WARNING! Digital/ Electronic ballasts can get you busted! The A.M. radio test!

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
Even if I were, which medical is here, I still would not broadcast (sorry for the pun, couldn't help myself) for several reasons.

Like I have screamed at the top of my lungs, legal grow or not, it is the consumer's responsibility to comply with FCC rags and take steps to eliminate RFI or face their wrath and wrathful they are.

You can literally grow tons of tomatoes and nothing else and if your lights emit RFI, the FCC will ask nice once and then take everything you own, period.

I have personally witnessed their aftermath and you think cops make a mess in a big drug bust? You could eat off the floor comparatively.

The manufacturer has responsibilities as well but good luck making that happen. RFI is THE cardinal sin and the FCC is a wrathful, vengeful, petty god.

Absolutely doesn't matter what or where you grow nor how legal or illegal it is.
 

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
They come down exactly as hard on grow lights or toasters or computers or smoke detectors or insert your favorite electronic device here.

I wasn't talking about pirate radio at all but yes you are correct.

All radios I mentioned I have are way past fully legal and the only reason I brought them up before or bring them up now, is because they are expensive and would be forever confiscated if ANYTHING I own causes RFI and is not corrected or removed.

The FCC does not care about the source of the RFI as is evident in their maniacal confiscation of any and every electrical and electronic device period.

The other people I mentioned were all amateur radio (ham) operators and were legal but one. They merely had stray RFI and couldn't figure out the problem so the FCC eliminated the problem for them by removing every device possible except appliances and light fixtures and left their houses uninhabitable. Would have been more merciful to just burn the houses to the ground.

The other guy had an illegal cb radio and suffered the same fate as the innocent people with an honest problem they were trying to fix.

I have no illegal radios in operation. That want stop them from destroying my life for fun. You do not have to own a TV or radio of any kind at all for them to destroy your life over RFI.
 

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
I was not aware it was a requirement to have RF filters on devices.
I don't know that it's a requirement. The requirement is that any device for consumer use must not cause RFI. Simple as that. No matter what. The FCC gets a complaint about one person, that person is responsible for eliminating the RFI in whatever way possible. They get complaints from dozens, hundreds, or more about a device or item, they take it up with the manufacturer.

Read labels, all electronics have a disclaimer about not causing interference with, and must accept interference from other devices, which is retarded because all devices have the same disclaimer and by default cannot cause interference.

Only if items are getting complaints will they then be required to have filters. By whom, the consumer or manufacturer, depends on how many complaints or sources of interference there are.
 

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
As I also mentioned already, my biggest fear now is theft. And I don't even mean any plants necessarily. If I get burglarized and all they took was a few pot plants or tomato plants, AWESOME. However, that won't be all they're after. They will get lights and gear and all kinds of other shit I own.

Have you ever been burglarized? I have and they got a lot of my shit, namely guns. I even found out who did it and the police still couldn't help or do a fucking thing. They were even after the guy for some time (for other reasons) and still couldn't do a thing. They ended up chasing him into the woods behind our houses and never caught him and he was never seen again. He got away stone cold free and I never got a thing back. He even looked me in the face while the cops were "investigating" and said to me "feels like gettin raped, doesn't it"

I would damn sure murder him in cold blood if I could find him. Not even god would be able to find his body. And I do NOT want to go through that again, ever.
 

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
Phantom 2 is the only one I know for a FACT has the noise cancellation. Switched to all phantoms and they've never been back 2 years later.
did finally get one of these. haven't got it hooked up yet, my hood had a different plug config, had to order a replacement cord to rewire the lamp base in the hood. It will be replacing my LEDs rather than the hps. Seems the cable guy fixed it by tightening a loose fitting he found somewhere. They came back later and I plugged everything back in and couldn't get the interference at all. I had already bought an RFI filter and a ground rod and wire to install also.

I went ahead and got the phantom 600 for my veg tent just in case my cheap LEDs had anything at all to do with it, or a combo of the HPS and LEDs. I was freaking out chasing my tail with knee jerk reactions trying to fix the problem immediately.

point is, I got the phantom
 

HeartIandhank

Well-Known Member
What will keep the cable guy away is making sure you don't have any male end coaxial type outlets at the wall exposed. Or shitty cheap connections, etc..

That said, that won't change the AM radio deal.. I tested it quite a few times. Using an AM radio and having a friend in his grow garage to turn lights on and off. I could be a block away and when he flipped the switch the AM radio went to shit. Whether someone could use this to track you down? Idk.. something to think about though.

I don't even grow more than a few country backyard plants these days.. so it is not a worry I have anymore. But, god damn, shit made me paranoid when I learned the AM radio thing. We switched to all magnetic that week.

This is a zombie thread.. I'm gonna go ahead and unwatch it..
 

Stiickygreen

Well-Known Member
I had issues with Crapcast a few years ago. They kept unhooking my cable and saying I was feeding RF back into their system. I was a med patient at the time (no card needed now with rec pot here) so i wasn't worried about a bust/etc...but I still don't like strangers in my house where there's a grow room. He came in...looked at the wires...and told me my house was wired with crap wire and that was probably the culprit. At the time...we only had one TV and only used 1 outlet....so I talked him into leaving me a hundred feet of cable and told him I'd run a new drop direct from the ped to the TV... and to reschedule me for a check after that work was completed. I put the drop in....called them..and they came out and checked for RF. I had heard about possible RF interference with digital ballasts...and at the time had 6 1K's going in the garage....so after the guy checked everything out and said "Looks good now".... I said "Hey....wait a mnute...let me go do something and see if anyhting changes". I then went out and clicked on the timer on the relay cord to the 8 plug panel system and all 6 ballasts popped on at once. I walked back in the living room and said "How about now? Still the answer was "Looks good. No interference". So he hooked me back up and off he went.

2 days later the cable was out again. No card...no doortag..no nothin. It pissed me off...so I went out to the ped and saw that I'd again been disconnected.

Called em...told em to leave me unhooked and stop the fuckin bill...ask them where I could toss the boxes and equipment and get my refund back....and that from here on... I didn't give a fuck if they had RF. NOT my problem. Took the boxes back....never heard shit from them again.... and haven't had fuckin-waste-of-time-TV for 5 years now.
 

kingtitan

Well-Known Member
Spend the extra 50- or 60 bucks and get the Phantom II ballast, zero problems. I also wired a direct 20 amp wire to 20 amp breaker so that the ballast is on its own circuit as well. suggestion from the cheapo ballast makers (ie iPower) is to not have any TV/Internet devices on the same circuit...
 

completenoobie

Well-Known Member
Same circuit doesn't matter in the least. My cheap ballast was 100 yards away from the house and wasn't even on the same breaker box as any TV, internet, nothing and none of that goes to that building. So that's not part of the equation at all.
 

710revolution

Active Member
Ok guys I recently had a pretty close call that could have easily been avoided if I was more informed, so my goal here is hopefully that a mod help me get this post stickied so more people can view it and prevent the problem that I had to face recently.

Let me start off by telling you the situation and a little about my setup. I have 2 different digital ballasts running 600 watts each. You can switch them from mh to hps by changing bulbs. I bought both ballasts on eBay for under $200 each from different sellers, and they are both different brands. THESE BALLASTS ARE WHAT CAUSED MY PROBLEM. This isn't due to the fact that I didn't do research, the information just wasn't available because it is a little known problem that isn't talked about much on these forums.

So here is what happened:
One day I'm surfing the internet and my internet connection goes out. I look outside and there is a truck belonging to my cable internet provider working on a power line, so I wasn't really alarmed. . . . . . .UNTIL I GOT THE KNOCK ON MY DOOR!
The cable technician told me that there was a major disturbance in their cable line coming from my house that was affecting the service of my neighbors and was eating bandwidth and causing signal to get lost in my house. He brought me to his truck and showed me a graph on his computer. He told me that "There is something major going on in your house," and asked me if I had messed with any cables recently or done anything major in the last few days. I just told him the first thing that came to my mind which was that I had an electrician in my house recently and he might have messed something up. When he went back to his truck I had my wife run downstairs to my grow room and turn off the lights, rip up my plants, take down the lights, and throw everything in rubbermade totes. My room is a sealed room built into my basement that is hard to see the door unless you are looking for it. Anyhow, by the time the technician came back from his truck he asked if he could come in and trace my cable wire to make sure that a loose cable wire wasn't causing the problem. I let him in and he came in my basement (right after I smoked a bowl down there, mind you. I also had my wife spray some lysol disinfectant down there to mask the scent). He did find that there were some cable splitters and old wires from where I used to have cable tv but now I only need one wire for my cable modem since I am using Satelite for my tv now. He fixed the cable so that only 1 line was running in my house with no splitters. He then went back to his computer in his truck and said "Well, I don't know if it was something you did or something I did but the problem is fixed." He left shortly after that and for the rest of the night no amount of weed or beer could calm me down from how nervous I was. The man was a foot or two from my grow room door. The good news is I was only one week into this grow and I didn't lose much except I did pay $100 for 10 seeds and I was growing 8 at the time. All it takes is one loudmouth technician see something illegal in your house and you could be toast, so I consider myself lucky that I was actually home at the time of day he showed up and that I handled the situation swiftly and decisively. Just think about it, this guy gets paid to drive around and look for strange radio frequencies. Couldn't a cop use the same technology to bust you with if you aren't careful?

What I've learned since this close call:
While this was happenening and after it was over with I did a search online of "grow light cable interference." If you do this you will see MANY forum posts and websites showing people who have had this problem. What was actually happening is the digital ballasts I had were sending out MASSIVE AMOUNTS of radio waves which interfere with RF, or radio frequency. I also found out that some ballasts do come with RF shields. I do not know if these shields remove 100% of the radio interference or not, all I know is my ballasts must not have had RF shields installed. I also learned that cables and electronics in your house, and even sometimes in your neighbor's houses can be affected by the emissions of digital ballasts. It can even cause service interruption or bad service to your tv or your neighbor's tv while the lights are running. A post I read in a different forum was saying that he thought it was funny that the neighbor was complaining to him about the crappy tv reception between 8am and 8pm, which was the exact time when he was running his lights.

It's a good thing there is a way we can test our ballasts:
Finally, I want to share with everyone the test I found on the internet that can be used to confirm if you are getting RF interference in your grow room. If you know an electrician he may have access to some kind of RF meter that tests frequencies, but don't worry you don't need that. All you need is a radio with the capability to be set to A.M. I call this the A.M. radio test.
You can use F.M. radio for the test as well, but A.M. is affected much more noticeably and therefore is better for the test. All you have to do is bring your radio to your grow room and plug it in. Then set it to A.M. and find the clearest station possible. Once this is done, turn on or plug in your digital ballast. If your ballast is one of the bad ones then the radio station will immediately get very fuzzy. The brighter your light gets as it powers up the more it will make the station turn into static. You can do the same test by turning on the radio next to your closest active cable line and then turning on the ballast, then you can see if the RF interference can reach your cable wires and alert the company that there is a problem. If your radio stays clear then you have nothing to worry about and be glad that you bought a quality product.

In conclusion:
I have since sold my digital lights on eBay and gone with 100% cfl grow lights. I would prefer to use my digital lights but why risk it when you can get similar results and use way less power with cfls. If you or anyone you know uses digital ballasts, please tell them about this problem and have them do the A.M. radio test. What happened to me could happen to anyone, except this time you wouldn't be home, or you would be out of air freshener, or the technician could see your room and report you. I know this post is pretty long but I thank you for reading it and I welcome comments from people who know more about this problem or want to know about it. Hopefully I have helped someone here. Take Care, -ATL
Wow. I wish i was the cable guy who was working maintenace around your house. I would have stopped in to smoke a doobie with you, simply rerouted your cable, and properly grounded out your cable wiring. That would have taken care of the issue. Im literally sitting here in my work van wondering where i can score some buds after work lmao. And let me tell you theres a shitload of stoner cable guys. MOST of us dont give two shits about whats going on your house. We just want that issue fixed so you bastards arent bitching about how the internet sucks you bunch of internet fiends. Lol
 

666Dman

New Member
Ok guys I recently had a pretty close call that could have easily been avoided if I was more informed, so my goal here is hopefully that a mod help me get this post stickied so more people can view it and prevent the problem that I had to face recently.

Let me start off by telling you the situation and a little about my setup. I have 2 different digital ballasts running 600 watts each. You can switch them from mh to hps by changing bulbs. I bought both ballasts on eBay for under $200 each from different sellers, and they are both different brands. THESE BALLASTS ARE WHAT CAUSED MY PROBLEM. This isn't due to the fact that I didn't do research, the information just wasn't available because it is a little known problem that isn't talked about much on these forums.

So here is what happened:
One day I'm surfing the internet and my internet connection goes out. I look outside and there is a truck belonging to my cable internet provider working on a power line, so I wasn't really alarmed. . . . . . .UNTIL I GOT THE KNOCK ON MY DOOR!
The cable technician told me that there was a major disturbance in their cable line coming from my house that was affecting the service of my neighbors and was eating bandwidth and causing signal to get lost in my house. He brought me to his truck and showed me a graph on his computer. He told me that "There is something major going on in your house," and asked me if I had messed with any cables recently or done anything major in the last few days. I just told him the first thing that came to my mind which was that I had an electrician in my house recently and he might have messed something up. When he went back to his truck I had my wife run downstairs to my grow room and turn off the lights, rip up my plants, take down the lights, and throw everything in rubbermade totes. My room is a sealed room built into my basement that is hard to see the door unless you are looking for it. Anyhow, by the time the technician came back from his truck he asked if he could come in and trace my cable wire to make sure that a loose cable wire wasn't causing the problem. I let him in and he came in my basement (right after I smoked a bowl down there, mind you. I also had my wife spray some lysol disinfectant down there to mask the scent). He did find that there were some cable splitters and old wires from where I used to have cable tv but now I only need one wire for my cable modem since I am using Satelite for my tv now. He fixed the cable so that only 1 line was running in my house with no splitters. He then went back to his computer in his truck and said "Well, I don't know if it was something you did or something I did but the problem is fixed." He left shortly after that and for the rest of the night no amount of weed or beer could calm me down from how nervous I was. The man was a foot or two from my grow room door. The good news is I was only one week into this grow and I didn't lose much except I did pay $100 for 10 seeds and I was growing 8 at the time. All it takes is one loudmouth technician see something illegal in your house and you could be toast, so I consider myself lucky that I was actually home at the time of day he showed up and that I handled the situation swiftly and decisively. Just think about it, this guy gets paid to drive around and look for strange radio frequencies. Couldn't a cop use the same technology to bust you with if you aren't careful?

What I've learned since this close call:
While this was happenening and after it was over with I did a search online of "grow light cable interference." If you do this you will see MANY forum posts and websites showing people who have had this problem. What was actually happening is the digital ballasts I had were sending out MASSIVE AMOUNTS of radio waves which interfere with RF, or radio frequency. I also found out that some ballasts do come with RF shields. I do not know if these shields remove 100% of the radio interference or not, all I know is my ballasts must not have had RF shields installed. I also learned that cables and electronics in your house, and even sometimes in your neighbor's houses can be affected by the emissions of digital ballasts. It can even cause service interruption or bad service to your tv or your neighbor's tv while the lights are running. A post I read in a different forum was saying that he thought it was funny that the neighbor was complaining to him about the crappy tv reception between 8am and 8pm, which was the exact time when he was running his lights.

It's a good thing there is a way we can test our ballasts:
Finally, I want to share with everyone the test I found on the internet that can be used to confirm if you are getting RF interference in your grow room. If you know an electrician he may have access to some kind of RF meter that tests frequencies, but don't worry you don't need that. All you need is a radio with the capability to be set to A.M. I call this the A.M. radio test.
You can use F.M. radio for the test as well, but A.M. is affected much more noticeably and therefore is better for the test. All you have to do is bring your radio to your grow room and plug it in. Then set it to A.M. and find the clearest station possible. Once this is done, turn on or plug in your digital ballast. If your ballast is one of the bad ones then the radio station will immediately get very fuzzy. The brighter your light gets as it powers up the more it will make the station turn into static. You can do the same test by turning on the radio next to your closest active cable line and then turning on the ballast, then you can see if the RF interference can reach your cable wires and alert the company that there is a problem. If your radio stays clear then you have nothing to worry about and be glad that you bought a quality product.

In conclusion:
I have since sold my digital lights on eBay and gone with 100% cfl grow lights. I would prefer to use my digital lights but why risk it when you can get similar results and use way less power with cfls. If you or anyone you know uses digital ballasts, please tell them about this problem and have them do the A.M. radio test. What happened to me could happen to anyone, except this time you wouldn't be home, or you would be out of air freshener, or the technician could see your room and report you. I know this post is pretty long but I thank you for reading it and I welcome comments from people who know more about this problem or want to know about it. Hopefully I have helped someone here. Take Care, -ATL
Nice share. Good looking out.
 

MICHI-CAN

Well-Known Member
Not overly educated on magnetic induction and microwave interference. But my 3 250 watt MH drivers in my bathroom and the 4 equaling 960 watts in drop ceiling panels toasted my internet and antenna tv. Shielded the ballasts and no problems or knocks. Interesting observation. TY.
 

bambu1963

Member
can anyone confirm is GIB Lighting LXG 600W shielded? I have it for a couple of years now. considering it's high end I hope they incorporated this shielding :confused:.
 
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