They’re bright. They give off a pure white light. And they can offer you impressive energy efficiency.
LED strip lights are an easy-to-use lighting solution for almost any situation and can turn up any lighting design project. They don’t require much of any technical know-how, and they’re an affordable, long-term option. However, even the best LED strip lighting can malfunction from time to time.
If you wanted an easy DIY solution to avoid the electrician bills, issues with strip lighting can be discouraging. That’s why we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll discuss troubleshooting LED strip lights. By the end of the article, you’ll have everything you need to troubleshoot residential and commercial lighting applications.
LED Strip Lights Won’t Turn On
You’ve wired up your LED lights, but when you hit the switch, they don’t turn on. It’s important not to get discouraged. There could be a number of reasons why this is the case.
For starters, make sure you plug your LED light strip into a working power source. If this is a power bank, make sure you plug in the bank and turn it on.
Further, make sure that you’re using a working outlet. Sometimes a dead outlet won’t manifest any physical signs that it’s not working. Learn to use a multimeter, as this will come in handy in testing for other problems, too.
Check the Connection
This is your go-to solution for diagnosing most LED problems. Unfortunately, issues during the manufacturing process or damage in shipment can lead to malfunctioning connectors. Bad connectors mean the current might not even flow.
Check the leads for your LED lights. Make sure they are not smashed, bent, or covered in dust/corrosion. Pay attention to issues with the wires.
Also, make sure that you have inserted any connectors in the correct orientation. Forcing a power supply plug in the wrong way could damage the light and the plug.
Make Sure Your Power Supply Has Sufficient Voltage
This is a common mistake. To plug in your LED strip lighting, you may have grabbed a power supply that was lying around. They all look the same, so they should work, right?
Every power supply has a voltage/wattage rating. A 12V power supply can only supply 12V of power. If your lighting strip needs 24V of power, then the lights probably won’t turn on at all.
Buy a power supply that has at least the minimum voltage requirement. Buying a power supply that is more won’t pose any threat to your lights.
For example, outdoor LED strip lights, like Christmas lights, may have a much larger voltage requirement. Make sure you meet it.
Check That the Power Supply and LED Lights Are Working
Use a multimeter to measure the voltage on your power supply and LED lights. If you don’t see any voltage, that could mean you have a dead supply or a short circuit.
Apply the multimeter at the test points along the LED strip too. Sometimes a short circuit will be invisible, and you won’t be able to tell that from a physical inspection.
LED Strip Lights Won’t Change Colors
LEDs are great not only because are they energy efficient, but because they can change colors. Unfortunately, the color switcher may not always work.
Make sure your remote is working, and test changing colors. Or, use the included app. If it stays on one color or doesn’t offer any color but white, read on below.
Check the Wires
To produce colored light, the LEDs use a diode with RGB (red, blue, green). It can produce any color you please by mixing the RGB colors into different combinations.
There are different wires for each color. Scan the LED strip and look for wires that are loose, snapped, bent, or switched. This may be a manufacturing error, or you might have overstretched them during installation.
Fixing this sort of problem would be very difficult on your own. You should check the warranty, or purchase a new one from a reliable manufacturer.
Check for Dead Transistors or Dead Diodes
In some cases, a failed electrical component will leave a black mark when it dies. If you notice any of these along the strip lighting, it’s a dead giveaway. Repair or replacement is ideal in these conditions.
You can use your multimeter to test for failures that aren’t visible. Use the test pads to identify if there’s a problem with a section of the LED strip lights.
LED Strip Lights Are Dim or Dead at One End
Sometimes, the lights turn on and change colors. But at their extreme ends, they don’t light up all the way. Or, they are not at full brightness.
Check the Power Requirements
LED light strips have a maximum recommended length per a certain amount of power. There’s a good chance your lighting strip is too long for your power availability. This results in less power reaching the end.
If this is the case, you simply need a larger power supply. Make sure, as above, the voltage matches the manufacturer’s recommendations on the box.
Check Your Run and Cuts
Many LED lights allow you to cut them at designated areas. They show a clear line where you can use scissors to break them into shorter segments. However, cutting at the wrong area could lead a whole section to go dead.
Make sure you’re cut in the right places. Check the length of the run and identify any places you’ve kinked the wires. There may be a section where the wires got loose or damaged.
Get High-Quality Lights
LED strip lights provide an affordable way to get creative lighting for your residential space. Unfortunately, they are not without their own issues. Keep these tips in mind the next time you install LED strip lights for your bedroom, garage, or other living space.
Good lighting can make all the difference. So make sure you purchase only from the most reliable brands. Check out Lighting and Supplies for the best lights.
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We would love to offer assistance and answer any questions regarding all your lighting needs!
When I turn my led strip lights on and off they change color