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LED Bulbs: how to solve the flickering?

Published : 03/15/2018 13:08:21
Categories : First steps

LED Bulbs flickering

Sometimes, when we include in our lighting circuits new LED bulbs, an annoying phenomenom occurs: either the bulb flickers, or it stays slightly lit despite the swith being off.

This phenomenoms occurs, a lot of the times, due to a residual current, or because the power source is no the right one. But don’t worry, here we are going to explain all the causes and possible solutions that you can apply to correct this problem.

The causes for this flickering can be divided in two sections, the flickering that occurs when the switch is on, and the one that occurs with the switch off. Next, we explain both and the corresponding solutions to each case.

Flickering with the switch on

If the flickering occurs while the switch is on, it’s because when we replace a traditional lamp (with a high wattage) with an LED lamp (with a lower wattage) leaving the same power source, it can happen that the power source is design to handle a higher wattage than the one the LED bulb consumes, providing more power to the circuit than what the LED lamp needs.

The solution to this problem is simple, we would just have to replace the power source for a new one that is compatible with the new lamp and can handle the consumed wattage.

Another possible solution is to install in paralell as many LED Bulbs  as necessary until we reach the minimum charge. However this solution presents two inconvenients. On the one hand, we have to keep in mind that the power source consumes some wattage so we can’t count 100% on its total capacity. On the other hand, we also have to consider that if any of bulbs we have installed failed it would decompensate the charge again and cause problem to the rest of the elements of the network.

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Flickering with the switch off

In most cases the flickering is related to the type of installation:

When the switch has a little light or pilot light (normally used to locate the switch in the dark), this light is connected in parallel to the switch and in series to the lamp connected to the circuit. The pilot lights up because it allows a little bit of the current pass through the lamp and return through the neutral wire of the installation. This current is very small, but sometimes is enough to charge the internal condensers of the power source in the luminaire, and make it stay slightly lit or flicker.

The most simple solution would be to replace the neon switch  with a new one. The other solution, and the most efficient one, is to place a condenser or anti-flicker device in parallel with the LED luminaire. With this condenser that small current that goes through the neon will stop moving on to the luminaire, avoiding the flickering.

A less common case occurs when the switch, despite not having a pilot light, leaves a little bit of current to go through even when it’s off. The solution to this would be the same: using an anti-flicker device in parallel will stop the problem.

In addition, it is recommended to check the circuit before making any changes to the installation. In some cases these type of problems are caused by the switcher acting on the neutral wire. In this case, small derivations of current can appear and cause our LED bulbs to light up, even partially.

Besides, if the LED bulbs are connected to a motion sensor the problem in the wiring can be caused by this component.

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