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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping someone out there has some ideas for me! I am struggling with my radio reception...and after I installed new LED headlights it is absolutely horrendous. I installed an aftermarket amplifier to power the two roll bar speakers and one sub. Power is run directly from battery and it is grounded by the steering wheel.

I have a few problems so I will break them down.

1. Reception before headlights was worse than all other cars in my driveway (03 Liberty, 15 JK and a GMC Terrain). I couldn't even get some channels the others picked up. Is this just the way the stock radio is? Can anything be done to make it better?

2. When my parking lights are on there is a buzzing, only coming through the speakers powered by the amp. I tried to isolate what bulb/circuit was causing it so I unscrewed each bulb one by one and it made no difference (even with no parking lights in there was still buzzing). It would only stop if I removed the fuse in the glove box. Any explanations for this?

3. With the new LED headlights on there is some serious static that makes most channels all but useless. It is even worse with the high beams. Oh and I tried those ferrite cores and they are useless. Also tried with them connected directly to the battery and it did nothing. The only relief I have noticed is if the hood is up, the static is diminished. Any other ideas? Would moving the antenna do anything? This is the most annoying issue by far, I can live with the others and I have for a while, just thought I would throw them all together in case they are linked. I also have LED floods on a light bar and they cause the same problem, only I don't really care since I don't use the floods while driving obviously.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you cleaned your battery terminals lately? And all the ground connections to frame/engine block?
No I haven't cleaned them lately, I didn't even think that would have anything to do with it but I can certainly clean them up.

As for the grounds, the lights are just plugged directly into the factory housing. The amp is grounded to the body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Put the lights in my dads JK and turns out it causes the same problem. Clearly nothing with my setup but a problem with the lights.

Anyone have any ideas for my second question regarding the parking lights? The more I think about it the more it perplexes me.
 

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Is the ground strap from the firewall to the hood installed

The only reason they installed that strap at the factory was to prevent or minimize radio interference as the only electrical component on the hood is the light and it has its own dedicated ground wire

Make sure your hood ground strap is intact and has clean tight connections


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You are facing radiated RF noise from the LED lights. I had the same problem with my new LED lights. I fixed it by adding a shield around the power leads to the lights and by internal decoupling capacitors inside the case of the lights. The decoupling caps went across the +12 and ground wires. This stops the RF noise from leaving the lights and causing the radio to crap out. Search youtube for led noise and you can see dozens of videos on how to fix it. The problem is with the light itself. Vendors are paying attention to these details. I like my LEDs and my radio now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know that my ground strap has ripped in the past and I cannot remember what I did with it. I think that it is just loosely connected so I will check on that.

n1wvet I think you are correct. I have narrowed down just about everything else. I will look into the shielding and capacitor but I think the headlights are sealed so I'm not sure how to get in there. What does the shielding consist of? I have already tried ferrite cores.
 

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As these brand name or eBay bargains. Poorly made LED's can generate a lot of hash.
 

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No I haven't cleaned them lately, I didn't even think that would have anything to do with it but I can certainly clean them up.

As for the grounds, the lights are just plugged directly into the factory housing. The amp is grounded to the body.
Grounding is extremely important.
 

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The shield is called grounding braid. Digi-key has it for cables. But before you spend any money try using aluminum foil wrapped around the power cable first and ground it to your frame. If the Al foil doesn't work then the braid may not either. You may need to look at line filters as well. Often you need a combination of all the above tricks.

Like sparky says poorly made LED lights are no bargin if they create a lot of problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The shield is called grounding braid. Digi-key has it for cables. But before you spend any money try using aluminum foil wrapped around the power cable first and ground it to your frame. If the Al foil doesn't work then the braid may not either. You may need to look at line filters as well. Often you need a combination of all the above tricks.

Like sparky says poorly made LED lights are no bargin if they create a lot of problems.
I will give these a shot. I already tried grounding them all over and using the stock circuit as a relay and that did absolutely nothing. I will try Al foil and maybe even a filter. What type of filter are you talking about?

Digger I saw that video and gave it a shot but it did not do much, maybe a tiny bit, but nothing significant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I purchased another different set of headlights. They still caused static. So I then proceeded to try to rule out the problem. I wrapped the whole thing in Al foil and no improvement. Added four ferrite cores and that didn't work. Then I added one and two anti-flicker filters and that did nothing either. I then proceeded to manually wire the light, grounding in numerous locations (the frame, engine block, hood etc.) and that did nothing either. What the heck is going on?? This happens in my TJ and JK. It is driving me nuts!!!! These are two different types of lights too, one similar to the truck lite style and the other a projection lens.

When the two vehicles are parked next to one another, turning the lights on in one vehicle causes static in the other, buuuuut even when they are wrapped in two layers of Al foil.

Oh and the grounding tethers from the hood to the firewall and engine to firewall are in rough shape but still connected.


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I run H4 cheeper plenty bright and no such issues plus get warm enough to prevent snow blockage as you drive

Never had a need for LED

My daughter put color changeable led strips under her ricer and no complaints of radio interference there


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I run H4 cheeper plenty bright and no such issues plus get warm enough to prevent snow blockage as you drive

Never had a need for LED

My daughter put color changeable led strips under her ricer and no complaints of radio interference there


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What are you using for a housing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I literally removed the antenna and 95% of the extra static disappeared. I would assume that eliminates ground problems and points to RF interference. If that is the case I am still confused why wrapping it in Al foil did not help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I went to a friends house yesterday and he has a brand new 2017 JK with the new stock LED headlights. Well, guess what? ....they cause the same problem in his! Maybe this is just one of the things I will have to either decide to live with or go back to the old crappy lights.
 
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