Eliminating RF interference from HID(xenon) ballasts

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by fkon, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. fkon

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2012

    Some background:
    I have installed after-market(chinese) Xenon HID High-beams in my car. These have a ballast which transforms 12VDC from the car battery to 23kV AC required to ignite the lamps. The problem is that every time i turn on the HID:s the car stutters and warning lights inside the car(ABS, EPS etc)turn on.

    I work with R&D for a car company so I've conducted measurements both on the car itself and on separate HID-kits and a spare car battery. Unfortunately my area of expertise is combustion engines so i have only a rudimentary knowledge of electronics. My conclusion so far is that there is high frequency interference returned from the ballasts which propagate through the DC-cables(the error disappears when i use an external battery so airborne interference is not the cause) to the battery which in turn cause a reset of some node on the CAN.

    On the battery, oscillations with and amplitude of of ~150V and a frequency of 15-50MHz occur when the HID:s are turned on. I don't know if they are common mode or differential mode, it is difficult to get repeatable measurements with the oscilloscope since it picks up the airborne noise also.

    The ballasts use approximately 70A each in peak current during the first ms after the lamps are turned on but it appears(also a bit uncertain) that the disturbances occur before the large current peak.

    I've tried filtering the current cables from the battery to the ballasts close to the ballasts with capacitors, 1, 10, 100 nF(which should have low impedance in this frequency range) and ferrite chokes scavenged from computer cables. These help to some extent but don't eliminate the problem completely. The error still occurs from time to time.

    My next step would be to order ferrite cores with correct permeability from an electronics supplier. However, if the EMI is not common mode i will have to pass the + and - cables from different directions and the ferrite cores will become saturated(because of the 70A current) and will not be effective against the EMI, right?

    Some questions:
    1 Do you know if EMI from these types of transformers is usually common mode or differential?
    2 How should I wind the cables around the cores?
    3 Should I even use ferrites or something else entirely? Inductors?
    4 If the EMI is differential mode and i cannot find ferrite cores which do not saturate, how should I go about in adressing the problem?

    As I said, this is not my field of expertise so maybe I'm asking the wrong questions and maybe I'm not providing sufficient background information, in that case comment and I'll try to be more clear!

    I'm in a bit over my head here so I'm extremely grateful for any assistance!

  2. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
    U know for a new guy u are going to get strike from the mods.

    This thread will be locked but before tht I wil give u a solution.

    Try using thicker cables and a high speed schottkey diode in the +B line.
    Vfd should be as low as possible.

    U can find them on digikey or mouser

    Any heat sinkable diode with around 150A at 100V with a forward voltage of around 0.1V or so will eliminate ur problem.
  3. fkon

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2012
    Thanks for the reply, I'll look into your suggestions.

    (What is wrong with the 1st post? Too long? Too vague?)
  4. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    Automotive modification discussions are verboten. Good luck with your lights.
  5. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008

    I am closing this thread as it violates AAC policy and/or safety issues.

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