GE Z Wave Dimmer Creating Buzz in other electronics

(Alec Gonnella) #1

Hello there…
I just recieved my new smart things hub yesterday along with a couple switches and bulbs. My main issue right now is with the GE dimmer switch… When dimming, the LEDs hooked up to it buzz slightly… That’s not my issue, the amount of buzzing is only slight and you can only hear it if you’re listening for it. The problem is, when dimming my desktop computer begins to make a buzzing sound. The outlet that the desktop is on is not connected to the switch, but is fed via the same breaker on the electric panel. I’m just wondering… How is this possible? Could it be causing damage to my computer? Is there a way for me to fix it?

(Jimmy) #2

Wow, that’s a first for me! Is your GE dimmer one that requires a neutral wire connection?

(Ray) #3

It’s possible because you GE dimmer is dimming by changing the frequency of you AC power to the light and because either your neutral or line hot is leaking, hence the buzz of your other circuit due to this problem. In theory, most electronics should be able to tolerate a little change in frequency outside of the 60hz depending their power supplies. Unless it’s buzzing really bad then I would be a little concern due to high leakage or low quality computer power supply. This could also cause because of your light bulb as well. Some LED bulbs don’t dim by changing frequency.

(Tim) #4

To add to the comment by @Navat604… LED compatible solid state dimmer switches operate by rapidly turning the current on and off over 100 times per second to achieve the dimming effect. This is as opposed to your typical rheostat type of dimmer that is not necessarily compatible with all LED bulbs. Some LED bulbs are compatible with rheostat dimmers and perform the switching locally. Rapid current switching may cause radio frequency interference and induce an audible buzzing noise with sensitive electronics and audio equipment. This may be producing the sound through your PC speakers or even singing capacitors. Radiated RFI will travel through the air and conducted RFI will travel through cables (such as your power cables and may traverse multiple outlets on the same side of the breaker box. Intentionally conducted RFI is actually the same principle that allowed power line ethernet extenders and X10 type of control systems to operate between outlets. You could try installing an RFI filter on audio (radiated) and power cables (either radiated or conducted) depending on the source of the interference.

RF Ferrite Chokes can help with audio cables picking up radiated interference.
Be sure to wrap the cable through and around the choke a few times as close to the output of the cable to the equipment or speaker producing the sound.

RFI filtering surge protectors can help with power line conducted interference:

Of course, you could also try switching to quieter (in an RFI sense) dimmers or bulbs.