• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

LED Anchor Light RF Interference

Sep 27, 2008
155
Hunter 41 Longport,NJ
I have one of the Maine Beam tricolor LEDs on my masthead Rigger just put it on for about 700$ with the labor. Now my VHF, SSB and AIS are having a lot of problems, haven't tested (and afraid to) test the autopilot and GPS. Anyone have any ideas or do I "BOAT" to have someone go up there and replace it with an incandescent AquaSignal
 
May 17, 2004
3,428
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
What kind of problems, just poor reception or anything else? Do the VHF and AIS share the same antenna with a splitter? Where is the SSB located? Are the problems now constant or only when the LEDs are on?

The GPS and autopilot shouldn’t be vulnerable to the same types of interference frequencies as VHF and SSB, so if it’s just an RF interference issue then they should be ok. It’s worth trying them to see if anything else strange is going on.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,738
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
What @Davidasailor26 says.

Marine Beam makes good high quality products and provides good customer support. Give them a call tomorrow.

If it is the LED, the interference should only occur when the light is on and it should mostly interfere with reception. The RF noise will be picked up the VHF and AIS antennas. On the MB website there a blog article about this issue with more information.

There should be no issues with AP as it the electronics are far away from the LED and it doesn't rely on receiving any info from the VHF. Likewise for the GPS, the antenna should be far enough away.

It is also entirely possible the cause of your issues are not related to what the rigger did with the timing just coincidental or in the process of installing the light the rigger damaged an antenna cable or something else that is causing the problem. Without knowing what the symptoms are, it is difficult for any of us to offer more help. The support folks at MB will also need more specific information about the symptoms to determine whether the problem lies with the LED, the installation, or some other event.
 
Jul 1, 2010
861
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
Definitely give them a call. I have one of their replacement led bulbs on ours (not the tri-color) without issues. They specifically state this on the description for the tri-color bulb so interference shouldn't be a problem:

"Additional electronics are included to control the photo-sensor, and the switching modes, and all the electronics meet the very stringent EN60945 EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) specifications to avoid interference with radios, GPS, and other electronics on board."

Not that you couldn't have gotten a bad bulb, but maybe the rigger could have also knocked something loose on the antennas?
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,957
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
These bulbs are not driven, they are powered. There is no rfi generated at all, so unless there is something seriously wrong with the element, the issue is something else.
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,197
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
These bulbs are not driven, they are powered. There is no rfi generated at all, so unless there is something seriously wrong with the element, the issue is something else.
I'm not sure what you mean by "driven" but there certainly is a potential for EMI. From the Marinebeam site:
Our LED Tri-Mode has all these features in one fixture thanks to its smart LED bulb with an on-board micro-processor. Memory functions allow for the bulb to detect on/off intervals as shown in the product video. Default is the photocell anchor light mode, followed by the Tri-Color mode. The S.O.S. strobe has an additional delay required between switching to prevent inadvertent activation.

Any microprocessor has the potential for radiated emissions. In addition, there is likely a switching power supply which is even more likely to have radiated emissions. There are ways to minimize EMI in circuit design, and considering the application and general wide acceptance of Marinebeam products, they are probably pretty good. One incorrectly installed (wrong value, missing) component on the circuit card could lead to EMI. @sesmith suggestion to give them a call is a good idea and explain exactly the conditions and the interference you are experiencing.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,957
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Microprocessor is “driven”. Common electronic convention, not so much sailing.
the ones i bought are strictly 12v, internal resistor. No pwm in sight.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,084
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Meriachee, even the Coast Guard has advised that LED light do emit EMI/RFI. So until a complete diagnostics is done we have to assume that the LED are the culprit. That is, of course, there was no RFI issues prior to the installation. So we need to support Spadaforaj during his troubleshooting.

@spadaforaj wish we could hear what you are hearing on all your comms.

A general FYI, I have purchased a device called QRM Eliminator. It is coming from The Ukraine and should be here around the end of the month. This device is designed to listen to locally generated interference and phase it out so there is no interference. When I get the device and test it at home, I will give my opinion. The reason I need to test it here is due to horrendous RFI from my home solar panels. My HF (SSB) radio is usless because of the interference.
 
Sep 27, 2008
155
Hunter 41 Longport,NJ
Thanks all - static, and pretty loud the static can be turned on and off by flipping the anchor light switch ! Had no problem with it before - next time down I'll see if I can record it and send an audio file. There was no problem before at all

I'll try also to talk with someone over at Marinebeam tomorrow - thanks all
 
Oct 24, 2010
2,390
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
haven't heard your description of the noise going on and off with the light there's no question there's something going on there but you might consider the possibility of some corrosion in a connection causing a diode effect which could in fact exacerbate EMI ( electromagnetic interference)
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,829
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
No experience with you specific issue...but I recently installed WiFi-enabled LED lights in my front lights at my house...all of a sudden my older garage door opener would ot work using the remotes.

there is some radio interference for sure coming from Led fixtures.

Greg
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,434
O'Day 25 Chicago
The long cable runs inside the mast make it much easier to pickup EMI. I've picked up radio stations with a 20' unshielded cable connected to an amp. Hopefully the issue is something as simple as a bad connection. I agree that calling the manufacturer should be the first step
 
Sep 27, 2008
155
Hunter 41 Longport,NJ
Tested it at night when the light was on (on a photo switch) and was even worse.

Gave up - and the rigger charged me again to put a halogen fixture back up, - so two years and 1400$ later - back to where I was. My advice - don't put one of these things on - and if you do, keep the rigger up there until you have tested it for interference. Anyone who says there is no interference isn't accounting for old wiring, old antenna or who knows what - What an expensive disaster.
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,553
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
Meriachee, even the Coast Guard has advised that LED light do emit EMI/RFI. So until a complete diagnostics is done we have to assume that the LED are the culprit. That is, of course, there was no RFI issues prior to the installation. So we need to support Spadaforaj during his troubleshooting.

@spadaforaj wish we could hear what you are hearing on all your comms.

A general FYI, I have purchased a device called QRM Eliminator. It is coming from The Ukraine and should be here around the end of the month. This device is designed to listen to locally generated interference and phase it out so there is no interference. When I get the device and test it at home, I will give my opinion. The reason I need to test it here is due to horrendous RFI from my home solar panels. My HF (SSB) radio is usless because of the interference.
I’m good with wearing my aluminum foil hat…..
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Wow, that really sucks! Did you ever talk with MarineBeam about your issue?
I'd try for my money back as it does sound like you may have gotten a bad light.
 
Sep 27, 2008
155
Hunter 41 Longport,NJ
I did - they were as helpful as could be, but we could not solve the problem. Since I went through a rigger (and really really paid) he replaced the parts for free, but really charged on labor.....again....time to suck it up and learn not to be afraid to work at the op of a 64 foot mast.... maybe when I was 45, but not 65 years old....
 
  • Like
Likes: Ward H