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Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news


Maybe you thought that subject line can't be true but I am afraid it is!

Power Line Adaptors or PLT as supplied by BT (Comtrend) and available at many computer stores are bad news.

They have come onto the market by exploiting a loop hole in the EMC regulations and with a significant push from the EU.

The problem is that they use part of the radio spectrum called short wave that is already in use; they pump radio energy into your mains wires, your wires then act as antennas and broadcast your digital noise far and wide.

Do a Google for UKQRM and find their web site, it’s in my sig file as well.

 

Here are some basic details for you.

Shortwave radio has amazing properties allowing world-wide communications. It's been in use since Marconi made his first transmissions.


Many millions of people tune into shortwave radio everyday to hear broadcasts from the USA, Russia, China. Canada, the UK and a host of other world locations.

It is also used by radio amateurs who communicate with each other over vast distances and at times of national emergency, it acts as a backup communications network, which is vital to us all.

It is a way of life for many who may be housebound, those who wish to keep in touch with events from their home country or who enjoy learning about language and traditions from other countries.


Shortwave radio frequencies sit between the top of medium wave radio and the bottom of the FM broadcast band.

Shortwave is also inhabited by the military, aircraft, shipping, airsea rescue and a host of other essential services, who are all licensed to use the frequency band.

Then came powerline adaptors!

These gadgets have nothing to do with getting people on-line with computers.

They are used to transfer video and data from one room to the next without any direct connection!

They do this by sending wide-band shortwave radio signals along the electricity power cables of your house!

As these power cables were not designed for radio signals they act as aerials radiating the output of the powerline adaptors far and wide outside of the house.

Interference of up to 500 meters has been reported.

This is where the problem lies.

Just one house using these adaptors wipes out the reception of short wave radio in your local neighbourhood!


Even NATO has published concerns about these devices, and yet they are streaming onto the market here in the UK.

If one examines the regulations (Electro Magnetic Compatibility and Wireless & Telegraphy act 2006) these power line adaptors seemingly should not be in use, as there is no way they can meet the required standards!

UKQRM is a non profit users group, working with many other radio groups to defend shortwave radio.

Ofcom the radio spectrum regulator here in the UK has finally acknowledged the problem and is looking at legal actions.


I offer this information to assist others in making a choice, doing the right thing and acting with due care for their neighbours.

This is also a real risk of conducted noise getting into audio equipment!

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

Is this not exactly the same reason why the MGM "Plugaround Sound" speakers vanished from sale in the UK some years ago?

These were speakers the came with a box that you connected to your HiFi amp via a tape out loop and then you plugged it into the mains.

Then you had a pair of speakers that connected to each other, and one of them plugged into the mains anywhere in your house and Hey Presto! Music came out. I wonder if this is exactly the same reason why these suddenly disappeared at the time?


Anonymous
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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news



Tesler:Is this not exactly the same reason why the MGM "Plugaround Sound" speakers vanished from sale in the UK some years ago? These were speakers the came with a box that you connected to your HiFi amp via a tape out loop and then you plugged it into the mains. Then you had a pair of speakers that connected to each other, and one of them plugged into the mains anywhere in your house and Hey Presto! Music came out. I wonder if this is exactly the same reason why these suddenly disappeared at the time?



Hi, yes it could very well be, good thought!

I really do understand the concept is attractive! I mean how cool just connect to the mains and away you go.

The problem is that the makers of this vile rubbish have hijacked part of the radio spectrum that is already in use!

imagine the outcry if they did it to FM broadcast for example!!!!

The other issue is that the mains wires of your house are not up to the job.

Still the legal case is being argued just now so I hope we will see the regulator and UK Government take the lead and ban this stuff.

Anonymous
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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news


Hi, bit of an update


One of the members of the UKQRM group is also a hifi person! he installed a set of these adaptors to make a computer network in his house and found they did indeed adversely effect his hifi!


Apparently he could not hear the noise they make but said his hifi output sounded dull and flat?


He removed the adaptors and now it sounds sweet again.


I had knew that the noise these things make can come out of audio equipment, but I never knew it could make things sound flat and dull!

He says he has mains filters etc but this did not stop the problem.


Another reason to steer well clear of this flawed technology


Anonymous
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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news


Further update:


Just had news in from the CISPR meeting held in South Africa in December 08.


Extracted:



RSGB John Pink reports back from South Africa and the CISPR meeting held there.


Looks like the end is in sight for Comtrend PLT with its UPA method!


"TDMA would not be able to comply there were some emotional exchanges"

And



"This should mean that Comtrend modems should be non-compliant at some point in the future"

So there we have it, BT backed the wrong standard and now its customers are going to have to ask what they do and who will foot the clean up bill!


Interesting, but by no means the end of the story

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news
mikesndbs:Just had news in from the CISPR meeting held in South Africa in December 08.

Did the chap walk back???

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news
Andrew Everard:mikesndbs:Just had news in from the CISPR meeting held in South Africa in December 08.

Did the chap walk back???

No. In order that the news from the meeting should not find itself intercepted by shape-shifting lizards from their secret base on the dark side of the moon (due to a careless wireless/shortwave link in the path of the e-mail) they sent it by semaphore and mule train.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

No all communications are by smoke signals from now on no doubt. Quick cheap and very eco unfriendly to boot.

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news
mikesndbs:

Further update:


Just had news in from the CISPR meeting held in South Africa in December 08.


Extracted:



RSGB John Pink reports back from South Africa and the CISPR meeting held there.


Looks like the end is in sight for Comtrend PLT with its UPA method!


"TDMA would not be able to comply there were some emotional exchanges"

And



"This should mean that Comtrend modems should be non-compliant at some point in the future"

So there we have it, BT backed the wrong standard and now its customers are going to have to ask what they do and who will foot the clean up bill!


Interesting, but by no means the end of the story



So. What are the alternatives?

As an Openreach engineer, I bought my BT Vision box for £1 as an employee offer, but there are many people out there who paid full whack, and they're not gonna be very happy.

I can't move the hub to near my TV as it's hard-wired to my desktop PC which isn't wireless. To wire my hub and Vision boxes together in their current location would mean buying an ethernet cable about 25 metres long.

I can't see any other alternatives.

Anonymous
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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

HI, I do understand, its not fair on you or anyone.


But, if you found you can't listen to shortwave radio and Ofcom were told, then BT would replace the adaptors with cable for free!


At least this is what they are doing which is kind of an admission of guilt anyway.


Of course, for you being an employee it may be more difficult.


One thing I can say is that the cable will provide you with far better speeds and won't effect you or anyone else.


 


 

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

The MF/HF radio spectrum is by its very nature cluttered anyway.  The Military/SAR/Shipping are moving away from MF/HF systems to satellite/mobile phone etc. but I'm sure this will have some concerns for certain countries and military sites involved in 'listening' activities.  I severely doubt that any notice will be taken of radio hams or those that get their Archers fix from the World Service!  Haven't you heard of internet radio?  I'm sure that if any action re. banning these homeplug devices will occur, it will come from the Government or the Military.

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news
d4v3pum4:The MF/HF radio spectrum is by its very nature cluttered anyway.  The Military/SAR/Shipping are moving away from MF/HF systems to satellite/mobile phone etc. but I'm sure this will have some concerns for certain countries and military sites involved in 'listening' activities.  I severely doubt that any notice will be taken of radio hams or those that get their Archers fix from the World Service!  Haven't you heard of internet radio?  I'm sure that if any action re. banning these homeplug devices will occur, it will come from the Government or the Military.


 


Hi sorry but you have been misinformed!


There are no plans to scrap the HF networks for the UK in the near future.


And it may interest you to know that radio hams and shortwave listeners are protected under UK law just like any other group.


We can not stand by and allow legally questionable products to be placed on the market and just give up because a few people can't be bothered to use cable or other methods.


Just because its easy, does not make it right.


 


Otherwise in few years maybe someone will decide that you don't have a right to FM or DAB because they have come up with another nerd magnet.


All this has been said before, but the fact of the matter is that these devices have used a loop hole in the laws and regulations and those behind them are hoping that there will be more like you who will just roll over and give up.


 


Well not me and 4000 minimum others.


 


Also what about the implications for HiFi users?


If your neighbour has a PLT then it will couple with your mains and you will get distortion on your equipment.


 


Its a dirty, badly thought out nasty bit of tech that has no place in our world.

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

I've got 3 of these,  2 normal 85Mbps homeplugs and one with a wireless adapter. All bought from Solwise.  Intrigued by your claim that they can cause interference that can make hifi sound flat, I umplugged all mine and played a CD, and can report that it didn't make any noticeable difference to the quality of the sound.

 

Is it just specific brands that cause the problems you describe or do you think its all homeplug type products?

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

Mine dont appear to make any difference either (Also Solwise)

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

Hi Sorry for late reply, the e-mail subscription does not seem to be working.


 


Well, it could be that your hifi is well made and immune from mains noise.


However I have seen a number of reports from quite high end users who have found that home plug (PLT) does cause their music to sound flat!


 


I know for a fact that when I tested out some Comtrend adaptors they indeed came over our TV and kitchen radio.


The Solwise ones use the HPA standard, this means they only make a big noise when transferring data unlike the UPA Comtrend type that makes the noise all the time.


 


Try again with yours but make sure they are sending a large datafile when you do it?


 


Would be most interested.


 


Mike

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Re: Don't use Power Line Adaptors they are really bad news

Its kind of difficult for me as mines connected to my PS3. So when its on and downloading I can hear the fan anyways.

Clearly when its off then it doesnt effect it (But then I use an Isotek Mira mains conditioner so that would probably stop all interference anyways)

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