Stop EMI / RFI interference in Off-Grid Solar PV systems
Being a Ham radio operator, I am quite aware of EMI and RFI radiation interfering with my radios. Recently I added an Off Grid Solar PV system to my ham radio station. Using solar panels is great for ham radio, especially for emergency communications when the grid is down, I am still able to operate. However it was producing a lot of EMI noise on my lowband rig.
What I did was purchase a 100 watt off-grid Solar PV kit on Amazon, similar to the one to the one on the right. (Why yes I am an Amazon Afilliate) Solar PV kits such as this one comes with everything you need. The photo above shows the solar panel mounted on my ham radio tower. One thing on my installation, I had to come up with my own brackets to mount the solar panel to my tower. So if you are thinking of doing a similar set up, you will need to figure out your own tower mounting arrangement. The Solar PV system works great charging my deep cycle batteries that run my Ham radio station. The problem however is the charge controller, which is a PWM type charge controller, generates a lot of EMI interference. The particular charge controller that came with my solar PV kit, is a WindyNation P30 Charge Controller, which is typical of all the other inexpensive PWM type of solar charge controllers.
Before I tell you how I resolved my EMI / RFI interference, I would like to tell you how I was able to track down the source of my EMI noise. I have a small portable AM/FM radio that clips on to your arm. All I do is switch to the AM band and tune around. Usually EMI interference is a harmonic of its fundamental frequency, so just tune around until you hear a strong EMI noise. Then its a matter of walking around until you hear the noise the loudest.
On a side note, I have also discovered that dimmer switches mounted in the wall are wonderful EMI generators – even when they are turned off! Needless to say, they too will be going away as well!