Fluorescent lights interfere with Infra-Red devices even when switchedoff!?!?!?

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Here's one for the electrical/electronics gurus.
Our new Wayne-Dalton iDrive garage door opener operates its associated light fitting via an IR beam: the opener proper installs right above the door, while the light fitting can be mounted to any convenient outlet within "view" of the opener.
The light operated correctly when it was first installed, but then would sometimes switch on but not be able to be switched off except by killing the power to that circuit -- and even then the light would sometimes switch on and stay on as soon as power was restored.
I called Wayne-Dalton Customer Service. The rep. asked whether we had fluorescent lights in the garage. I replied that we did but that the problem existed even when the fluorescents (CF) were turned off. The rep. then said, "We have found that fluorescent lights can interfere with infra-red sensors even when the lights are turned off." I told her I couldn't see how that could be, but there was no point in arguing, because she was only reciting her official spiel.
They are going to send a new light unit and a new motor-control board (mine is an older revision, it appears), but . . .
Please tell me that there's no way a switched-off fluorescent can interfere with IR circuits.
Perce
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:40:45 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

Okay, there's no way a switched off flourescent can interfere with anything. Switched on of course is a whole nuther ball game, particularly if the fixture uses an electronic ballast.
But in this brave new world where every doodad manufactured includes a microprocessor, a switch-mode power supply and a wireless link, the other possibilities are endless.
Someday everything will just come to a dead stop because the electromagnetic spectrum will be nothing but hash.
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a complete WAG........
Change the CF's to incandescent and see if the problem goes away. If it does then change brands of CF's
Like I said WAG...
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

"There is no way a switched-off fluorescent can interfere with IR circuits".
Unfortunately, there are few absolutes other than death and taxes.
The tube is a reflector - it could be reflecting other IR sources onto the detector.
A warm, but switched off tube is still a source of IR.
There are other straws, about as likely.
It is, of course, pure bs. Even if it wasn't, garages often have them, so it should have been designed for. You could simply have argued that - and that the unit, by their own definition, was unfit for purpose, with an intrinisic, designed-in flaw. Unless their literature said not to be installed in the proximity of such lighting.
In the UK, they would probably have asked if any other electrical equipment, eg washer, drier, freezer, etc was installed or used in the garage (which they often are) and blamed that...
--
Sue






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Electrically speaking the CF bulb is inert when switched off because it has no standby mode, it is just off.
But... stretching my imagination, can the IR light from the beam interact with the phosphors of the bulb and reemit light that interferes? Unlikely but seems plausable. The phoshhor should absorb UV and emit visible, I don't know of its performance in the IR band.
Most IR beams are not ON/OFF but have pulses encoded in them so that they are not easily fooled by passive IR sources.
Try to find the Radio Shack Infrared sensor card (276-1099). It has a patch of phosphor on it that glows red in the presence of an IR beam. It is useful to see where the beam goes.
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I have no idea if it is true, but if so, the design is dumb. Many garages have fluorescent light making the IR opener useless in their case.
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:40:45 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

There is no way a fluorescent lamp in any state can affect a properly designed IR comm link.
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Gave us:

Aren't garage door openers RF in IR? What good would a line of sight device do when your on the other side of the door?
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Gave us:

opener (mounted over the door instead of in the middle of the room) and the light (mounted somewhere in the room).
Charles Perry P.E.
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Gave us:

Sorrry there wasn't much of the OP when I replied!
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us:

a radio device. The safety eye devices that are placed at the lower half of the door closure are optical make/break devices.
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TokaMundo wrote:

I think this might be the key.
--
Paul Hovnanian mailto: snipped-for-privacy@Hovnanian.com
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On 08/23/05 02:40 pm I wrote:

<snip>
I bought the opener in question at Menards because they had a "10% off Everything" sale. It has a Date of Manufacture code of 0903 (presumably Sept. 03). Lowes has what seems to be a later revision with better instructions and a different wall-mounting control having at least one additional feature, a "vacation lock."
Lowes (and perhaps HD as well) turn their stock over more frequently and may have more up-to-date products, it would appear. And Menards is a sizeable chain; what are your chances of getting the new and improved versions at "Joe's Hardware?"
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

For my senior project I designed a car that could drive around obstacles. It had infrared sensors. It also had a electronic compass mounted to its roof for directional help. It worked beautifully. That is until I presented it in class where they had flourescent lighting...
The thing banged around aimlessly, lol. And the motors were scrambling the compass which I didnt notice since the sensors were working. It was all good in theory, but in practice was another thing.
Any idiot, self included, should test their design at the intended target location. I had no experience so it was excuseable. That garage door opener using IR is inexcuseable. I guess thats why it was in the grab bin.
P.S. My car worked better with the classroom lights off.
--
Respectfully,


CL Gilbert
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On 08/24/05 09:45 am CL (dnoyeB) Gilbert tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

No, it wasn't in the grab bin: it was on the shelf with all the others at full price (less the "10% off everything -- the same as our employees" discount). The later-revision ones at Lowes still have IR control for the light; perhaps it's an improved version -- and they're supposed to be sending me a new light unit and motor-control board.
Anyway the problem with the original one is more a range thing: the only reliable switching occurs with the light unit (plugged into an extension cord for testing purposes, as an earlier customer support rep. had suggested) just 3 or 4 feet from the opener -- whether the fluorescent lights were on or off. Beyond that distance there were positions in which it would turn on but not off again and positions in which it would turn off but not on again.
Even if the thing is susceptible to interference from fluoro. lights that are switched on, if one is opening the garage door when arriving home, the fluoro. lights probably aren't going to be on to interfere with the IR control, so the garage-door light should still go on -- but if one then switches on the fluoro. lights before the garage-door light goes off there could be interference.
When one is leaving the house and closing the garge door, one is presumably not leaving the garage lights on to interfere with the IR switching.
Note that I am assuming that the claim that even switched-off fluoro. lights can intefere with IR switching is a bunch of baloney.
Perce
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When my wife drives out of the garage I'm presumably working on a wood project so the fluoro lights are on.
On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 10:37:27 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

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I certainly don't have a clue why they would interfere, but then again I don't see why they would make that reason up. Now if they said that was the problem & there was nothing they could do about it, that would be a different story. However, since they are sending you a new board & a new light that would say to me that yes there was a problem & they did something to remedy it.
For the record I have no affiliation or dealings w/ Wayne Dalton, but they are a large company in this industry & when there are a large number of units in use, the manufacturers are usually pretty good in determining what causes a problem as crazy as the problem may sound.
That's my 2-1/2 cent opinion anyways. Doordoc
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Probably in your case, but not always. I live in a block of apartments. The building's stairwell and garage area lights are on a timeswitch--an old fashioned mechanical relay arrangement that goes THUMP when it switches on.
One cloudy afternoon as I felt my way down the stairwell in the half gloom rather than switching on a dozen lights just to go a few flights, out of the corner of my eye I imagined I caught a brief flash of light from a CF fitting I was passing under. Intrigued, I waited, and waited, and discovered to my amazement that every 4 or 5 minutes this globe would give a momentary low-intensity (to my eye) flash of light! It was just an ordinary CF globe that I'd installed.
I have not been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for this. In case there was a leakage current, I made sure after that to always have at least one globe an ordinary incandescent.
--
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)



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wrote:

I have found some CFs to flash from leakage current. Ones with glow switch starters (and magnetic ballasts) may have the starters very dimly glow or flicker a purplish color.
I saw this mainly when I tried switching a CF with the Radio Shack "Plug-N-Power" switching system. The receivers intentionally leak some current to detect whether a load is in place. I suspect CFs could even have extra wear from dimly glowing or flashing when "off" with the "Plug-N-Power" system, since their filaments will not be at the proper operating temperature. Starters may not like to be glowing all the time.
However, I do not expect the much lower leakage currents found elsewhere to cause much wear to fluorescents.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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may be yes but not due to switch off fluorescent. I wonder that may be interfere due to dipping supply caused by machanical switch and motor control itself.
try to rasionalize your situation.
tks
magic
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