PhD dad (back in those days, PhDs weren't considered to be anything special and not many of them made much more than your typical garbage collector, plumber, or licensed electrician) managed to save up enough to actually buy me a T-60 kit. When it arrived, I had it together el pronto and there I was, back on the air 8-)))))))

Unfortunately, however, propagation apparently was such that it sucked and I never did make any contacts with the T-60. Night after night, I'd call and call, but with no replies. This was in stark contrast to my experiences with the DX40, and I grew more and more frustrated.

Now, at school, there was a kid named Rob Kealhofer, in my grade. I forget his call now, but he was reputed to be a "real" DXer among the HS ham club guys; he was reputed to have actually WORKED 100 countries, including TIBET =====8-O He lived only two blocks away from me. One day, I talked him into coming home with me and helping me check out the T-60 to "make certain that it was ready to go when I finally had my license,".. He came, we checked out the T-60, and he pronounced it in fit condition. It lit a 60 watt light bulb to more than full brilliance; it was beginning to glow blue inside ===========8-O So then, I asked him if he'd go home and try a sked with me.

Now, at this time, I had so much respect for Rob that I never considered lying to him about having received my Novice ticket like I did to my dad ;o(((((( So he asked me "How are we going to work when you don't even have a license??" I replied... "Hmmm... how about if I tape this light bulb at the top of my 30 foot inverted vee mast and run my T-60 into it??" He looked askance at me but agred to run the test when I was ready. He wrote down his phone number so I could call him to come on the air.

Actually, what I intended to do wasn't to put that light bulb up on the mast at all, but just to use the 40m inverted vee that was already up in the air ;o))))) So I figgered I'd wait till, say, shortly after sunset then call Rob to get him on the air, and call him using the actual antler rather than the light bulb "dummy load". I told him I'd make up a callsign since I figgered, using a "dummy load", I wasn't really transmitting "on the air" and so no harm would be done 8-)))))))

Well..... came sunset, I was all ready, so I called Rob. And he wasn't home. I called an hour later and still not home. Called at 10 pm and still not home. Meanwhile, the 40m Novice band was wide open and I was hearing WN5s and even a cupla WN3s and one WN2. I called them all to no avail 8-(((((( The night wore on, no replies to my calls, and eventually, sometime after midnight, I shut off the radios and started doing the 11-page Social Studies essay that was due the next day. I doubt that the old Encyclopedia Americana was ever as plagiarized afterward as it was that night, as I copied, word for word, detail after detail, of Civil War battles and their consequence ;o| (an aside: that particular paper actually earned me honorable mention from my SS teacher ;o)))))

The next day at school, I looked for, but never saw, Rob. Didn't see him all that week, in fact. Wasn't till a school radio club meeting several weeks later that he finally showed up, in fact. By then, I'd faced the fact: Rob just didn't wanna have anything to do with me ;o|

Meanwhile.... two nights after Rob came over, on Saturday night while I was babysitting my younger brothers, in fact, I FINALLY got a reply to my CQs using the T-60. And it wasn't what I expected; in fact, it was so much a turnoff that I didn't even come back to the guy who called me and told me why he was calling me.

It was a local General-class guy, only about 10 miles away; and he told me the reason he was calling me was because he'd run across me way the heck ABOVE the 20m phone band, on my 2nd harmonic!!!! I'd had my T-60 tuned to its 2nd harmonic all that time!!!!! No wonder I never got any responses on the 40m Novice band.....

That immediately clued me into the T-60 being "difficult" to tune properly. A light bulb just wasn't a good enough dummy load; and even a tuned antenna, like my 40m inverted vee, turned out not to be of much help. So I started saving my money to buy a new power transformer for my old, decrepit DX-40.

Not too long after that, out of the clear blue sky, one early evening, I got a phone call from the guy who'd originally sold me the DX-40. Now, I still rember the exact day that my mom drove me to pick it up. I don't rember how I found out about it, but I rember Jim vivdly. He was actually a Veteran; he'd been in Vietnam, survived, returned home, and disillutioned, was selling off his stuff while sharing a house with his girlfriend down in Inglewood, just a few blocks from May Company, in fact.

At the time, being a young teenager who wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the nightly news,, I didn't understand exatly what he'd gone through in VN nor its effect upon him. All I really thought about was here was a guy, a HAM, who already had a license (Extra class, yet!!), who had sold me his treasured DX-40 for the princely sum of $45. And 9 months later, he was again, calling me up. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Over the next hour on the phone, I poured out my troubles with the DX-40's power transformer blowing up, my Dad's subsequent gift of the T-60 as a replacement, and my inability to make any contacts due to not being able to figger out how to tune up the T-60 on it's fundamental instead of the 2nd harmonic.

Jim was actually apologetic about the DX-40 blowing the transformer. He said if I'd find the part number from Heathkit, he'd order a new transformer for me.

And you know what: he did. He had it shipped to him. One day, a few weeks later, he called me again just after I'd gotten home from school, saying he had something for me and could he come up.

And he did, on his full-blown Harley chopper, complete with leather vest and his bike club's patch. I saw him drive up, park in front of the house, remove a bungeed small cardboard box from the back of the bike, and looking around the nayborehood, slowly approach the front door. I ran to get there before he had a chance to ring the doorbell and almost made it but Mom got there first. At first, she was scared and about to slam the door in his face but I quickly told her who this "hippy-looking" guy was, and she reluctantly let me open the door. He removed his sunglasses, opened his mouth in a big gigantic smile, held out the small box, and said "Happy Birthday, Steve!" I was surprised: my birthday wasn't for another several months and I said so. Jim said "Well, consider this an early birthday present, then, OK?" Delighted, I took the box, ripped it open, and found the brand-new Heathkit DX-40 replacement power transformer 8-))))))) Inviting Jim in, I took him back to my "shack" (actually, my bedroom) and proceeded to show him around my "shack", including showing him the by-now highly-despised T-60 ;o\ ;o\ ;o\ We chatted a bit more, then he asked me what my callsign was. Embarrassed, I glanced at my feet and didn't answer. "Steve, what's your call? Maybe we can have a schedule one of these nights." I was too embarrassed to tell him I STILL hadn't taken my Novice test, almost a full year after I'd bought the DX-40 from him. I think he realized that, and let me off the hook: "Never mind... you can call me later and tell me, how about that? Still have my phone number??" I rember replying yes, I had it written down in my school notebook but had left it at school that day. We shook hands, I thanked him again for the new transformer, and he left, waving to me as he rode off on his Harley.

That was in February, 1965; it was three more months before I actually took the FCC'c Novice papers up the street to WB6CWM, Tom Gamble, a naybore ham living only 2 blocks away with a neat looking 2-element quad on a crank-up 54 foot tower. Tom had a full setup of the early Collins A4-line. He and his wife occasionally had me babysit their kids. One late Saturday afternoon, Tom gave me my Novice test. As he was strictly a phone man, I way outwhipped him when it came time for the Novice 5 wpm sending and receiving test; after a few seconds of me sending, he told me to stop and as far as he was concerned, I'd passed the code test. He filled out the papers, I gave him the stamps for the envelopes to mail the test back to the FCC, and went home. Sometime around May 13, when I got home from school, I found my Novice ticket had finally arrived in the mail 8-))))))))))))))))))) Treated my younger brother to pizza at the local pizza emporium that night, and promised him that when I passed my General test, we'd do it again. And yanno what.... a bit more than two years later, we did 8-))))))))

Meanwhile.... my new Novice callsign was WN6PKA and remembering how interested Jim had seemed, I tried calling him that night only to get a recording that his number was disconnected. I never did find out what happened to him. I do rember, while he was sitting there in my bedroom and he was sorta telling me about being in Vietnam two years before, he'd said he was thinking of going back that summer. He wasn't married, was living with his girlfriend at the phone number he'd given me. I assumed that he'd probly re-enlisted so he and his girl had moved out of that house.

I can't say for certain; but do believe that Jim had an influence on me to press ahead and actually earn my first ham ticket, mainly because of the shame I felt when I had to admit that a whole year after he'd sold me his DX-40, I STILL hadn't actually bothered to send in the paperwork to the FCC to take my Novice test. Instead, what I was doing, throughout the early spring of 1965, was relying upon that harmonic-prone Knightkit T-60, driving a simple light bulb taped to the top of a 30 foot length of aluminum mast and driven as a dummy load.

Jim, if you're still out there, THANKS.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1RFI on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> If you can create some hype about RF exposure...

I realize that you put a grin after the post, but this would be an bad idea on a monumental scale. The FCC rules limit conducted emissions below 30 MHz, but typically, radiated emissions from those conducted emissions are about 10 dB or more below the limits that apply to emitters like BPL.

Taking the most liberal estimates I can wrt the emissions level, the emissions from these bulbs are at least 15 million times below the human exposure standards. Amateur stations sometimes operate at the human exposure standards.

Amateur Radio as a whole would be poorly served by spreading FUD, IMHO, and implying that signals that are 15 million times weaker than ours are dangerous, while our emissions are safe, would be unsupportable.

Ed, W1RFI


 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K2GW on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, I asked the Energy Star website if they had any info on RFI concerning CF bulbs. The said they'd get back to me. I still haven't heard anything

So I asked the reviews editor here on eHam a few months ago to create a RFI review section for home appliances, so hams could comment on which specific models of things like compact flouresecent bulbs did or did not generate RFI. That way one could look and see if a fellow ham had any experience with the XYZ-123 bulb or whatever before buying one.

I never got a response. Perhaps others might ask for it as well so we can share our experiences ina organized manner.

73

Gary, K2GW

 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K2GW on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>However, the new LED bulbs put all of the florescents to sham in energy usage, light quality, stability and life. As far as I know the LED lasts indefinitely. Hence not landfill problem. They are pricey but if you do not have to be replaced so the cost is worth while.

Actually, I bought a screw-in 110VAC LED replacement bulb from a commercial vendor at Dayton last May for my shack. It cost about $12. Very nice in reducing the heat load, but it failed in November after only six months use. Perhaps things will get better once name brand manufacturers get into the 110V LED lamp business.

73

Gary, K2GW
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KA1MDA on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Perhaps the quality of your electrical service in your home is in question?"

Thanks for the suggestion, but there is nothing wrong with the electrical service here- the voltage is fine, and a storage scope shows nothing unusual. I even borrowed a Dranetz power line disturbance monitor from work and left it hooked up and logging for a month and it came up with no problems either.

I had 3 different LOA fixtures fail. One was a white all-plastic enclosed closet fixture, which popped and smoked the second time I switched it on- total run time about 5 minutes. Luckily, the plastic housing contained the sparks and debris. A plastic round dual-lamp ceiling fixture had the solid state ballast fail after 4 months. And finally, a circline bulb with a solid state ballast in the center (the kind you screw into a regular light socket) let off a shower of sparks and smoke after 6 or 8 months of use.

In all cases, the failures were caused be semiconductor failures- either a diode or transistor blew up. I just think LOA is using under rated devices with insufficient PIV ratings for the job, or else they're buying their parts from Rat Shack.

In fact, one of the fixtures from LOA was actually designed with the power wires passing thru the fixture in an area that was almost two inches OUTSIDE the ceiling box! When I contacted the US distributor of the product to notify them of the manufacturing/design defect, they told me to just cut away some extra sheet rock, knock out one of the side holes on the ceiling box, and pass the wires into the box that way. When I told them this was against electrical code and the wired had to remain protected inside the ceiling box, they never replied to my email. I ended up forwarding a picture of the lamp along with the distributor emails to UL, since the lamp had a UL sticker on it!

For the record, I still have 4 or 5 GE CF bulbs that are over 15 years old and still going strong, although 2 of them now take around 5 seconds to turn on when it gets cold in the room.

73, de Tom, KA1MDA
www.ka1mda.org
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1RFI on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A bit more preliminary followup. I was in one of the retail surplus outlet stores and found some LOA CFLs on sale for 2 bulbs/$4. When I tested the bulbs, I found them as quiet as the GE and other brands I tested.

I went to Home Depot, but the small fixture that somewhat resembles the LOA fixture you picture was a different brand. I am going to go back with a bit more room in the truck and grab a number of products from Home Depot, Lowe's and WalMart. I also see on the LOA site that they do have the product you picture, so I will order some of their products on line. That should give a pretty good cross section of available products, although if I can find some additional CFLs, I'll add them to the mix. That

When I get done with the testing, I will definately release the data. I may be able to talk the editor into running it, so most of the data may have to wait through the publications cycle, but if I find problems, I'll post the measurements and spectrum-analyzer sweeps.

Although the CFLs seem to be pretty decent, the Lab does have a few reports involving smart battery chargers. Many of them do NOT have the requisite labeling, so it is likely that they were not tested for compliance.

Now that we have a pair of LISNs (line-impedance stabilization network), I will be testing most of the products for which it apppears we could have EMC issues. I want that to be complaint driven, as I really don't want to spend the Lab budget buying battery chargers. We have a couple already. :-)

Ed
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by W2CSH on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The mercury pollution is an even greater concern. The following story from Fox News shows that cleanup of a mercury spill from a CFB can cost 2000.00 or more.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,268747,00.html
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W1RFI on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A bit more preliminary followup. I was in one of the retail surplus outlet stores and found some LOA CFLs on sale for 2 bulbs/$4. When I tested the bulbs, I found them as quiet as the GE and other brands I tested.

I went to Home Depot, but the small fixture that somewhat resembles the LOA fixture you picture was a different brand. I am going to go back with a bit more room in the truck and grab a number of products from Home Depot, Lowe's and WalMart. I also see on the LOA site that they do have the product you picture, so I will order some of their products on line. That should give a pretty good cross section of available products, although if I can find some additional CFLs, I'll add them to the mix. That

When I get done with the testing, I will definately release the data. I may be able to talk the editor into running it, so most of the data may have to wait through the publications cycle, but if I find problems, I'll post the measurements and spectrum-analyzer sweeps.

Although the CFLs seem to be pretty decent, the Lab does have a few reports involving smart battery chargers. Many of them do NOT have the requisite labeling, so it is likely that they were not tested for compliance.

Now that we have a pair of LISNs (line-impedance stabilization network), I will be testing most of the products for which it apppears we could have EMC issues. I want that to be complaint driven, as I really don't want to spend the Lab budget buying battery chargers. We have a couple already. :-)

Ed
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K0XP on April 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Home Depot has been selling Lights Of America shop-type long tube fluorescent fixtures for around a decade, very often at extremely attractive prices around $10/fixture of two 40 watt tubes. I first bought half a dozen of those fixtures in '97 and put them throughout my basement. They turned out to be quiet enough not to be able to hear them on either HF nor any V/UHF band through 1296.

HOWEVER..... the bulbs RARELY lasted longer than 2 or 3 months. I'd have to buy a carton of ten replacement tubes from the local discount club store and would go through those within a few months, too. But OTOH, all the fixtures continued to work; none ever died, just the bulbs.

Fast-forward to 2 years ago, when we moved into a new house with a basement, as usual, lighted by only a cupla standard incandescent bulbs hung from the celing. Natcherly, one of the first things I did was go to HD and buy half a dozen el cheapo fluorescent fixtures. By now, though, they were of a different design, and were much lighter than the ones I'd bought in '97. Thinking nothing of it, I hung the fixtures and set about to fix up the basement into my shack and lab.

Within a MONTH, at least one of the bases of all the bulbs were already turning black, and one was flickering as if almost exhausted. It lived another month, a bit longer than a second that started flickering one morning and was completely dead by that evening. Sighing deeply, I went back to HD and bought a carton of replacement bulbs. As the original bulbs died one by one, they got replaced; I think all of the originals were gone within 4 or 5 months.

Then one day, one fixture refused to turn on at all, even with new bulbs. I left it alone for now. Then another fixture started flickering its bulbs, only several months after I'd put in new bulbs.

Not long after that 2nd one started flickering, I was playing with a Sony SW radio in the basement but could hardly pick up anything, even with a wire running out the basement door and into a nearby tree limb. Couldn't tell what was happening other than it was definitely hearing SOME kind of wideband noise, from SOMEWHERE. It took me several days to notice that a portion of the noise seemed to waver with the one fixture that was still flickering. Turning off all the LOA fluorescents, ALL the noise that had been blanking the radio disappeared. I cussed mitily and wondered what to do. The fixtures I'd bought in '97 certainly didn't generate any audible noise that I ever identified.

Eventually, I took down the one bad fixture and took it apart just to see what a modern-day ballast looked like. Whaddaya know.... it's a "solid-state" ballast. Hmmming mitily, I grabbed the pliers and pried the cover off the thing. Yup, all solid-state. Now I was beginning to get suspicious ;o|

Back to HD again, except this time, for a regular, good ole iron-core ballast. Installing that into the dead fixture in place of the solid-state ballast, I shut off all the other LOA fixtures with solid-state ballasts and turned on the newly-rebuilt one.

Whaddaya know: there's NO noise on the Sony.

I turn on one solid-state-ballast fixture, making certain that it does generate audible noise, then swap its bulbs into the rebuilt fixture. And still no noise. By now, I was beginning to get really suspicious of those LOA fixtures and their solid-state ballasts ;o\ ;o\ ;o\

Over the next few months, as those "brand-new" LOA bulbs died one by one, I removed the solid-state ballast and replaced it with a regular iron core ballast. The cost was certainly uneconomical; HD gets something like between $18 and $24 for those things depending upon the model (there's several models available for standard F40W fluorescent tubes; one is rated to operate at low temps, another only at higher temps). But even so, I discovered that if I simply bought a fixture that said, on its box, that it had an iron-core ballast, its cost would still be higher than buying one of the el cheapo LOA fixtures and a separate iron-core GE ballast, then swapping the GE into the LOA when I got home.

Within six months of installing all those brand-new LOA fixtures that originally had solid-state ballasts, ALL of the ballasts had died, and been replaced with iron core ballasts. Each fixture had also killed its original bulbs, several of which had been replaced several times before the solid-state ballast finally died.

Looking in my notebook this morning, I found that the last fixture I "fixed" was exactly a year ago today, 04/26/06. None of the "repaired" fixtures with an iron-core ballast has failed; they're all STILL working fine with the bulbs that were in them at the time the ballast was replaced. No failures of either ballasts or bulbs in over a year. None of the bulbs have black bases, either. And I still have ZERO RFI.

Phooey on those el cheapo Chinee solid-state ballasts. If you MUST buy an el cheapo $11 LOA dual-F40W shop-type light fixture, immediately rip out the solid-state ballast and shell out the extra money for an iron ballast.

Unfortunately, I do not have any of the fixtures that I bought back in '97 so I have no idea what the difference is between those older models (which ate bulbs like crazy) and those that HD sells today. I suspect those early fixtures did have an early solid-state ballast but of a different design. Maybe, though, they had an iron-core ballast that just wasn't designed properly for the nominal 120VAC, 60 Hz power that the western hemisphere uses. Those original fixtures didn't cause detectable RFI to me at the time but man, they sure did eat up bulbs.
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by K3HVG on April 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My only issue at this time is when flame shoots out of these things. I've had several go that way, especially when mounted inverted as a ceiling light. Also, the longevity claimed for these bulbs is overrated. I guess I'm saving energy but not convinced that there's any monetary savings, at all. Maybe I will, however, when the cost of power almost doubles, around here, in the coming months. FYI, my source has been Cosco.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KE6PID on April 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There are good ones and bad ones, both from a reliability and noise standpoint. The ones I have bought and found to be quiet are manufactured by (or sold...Chineese made)Technical Consumer Products Inc. and sold by Orchard Supply Hardware as Durabright or Home Depot as Commercial Electric.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N6HPX on April 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I believe there were several RFI books even 10 or more years ago that describes this problem and it was usually shown what could be done like installment of filters and such. I have a home full of these lights and have been lucky not to have the problem so far as I have done self experments on which one causes it and which one don't. I did get blasted by a nneighbor who had a welding machine in the area.

Larry,n6hpx/mm
sasebo Harbor
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K4RAF on April 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It is becoming very, very common that electronics made in China can emit RFI in the most bizarre of places.

Since many items are purchased at discounters like Walmart, there is a good chance you might find a trojan horse at any time, if it was made in China.

Upon purchasing anything new these days, I usually find birdies & hash on my VHF-UHF scanner radios. Switching supplies & wall warts are a particular problem for me in my line of work. I have chinese wall warts that wipe out VHF-highband while functioning as intended.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by AE6RO on April 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I don't like the compact flourescents and I don't think I'll be buying any more. When mine go bad I'll open them up for parts. I've found all sorts of neat stuff in them that shouldn't be in a landfill. Like chokes, 200 volt electrolytic capacitors, transistors, and coils. Plus unknown integrated circuits. If only the CF tube is bad, you could salvage the electronic ballast and put it in a conventional fixture of the same or less wattage.

Back in the Roaring '90s I put in compact flourescents into every light fixture in my apartment. I saved all of two dollars at the end of the month. Yippee. That would be around four dollars today. As opposed to what the CFs cost to begin with and that not all of them lasted a year.

I'll just use regular flourescents with magnetic ballasts. Less hassle. More safety. Fewer "Trojan Horses."

Use incandescents for where you need better lighting, like a kitchen or over a desk. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by AA1LL on May 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It is difficult to believe the small lamp itself would radiate RFI since the conductors are much smaller than a wavelength. I bet a lot of this noise is due to the 110v AC wiring connected to the noisey light acting as an antenna. Less noise radiation would occur if the two conductors leading to the noise source (light) were in a well-balalnced transmission line of low characteristic impedance so the radiation from one line canceled the radiation from the other. The methods of connecting the power line, neutral and earth conductors from the breaker box to household outlets and fixtures vary from state to state and there are various acceptable methods which would result in differing RF performance. Sometimes it's difficult to analyze your 110v AC wiring from an RF perspective.

73, Paul, AA1LL
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by KD7ZOX on May 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
In response to the comment that all your bulbs have failed in a short time:

You shouldn't touch the glass. It shortens their lifetime by a factor of up to 10.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by N5AX on May 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have tried two bulbs so far out in the garage.
No RFI noted, but they failed after a short time.
Not for me!
N5AX
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W7AIT on May 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I bought a Westinghouse 36640 soft white 7 watt long life fluorescent a few days ago and I tested it for “Radiated Susceptibility” as follows:

1. Baseline: Ran baseline test with standard filament bulb, 40 watt. Tested using my DX440 shortwave and the whip antenna within 4 inches. Noted zero interference from 150 khz to 30 mhz.
2. Baseline: Repeated testing using main station receiver a Kenwood TS2000X with a BWD65 about 25 feet away and then a Buddipole also about 25 feet away. Noted zero interference from 150 khz to 30 mhz.
3. Removed and replaced with the test Westinghouse 36640 soft white 7 watt long life fluorescent.
4. Tested using my DX440 shortwave and the whip antenna within 4 inches. Noted significant RFI interference from 150 khz to about 400 khz.
5. Noted zero, no significant RFI above 400 khz to 30 mhz.
6. Repeated testing using main station receiver a Kenwood TS2000X with a BWD65 about 25 feet away and then a Buddipole set vertically, also about 25 feet away. Noted zero interference from 150 khz to 30 mhz.
7. Installed the Westinghouse 36640 soft white 7 watt long life fluorescent permanently out in my kitchen, 50 feet from shack, 8 feet from a Comet Scanner Antenna near the kitchen, noted zero interference picked up by the scanner, a Radio Shack Pro 2051 on any band 25 mhz to 1.3 ghz. Same with main station receiver a Kenwood TS2000X with a BWD65 about 25 feet away and then a Buddipole set vertically, also about 25 feet away. Noted zero interference from 150 khz to 30 mhz.
8. The Westinghouse 36640 soft white 7 watt long life fluorescent stays permanently installed in the kitchen as a night light as there is no observed interference with my ham station.
9. Results: This particular bulb radiates at CLOSE RANGE, as in INCHES, from 150 khz to about 400 khz.
10. I called the manufacturer hot line and they said “yes, the bulb radiates at 30- 40 khz but meets Part 15 requirements and is so indicated on the bulb markings and they have tested and certified as such”.
11. Them is the facts…….
 
No significant RFI observed  
by JJ1BDX on May 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I've changed almost all of good-old incandescent bulbs to the fluorescent ones. No change on my HF ham radio activities.

It's hard to find non-fluorescent lamps, which contain AC inverters, around urban areas in Japan. Incandescent lamps mean waste of energy here.

I once had to install a clamp ferrite core to reduce the HF RF radiation for one of the lamp stands, but I'd rather suspect the AC inverter circuit outside the lamp. Since most of fluorescent light bulbs use the built-in AC inverters, the problem of RF radiation from the power supply wire would be minimal.

Kenji Rikitake, JJ1BDX(/3), Osaka, Japan
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by K4FLH on May 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
With the exception of two bulbs,they are on a dimmer rheostat, I have changed all my lights to the compact florescent bulbs. This includes the one that lights up my radio desk,1 foot from my rigs,the one in the over head,3 feet from rigs,and the three of them over the work bench,about 6 foot from rigs,and guess watt(pardon the pun) no more noise than before I changed and then there is the approximate 10% DECREASE in usage and the amount my bill.
IMHO if you are experiencing noise you need to check your grounding and get that right brfore comdeming these new bulbs.
73
Bill/K4FLH
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K4FLH on May 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

"I only wish they made CF bulbs with higher light output, say the equal of 150 or 200 Watt"
They do I have 150 watt out puts in my laundry room and over my other work bench where I work on my bike motors.
I also have 3 way types in a pair of table lamps and one floor lamp.(50 100 150 in believe are the ratings for the 3 ways)
73
Bill/K4FLH
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by WD8BIL on May 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Ed,

Later today I'll email ya the results I got here.
It would be interesting to compare results.

Bud WD8BIL
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by W2RDD on May 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
NY state has just proposed a ban on all incandescents by the year 2012.
 
RE: RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bul  
by K4FLH on May 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The following link will clear up a lot of questions concerning CFL bulb. BTW Austrailia has also gone over to the CFL bulbs.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

73
Bill/K4FLH
 
RF Pollution by 'Compact Florescent' Light Bulbs  
by N9XBG on May 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have one directly above my rig with no problem what so ever, can not even tell when it is turned on or off. I have 5 of the older long florescent bulbs in the shack area and the rest of the basement and have at least 2 on when I am in the shack and have not had a problem with them either. This is regardless of if I am running one of the old boat anchors or one of my modern transeivers.
 
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