Let there be light! But these lights are too ‘noisy’!

LED is a promising light source that is currently being deployed to almost everywhere, from residential lighting, vehicle headlight, and to the street light. LED has a better energy conversion efficiency than incandescent black body radiation, hence it uses less energy for the same amount of light you get. However, what you would probably not aware of is that LED is a transistor and operates at low voltages. Low voltage distribution of e.g. home wall voltage is a 230VAC; way too much for the little LED. Lo and behold, the power converter comes to the rescue. The power converter these days is an AC-DC converter that implements high-frequency switching. Yes, for us old generation, no, we don’t use the old-book transformer and rectifier strategy anymore. The switching of the power converter is ‘noisy’ in the way of emitting Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) in the forms of radiated and conducted emission. This noise needs to be contained and attenuated adequately before it can be sold in the market. Else it will have an Electromagnetic Compatibility issue with equipment operating adjacent to it. Now that, you have realized this, you probably remember why some LEDs are cheap and some aren’t cheap. Well, you have guessed it just right. EMI mitigation technique is expensive. Cheap LEDs do not have adequate EMI mitigation and even do not have it all along in the first place. So the next time your turn on your LED lights, wonder if your LED is with or without EMC. Let there be light, everyone! A good light of course.

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