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Is the buzz from fluorescent lighting temperature dependent?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by TimR, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. TimR

    TimR Guest

    We do our music practice in the basement to avoid annoying the neighbors.

    The fluorescent lights (4 foot tubes) have an annoying buzz to a musician.

    (60 Hz is halfway between Bb at 58 and Bnat at 62)

    We don't heat or cool the basement except in extreme temperatures, and I've noticed as the basement cools from the summer heat the buzzing seems to get louder.

    Do you think there's anything to it?
  2. Sound could well change as parts of the fitting expand or contract
    by tiny amounts due to temperature changes, and change the stresses
    in parts which are fixed together, and vibrating by miniscule amounts.

    Modern electronic control gear is silent, although the possibility
    of picking up RF interference by mics and pickups very near it might
    be higher.
  3. Guest

    There may also be sound at 120 Hz and other harmonics, too.
    Could be.

    You might try pushing or tapping on various parts of the fixture while
    it is lit to see if you can change the sound. Some fixtures have sheet
    metal panels or diffusers/shades that are just clipped on, and moving
    one of these panels just a little might help reduce the noise.

    If you feel comfortable working on line-operated equipment, you could
    turn off the lights, unplug them (if they plug in), remove the tubes,
    and poke around inside the fixture for loose screws, nuts, clips, etc.
    In particular, if you can see the ballast (the oblong black thing with
    lots of wires coming out of it), check the nuts/screws/clips holding it
    in. In a lot of fixtures, the wires from the ballast to the lamp
    holders just sort of lay there; they aren't in a bundle or clipped to
    anything. The wires themselves are usually not a big source of noise,

    Don't leave any any clips, nuts, bolts, etc out of the fixture for
    good - some of them are there to ensure that all parts of the fixture
    are safely grounded. (This also helps the lamps start.) Be careful of
    pinching wires between parts when you put the whole thing back together.

    I hope this helps!

    Matt Roberds
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