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Wireless computer interference

Old 11-01-22, 05:50 PM
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davethelefty
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Wireless computer interference

FIle this problem under the "Who knew?" category.

As the days grow shorter I'm riding at night more and more. I have a Niterider headlight/taillight set that I'm using and it gives me good lighting for my rides. Separately I noticed that my Cateye wireless computer wasn't working. Checked the battery, all's good. Then I discovered that half way through a recent ride my computer quit working, and that perhaps coincided with my turning my headlight on.

Sure enough I was able to confirm. So I went to the Cateye instructions (who reads 'em, anyway???) and it specifically says that a battery powered light can interfere with use of the computer. I guess the light blasts out EMI that disrupts the wireless sensor sending signals to the head unit. The computer itself still works but it's not getting any signal from the sensor. Who knew?

So now I have to move things around and see if I can solve the problem. Or build a Faraday cage for the headlight!! Does anyone know if battery powered lights interfere with GPS units? That may be my alternative...
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Old 11-01-22, 06:01 PM
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I know neon lights interfere. My wife parked her bike under a Silver Bullet sign and came back to find a max speed of 94.1 mph.
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Old 11-01-22, 06:02 PM
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A rider in my group has to run her headlight in the ON selection instead of blinking as in blinking mode it blocks her Cateye.
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Old 11-01-22, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by davethelefty View Post
FIle this problem under the "Who knew?" category.

As the days grow shorter I'm riding at night more and more. I have a Niterider headlight/taillight set that I'm using and it gives me good lighting for my rides. Separately I noticed that my Cateye wireless computer wasn't working. Checked the battery, all's good. Then I discovered that half way through a recent ride my computer quit working, and that perhaps coincided with my turning my headlight on.

Sure enough I was able to confirm. So I went to the Cateye instructions (who reads 'em, anyway???) and it specifically says that a battery powered light can interfere with use of the computer. I guess the light blasts out EMI that disrupts the wireless sensor sending signals to the head unit. The computer itself still works but it's not getting any signal from the sensor. Who knew?

So now I have to move things around and see if I can solve the problem. Or build a Faraday cage for the headlight!! Does anyone know if battery powered lights interfere with GPS units? That may be my alternative...
In the maritime world LED lights are notorious for causing electrical interference, which is said to affect GPS as well as VHF comms and AIS. Good shielding is key.
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Old 11-01-22, 08:36 PM
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To change LED brightness a technique called pulse width modulation is used at a relatively high frequency. Likely this is the cause of interference.
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Old 11-01-22, 09:18 PM
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Found this same problem myself with a Cateye Padrone Smart and a Niterider headlamp. You can sometimes solve it by moving the Niterider farther away from the computer along the bars.

I solved my problem with a GPS unit. Also the Bluetooth/ANT+ speed sensor, connected to the computer, was not impacted by the frequency of he Niterider.
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Old 11-02-22, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by davethelefty View Post
...Or build a Faraday cage for the headlight!!
Then you'd be a "cager".
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Old 11-02-22, 08:38 AM
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See what you learn when you read instructions and all the other stuff they give you!

Video camera's like a GoPro also sometimes are a problem. But just like lights, it's rare evidently. I've never had an issue I could pin on lights or camera. But if you are having issues you should eliminate various things one at a time until you find the culprit and then once found, see if you can move things around to let them work harmoniously.
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Old 11-02-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
I know neon lights interfere. My wife parked her bike under a Silver Bullet sign and came back to find a max speed of 94.1 mph.
That is funny. When we travel we sometimes bring a small desktop fan for white noise. My wife once left her Fitbit on a night stand with that fan running. When she put her Fitbit on the next morning she had 25,000 steps.
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Old 11-02-22, 09:31 AM
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Update: moving the headlight and the Cateye so they're about 2" apart seems to have resolved the problem. I originally had the headlight so close to the Cateye that it was actually touching it -- okay, not the smartest move on my part.

Issue resolved without the need to build a Faraday cage.
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Old 11-02-22, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by davethelefty View Post
That is funny. When we travel we sometimes bring a small desktop fan for white noise. My wife once left her Fitbit on a night stand with that fan running. When she put her Fitbit on the next morning she had 25,000 steps.
I saved a pic of my wife’s max speed. A friend had something similar recently while parked near another neon beer sign.


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Old 11-02-22, 10:35 AM
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This thread is not just for 50+ but the General category since it could impact the youngens too
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Old 11-02-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
I saved a pic of my wifes max speed. A friend had something similar recently while parked near another neon beer sign.


Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
This thread is not just for 50+ but the General category since it could impact the youngens too
i doubt it, i don't think they can go as fast as us.
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Old 11-03-22, 08:13 AM
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Years ago, when I briefly tried using a wireless heart rate monitor, with the wristwatch receptor, while riding a road bike with a wired computer, I discovered that the magnetic for the computer on the front wheel would cause interface when I had my hands on the bar drops.

This issue has me wondering if/how RF interference would affect wireless shifting.

Dan
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