Many growers using HID lights have experienced false temperature and humidity readings in AC Infinity smart controllers. This can be frustrating, as accurate readings are vital in being able to create the optimal environment for plants to grow and produce greater yields. These false readings not only affect your smart controller, but also the inline fan that it connects with. While our sensor probes are capable of precisely detecting temperature and humidity conditions, older model HID grow lights cause interference not only with them but with other nearby electronics. So what is this interference and how can you mitigate it?
What is RFI?
RFI, or radio-frequency interference, is an electrical signal or disruption made by external sources that interfere with other electrical devices. This can result in a degraded performance in electronic devices and may even stop them from functioning altogether.
When it comes to grow lights, certain models with HID ballasts do not use proper shielding, which creates an electromagnetic field that causes RFI. The cables and ballast itself become antennas that are the sources of these electromagnetic fields. These ballasts are used in such lights as metal halide and high-pressure sodium fixtures, as well as their ceramic variants.
Aside from our climate sensor probes, other frequency-sensitive electronics that can be affected includes internet lines and radios.
How to Prevent RFI
You can follow two simple steps in your indoor grow tent build to ensure proper temperature and humidity detection. These steps best apply if your grow light model uses HID ballasts.
Keep the probe’s cord away from your ballast and its cords. This can be done by simply cable managing your grow tent equipment, routing them through different duct openings. For an extra layer of protection, you may also wrap the cord and create a cone around the sensor head with aluminum foil tape. Creating these conduits will shield the probe from the electromagnetic field emitting from the ballast cords and ensure proper readings.
Do not plug your grow light and inline fan into the same duplex outlet. This will also create radio-frequency interference since it affects electricity up and downstream. Thus if they share the same outlets or power strip, the sensor probe is susceptible to RFI.
While we are unable to account for other lighting companies' ability to properly shield their MH or HPS lights, taking these measures will diminish their impact on our sensors and ensure your smart controllers provide you the accurate data you need to optimize your grow environment.