LED lights are one of the most amazing human inventions next to sliced bread. Not only are they affordable, but they also consume 90% less energy compared to their other space-illuminating brethren.
They do have one minor drawback: TV/radio interference.
While that may not seem a big deal, it can significantly affect users’ experience using their TVs.
Just imagine watching your favorite TV series, and your screen starts to flicker and “goes static.” That can make anyone worry.
For all you know, that puppet from the movie SAW is about to pop out and ask you if you want to play a game! Yikes!
Jokes aside, experiencing TV interference can be concerning as this might damage our TVs and other electronics if left alone too long.
But how do you know if your LED lights are causing the interference? Why do LED lights cause TV interference in the first place? What can you do to prevent TV interference from happening again?
Stick around and find out!
Why Do LED Lights Cause Interference?
It’s not exactly the LED lights causing the TV interference. Instead, what causes it is the LED driver or ballast.
LED lights release a series of bursts known as the Pulse Width Modulation or PWM. In a series of pulses, the power is transmitted from the ballast/LED driver, which dictates how frequently your LED light will flicker per second.
The thing is, it’s not just your LED lights that are affected by this pulse. It can be received by your TV too.
How to Tell If Your LED Lights are the Cause of TV Interference?
Solving the TV interference issue with your LED lights won’t be that difficult. But first, you need to determine if your LED lights are the root cause of the interference in the first place.
So, how do you do that? It’s quite simple!
As soon as your TV starts to experience interference again, simply switch off your LED lights.
If your LED lights are the main cause of the interference, your TV should almost immediately work how it normally would after shutting off your LED lights.
As useful as this little test is, there is one more factor you need to consider: you’re probably not the only one in your neighborhood using LED lights.
So, why are we mentioning this?
Because your neighbor’s LED lights can also be causing you TV interference. Yes, we know it’s a hassle and not many people want to deal with their neighbors, but you must consider this.
If you did the LED test at home and your TV is still experiencing interference, you should visit your neighbors and ask them if they can switch off their LEDs for a quick moment.
Doing so will help you determine if your problem is LED-related.
How to Prevent TV Interference Caused by LED Lights?
Once you’ve established that LED lights are causing your TV interference, what can you do to ensure it does not happen again?
There are three things you can do:
- Ensure that the LED lights you have are compliant with the technical and administrative standards.
- Check that your LED lights are correctly installed.
- Add an EMI filter.
Solution #1: Standard Compliance
The better the quality of your LED lights, the lower the chance of TV/radio interference happening.
The problem: The majority of LED lights available in the market do NOT meet this standard.
Best solution: Don’t trust unbranded LED lights. Paying a little extra for LED lights produced by reputable brands will be a better investment in the long run.
Solution #2: Proper Installation
When you install your LED lights, ensure you use a properly rated transformer. Don’t worry. You can check the proper rating range for your transformer on the packaging.
The problem: You don’t know if you’re using the right transformer for your LED lights. You also don’t know if you installed the LED lights correctly.
Best solution: Test if there is interference by tuning a portable radio to a weak station and checking if you experience interference when your LED lights are turned on.
Solution #3: Add an EMI Filter
EMI filters or ferrite beads are used to suppress high-frequency electronic noise. This prevents electromagnetic interference (EMI) – the thing that causes the TV interference – in two directions: from a device (your LED lights) to a device (your TV).
The plus side? EMI filters/ferrite beads are quite affordable and easy to find!
The problem: You’re not sure which type of EMI filter to get.
Best solution: Find out what LED brand and unit you are using and look up the ideal EMI filter to use.
What are Other Causes for TV Interference?
So, you did a test multiple times and you even asked your neighbors to switch off their lights for a moment, but your TV is still experiencing interference. What could be causing it?
Here are other causes of TV interference:
- Cable damage
- Faulty antenna
- Damaged antenna
So, what can you do? Unfortunately, these are not issues you can simply DIY without the risk of large damages or injury. We recommend you call your local technicians to help you.
So, yes, LED lights can cause TV interference due to their LED drivers. We also learned that LED lights could also cause interference if installed incorrectly.
We also talked about a quick way to find out if your LED lights are responsible for your TV reception issues. Although, we have to admit that asking your neighbors to switch off their lights can be a bit of an awkward request to make.
But if you really want to know why you’re having issues with your TV, you will have to knock on a few doors and switch off a few lights. Just ask politely and explain why you’re there.
As for solving your TV interference issues, make sure to try all of our suggestions before making any big decisions.
Reminder: If your TV reception does not improve even after trying all of the above suggestions, please call your local technicians. Electrical issues should be dealt with by trained professionals.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.