New Installed LED Fixture and Lamp Dims Sporadically



This article was published in the Spring 2013 issue of IIF Magazine.

View the Table of Contents and download the PDF file of the complete Spring 2013 issue, or view the E-zine version in your browser.


LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) offers many potential benefits such as energy savings, but the technology comes with new challenges such as compatibility with legacy controls. Moreover, lighting specifiers and designers must understand the unique properties of LEDs to realize optimal performance in installations. Let’s consider the rationale behind dimming and discuss some key questions that can lead to lighting systems that dim to project requirements and yield satisfied customers.

The growing popularity of LED light sources is rooted in energy savings, long life, and new fixture options that enable them to be used in almost any application. A 25W LED lamp can replace the light output of a 100W incandescent lamp, deliver a...

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The adoption of dimmable LED lighting for new installations is rising fast, but with a vast retrofit market to address, there is an opportunity for further growth if the user experience can be optimised. LED lighting has already captured the imagination of consumers in a way that CFLs never did with LED lamps offering many of the energy-saving benefits of compact fluorescents but in a much more familiar package.

Consumers are able to buy lamps that look like the incandescent lamps they are replacing, which makes for a more comfortable switch. However, they are also expecting the dimming performance to be replicated and this is where a lack of information can lead to disappointing results.

Here are our top tips for getting the best out of retrofit dimmable LED lighting.

It is a common misconception that any LED lights can be dimmed with an LED dimmer"

DO choose dimmable LEDs
The number one rule for successfully dimming LED lighting might sound...

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As many of you may have found out, not all LED lamps and/or lighting fixtures are created equal.

A common problem that we run into within our industry is when a customer wants to replace their existing incandescent lamps with new highly efficient LED lamps and/or lighting fixtures. When they change out all of their LED Lamps and/or lighting fixtures and then turn them on, they often find them flickering.

Why do they flicker?

There are many reasons why an LED lamp can flicker, but the most common cause is a lack of resistance in the lamp to allow the dimmer curve to work correctly. This is not a new issue; it’s been around for a long time, but is becoming more “noticeable” with the major increase in LED usage.

We first saw this issue when dimmable fluorescent lamps and/or lighting fixtures became popular several years ago. The same issue occurred, because the fluorescent lamp does not have enough resistive load between the load and neutral wires (complete...

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This article was published in the October 2012 issue of LEDs Magazine.

View the Table of Contents and download the PDF file of the complete October 2012 issue, or view the E-zine version in your browser.


Industrial lighting promises to be one of the next market segments in which LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) begins to displace legacy HID sources and fluorescent lighting. High up-front costs have limited the adoption rate of SSL in such applications. But factory owners are beginning to grasp the advantages of LEDs, and realize that sometimes having the lights off is a good thing for the bottom line. A Georgia-based textile manufacturer in the US southeast recently converted one of its manufacturing plants to LED lighting, and positive results in energy consumption and projected maintenance costs led the company to immediately begin a retrofit of a second plant.

LED lighting has certainly succeeded broadly in many...

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Your current lighting setup works just fine right? You can see your decks well in the night, you get by just fine with that single small reading light in the cabin, and heck, you just make sure you’re extra careful when running your systems so you don’t end up draining the battery banks. So why bother going with LED lights instead of those nice cheap incandescent bulbs you’ve been using all these years?

If this is your way of thinking when it comes to the lighting onboard your boat, the chances are very good you are wasting a lot of money and dealing with a lot more hassle than you probably realize.

Most boaters are well familiar with the need to manage onboard electrical power. Since all power for electrical devices must be produced, stored and supplied independently of onshore sources, boaters must rely on generators, solar panels, wind turbines and battery banks to produce and store electrical energy. Because of this, the amount of power that can be generated and...

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Dimmers are popular applications in many homes these days, allowing people the ability to add drama and a touch of romance whenever the mood strikes.

But if consumers want to replace their incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting sources such as compact fluorescents or LEDs, they may find that their existing dimmer controls won’t work.

That’s because current dimmer controls are designed to work with incandescent bulbs, and the technology they use isn’t always compatible with CFLs or LEDs.

According to Kelly Gordon of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, normal household dimmers work by turning the power on and off to an incandescent bulb very quickly. Because it happens to fast, most people don’t detect that the light is flickering; instead it just looks light the light has been dimmed.

These dramatic spikes in current are fine for incandescents, but Gordon says CFLs and LEDs both require very specific power levels to operate and...

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Be careful what you wish for…! I volunteered to check out a new line of LED dimmable household bulbs from OSRAM SYLVANIA, wondering at the time where I would test them. Almost immediately, light bulbs that had lasted fifteen years began to burn out all over the house! I no longer had to worry about test locations, but rather whether these bulbs would prove worthy enough that I would go buy more of the same to fill my empty sockets. Read on to learn the answer.

OSRAM SYLVANIA sent me an assortment of four bulbs from their new A-Line LED products. “A-Line” refers to the physical form factor – “A” is the familiar shape of incandescent lamp bulbs with a screw-in base that have been around since their development by Thomas Edison. Most single-wattage incandescent bulbs are the A19 form factor; larger bulbs like 3-way are A21 or A23 (the number is the nominal bulb diameter in eighths of an inch). With most people still accustomed to thinking in terms of incandescent...

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Early Days of Dimming

With the advent of the electric light, the need for dimming was immediate. It was easy to turn down the lights with a simple valve when gas illumination was the rule. But those new-fangled electric lamps posed a challenge. The first method commonly in use placed jars of salt water in series with the lamps. The electrodes could be withdrawn to vary their resistance and throttle the current flow to the lamps. In 1890 Granville Woods invented the safety dimmer, a form of resistance wire rheostat (flow control), which persists in some installations to this day. Both of these methods generated a tremendous amount of heat and sometimes caused fires. In 1933 General Radio announced the invention of the Variac (a contraction of vary AC), a continuously adjustable autotransformer. This was a major improvement in dimmer technology, substantially reducing the power wasted in comparison to resistive dimmers. However, like the rheostat, it is a mechanical device...

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The impact of LED lighting on the seeming endless sea of options is greater than just a few new — significantly more efficient — options for a table lamp or track fixture. LED technology has brought plenty of new replacement products, but it has also introduced a whole new category of options: LED fixtures.

This is a question we commonly address: “I’d like to go with LED lighting, but how do I know if I should go with a screw-in replacement product or a new LED fixture?”

Of course, whether you're switching to an LED screw-in or a brand new LED fixture, you're probably well-acquainted with the lighting technology's many advantages. One important one to highlight here: the lumen output, or brightness, doesn't depreciate with LED like it does with fluorescent or HID technology. The lumen output will remain the same over the life of the product whether you go with a replacement lamp or fixture.

As the first step to answering the LED lamp vs. LED...

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Allen Hare: This is a nice upgrade. Thanks for the video and information.
We are about half way through changing all our interior RV lights to LED. We buy ours from M4 Products. They have a great line of products, and the bulbs we use can be bought in three different color temperatures, to give brilliant white, medium white, or a warm, yellowish white.
Happy Camping!

bumblesby: With this built in led light, do you have to replace the entire unit when the lights stop working? I'm not sure if the term "burn out" is the correct term for leds :)

1timby: If it works ...Its a "Fluke"...

I couldn't resists. An old bench Tech piece of humor...LOL

DavidisDawei: Hello,
As an fyi, your camera is seeing the LED light as it is really performing. It is the eye that doesn't detect the flickering in most cases. In some cases, that can create other issues, but time will tell

RV Motorhome Camping: Nice fixture and vid. I replaced most of my...

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I am terribly sorry to contradict two others replying to this question, but I wish to set the record straight on what may be a misunderstanding of the original question.

The question is not about a 3-contact socket which require a 3-contact bulb (with two separate filaments).

The manufacturer's statement: "For incandescent bulbs only" or "Not for compact florescent bulbs" does not mean that you must avoid LED bulbs. That statement may simply mean that the manufacturer failed to account newer LED bulbs...

A 3 way touch switch works by offering a reduced brightness level, but it uses a standard 1-brightness bulb. It achieves the cut-back in illumination by either reducing the voltage or "chopping" the wave form (this is more typical). One very cheap method of dimming a single brightness bulb is to simply skip every other 1/2 wave, as if a diode were inserted in series. But this can produce noticeable flicker and can also cause compact florescent bulbs to...

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LED Wall and Underpass Flood is ideal for simple wall flood applications or for bridge underpass where no maintenance is required. This luminaire features an advanced LED optical system that provides improved lighting control versus a standard HID general flood to optimize distribution to meet photometric requirements. This fixture offers convenient mounting options for both vertical wall surfaces and horizontal ceilings to cover any mounting application required.

Lamp Holders:Future Lighting Solutions offers lamp holder specifically designed to use with James Lighting’ Twistable Downlight Module (TDLM). These lamp holders enables users to easily install and replace a Twistable downlight module in any LED fixture by simply twisting the module to lock/unlock it from the base.

From LEDs, fluorescents and halogens to incandescent and high-intensity discharge lamps, Lowe's has everything you need to make your life a little brighter. Our lighting department is stocked...

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The future of commercial hangar lighting is the use of white energy efficient LED light fixtures in hangar lighting, parking lots, warehouses, stores, street lights, outdoor signs, and offices. LED or light-emitting diodes are tiny electronic devices, extremely energy efficient, that emit far more light per unit of electricity than incandescent lamps, metal halides or even compact fluorescents. Basically, LEDs are just tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit. But unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out, and they don’t get especially hot. LEDs are also vibration-resistant, provide directional light output, turn on instantly, and perform well at cold temperatures.

Is your hangar or warehouse lighting, old, dim and inefficient? looking for a proven, reliable, super bright LED? Call for pricing today toll-free 1-844-LED PROS (1-844-533-7767)


Advantages of LED Lights

The operational life...

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LED Lighting products

LED (light-emitting-diode) products manufactured by Neptun Light are backed by our exceptional warranty and offer unmatched advantages over other lighting systems. The list of features of LED fixtures outdoor and indoor is so impressive that LED lighting is emerging as one of the best technologies in lighting. Main characteristics of LED bulbs are Dim ability, color temperature and energy consumption. LED bulb would always consume times less energy compared to conventional incandescent bulb. This creates a condition for Short payback time and very low cost of ownership. Low heat production makes them a great match for places where an incandescent bulb would simply not be suitable.

LED bulbs we manufacture divide in two categories: Dimmable and Non-dimmable. Non Dimmable LED bulbs operate with Neptun Apollo Dimmers as well as majority analog dimmers produced by third party manufacturers. Please note that many digital dimmers require a...

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Many electrical professionals are now familiar with the benefits of LEDs as an illumination technology. This extraordinary light source has transformed the way lighting can be used and implemented, but in some ways, it has proven the adage that “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Choosing a quality light fixture still observes the same fundamentals as traditional luminaires, but the metrics are changing.

At a macro-level, the LED lighting market is split between specification-grade and high-volume (“white goods”) products, which is very similar to the traditional lighting market. The specification-grade side focuses on performance and innovation, while the white-goods side focuses on delivering the standard benefits of an LED luminaire - efficiency, low maintenance and long life at a competitive price. Electrical contractors and related professionals enjoy considerable influence in selecting white-goods-type LED products.

The name of the game here is...

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Installations may vary from new dimmer packs and control desks through to new Internally Wired Bars (IWB) and new theatre lighting fixtures. We do aim to utilise LED fixtures within new installations, due to the savings in operating costs and the versatility with LED colour mixing to produce all colours.

Mounting options for Internally Wired Bars are either flown above stage or vertically wall mounted and fitted with a range of output sockets. Power outlets can be customised, with options of IEC, 13A, 15A ,16A, Powercon and control outlets of 3 and 5 pin XLR for DMX.

For dimming we can install either a hard wired wall mounted dimmer with MCB protection on each channel, or a set of portable dimmers that are wall mounted complete with a mains patch bay. All mains electrical wiring is issued with certification as required by law.

Function Rooms and Schools

Lighting control for function room installations maybe via a lighting desk, or a wall mounted...

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If Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers ever reunite to perform Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update sketch, “Really!?! With Seth & Amy”, I think several frustrated LED lighting consumers might offer up “dimmable LED lamps” as a viable topic. Because, really. LED are dimmable? Do flicker and load-balance issues indicate a successful dim? Really!?!

The typical story: You purchase an LED lamp that features dimming, but once installed and dimmed, you notice a slight flicker. “That can’t be right”, you say. You remove the flickering LED and install another one. Crossing your fingers you slide the dimmer switch. “Huh, that flickers too”. You pick up the box to double-check that the lamp is dimmable. Check. In desperation, you try installing both lamps in the track. The flickering stops. You add a third lamp to the track. The flickering starts again. “What is going on here?”

Dimmable LED lamps are struggling to, well, dim, because many dimmer controls on the market are...

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Both LED lamps and integrated lighting fixtures have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages.

An integrated lighting fixture is a complete outdoor light fixture assembly, which includes a built in LED or halogen lamp. Though integrated lighting fixtures simplify lighting system installation, they also pose difficulties in terms of maintenance and lighting upgrades.

The primary advantage of choosing LED lamp-based products is flexibility.

Throughout North America, there are hundreds of thousands of existing landscape lighting fixture installations that have the ability to be upgraded to a much more efficient technology by simply switching out the existing lamp.

This option is much less costly than removing and replacing integrated LED fixtures when beam spreads, color temperatures or even parts need to be changed.

When you consider LED lamp-based products, the sheer volume of choice is staggering.

Currently, there are more non-integrated lighting...

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If I had known that last weekend was going to be robbed from me by the lighting industry, I probably would've just slept through it.

It all started, innocently enough, on Saturday. In the past couple weeks, my home — built in the latter half of the last decade but still lit entirely by old-school incandescent bulbs — had a couple lights burn out, so I trekked to Home Depot in search of replacements. It occurred to me once I got there that I should probably be buying something other than incandescent, given the proliferation of CFL and LED alternatives; they use dramatically less energy, and theoretically, they can last a lot longer. And traditional incandescents are going the way of Google Reader: Wattage restrictions imposed by the federal government means they're probably going to disappear over time, so you'd better start finding alternatives and making sure the electrical equipment in your home can handle them.

Incandescents are going the way of Google...

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Electric Outlets Don't Work

I have two outlets on one wall that don't work. I have replaced both outlets so have concluded that isn't the problem. There is power in the black wire so I assume the problem is continuity in the white wire. Other Outlets and lights on the circuit work. Any suggestions on the cause and solution would be greatly appreciated.

You checked the black wire and it was energized. Since the white seems to be the problem, then I assume you tested black to ground to determine there was juice there. But when you test black to white, you get nothing.

Thus, the white has an open some where. Do you know where the feed to the outlets comes from? Is there an outlet that feeds them, or perhaps fed from a light fixture in the floor below?

Not knowing what floor these are on, and if you have access to the ceiling below, I am not sure where to tell you to look. But you need to find where they are being fed from. Then you check to see if the...

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