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  • Battery charger noise

    OK all you amateur Radio Operator tool folks....
    Grab a single battery charger and set it up to charge a nicad or lithium ion battery.

    Turn on your Ham radio or shortwave radio and tune around 7.235mhz [40 meters] Actually you'll hear all sorts of noise when the charger is charging from 3.500-8.500mhz!

    The buzzing high pitch noise is simply awful and unacceptable..more consumer electronic junk!!!

    The noise is generated by the switching power supply and charging pulses!

    With the charger simply plugged in no EMI [interference]
    With the unit evaluating a battery some noise
    With the battery being charged lots of noise
    With the battery charged and left on the charger no noise

    Those of you using Ryobi and DeWalt please do this test also

    I have yet to open the charger or test the dual charger ...I have more lithium-ion batteries than nicad batteries now a days


    the chargers are indeed UL listed but no FCC certification...that is just wrong! I am also familiar with other devices that have gone through the FCC type acceptance process to have the production run
    modified from the tested prototype to save a few pennies a unit by eliminating RFI/EMI filtering....most notorious are those awful touch lamps.

    After you check out your battery chargers add you comments...I hope I am the only one with a noisy charger.

    Cactus Man

  • #2
    Re: Battery charger noise

    As long as the chargers don't bring down airplanes or cause some other kind of disaster why would the manufacturer give two hoots in hell about FCC acceptance?
    ================================================== ====
    ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Battery charger noise

      Cactusman,

      Interesting. I pulled my single-battery charger out this morning and decided to run a quick test as you described. I must admit that with my schedule, I haven't been on the air very much and can't recall if I've ever been on at the same time that I'm charge Ridgid batteries (probably not).

      In any case, I ran one of 18 volt batteries down a bit and went through the following.

      Equipment used is an Icom 751A- Quadruple Hetrodyne Reciever section, ultra sensitive design with very low noise floor; coupled with an AC-AT100 Auto Tuner. Attenuator is off. PreAmp is off. Squelch is off. RF gain set to max.

      Since the radio and the charger are only about five feet apart, this setup should not require any antenna to pick-up RF emitting from the charger or the battery under charge.

      A. Tuning from 3.5 to 8.5 MHz with nothing but radio plugged in there are no "birdies".

      B. Tuning the same range with the charger plugged in there is no QRM or any indication of interferance or reception of any kind.

      C. Repeat with 18-volt battery on charge: No indications.

      Repeated process with PreAmp ON.: No indications.

      Now using a short 2-ft telescoping "receiving" antenna

      A. No birdies, but lots of RF signals being received. Parts of band, especially in the 6 to 7 MHz range appear to be a mess, but otherwise clear of any local RF interferance.

      B. Same as A... no local RFI.

      C. Same: no local RFI

      Now using my full 300 plus feet of "Sky Loop".

      A. B. & C.

      Bands are pretty noisey with some very clear and intelligible signals being heard at various points between 3.5 and 8.5 MHz. I am getting a bit of RFI, but it is from the local factories of Dresser-Rand and what I have ID'd in the past as the Corning research facility which is across the valley from me (about 2 miles).

      At one point I hits some RFI-like tones at around 7.28 Mhz... but unplugging the battery and charger, the tone was still there.

      So, this is simply my one charger. I have two or three others, but they are at the other house. If I get a chance next week, I will check them out with my Icom 706MkIIG. That's not nearly the "receiver" as the "751A", but for this test is should be more than adequate.

      Sorry that I could not match your experience... but then again I'm happy too, as I have enough RFI around here, especially up on the 20 meter band.

      ******
      BadgerDave,

      I'm not sure how far the regulation goes (beyond my Ham Radio concerns, anyway); but it is my understanding that any electrical equipment manufactured or sold in the United States must comply with FCC regulations with regards to it's inhibiting of RF signals that might interferance to other appliances, electronic equipement.

      That is basically referred to as "Type Acceptance" and it falls into a couple of catagories. Most of the "wall warts" that I have will be stamped as such, as will all of the computer equipment, phones, radio's etc.

      There are of course thousands of products that simply do not get inspected and/or do not meet FCC Compliance standards. As you can know, we can't keep up with food safety, or oil platform safety... so surely FCC compliance is not getting a high priority either.

      Under the Bush Administration and Michael Powell's management, the FCC was trimmed drastically. Hence we have lots of RFI products on the market.

      As far as "who cares"... well it interferes with communications of all types, including EMS and even your internet connection or television reception. 100% fiber optic connections are about the only thing that is impervious to RFI, as far as I know.

      CWS

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Battery charger noise

        Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
        ...............
        BadgerDave,

        I'm not sure how far the regulation goes (beyond my Ham Radio concerns, anyway); but it is my understanding that any electrical equipment manufactured or sold in the United States must comply with FCC regulations with regards to it's inhibiting of RF signals that might interferance to other appliances, electronic equipement.

        That is basically referred to as "Type Acceptance" and it falls into a couple of catagories. Most of the "wall warts" that I have will be stamped as such, as will all of the computer equipment, phones, radio's etc.

        There are of course thousands of products that simply do not get inspected and/or do not meet FCC Compliance standards. As you can know, we can't keep up with food safety, or oil platform safety... so surely FCC compliance is not getting a high priority either.

        Under the Bush Administration and Michael Powell's management, the FCC was trimmed drastically. Hence we have lots of RFI products on the market.

        As far as "who cares"... well it interferes with communications of all types, including EMS and even your internet connection or television reception. 100% fiber optic connections are about the only thing that is impervious to RFI, as far as I know.

        CWS
        CWS, thanks for the info, I was not aware of much of what you wrote. Quite frankly though I very seldom ever experience any interference problems while using any electronic item in my house. The most common electronic interference I experience is from the BOOM BOOM stereo systems from cars that drive by the house and vibrate the drywall off the walls.
        ================================================== ====
        ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Battery charger noise

          I understand. Most telephone, radio, and television equipment is very well designed and meets standards to not only NOT emit RFI, but also to NOT be receptive of it either.

          In the case of computer systems, there is so much shielding that is incorporated as to make them almost impervious, except for extremely strong local signals.

          However, radio equipment is designed to pickup the most minute signals from around the globe. (I've actually sucessfully communicated via Morse, with a New Zealand that was only transmitting 5-watts.) So, if there's any RFI in the vicinity, it can be most annoying.

          Common emitters of RFI are power line connections that have corroded or somehow loosened, door-bell transformers, and even those "touch-base lamps". Florescent tubes and ballasts can really present a lot of noise. I've yet to encounter problems with the new CFL's, fortunately.

          Here in my valley, industrial equipment is quite a problem. At the Rand, they have a lot of old machine tools and if the maintenance techs don't put those panel covers back on properly, I can hear them from a half-mile away. Across the valley, Corning Inc. has a "Scan Furnace" that they use for experimentation their lab. It uses a huge RF coil, wrapped around a crystal-like tube (about 14-inches in diameter and several feet long). The coil emits an RF signal which causes the tube's molecules to vibrate and thus heat the tube enough to melt a glass alloy which is lowered through the tube and strings out a glass-alloy fiber "Optical Wave Guide". Interesting technology, but without the shields in place, it can make a lot of RF noise.

          Bottom line is that anything with the potential to emit RF (Radio Frequency) waves can be detrimental in many ways... and that falls within the FCC's jurisdiction and is subject to it's regulation.

          CWS

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Battery charger noise

            While I don't have any RIDGID brand battery chargers, I do have a few DeWalt and Makita but they are for older Ni-Cad cell batteries. For fun I warmed up my old WW2 vintage Grundig vacuum tube radio which covers from 500 KHz up to about 10 MHz AM only. I connected a wire antenna to it and was trying to listen for RFI from the chargers which were in another room and on another circuit. The 250 Watt sodium vapor street light on a poll outside caused more RFI than the chargers did, and especially at strike and when warming up.


            CWS

            Please note that many commercial infra-red audio systems have big problems with CFL lamps. This is why many churches and movie theatres with listening devices (wireless headphones with amplifiers) don't allow any CFL lamps in the same room.
            Last edited by Woussko; 06-19-2010, 12:05 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Battery charger noise

              Wousko,

              We've only installed CFL at the house in Binghamton and only in a few areas, like the outside entry light and a couple of lamps in the attic area. Generally speaking, we don't use a lot of lights in our home, preferring to illuminate only the rooms that we are in. So at night, we have the tube florescents in the kitchen, one intermittant light in the two bathrooms and a small lamp in the TV room and one in the library. During the day, I have four florescents in the basement shop. That's about the extent of it, unless we are entertaining.

              I also don't have a permanent antenna setup for my shortwave down there. At this point, being there means I'm working on reno project...no time for playing Ham Radio or anything else, for that matter

              But I will check out the other chargers, including the LiIon unit and see what they may be emitting.

              Cactusman,

              Have you discovered anything further with you RFI problem?


              CWS

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Battery charger noise

                At this time all my batteries are fully charged so I'll have to make something to wear them down.

                I did some nicad batteries on my older dual charger and it also had the pulsing noise. So, one dual charger, 2 single chargers for lithium-ion/nicad batteries and 2 older single chargers not for lithium-ion batteries nicad batteries only....all are noisy when charging a battery!!!!

                The other day I did open a single charger and noticed where components were bypassed..where some inductors and capacitors were supposed to go..the inductors were replaced with jumper wires and the capacitors were open suggesting the EMI filtering was eliminated during manufacture to save some money!!!!!

                I then wrapped the case [top cover] with metal tape to hopefully act as a shield. I did leave the cooling vents open. The two large metal [aluminum] heat sinks are not grounded and are floating so they are useless as a shield or ground connection...since they heat sink two different transistors I do not think that can be tied together

                I added a mix-31 ferrite split bead across the wires going to the battery charger contacts.

                I really did not feel comfortable locating a ground to tie to a power ground wire....anyone have a schematic [Ridgid does not have any]

                I'll keep everyone informed as to my results....by the way on E-ham.net I posted this in their RFI section and no real solutions were offered.

                Cactus Man

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Battery charger noise

                  Cactus Man,

                  Sorry that you are having this difficulty. My charger is not one of the newer NiCad/LiIon chargers, just the single-bay Nicad one. That was probably before someone decided to do any cost cutting.

                  I haven't taken the charger apart, as I'm not one of the "curious" types that needs to crack open every piece of electronic equipment they get. (I've had the cover off my old IC-751A only twice; once to do some setting changes and once to repair a break on a flexible trace between boards [front band switch].)

                  I presume you have tried using a ferrite on the power cord, but as you have described the existing circuit, that would probably do very little to dampen the RFI. I hate when someone pulls this, and I wonder if they resubmitted the charger for "type acceptance" after they made the modification. Probably NOT!

                  However, I wonder if this "noise" problem falls under the LLSA and/or where you might inquire to see if FCC standards have been met or are required for this circuit modification to still be marketed with the U.S.?

                  Bottom line is probably going to be simply to not use the chargers when you are on the air. Doesn't make it "right", but one has to eliminate the noise as best as one can.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Battery charger noise

                    Common emitters of RFI...
                    Another one is electric fences if you are out here in God's country.
                    "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Battery charger noise

                      That's the first time I've heard NJ being referred to as God's Country.
                      ================================================== ====
                      ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Battery charger noise

                        Well, I know not to run noisy consumer electronic junk when on the air..but it's the rest of the neighborhood!

                        I have electric fences here I sort of own two! Meaning I keep them working and quiet! Amazing how many stupid people there are!
                        When the fence wire would break they would simply twist the wires together like a bread twist tie!!!! The noise is awful! I have taught them many times how to make the "western electric splice" etc.

                        But you simply can't teach dumb!

                        I have noted over the past 20+ years in this home and area how much the noise levels in general have increased!

                        I may indeed have the first generation single chargers for lithium-ion batteries..the lithium-ion ..decal or name is printed on the bottom left side. I think the newer units have lithium-ion placed on the top left side....

                        Cactus Man

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Battery charger noise

                          Originally posted by BadgerDave View Post
                          That's the first time I've heard NJ being referred to as God's Country.

                          There's a first time for everything.

                          LOL, I should have said Southern NJ.

                          Salem, Cumberland, Cape May, Atlantic (except for Atlantic City area), and much
                          of Gloucester counties are mostly farm land. No municipal water, no sewer, no paid
                          fire or EMS or in most places police, and no sidewalks.

                          It's far from perfect, but it's a hell of a sight better than North Jersey which is
                          nothing but factories, office spaces, and high rise living.

                          The only thing we have in common with North Jersey is high taxes.
                          "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                          John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Battery charger noise

                            Originally posted by cactusman View Post
                            OK all you amateur Radio Operator tool folks....
                            Grab a single battery charger and set it up to charge a nicad or lithium ion battery.

                            Turn on your Ham radio or shortwave radio and tune around 7.235mhz [40 meters] Actually you'll hear all sorts of noise when the charger is charging from 3.500-8.500mhz!

                            The buzzing high pitch noise is simply awful and unacceptable..more consumer electronic junk!!!

                            The noise is generated by the switching power supply and charging pulses!

                            With the charger simply plugged in no EMI [interference]
                            With the unit evaluating a battery some noise
                            With the battery being charged lots of noise
                            With the battery charged and left on the charger no noise

                            Those of you using Ryobi and DeWalt please do this test also

                            I have yet to open the charger or test the dual charger ...I have more lithium-ion batteries than nicad batteries now a days


                            the chargers are indeed UL listed but no FCC certification...that is just wrong! I am also familiar with other devices that have gone through the FCC type acceptance process to have the production run
                            modified from the tested prototype to save a few pennies a unit by eliminating RFI/EMI filtering....most notorious are those awful touch lamps.

                            After you check out your battery chargers add you comments...I hope I am the only one with a noisy charger.

                            Cactus Man
                            That's nothing, milwaukee M12 chargers whistle audible noise around 14-18 KHz when the battery is no plugged in, you can hear it across quiet room, super annoying.

                            If you are affected so badly in your radio shenanigans, just take it apart, cut up a tuna can, make a shield out of it and solder it to the outside ground trace in several places.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Battery charger noise

                              Cactusman,

                              Well, I'm now down at the other house and this afternoon I got a chance to check out the other battery chargers. What a difference!

                              Using the Icom 706MkIIG and a short vertical, hooked up to my emergency cell and placed in AM mode:

                              Charger Model 140276001 NiCad single bay charger:

                              RFI noted between 1.6 MHz all the way up thru 18 meters.

                              Charger Model 140276003 NiCad single bay charger:

                              RFI noted between 1.525 MHz all the way up to 30 MHz.

                              With both of these chargers you could clearly hear the chargers cycling on and off as it charged the batteries. There was some very minor hash with just the charger plugged in, but on charge with both 18-volt and 9.6-volt NiCads, you could clearly hear the interferance and with very little variation of intensity through the entire range mentioned.

                              I also tried the R86049 12-volt LiIon charger. Different intensity and a much quicker on/off cycling... but again, very noisey.

                              I tested all three chargers within four feet of the radio and then moved the radio approximately 20 ft away, with very little if any difference.

                              I took note that all the chargers are UL approved, but there is no indication that any of them were FCC compliant. I'm not familiar as to whether the UL lab does any RFI testing.

                              Short of going through some extensive shielding or adding components to attenuate the RF, there's probably nothing that can be done. Again, I think the easiest remedy of Ham Radio operation, is simply to not use the chargers during operation.

                              I should point out that I did not detect any disturbance up on the 2-meter band. That could simply be the FM mode though

                              CWS

                              Comment

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