Lighting causing amp transformers to buzz

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Darren_T, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    I just moved into my new home and found an interesting thing. I have recessed lighting in the HT room and they have halogen bulbs. When I turn those lights on my AKSA amplifier begins to hum or buzz. When I turn them off...silence. Is there a way to filter this out? Possibly a drawback of halogen lights? I suppose I could run a dedicated socket, will this aleviate the problem?

    Darren
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well those halogens have dimmers and your builder probably put in a 'builder's grade' dimmer which means it works and that's about it. certainly running things off a separate outlet is a good idea, but maybe you can solve your problem simply by replacing the dimmer switch. Lutron (www.lutron.com) makes a variety of dimmer switches with Home Theater in mind.

    What's happening is that the way your dimmer works is by chopping the electricity going to the lights. I'm sure you've noticed that as you vary the brightness, the buzz diminishes or increases. A side effect of this is that a large amount of EMI is emitted into the air which can get picked up by a number of components in your HT system...possibly unshielded or poorly shielded interconnects. It's really hard to say.

    So the first line of attack would be to replace the dimmer with a better one. Give them a call (1-800-523-9466) and discuss your problem and they can probably recommend a product for you to try.
     
  3. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    EDIT:

    I just checked and my Dimmer is one of the nicer Lutron's so I guess I'll have to run my separate circuit and see if that takes care of it.




    Actually there wasn't a dimmer on it until I replaced the switch. I just moved in and put the dimmer (from Lowes) in because I wanted to vary the lighting. I did this before I installed my theater equipment. I guess that would be the problem. I'll check out the good dimmers and see if I can resolve the problem. Either that or run a dedicated circuit for my equipment which is something I planned on doing anyway.

    Thanks!

    Darren
     
  4. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    I live with the same problem. Dimmer/Halogens = noise.

    If you are serious about your sonics. Simply turn off the halogen lights altogether when listening/viewing your gear.
    IME, there is no way to kill the EMI emmited from those halogens. They used to make my old VansEvers (since sold off) hum like hell. I could make that VansEvers sing with the dimmer control. A dedicated circuit will not alleviate the hum issue. It's that simple.

    Find an alternate source for lighting during your listening/viewing time. I put an 18watt bulb into my JRisch line conditioner (dampens the conditioner), so killed two birds with one stone. Plus I have a small bulb behind my RPTV so ambient light is not issue when the lights go off. Plus I have 3 can lights (non halogen) in the dedicated basement HT so pre-HT setup is solved.

    I only use my halogen dimmer track when I need to see the gear for "tweaks", cord changes, all around look and see duties, if you will.

    Not a big deal... beats your audio gear humming along.

    Good Luck,
    BOK
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    not a chance that disconnecting your cable makes it go away is there?

    as an aside, i'd still give them a call with the model # of your unit to see if that's their recommended one.
     
  6. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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  7. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    Well, I replaced the halogen bulbs with standard flood lamps and the problem is now solved! No more buzzing.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    i tell you, those problems are a bitch and a half. along the lines of the halogens here's some interesting information that may or may not have some sort of applicability to humming.

    I did a little digging and found that halogen lights can vary greatly in construction. Not that I want you to have problems, but do you recall if, apart from the noise in your HT system, there was any sound at all coming from the bulb? If so, the vibration could be due to vibrations of the filament and there's a product, Sylvania Capsylites, that seem to get around this problem. Apparently the filament is contained within a 'capsule', hence the name.

    Also some halogens contain a diode and there've been stories, not that i can corroborate, that it's a mix/match kind of thing (seeing as diodes are 1-way). some have reported that inserting halogens, with the diode directions opposite from the one next to it, has remedied the situation

    In any event, glad you're hum free!
     

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