MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: my radio changes channel when I turn My light on.

Date: Thu May 4 21:58:00 2000
Posted By: Abtin Spantman, , Electrical Engineering, L. S. Research, Inc.
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 956547957.Eg

Hello Nikita:

This sounds like an interesting problem.  
Let's take the antenna issue first.  I assume that the antenna is a 
standard extendable whip type antenna.  If that is the case, it probably is 
conductive and sticking the broken section back into the remaining piece 
should be just fine.
Next lets address the intermittent flickering light.  Although it is 
interesting to play with, it is not the safest thing in the world.  When 
the flickering is happening, the connection between the light bulb and the 
base is not proper, and all kinds of sparks are being generated inside the 
base, and those sparks could cause a fire.  Those same sparks are 
physically melting and "arc-welding" parts of the light bulb and the base, 
and that reduced the life expectancy of both.  
Time for the magnetic field theory that you had.  Yes, those sparks are a 
wonderful source of unwanted electro-magnetic interference.

What causes the problem can only be determined by you and some down-right 
Try these to see if any of them can give an answer:

1) If the radio can be run on batteries, put batteries in, unplug it from 
the electric outlet, and try the flicker test to see if it still affects 
the radio.  If the problem goes away with the batteries, then it is not the 
electro-magnetic noise, but it is the power line being affected.

2) Try the radio with and without the broken antenna stub in place (no 
flicker, just antenna) to see if the station changes when you take out the 
broken antenna stub.  If the antenna stub makes a difference, then the 
problem is with the tuner not being at the optimum setting. (I don't think 
this is the problem).

3) Keep the electric connections the same, and separate the flickering 
light from the radio as far as you can in the room and see if there is a 
change.  Then bring the two as close as possible to see if there is an 
effect. If the separation has an effect, then we can rule out the outlet 
and voltage as the problem and claim that it probably is the 
electro-magnetic interference from the flickering light.

Let me know what you find in the above tests.  And if we still haven't 
found the cause, we'll try some other more detailed tests.

I do recommend that you get the light fixed as it may pose danger.

Abtin Spantman

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