My LED Lights Won't Turn On - Troubleshooting LED Strip Lights
LED lights are a huge upgrade over the light bulbs of the past. They generally last longer, burn less energy, provide more light, and require less maintenance than other types of bulbs or light sources. However, this does not mean that LED lights are without fault. In fact, if you’ve been using LED lights in your home or workspace for more than a few years, you have likely encountered various issues that require troubleshooting.
For example, what happens when my LED lights won’t turn on? What causes my LED light strips to suddenly stop working? Do I need to replace LED strips if the light starts changing colors?
These are just a few of the most common questions people ask when trying to fix LED lights on their own. Fortunately, just because you’re having an issue with your LED light (even if it won’t turn on), it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to buy a completely new strip. So, in today’s guide, we will look at some common issues that LED light owners encounter, as well as some of the best and most cost-effective solutions to deal with them. But first, let’s look at some of the most common reasons that LED lights suddenly stop working.
What Causes LED Lights To Stop Working
If your LED lights suddenly stop working, there could be a number of different culprits. The life of an LED bulb or strip is very long (typically upwards of 15,000 hours). Therefore, unless you have been using the same bulb or strip for years on end, it’s unlikely that the cause is a burned-out diode or filament.
Consequently, there are a number of different causes that you should consider and investigate when troubleshooting LED lights that have stopped working:
- Defective Circuits - While LED lights are made to last, they are not infallible. There are cases where you can get an LED light that has a defective driver or power unit. In this case, it is not the bulb itself that has “burned out,” but rather a part of the circuit that connects the LED diodes. This kind of issue is most common if you acquire your light through a manufacturer that uses cheap parts or does not properly test its bulbs for switching resistance.
- Power Surge - If your home experiences an unexpected power surge or fluctuation in electricity, this could cause damage to the LED light. In fact, if the voltage suddenly increases by more than 10-15%, there is a very good chance that your LED light will not recover from the sudden spike in electricity. Whole-home surge protection is one of the only ways to prevent this kind of damage.
- Unusable Switch or Light Fixture - In many cases, there’s nothing wrong with your LED light, even when it appears to not be working at all. If you try to use an LED light with a dimmer switch that is not compatible with LED, your light will not turn on. Similarly, if there are issues with your transformer, fuse, or electrical wiring, your LED light will not work properly. Unless you happen to have extensive knowledge in this area, you will need to call an electrician to examine your lighting setup.
Common Issues With LED Lights (& How To Resolve Them)
Now that you know some of the technical reasons that LED lights stop working, let’s look at issues that you might encounter with your LED lights and how you can resolve them:
My LED light strips won’t turn on
If your LED light strips will not turn on at all, it is likely a poor pin connection. This is akin to charging your cell phone or plugging anything into an outlet. If the metal prongs are not securely connected inside the outlet, you will not get the desired result. The same principle applies with LED light strips. The vast majority of LED light strips use a series of small connectors (pins) to conduct electricity throughout the strip. It’s not very common for pins to go bad, so it’s more often an issue that the pins are not plugged in properly. You should also ensure that your energy source is properly connected. If none of these options works, it could be a faulty wiring issue, in which case your LED light strip will need to be repaired or replaced.
The LED colors are wrong
One of the benefits of LED lights is the ability to choose from a wide range of colors. However, if the LED colors are wrong, it could mean that something is not plugged in correctly. In most cases, you will simply need to make sure that your R, G, and B wires are connected in the right places. Additionally, you should ensure that the positive end of the connector is aligned with the positive end of the strip. If you’re sure that the wires are in the correct positions and the colors are still wrong, you should reset LED light strips per the instructions in the manual. This will often resolve any internal issues that are causing color malfunctions.
LED lights only work when you touch them
Surprisingly, many LED lights and strips do not require a great deal of voltage. This means that, theoretically, the energy emitted from your body could actually be enough to turn on your LED light! However, if this is the only way that your LED light will turn on, it means that you could be facing a wide range of issues, from faulty wiring to defective drivers. You may need to experiment with different power sources and wiring configurations to troubleshoot the exact issue.
Half of the LED strip lights are not working
This is a very common issue with older LED strip lights. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by overheated metal on certain sections of your LED strip. This means that part of your LED strip will continue to work fine, while the “fatigued” sections will not turn on at all. Since this issue is with parts of the strip itself, you may need to contact the manufacturer for replacement parts. However, more often than not, you will simply need to replace the entire strip.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, LED lights and LED light strips can stop working for many different reasons. In some cases, the causes could be external, like an incompatible power source or dimmer. In other cases, it could be an issue with the way in which you have your strip connected. This can affect the ability for power to reach your LED light strip or potentially change the colors emitted from the light. In less common cases, it could be an internal issue that requires the replacement of your entire LED light strip.
Fortunately, LED light strips are made to be long-lasting and durable, especially if you acquire them through a quality manufacturer. This means that most issues can be resolved through DIY troubleshooting. In any case, we hope you found this troubleshooting guide for LED strip lights informative and useful!
Do you struggle with LED strip lights that won’t turn on? Are you interested in purchasing new LED lights? If so, be sure to check out our high-quality LED bulb and lighting products at Bulb Center today!