The LED light strip flickering issue indicates something is wrong with the strip or the components. This issue is widespread & I myself faced this issue too. However, after knowing the reasons & how to solve them – I’ve never faced the flickering issue again.
If you’re wondering why your LED strip lights are flickering & don’t know how to solve them, this article is for you. In this article, I will tell you the most common reasons causing LED light strips to flicker & the solutions for solving them correctly. Without further ado, let’s get started:
Top 5 Most Common Reasons Why LED Light Strips are Flickering & How To Solve Them
In this segment, I’ll discuss the top 5 most common reasons why your LED light strips are blinking flickering. Besides discussing the problems, I will tell you how you can overcome these problems.
Table of Contents
1. Power Supply Issue
The power supply issue is the main reason why your LED light strips might be flickering. This power supply unit (PSU) is responsible for supplying the amount of electricity (wattage) to the LED light strip.
If the LED light strip’s wattage demand is higher than the PSU can deliver, the PSU faces an overload issue & causes the entire strip to blink continuously. The flashing happens due to the “Overload protection” of the PSU.
Overload protection in a power supply unit (PSU) is a safety feature that prevents the PSU from delivering more power than it can handle. It detects if the demand for power exceeds the PSU’s capacity and automatically shuts off to prevent damage to the PSU and connected devices. This helps protect against potential electrical hazards and ensures stable and safe operation.
Here’s how this flickering occurs:
Let’s assume the PSU can deliver 50W safely, but the power demand of the LED light strip is 120W.
When the power demand of the LED light strip exceeds the capacity of the PSU, the overload protection mechanism gets activated and turns off the PSU to prevent damage.
However, when the PSU tries to restart again (automatically), it can’t deliver the required power to the LED light strip, causing the PSU to shut off again. This on-and-off cycle of the PSU causes the LED light strip to flicker or flash.
How To Solve It:
Solving the power supply issue is simple & plain – get yourself the right power supply unit. Do your wattage math before purchasing the PSU.
Let’s assume you want to light up two 5 meters of LED light strips. While checking the box/package, you saw this strip consumes 24 watts per meter. Each LED light strip will draw (24*5) or 120 watts of electricity.
As you have two strips, that makes it (120*2) or 240 watts of electricity needed to light up your strips without any issues.
However, there is a catch. You should not use your power supply at the maximum capacity. There should always be a 20% more free capacity for the PSU to act safely for a longer period.
This means if the demand is 240W – you should get a power supply that delivers (240+ 240*20%) or 288 wattages. If you follow these criteria while choosing or changing your power supply unit, you won’t face the flickering issue again.
2. Loose Connections
A loose connection is another one of the most common issues that cause the LED light strip to flicker. Generally, there will be a loose connection issue between the LED light strip & power supply if the light strips are flashing even providing the capable PSU.
You’ll notice the flickering issue rises up if you touch & make any movement of the cables coming from the power supply.
A loose connection between two strips connected via soldering or connectors can also cause the lights to flicker. Over time, the solder loses its ability to hold the strips tight together & gets loosened.
How to solve it:
This problem should be solved if you tighten your DC adapter’s screws with a screwdriver. You can also try re-soldering the LED strip joint that is directly connected to the power supply unit.
Additionally, you can check & replace your connectors between strips or do a re-soldering if you think they are causing the flickering issue.
3. Dimmer Switch Compatibility
Extra components, such as dimmer switches, can also cause LED light strips to blink aimlessly. If you’re using a dimmer switch which is not capable with your strip, you’ll face blinking issues back and forth.
You can determine whether or not this flickering or blinking is causing due to your dimmer switch just by removing the switch entirely. If it’s the one causing the problem, you’ll see your strip is no longer blinker after the switch removal.
How To Solve It:
Get yourself a dimmer switch that is compatible with your LED light strip. To determine if a dimmer switch is compatible with your LED light strips, you should check the following things before making a purchase:
1. Voltage Compatibility:
Make sure the dimmer switch is compatible with the voltage of your LED light strip. Traditionally, you mainly have two options – 12V & 24V. Check your led strip’s voltage count & then choose your dimmer.
2. Load Rating:
Check the dimmer switch’s maximum load rating and ensure it can handle the power consumption of your LED light strip.
3. Wattage Compatibility:
Ensure that the dimmer switch can handle the total wattage of your LED light strip. All you need to do is check whether or not the dimmer is compatible with the wattage count your PSU is capable of providing.
4. Damaged or Malfunctioning Lights
Damaged or malfunctioning lights are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to LED light strip flashing. If the LEDs of the strip are damaged due to various factors, such as – overloading, overheating, poor wiring, voltage fluctuations, water damage, age & power surges.
If any of the causes mentioned above damage LEDs, you’ll notice problems like LED light flashing or flickering.
How To Solve It:
There is only one way around & that is fixing or replacing the damaged or malfunctioning LED strips. To fix your LED light strip, follow these steps:
- Identify The Issue First: Determine the cause of the damage or malfunction.
- Replace Damaged LEDs: If only one or a few LEDs are damaged, you can replace the individual LEDs by cutting the strip at the damaged LED and soldering in a new one.
- Check & Fix The Wiring: Check the wiring connections and ensure they are secure.
- Ensure Proper Cooling: You can also try cooling your LED light strips to save them from overheating.
- Use a Surge Protector: If the issue is due to a power surge, use a surge protector to protect the LED light strip from future surges.
You can check my article on this topic if you want a detailed guide on fixing damaged or malfunctioning LED light strips. There, I’ve covered every possible fix in a step-by-step manner.
5. LED Driver Failure
The LED driver converts AC power to DC, matching the strips’ needs. If this thing fails to convert the current to the required output for the LED light strip, it will start flickering or flashing.
How To Solve It:
You can solve this issue by replacing your LED light strip’s faulty or incompatible LED driver. Solving this problem not only fixes your LED light flashing problem but will also save your strip from being permanently damaged.
Make sure your LED Driver matches the voltage & current requirement of your LED light strip, and you’ll be good to go.
I hope this article helped determine your LED strips are flickering issues & how to fix them. You can follow the method or fixes mentioned in this article to solve your LED strip flickering issue on your own.
However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY stuff – get expert help. You can inspect the problem (though it’s not mandatory) & ask an expert technician to solve it for you.
I am Mark Braeden, a professional electrician based in California. With over a decade of experience in the electrical industry, I have launched this website with the aim of sharing my expertise and providing solutions to common lighting issues that can cause frustration for homeowners.
Whether you need help selecting the right bulb for your living room lamp or require guidance in installing LED strip lights, I am here to assist you.
But it’s not just about fixing problems. I’m also here to inspire you with all sorts of creative lighting ideas that can transform your home.