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Pole Barn T8 lights causing interference Any suggestions?


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I have a pole barn, located about 350 ft from the house. The pole barn is being fed from one of my two house panels, with 240. The pole barn has a sub panel. I currently have 8 Insteon switches, 6 are dual band, 2 are not. They run off of three circuits, two on one phase, the third on another.  Since all of the switches are along a metal wall of the pole barn I  have also placed a dual band outlet on a fourth circuit, which is on the phase of the third circuit, more towards the middle of the pole barn,  to help  distribute the signals.

The issue seems to be that when  either of the two light circuits that each power a set of ~6 T8 fluorescent light fixtures, is turned on, I loose consistent communication. When they are off, all things are good. They do not affect anything in the main house. 

Any ideas / suggestions on how best to eliminate the noise these fixtures are causing? All hard wired.

Does anyone have any experience with the  range extender from smart home? Will it provide a stronger RF signal than the dual band outlet that I recently put in for that purpose?  And would that be enough to overcome the line noise of the lights? 

Thanks!

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27 minutes ago, dbwarner5 said:

Does anyone have any experience with the  range extender from smart home? Will it provide a stronger RF signal than the dual band outlet that I recently put in for that purpose?  And would that be enough to overcome the line noise of the lights? 

Any type of plug-in dual-band device will most likely provide better propagation of the RF signal than the dual band outlet because the dual-band outlet is in an electrical box. The plug-in device signal doesn't have to escape the electrical box and whatever else may be in its way. If it would overcome the electrical noise is hard to say. 

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The problem with the RF solution is that it may not solve the issue -- Insteon's RF is sometimes compromised by its reliance on the powerline for timing information (specfically, the zero-crossing point).  Ballasts (among other things) can really mess that up, so you may find you'll need to embed a noise filter between the switch and the fixture.  There are wired-in X10 noise-filters available that should do the job.

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25 minutes ago, dbuss said:

Any type of plug-in dual-band device will most likely provide better propagation of the RF signal than the dual band outlet because the dual-band outlet is in an electrical box. The plug-in device signal doesn't have to escape the electrical box and whatever else may be in its way. If it would overcome the electrical noise is hard to say. 

I tried a plug in new dual band siren, and plugged it in all around the pole barn to see if I could get a clear signal / improvement.. didnt help.

 

11 minutes ago, mwester said:

 There are wired-in X10 noise-filters available that should do the job.

was not aware of these in-line products.. looking at them now.. any comments on the difference between these two?

1)https://smile.amazon.com/X10-XPF-Wired-Filter-3-Wire/dp/B01NAKD1HK/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g3905707922?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8

2)https://smile.amazon.com/X10-Line-Noise-Reducer-XPNR/dp/B0002M5OIY/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g3905707922?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8

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The smaller one is for discreet installs which fall under 15 amps. The other is a massive brick for 20 amp circuits.


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I had some basement fluorescents in a past house that did this. They were plugged into switched outlets in the ceiling joists (from previous owner) so just plugged in those old X10 filters we used to use between the light and the outlet, and problem gone. I think you can still find them, or maybe SmartHome sells them for Insteon now. Work for TVs, power supplies, etc., that also played havoc with X10 or Insteon.

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52 minutes ago, madcodger said:

They were plugged into switched outlets in the ceiling joists 

mine are all hardwired. Will have to go with one fo the above and insert into the line. 

Thanks everyone. Will give one of them a try, probably the smaller one. 

One more question. Do you think I will need two, one for each set of lights (same circuit), or just one for the circuit?

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mine are all hardwired. Will have to go with one fo the above and insert into the line. 
Thanks everyone. Will give one of them a try, probably the smaller one. 
One more question. Do you think I will need two, one for each set of lights (same circuit), or just one for the circuit?


Better to have and not need. Than to need and not have!


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19 minutes ago, Teken said:

 

 

Am going to try the 20 amp and wire it right in the panel for that circuit....will be easier to fit there than to deal with the current 4 gang box filled with 4 Insteon switches, including two fo them three ways etc.. pretty full...lol. Where as the panel is old repurposed panel from a house and only has 5 active breakers in a ~30 breaker box.

I just ordered it from Amazon so will give an update after I have installed it for future references...

cheers, and thanks for everyones input

 

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5 hours ago, Brian H said:

 If you want to use an X10Pro XPF. The XPF filters are for 120VAC. In a 220 circuit. You need two.

Thanks, I am just going to put one on the only circuit that has these lights. The two sets are on the same circuit. Should fit in the panel w/o any problems since the panel is about 75% empty.

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41 minutes ago, mwester said:

You'll probably find that the filters need to go between the switch and the fixture, and ideally as close to the fixture (source of the noise) as possible.  So the panel is probably not a good place.

This was why I was happy my lights were not hardwired. Blocking noise at each fixture worked. I'm not sure that would have happened if I had tried to block it at the switch.

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6 hours ago, mwester said:

You'll probably find that the filters need to go between the switch and the fixture, and ideally as close to the fixture (source of the noise) as possible.  So the panel is probably not a good place.

Very good point.

If the filter is on the AC line feed side to any Insteon modules. It will prevent Insteon power line commands from reaching them.

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I've ordered one so far, so will install it on the main lights that seems to create the most problems. What is interesting is that the interference isn't consistent. I wonder if the ballasts create different noise levels based on things like temperature, how long they have been on, etc. 

From an Amazon reviewer, with pictures: 

▪ With a bit of fabrication... drill some holes + relocate the filter circuit board to other half of the case (easy to do), these 20A XPF filters can be easily modified to attach onto a single-gang outlet box. I've done this many time. :)
 
Expecting delivery late this week, and will give update after installed.  
 

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.56.47 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.56.53 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.57.00 AM.jpg

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28 minutes ago, dbwarner5 said:

I've ordered one so far, so will install it on the main lights that seems to create the most problems. What is interesting is that the interference isn't consistent. I wonder if the ballasts create different noise levels based on things like temperature, how long they have been on, etc. 

From an Amazon reviewer, with pictures: 

▪ With a bit of fabrication... drill some holes + relocate the filter circuit board to other half of the case (easy to do), these 20A XPF filters can be easily modified to attach onto a single-gang outlet box. I've done this many time. :)
 
Expecting delivery late this week, and will give update after installed.  
 

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.56.47 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.56.53 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 8.57.00 AM.jpg

Nice find, wish he showed the actual board. But, given he did mention it would fit inside a standard JB it must be close to size. I personally wouldn't have left the XPF cover there and just used a blanking plate and installed a label / sharpie note.

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This is with a Date Code 07L49 (2007 week 49) so things may have changed with present XPF modules.

Not sure why they moved the PCB to the other case side. Maybe to keep the model label on the top. As the case pieces are designed to be used as top or bottom.

It looks like the modification was screwed to the front of the electrical box and the PCB was not installed into the box. As it is probably too large to fit. Mine is 3 15/16" long, 2  3/4" wide and the large 1uF 630V capacitors are about 1" tall.

 

 

xpf2.jpg

xpf_sch.pdf

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Update.. installed the 20A XPF filter today on one of the two light circuits. So far, its working like a charm. No communication issues anymore at all! 

Thanks for everyones input! 

Now to order a second one for the other circuit. 

cheers. 

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