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Why Are My LED Strip Lights Flickering In 2024? (Solved!)

Antonio Forde
Updated: February 11, 2024
8 min read

Just like you, I’ve grappled with the puzzling issue of flickering LED strip lights. After scouring the internet for a comprehensive guide and coming up short, I decided to put my extensive experience with these lights to good use. 

So, here’s my article on ‘Why Are My LED Strip Lights Flickering?’ – a thorough exploration that will equip you with everything you need to know.

Why Are My LED Strip Lights Flickering?

LED strip lights can flicker, and there are several reasons why this might happen. One of the most common causes is an insufficient power supply. If your LED strip lights aren’t getting enough power, they may flicker or create dead zones. This can also happen if there are loose connections interrupting the current flow.

Another reason could be overloading the LED driver, also known as the power supply. When the LED driver is overloaded, it can cause the lights to switch on and off, which you would see as flickering. This is particularly common on startup, as the lights may need a warm-up period or there could be power supply issues.

Voltage drops across the strip can also lead to flickering. This is especially true if the strip is excessively long, as the power may not be sufficient to reach the end of the strip. This can result in dimming and flickering. It’s also possible that the parts you’re using are incompatible, which can lead to similar issues.

Defective or damaged LED chips are another potential cause of flickering. If the LED chips are not working properly, they can cause uneven brightness or sections of the strip to go dark. 

Interference from other electrical devices or power lines can also cause your LED strip lights to flicker. This is because the electrical signals from these devices can interfere with the current flowing to your lights.

Finally, it’s important to note that flickering can manifest in different ways. You might see visible flickering, where the lights turn on and off. Alternatively, you might experience invisible flickering, which can appear as a faint buzzing or crackling in the light.

What Are LED Strip Lights Flickering?

LED strip lights flickering is a term that describes the rapid flashing, strobing, or blinking effect that you might notice when the lights aren’t functioning as they should. This flickering can manifest in two ways: visible and invisible.

Visible flickering is pretty straightforward. It’s when the LED strip lights rapidly turn on and off, creating a flickering effect that’s easily noticeable. You don’t need any special equipment to see it; your eyes will pick up on this right away.

Invisible flickering is a bit more elusive. You might not notice it at first glance. It can show up as a faint buzzing or crackling in the light or on the ballasts, which are the devices that control the current in an electrical circuit. Even though it’s called “invisible,” it’s not entirely undetectable. 

You might pick up on it through the lens of a camera, or if you’re particularly sensitive to light, you might even notice it without any help. So, while it’s not as obvious as visible flickering, it’s still something to be aware of.

What Are The Common Causes Of Flickering LED Strip Lights?

Flickering LED strip lights can be a nuisance, but understanding the common causes can help in addressing the issue effectively. One of the most frequent reasons for this problem is loose or poor connections. These can disrupt the current flow, leading to flickering and, in some cases, causing instability due to intermittent electricity supply.

Faulty LED chips or bad connections between the chip and its holder are also to blame. Such issues not only lead to flickering but can also cause excessive resistance. This, in turn, might lead to overheating and poses a risk of starting a fire. It’s crucial to ensure that all connections are secure and in good condition.

Another common cause is the use of incompatible dimmers or power supplies. If the dimmer or power supply doesn’t match the LED strip’s requirements, flickering can occur. This is why I recommend checking compatibility before installation to avoid such issues.

Overloaded or defective power supplies can also cause flickering due to voltage fluctuations. It’s important to ensure that the LED driver isn’t overloaded as this can lead to the lights turning on and off intermittently.

The excessive run length of the LED strip can result in voltage drops, which may cause dimming and flickering. This issue affects the performance of LED strips, so it’s advisable to adhere to the recommended lengths.

Environmental factors like moisture, weather damage, or dampness can also lead to flickering. These conditions can damage the wires or the LED strip itself, causing instability in the lighting. Protecting your LED strips from adverse environmental conditions is essential.

A defective LED strip that is bent or twisted can disturb the power supply, leading to flickering. In such cases, replacing the LED strip is the best course of action to ensure proper functionality.

Interference from power lines can introduce flickering due to electrical interference. It’s important to keep the power supply for the lights away from thicker power lines to avoid this issue.

Lastly, overheating can cause flickering, especially when LED strips are left on the roll. The excessive heat affects the performance and stability of the LED strips, so it’s crucial to ensure proper installation and ventilation.

By understanding these common causes, you can take the necessary steps to prevent or fix flickering LED strip lights, ensuring a stable and reliable lighting setup.

What Are The Common Signs of Flickering LED Strip Lights?

Flickering LED strip lights are a common issue that many people encounter. The signs of this problem are quite noticeable. You might see a visible flickering or strobing effect, which can be quite distracting. 

Sometimes, the brightness across the strip diminishes, making the area it illuminates look unevenly lit. If you’ve made connections or adjustments and notice the flickering worsens, this is another clear sign. Interestingly, this flickering might only happen at certain times, such as right when you turn the lights on. 

In some cases, the lights might turn on and off intermittently, which can be both annoying and puzzling. A faint buzzing or crackling sound accompanying the flicker is not uncommon. This sound might come from the light itself or from the ballasts that help operate the strip. If you’ve ever tried to capture the beauty of your LED strip lights on camera, you might have noticed they appear to flicker through the lens, even if this isn’t visible to the naked eye. 

Occasionally, the LED strip lights might dim, adding to the frustration. This issue encompasses intermittent blinking, reduced brightness, and uneven lighting across the strip. Sometimes, you might even hear a buzzing sound, adding to the evidence that something isn’t quite right. 

It’s also worth noting that flickering may be most observable when the lights are first turned on. They might stabilize after a few seconds or minutes, but this initial flickering is a telltale sign that your LED strip lights are not functioning perfectly.

How To Fix Flickering LED Strip Lights?

You can fix flickering LED strip lights, and here’s how I recommend you do it. First, check all the connections, including cables, connectors, and LED drivers, to ensure they are secure and not loose. Loose connections are a common cause of flickering and can be easily fixed by tightening them.

If you find any damaged LED strips or sections, it’s best to replace or repair them. Damaged LEDs can disrupt the flow of electricity and cause flickering. Also, make sure you’re using power supplies and dimmers that are compatible with your specific LED strip. Incompatible components can lead to performance issues like flickering.

It’s important to minimize the run length of the LED strip to prevent voltage drops. If you have a long strip, consider adding power injections at different points to maintain consistent voltage. Sometimes, flickering occurs on startup, which could be due to the power supply not being sized correctly. Allowing a warm-up period or checking the power supply sizing can help resolve this issue.

Inspect the LED strip for any signs of water ingress or other damage that could affect its performance. If you suspect a voltage issue, measure the voltage at the end of the strip. If it’s low, this could be the cause of the flickering. You can also try reducing the brightness in the code; if the flickering stops, this confirms that it’s a power issue.

Investing in the right transformer and good quality power supplies is crucial for the longevity and proper functioning of your LED strips. Lastly, if the LED strip is bent or twisted, this can disturb the power supply and cause flickering. In such cases, replacing the LED strip is the best solution. By following these steps, you should be able to resolve most flickering issues with your LED strip lights.

How To Prevent Flickering In LED Strip Lights?

I can’t stress enough the importance of using high-quality LED strips and components. They ensure longevity and prevent premature failure. It’s also crucial to select quality power supplies that match the specific needs of your LED strip lights. 

Running LED strips at their full length on the roll is a common mistake. This can cause overheating and failure. Instead, I suggest powering the strip from the middle or breaking it up into smaller sections. This strategy helps prevent excessive run lengths.

Another key point is to ensure the power supply is correctly sized for the LED strip’s power consumption. Overloading can be prevented by properly calculating the power consumption of the LED strip. This way, you can be sure that the power supply can handle the load.

Regular inspections of the LED strip and its connections are also necessary. Look out for any signs of damage or wear, including loose connections. If necessary, don’t hesitate to replace the strip. 

Environmental factors also play a significant role. Protect your LED strips from moisture and extreme weather conditions. Keeping LED strips away from moisture is a simple yet effective way to prevent environmental damage.

Secure connections are a must. Make sure that the power supply and lights are connected securely. Lastly, use dimmers that are compatible with your LED strip lights. Compatibility issues can lead to flickering, and we certainly don’t want that. So, always check for compatibility before making a purchase.

Written by
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.
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Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.