Zap, crackle, pop – preventing electro-magnetic interference with Lightforce

What is EMI and how does it affect your car?

If you’ve ever heard annoying buzzes and crackles on your car radio, you may have experienced electromagnetic interference.

Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, can be caused by any active electronic device, including LED lights. EMI is simply unwanted electrical signals, which can be transmitted as electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) or conducted through electrical wiring. This can result in annoying effects, such as ruining your radio reception, as well as much more serious, even life-threatening issues, when crucial communications equipment and electronic safety systems are affected.

LED and EMI

LED lights are a potential source of EMI on vehicles. This becomes especially important in settings such as mining, defence or emergency services, where electronic malfunctions can have serious consequences. For everyday use, it’s an annoyance we can all do without. That is why Lightforce’s range of LED Driving and Utility Lights, including Venom, Genesis, and Striker LEDs all meet the “CISPR 25” standard. CISPR 25 is an international standard that defines the allowable limits of radiated and conducted interference for components installed in vehicles, boats and internal combustion engines. Fitting LED lights without this certification raises the risk of EMI affecting radio receivers, transmitters and other sensitive electronic systems on your vehicle.

How does Lightforce solve the EMI problem?

At Lightforce, our products are designed, developed and manufactured to work seamlessly with your vehicle. With our range of LED lights, there are three main ways we minimise EMI - design, shield and filter.

From the initial design phase, the layout of components within the light itself minimises the potential for radiated and conducted EMI.

Each Lightforce LED light is protected by a copper shield that suppresses electromagnetic radiation – that’s the form of EMI that interferes with your radio reception. The unwanted radio waves can’t penetrate our shield, keeping your radio free of that annoying buzz noise.

The third element of our defence against EMI is a filter that prevents conducted interference from entering the vehicle’s electrical system through the wiring. Conducted interference is not as immediately noticeable as the radiated kind – you won’t hear it on your radio – but it can overload circuits and cause malfunctions in the vehicle’s many electronic systems.

Are there any other factors that can reduce EMI?

Along with choosing Lightforce LED lights that meet the CISPR 25 standard, correct installation is an important factor in minimising the risks of EMI. Always use genuine Lightforce wiring harnesses and accessories, ensure that your earth and power connections are clean and conductive, and route wiring away from your radio antenna and antenna wiring.