Led Light Fixtures Flickering Causes and Solutions
Lighting; an efficient commodity in day to day living has evolved for many years. It has evolved from the incandescent bulbs then superseded by the halogen light bulbs to the compact fluorescent lights and now the so convenient LED lights.
The LEDs use advanced technology to function, which makes them so energy-efficient. They use less power, they are brighter, and have a longer lifespan as compared to their predecessors. However, there is a common problem that is experienced in lighting and that is flickering.
Light flickering is the quick and replicated change in the brilliance of light over time. Flickers can be noticed if they produce 50 flashes per second. Flickering in LED light Fixtures is noticeable because they flicker between 10% and 100%.
Flickering in LED lighting can be used to describe many versions of flickering;
1. The visible flicker which our eyes can clearly see. Here the light output from the lighting source changes rapidly. So different light frequencies are experienced from short term ones ranging from 3Hz to 70Hz. This is quite detrimental because such rapid changes have been associated with photosensitive epilepsy seizures. It can range from an annoyance in your bathroom lights when you dim them to a full public safety issue
1b. This variation is a failure of an LED light bulb or light fixture. As in case 1, its visible flicker but its clear its defective and needs repair or replacement. (we’ll focus alot on 1 and 1b, we want to fix these)
2. The second type is invisible flicker. As the name suggests, it’s a flicker that is present but we can’t obviously see it. It’s still unsafe to have this because the associated consequences of working under an invisible flicker are dizziness, headaches and migraines, and a general ill-feeling. Currently lots of research is being done on the health effects of this flicker. For this article, we will skip this one but may revisit in the future. It is important and we can build better LED Lights that avoid this.
What causes the flickering in LED Lights?
(the visible flicker)
1. Bad Driver- an LED driver is a gadget that heeds power to one of many LEDs. It not only operates as a system that manages electrical current but also acts as a protective cushion. There are two types of drivers; The constant voltage LED driver -that’s used by commodities that require a solid and consistent DC voltage to ensure its efficiency in performance. Its mainly used where LEDs are connected to the driver in a parallel way and are straight in the configuration. This ensures that the driver issues a constant load of voltage in each one of the LEDs.
The second type is the constant current LED driver which handles the original current that enters the LED’s diode which is mandatory to get things going in the p-n junction.
Faulty drivers can cause flicker since they will be more vulnerable to being affected by heat over time.
2. Loose wiring or bulb- loose connections and circuits can cause LED lights to flicker. This would be a result of poor handiwork during the placement of fixtures to the connection point. If many lights flicker at the same time, then there could be a problem at the panel or the junction point that could be loose and requires retightening.
3. Dimmer Incompatibility – Another major cause of flickering LEDs is having the lights placed in a circuit with incompatible dimmer switches. Dimmer switches operate in such a way that the power to the bulb goes on and off several times per second. This mechanism cannot work on LED lights and that’s why if such is combined, the lights end up flickering.
4. Low-Quality Fixtures or bulbs. As the common saying goes; cheap can be expensive. Well, the LEDs are quite reliable but going for cheap bulbs can cause problems too. Low quality LED bulbs have low quality drivers are more likely to be affected by flickering issues than high-quality ones. Of course, high-quality bulbs are more expensive but in the long run, they save you on the cost of frequent repairs and replacements.
5. The surge in wattage- The power wattage will influence how your LED light functions, particularly cheap drivers. An Example; if an appliance that is using a high power load is connected within the same circuit as your LED lamp. Better drivers normalize the output to the LEDs, others not so well. Repeated surges can wear down drivers and cause a delayed failure.
(annoyed by the flicker yet? Our writers sure were.
Can you watch it for 30 seconds? Imagine having to work under that, or even slight flicker. You see why it causes headaches or migraines)
Solve your Flickering LEDs problem
We have established that flickering lights are a working hazard for us. In a commercial setup especially, it would be unpleasant to have to experience this strobing as it would reduce the performance of your workforce and it could also present the problem of having an unappealing environment for your clients too. Therefore, we need to focus on solving these issues and a few guidelines below can come in handy:
– Use better drivers that eradicate the climax points of the sine wave. Constant drivers help in eliminating power current peaks thus eliminating the flickering problem. So go for a lamp that has the proper driver components such as full sized drivers that isolate the noise and steady the power
– Address the voltage changes issue. This can be achieved during the wiring application. Since voltage change can happen due to the usage of many appliances at the same time and the sharing between your appliances and your LED light can make it flicker, you ought to check the current running to your home or office is sufficient enough to power all your electronic appliances and lights to avoid the flicker.
– Check the malfunctioning component. You have checked the voltage issue and the drivers too but your lights still flicker. What now? It could be that one of those components in your lights is malfunctioning. Check your warranty and if it’s still valid then your manufacturer should definitely replace the light for you. If not, then they can help you find a replacement one. It’s advisable to have a certified electrician test out the switches for you since safety is a priority.
– Replacement of LED Light Bulbs or LED Lights withbetter products. Sometimes none of the above solutions may work for you. T8 LED tubes are not offered in a large variety lately. So if you are having these lights and the flickering is still an issue, you might consider replacing them with OTAT fixtures, which last for over 50,000hours and are quite an energy-efficient as compared to the T8 tubes. They are also very ideal for mechanic shops, artist studios, and other places that require detail-oriented kind of lighting. EPTA is another worthy replacement where you have T8 tubes. It’s a linear fixture and is rated at 200,000 hours.
– Finally, consult the services of specialists in light fixtures and choose a company that offers high-quality fixtures as they will help you choose the right fit for your commercial needs.