tv and living room light came on by themselves tonight

rockybirdAugust 9, 2012

I was sound asleep and at 230 in the AM I woke up to the living room tv (new samsung flat screen) blaring and the living room light on (3-way switch). This is an older house (built in 1958). I had some of the house rewired 1.5 yrs. ago but not sure if that included this portion of the house. We have had some bad storms come through as well recently (windstorm tonight) and I dont know if that could have affected anything. It's a big house and I live alone. I called the police and we searched the house and could not find any mode of entrance. The alarm was on. I am still scared and get to sleep. I'm hoping there's an explanation for this.

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The lights (recessed canned lights - 6 of them) were installed when the house was rewired. I think the outlet box the tv is plugged in is old. The electrical switch did not trip as everything is working fine. Passed all inspections. I hope this is not a serious electrical problem and I hope no one came into the house tonight. :(

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 7:06AM
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There's nothing in the house wiring that could cause the TV to turn on, and it's highly unlikely that your recessed lights would be affected by the wiring either.

The TV, of course, is run by remote control, so some external event (say an electrical storm) could cause the electronics to malfunction.

Is there any chance that there's zwave or x10 controls installed in the house?

Ever had a problem with sleep walking? My daughter used to get up in the middle of the night, tell us a complete story, and never remember it in the morning.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:20AM
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Thank you! I dont think that I slept walked although I guess that is the only explanation. I called my brother who is an electrician who agrees with you. I dont have any controls installed in the house or anything timed. :( I am going to test the alarms on the doors tonight to make sure they work. I did not sleep well last night!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I have a touch-lamp that will turn itself on if there is a power hit of some kind (storm). My outdoor motion lights will as well. My TV never has, but nothing surprises me with regards to the electronics in TVs nowadays.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:59PM
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I have a flat screen LCD TV in my bedroom that goes on intermittently for no reason (so we thought).
Found out that occasionally when we turn on the CFL bedside lamp with the switch by the door, the TV will go on.
(no, they are not on the same switched outlet)
Don't know if it is the frequency of the ballast in the CFL or what-
Never happened till I started using a CFL in the bedroom.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:29PM
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I have had a touch lamp turn on each time a CFL was turned on. It would advance one level of brightness each time the CFL was turned on. They were on separate circuits, although they might have been on the same leg. No other CFL affected it, even in the same lamp. Must be something with the harmonics / power factor of that particular bulb, but I'm sure its possible for it to affect a tv also. As for the light, unless there is an electronic controller (X10 unit, etc) somewhere I can't explain that one

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:49PM
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Too much of a coincidence for the tv AND the light. Sleepwalking is a possibility. Are you taking anything like Ambien? That's been known to do some weird stuff. If it happens again you might want to talk to your doctor barring other explanations.

Or, it could be ghosts. (LOL)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:25PM
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A few TV's have an auto-on feature if power is momentarily interrupted then
restored. Might check yours for that setting. Can't explain the light unless
it's an electronically controlled three-way that might have responded the same as the set to a brief outage.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Without knowing the type of light bulbs used in the OP's ceiling cans, CFLs can, and do, cause problems with IR remote controlled consumer electronics.

Most IR remote controls operate by using IR LEDs that are driven by a 38-40kHz carrier frequency modulated by the digital codes for each function.

CFLs contain a lot of IR and UV light in conjunction with their visible light. Their internal power supplies also operate around around 38-40kHz - so they produce IR energy that has a random modulated frequency that coincides with that of IR remote controls.

They can either interfere with your remote control signal when used nearby or they can also sometimes randomly produce signals that your television or other device interprets as a command - such as "turn on."

Consumer electronic mfgs have long been aware of the problem and have unilaterally tried to account for it as much as possible. CFL mfgs acknowledge it but are not as motivated to help in correcting it.

When I worked for Sony in the 80's we even had a problem with audio receivers that would turn on from IR in sunlight when near a window - the fix was to double-up the IR optical filters on the IR sensor.

If the OP's can lights are CFL, and maybe the switch was in an intermediate position that fell-back into the "on" position by itself, it could explain the situation.

Or it could simply be as I have done, been really tired, gone to bed to only wake a few hours later and find I never turned anything off!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:28PM
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In my younger, more mischievous days, I used to roam certain neighborhoods with a universal remote... pretty much everyone had the same brand TV (RCA/GE) and at the time, all of their TVs had roughly the same menus, which I had memorized... I'd turn a TV on, quickly hit MUTE, then turn the contrast/brightness all the way down to kill the image (VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO, hold - to turn contr down, VIDEO, hold - to turn bright down), then turn the volume all the way up, then hit MUTE and run...

Take a mischievous young neighbor, mix that with yosemitebill's theories to explain the light (OP was tired and forgot to turn it off, or switch was 'in the middle' and eventually sprung 'on') and we've got a theory that involves neither sleepwalking nor ghosts.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 6:51PM
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