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Old 05-25-2016, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Ferrite Rings use on Envoy

Hi, I recently spoke with enlighten in reference to my communication and interference issues with the Envoy and the micro inverters. They advised there is way too much noise in the system and forwarded me a link to ferrite rings that are rated at the correct frequency that their Envoy uses. I purchased the rings not realizing the size. They arrived today and are 1 1/2" inside diameter. I called them back to understand how in the hell they want me to fit this inside a main electrical panel. They advised the main line feed needs to be wrapped around the ring twice. Impossible to make this happen. I then asked if I can individually wrap each branch circuit around a single ferrite ring on each side of the panel and they were unsure if this would solve the issue. I contacted DigiKeys who sold them and they told me to try wrapping the neutral for the monitoring system around one ferrite ring and see if that solves the issue. Now they were unsure if wrapping multiple branch circuits around one ring would work and told me to google it basically. They advised this specific frequency only has two sizes of rings and the next size smaller is 1.4" inside diameter. I am not able to narrow down which circuit is having the issue. Has anybody had noise interference and communication issues with the Envoy? If so, how can I fix this?? Please help!!
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:28 PM   #2
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I have never had to deal with this but can you tell there is too much noise? Couldn't you just turn off circuits until the communication issue is resolved thus finding the problem circuit-- assuming it is only one
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:53 PM   #3
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Dennis,

I turned off all branch circuits and slowly went one by one until the issue occurred. The noise level increased slightly with each and every breaker I turned on. The circuitry in the house is from the 1960s and the homeowner has flourescent lighting around his house which could possibly be the source of such noise. One of my next steps will be to replace all flourescent lighting with LED or incandescent but before I have him make that purchase, I was hoping for an easier solution inside the panel.
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Old 05-30-2016, 02:23 PM   #4
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Knowing the frequency band of the noise helps a lot in solving these problems.

Most LED and fluorescent electronic ballast operate at 50-100 kHz. So you would need filtering that is effective in that range and above.



It is better locate filters close to the source of the noise (threat) or close to the unit that is sensitive to noise (target). The filter close to the threat keeps the noise from conducting, coupling, or radiating to the rest of the distribution system. The filter close to the target keeps noise from getting in to that particular element when there are multiple threats. With multiple targets and threats, it is much easier to locate filters at a central point like the panel. This will reduce conducted noise from one circuit to the other, but won't help with coupled or radiated noise.

Ferrite torroids you described are usually used to reduce common mode noise. In other words; noise that is common to both the hot and neutral of the circuit. To be effective, both hot and neutral are wrapped around the torroid several times. The result is a transformer that has high impedance wrt the common mode current and low insertion loss wrt the normal current. Normal in that it flows to the load on one of the wires and returns to the source on the other wire. Typically ferrites are used to attenuate noise at higher frequencies, because they would have to large and require several turns to work well below 200 kHz. That said, they can be very effective against the harmonics of the lower frequencies. So if your noise is caused by pulses at 100 kHz. The ferrites can greatly attenuate the large harmonic energy in the pulses out to several MHz.

Wrapping multiple branch circuits around one core will not be effective if one circuit generates a lot of noise. That noise will be common mode only for that circuit and not the others so the core will increase coupling of the noisy circuit to all others wound on the same core.

Wrapping multiple branch circuits around one core can be effective if all the circuits have the same common mode noise on them and you want to attenuate that noise before it gets into other circuits. This does not play well in the real world though because the noise on each circuit will not be identical.

You might also consider the packaged EMI filter with both ferrites and capacitors:

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...FReUfgodw18JNQ

The one shown above is only rated for 10 A and is suitable for use on one piece of equipment. They are made for branch circuit protection though and can be rated above 50 A. This type of filter is easier to connect and provides better filtering than the simple ferrite core. The capacitors shunt noise to ground but will also increase 60 Hz leakage current.

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Old 06-02-2016, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJPHI View Post
Knowing the frequency band of the noise helps a lot in solving these problems.

Most LED and fluorescent electronic ballast operate at 50-100 kHz. So you would need filtering that is effective in that range and above.

...

EJPHI
Excellent response all around.
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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I think your assessment of the possible side effects of 60s vintage fluorescent lights may be correct. Modern ballasts are really now just SMPSs (Switch Mode Power Supplies) and as such, must pass FCC interference standards. Nobody knew yet in the 60s that this might be a problem, so if they have been replacing the old magnetic ballasts with other old magnetic ballasts, that certainly could be an issue. And if they have NOT had to replace any of those 40 year old ballasts, that most DEFINITELY could be an issue.

One thing you could try, short of pulling them kicking and screaming into the new world, would be to put the ferrite cores on the BALLAST feed wires, right inside of the fixtures. Small ones that just clip over the existing wires, you can get them from Amazon for dirt cheap.



But honestly, if you are going to run around opening up each fixture, that would be the time to change to LED. The energy savings alone would pay for itself in probably less than 2 years.
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