Strange interference from LED PSU + ethernet cable carrying Artnet for LEDs
  • jasonbeyers
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    Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:16 am

    Strange interference from LED PSU + ethernet cable carrying Artnet for LEDs

    by jasonbeyers » Mon May 06, 2024 4:05 am

    I have a technical issue with all of my Garagecube LED equipment that I've collected over the years, and was wondering if this was a known issue and/or if any of you are aware of good workarounds.

    I use Artnet (over ethernet) to control my LEDs, using either DMXKing or Chauvet brand Artnet-to-DMX nodes. Lately I've been trying to build some equipment boxes that hold these Artnet nodes, along with a few Garagecube LED PSUs (with the DMX y-cables embedded), in close proximity.

    In seemingly all cases, my LEDs flicker uncontrollably when an ethernet cable is within a few feet of a Garagecube LED PSU -- when that ethernet cable is carrying the Artnet signal destined for those LEDs. It's a lightshow of its own, rapidly flickering between all the colors, even without a PC or minimad connected.

    I notice this even after:
    * Swapping out the LED bars themselves (tested 10+ units)
    * Swapping out the PSU (tested 6 different units)
    * Swapping out the DMX Y-cable
    * Swapping out the Artnet node, with either the same type or with a different brand (DMXKing, Chauvet)
    * Swapping out the ethernet cables (tested a dozen of these, all cat6, some shielded and some unshielded)
    * Swapping out all power cables and using different outlets
    * Using a power conditioner

    I'm basically seeing this on totally independent sets of equipment, whenever the ethernet cable is within 1 foot of the PSU. It looks like the Garagecube PSUs are giving off some crazy interference.

    A key test was the following:
    1. Send some signals to the LEDs from Madmapper with artnet (over ethernet) to a DMXKing eDMX Max unit (then to LEDs)
    2. Disconnect the computer but leave the ethernet cable connected to the artnet node. Based on how I configured the Artnet node, the LEDs remained on whatever color they were on
    3. Position the other end of the ethernet cable near the LED PSU (within 12 inches)

    After step 3, the LEDs go haywire. There doesn't even need to be a signal on the ethernet cable for things to get jumbled up. Moving the ethernet cable (connected or otherwise) physically away from the LED PSU tends to resolve things.

    Have tried wrapping the PSU and the ethernet cable in tin foil, put a sheet of steel between them, etc. But somehow the interference is still a problem, defying my knowledge of physics.

    Honestly I don't know how I didn't run into this before, after many years of using these LEDs, but I guess I never needed to keep the artnet side of things so close to the LED PSUs before.

    Any suggestions here? To my understanding, shielded cat6 ethernet should already be pretty resilient to signal noise. But given that I'm seeing this with all of my Garagecube LED parts, surely someone has run into this issue before? If so, any tips for getting around this, if I must keep the ethernet cables somewhat near the PSUs? Or, is this just expected?

    Thanks so much!

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