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  • lights all pulsing, and some LEDs buzzing?

    Hi all,

    Running a 12V decent battery, 2 good big 12V panels, decent regulator, and a cheap 400w inverter. Not sure why LEDs and flourescent bulbs are buzzing and even plug in fairy lights are pulsing.

    In the other nearby solar house the fairy lights don't pulse.

    I have no dimmer in the house.

    What is the reason for this?

    Please help.

    Thank you
    Last edited by dark86; 12-26-2016, 04:14 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by dark86 View Post
    Running a 12V decent battery, 2 good big 12V panels, decent regulator, and a cheap 400w inverter. Not sure why LEDs and flourescent bulbs are buzzing and even plug in fairy lights are pulsing.

    In the other nearby solar house the fairy lights don't pulse.

    I have no dimmer in the house.

    What is the reason for this?
    Could be:

    Bad/overloaded inverter
    Some load (like the fluorescent lights) slamming on and off, making other loads flicker
    Weak battery plus PWM charge controller (will see voltage rise and fall as PWM cycles)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dark86 View Post
      .... a cheap 400w inverter. ....
      Cheap inverters are mod-square wave, and that's causing the buzz

      pulsing, could just be cheap inverter not regulating well.

      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dark86 View Post
        Hi all,

        Running a 12V decent battery, 2 good big 12V panels, decent regulator, and a cheap 400w inverter. Not sure why LEDs and flourescent bulbs are buzzing and even plug in fairy lights are pulsing.
        You answered your own question. Throw your Inverter in the trash and get a good True Sine Wave inverter and pray it does not Buzz the LED's. No guarantee because you likely also have cheap LED's with cheap drivers built inside of them. Even expensive Cree LED's will Buzz and burn up expensive Inverters.

        If you are going to run LED's on Solar, use 12 vdc LED's silly and avoid all those problems.and expense. LED's are extremely non linear loads and wreak havoc on AC systems. They are hard on generators and especially hard Inverters. Generators and Inverters do not play well with non linear loads or high power factor loads like motors and electronics. Putting LED on a a cheap modified Sine Wave Inverter is the worse possible thing you could have done. They will burn the Inverter and themselves up pretty quick. That Buzzing sound you hear is parts vibrating and beating themselves to death.

        In short you got exactly what you asked and paid for. If you want fix it get rid of the Inverter and replace the LED's with 12 volt DC units. I take that back. You do not have to replace anything. Keep what you have. It will quit working soon and you can throw it all away when it quits.

        MSEE, PE

        Comment


        • #5
          Here''s an article about generators and load issues caused by non-linear lighting:
          http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...enerators.html
          They go into quite a bit of detail of what happens and why
          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
            Here''s an article about generators and load issues caused by non-linear lighting:
            http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...enerators.html
            They go into quite a bit of detail of what happens and why
            I can sell you harmonic mitigating hardware to stop that issue.

            Oh wait. I am not allowed to do that on this forum.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

              I can sell you harmonic mitigating hardware to stop that issue.

              Oh wait. I am not allowed to do that on this forum.
              I have seen and used those before in outdoor festivals in my Hippy Rock and Roll days. Teagarden was the drummer player and Grip in our band back in late 70's. Teagarden left to play drums for Bob Seger band along with Tommy Tripplehorn on guitar. aka Silver Bullet Band from Tulsa OK.

              Good memories or what is left of the memories. Lot of Coke, Ganja, and groupies back then.
              Last edited by Sunking; 12-28-2016, 12:57 AM.
              MSEE, PE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                I have seen and used those before in outdoor festivals in my Hippy Rock and Roll days. Teagarden was the drummer player and Grip in our band back in late 70's. Teagarden left to play drums for Bob Seger band along with Tommy Tripplehorn on guitar. aka Silver Bullet Band from Tulsa OK.

                Good memories or what is left of the memories. Lot of Coke, Ganja, and groupies back then.
                David Teegarden ? Never met him, and probably a real a long shot, but we may both have old friends from past lives and lost times who know one another. Glory days.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                  David Teegarden ? Never met him, and probably a real a long shot, but we may both have old friends from past lives and lost times who know one another. Glory days.
                  Yep went to school with Teagarden, played in a garage and youth church band with him in the early 70's. He never amounted to much or really did anything. He played with nobody's like Teagarden & Van Winkle, JJ Cale (RIP), Leon Russell (RIP ole friend), Joe Walsh, Bob Seger, and Eric Clapton. Tulsa Ok had a lot of influence on Clapton's music and was frequent visitor to Tulsa when Leon and JJ lived in Tulsa. As a kid growing up, Clapton, George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, and numerous other musicians were seen in Tulsa frequently. Leon had large mansion in Old Town on Utica with the oil barons and a Resort/Recording Studio called Shelter Records out on Grand Lake. Musicians came to Tulsa to just hang out, chill, record, and Jam around local clubs. Clapton used a lot of Tulsa musicians including two drummers David and Jamie Oldaker another guy I know and hung out with. Together with Tulsa musicians, Claptons 2 best albums (461 Ocean Blvd and Slow Hand) made a music style called the TULSA SOUND world famous. Tulsa Sound is a style that combine Rockabilly, Rock, Blues. and Country. Leon and JJ started it, and Eric made it famous.

                  Told you I was an hard leftie Hippie when I was young and dumb. Drove my parents and ROTC friends crazy when I was young. Kind of glad today I was not an extremely good guitar player back then. I would be dead by now and likely famous as I had the connections at the right time and place. My older sister did all of them, died young, and sort of famous as a Singer. Still today both Friends and Foe call me FBI (effin big indian) including my wifey.
                  Last edited by Sunking; 12-28-2016, 01:22 PM.
                  MSEE, PE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunking View Post

                    Yep went to school with Teagarden, played in a garage and youth church band with him in the early 70's. He never amounted to much or really did anything. He played with nobody's like Teagarden & Van Winkle, JJ Cale (RIP), Leon Russell (RIP ole friend), Joe Walsh, Bob Seger, and Eric Clapton. Tulsa Ok had a lot of influence on Clapton's music and was frequent visitor to Tulsa when Leon and JJ lived in Tulsa. As a kid growing up, Clapton, George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, and numerous other musicians were seen in Tulsa frequently. Leon had large mansion in Old Town on Utica with the oil barons and a Resort/Recording Studio called Shelter Records out on Grand Lake. Musicians came to Tulsa to just hang out, chill, record, and Jam around local clubs. Clapton used a lot of Tulsa musicians including two drummers David and Jamie Oldaker another guy I know and hung out with. Together with Tulsa musicians, Claptons 2 best albums (461 Ocean Blvd and Slow Hand) made a music style called the TULSA SOUND world famous. Tulsa Sound is a style that combine Rockabilly, Rock, Blues. and Country. Leon and JJ started it, and Eric made it famous.

                    Told you I was an hard leftie Hippie when I was young and dumb. Drove my parents and ROTC friends crazy when I was young. Kind of glad today I was not an extremely good guitar player back then. I would be dead by now and likely famous as I had the connections at the right time and place. My older sister did all of them, died young, and sort of famous as a Singer. Still today both Friends and Foe call me FBI (effin big indian) including my wifey.
                    Understood. I bet we do have friends of friends. Long, boring story, I once was at a crossroads of changing careers to music. It never was much more than a hobby/interest - percussion, mostly drums - or to serious engineering. My first set of drums was bought used in 1970 and once owned by Gary Mallaber. I dated the sister of a guitarist in one of his early groups and ran in that music crowd for a few years in Buffalo while making a daytime living as a peddler. Flash forward, JJ Cale (R.I.P. indeed.) was sort of one of my later incarnation neighbors (think: " On The Road to Escondido") and I've got some musician friends I've met in/around Escondido who knew him.

                    More glory days. The past is a great place to visit once in a while, but a terrible place to live, at least for me. That was then. This is now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                      - percussion, mostly drums - or to serious engineering.
                      All drummers have Plan B with plenty of jobs out there delivering pizza. You know the joke right?

                      How many Drummers does it take to deliver a Pizza?

                      For Dan there is no punch line answer, that was the whole joke.

                      Glad you had Plan C in place JPM. Bet you are too, I was. JJ Cale Escondido album used Teagarden as the drummer and EC as back up guitar. JJ's death brought about EC sudden semi-retirement. Took a lot out of EC and opened his eyes. I have the album.

                      Peace and Happy New your to you JPM.

                      SK
                      Last edited by Sunking; 12-28-2016, 03:38 PM.
                      MSEE, PE

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunking View Post

                        All drummers have Plan B with plenty of jobs out there delivering pizza. You know the joke right?

                        How many Drummers does it take to deliver a Pizza?

                        For Dan there is no punch line answer, that was the whole joke.

                        Glad you had Plan C in place JPM. Bet you are too, I was. JJ Cale Escondido album used Teagarden as the drummer and EC as back up guitar. JJ's death brought about EC sudden semi-retirement. Took a lot out of EC and opened his eyes. I have the album.

                        Peace and Happy New your to you JPM.

                        SK
                        Usually and probably at least 4. One to do it and the others to watch and then argue about how Keith Moon or Louie Bellson would have done it.

                        In my case, 3 people: 1 drummer and 2 others. I would have always needed sober driver, and someone else who knew how to make change and calculate 10% for the tip.

                        Looking for plan D - might just be found on the road from Escondido.

                        Back at'cha on Peace.

                        Back to the fray for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                          Here''s an article about generators and load issues caused by non-linear lighting:
                          http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...enerators.html
                          They go into quite a bit of detail of what happens and why
                          Mike - That is an AWESOME article! Holy cow. Deserves a classroom type study for sure. Although I'm not trying to bench-race the specs, I do wonder if the measured traces were from lights that were allowed to settle, or were they measured right at power up. I know my AC led's take about 5 minutes to settle down in current, despite the "instant on" capability. There is a little bit of surge from each light one has to take into account for a few minutes and wonder if the measured specs would be a bit different - although I'm not trying to question the author's measurements - just something I wonder.

                          One thing I've learned right off the bat is to NOT run flourescents or CFL's - especially if you put all your eggs (lighting along with other gear) into one inverter, be it MSW or PSW. Personally, even if running PSW inverters, I wouldn't just use one, but separate my lighting from my other sensitive gear by having more than one inverter circuit.

                          On a smaller scale than studio lighting, I am running AC driven led's, which have a typical power-factor of 0.9. (zero point nine). Unlike those from just a few years ago, it seems the PF has gotten better, and do not present a problem for my MSW inverters. (lighting is the *only* thing I run on msw's) - the psw's are used for more sensitive stuff, so I separate my usage.

                          I get these locally at my grocery store, and makes me wonder if the original op is using some el-cheapo's that have a really poor pf to begin with.

                          This link is just for specification convenience, not an endorsement of any specific seller:
                          https://www.amazon.com/GE-95927-LED-.../dp/B010RH3YY4

                          In fact, I'm running an even later version - again from the grocery store.

                          Thing is, even with a good PF like 0.9, I wonder just how much harmonic distortion I'm putting out. I'm probably just going to smoke the msw inverter sooner than later, but the REAL reason I use an msw for my ac-driven led's (aside from liking the light output itself), is the *short term* efficiency (less dc current draw) I get from my msw's, vs a nice PSW inverter like my Samlex types, which cost me a bit more to run from a daily cycling standpoint.

                          I suppose in the *long run*, the higher quality waveform of a psw inverter will make my ac led's last longer, but for now, I'm going to pay the price for short term with msw.

                          Heh, too many variables right? Seriously, thanks again for that GREAT article link.




                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A topic that some people know about but do not have a clue how to fix concerns Harmonic Distortion generated by PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) power supplies.

                            In my job I continue to try to teach engineers about this issue (since it is not taught in college) and help them better design the power distribution systems on their projects. I would rather see the harmonics mitigated at the start then to have someone come to us and ask for help to solve a problem similar or worse then what the OP has stated.

                            The THDi (total harmonic distortion of current) is a killer and will shorten the life of a lot of loads including motors, lights, UPS systems and a lot of other sensitive electronic equipment. It also creates issues with the voltage that has an impact of increased costs due to "penalty losses" caused by high neutral currents, load imbalance as well as distortion on long cable runs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
                              A topic that some people know about but do not have a clue how to fix concerns Harmonic Distortion generated by PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) power supplies.

                              In my job I continue to try to teach engineers about this issue (since it is not taught in college) and help them better design the power distribution systems on their projects. I would rather see the harmonics mitigated at the start then to have someone come to us and ask for help to solve a problem similar or worse then what the OP has stated.

                              The THDi (total harmonic distortion of current) is a killer and will shorten the life of a lot of loads including motors, lights, UPS systems and a lot of other sensitive electronic equipment. It also creates issues with the voltage that has an impact of increased costs due to "penalty losses" caused by high neutral currents, load imbalance as well as distortion on long cable runs.
                              Amen there. I've seen an awful lot of problems caused by cheap PWM supplies putting large nonlinear loads on power distribution systems, especially on three phase power. Fortunately, modern power-factor requirements for medium to large switchmode supplies are starting to ameliorate that problem.

                              Comment

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