Troubleshooting an LED Light Strip

A lit LED light strip
What You'll Need
Manufacturer's documentations LED replacement bulbs
What You'll Need
Manufacturer's documentations LED replacement bulbs

When your led light strip is suddenly not working correctly, there are a few possible causes. Troubleshooting this can seem a little challenging because many times the exact problem is not immediately obvious and takes some time to uncover. Outlined here are a few steps to take that will take away nearly all the guesswork and lead you to a workable solution. Depending on the type of circuit you have and any possible issues with your wires or LED bulbs, the decision often becomes whether to repair or replace.

Check the Wires

Temporarily turn off the power source. Then, check that none of your wire connections from the converter have come loose, which is a common cause of many LEDs going out, flickering, or dimming. Tighten any wires that have come loose—but not too tightly. If you see any exposed wire (even a small length) where too much coating has been stripped off, replace the wire immediately because this presents an immediate fire hazard.

Now, continue to check wires and connections. Are your red and black wires attached to the correct input terminals on the converter? Are your switches connected to the correct (120-volt) side of the converter? Is your converter itself located in a well-ventilated area? If your answer is negative to any of these questions, you may have found the answer to what is wrong with your LED light strip.

Check the Bulbs

LED light strip bulbs

If one or more of the bulbs has dimmed or gone out, check the manufacturer's documentation for the type of circuit that was used to put the LED light strip itself together. Depending on the type of circuit, serial, or parallel, you may be able to replace the bulbs individually.

If you find that your LED strip was internally wired with an old-style serial circuit, similar to older strands of Christmas lights, it is time to replace the lighting strip because in this case all bulbs go out if one burns out.

Many brands of LED replacement strips are readily available, and in many cases, they are easier alternatives to replacing individual bulbs.

If you find that your lighting strip has a parallel circuit, follow the guidelines for replacing a burned-out LED bulb of any size. Carefully remove any bulb casing if it has one. Never touch the bulb with bare hands; use protective gloves or a paper towel.

Oils from fingers can leave an unsightly burn mark on an LED bulb's surface at the least and create another fire hazard at the most. Make sure your replacement bulb has the exact same ANSI letter code, voltage, size, and shape.

Check that the manufacturer of your LED light strip offers individual replacement bulbs. It is a good idea to keep a few spare bulbs on hand as well.

Check the Converter

If neither of the above measures are effective, look at the converter itself. Get out your wattage conversion chart, which should have come with it, and double-check your calculations to be sure that the converter has not been overloaded.

The maximum watts that most standard converters can handle is 60. If you are running multiple LED light strips that are presenting problems and find that your converter wattage is approaching 60 watts, you may want to consider investing in a second converter and set of wires to split up the circuit and therefore the wattage between the two.

These tips for troubleshooting your LED light strip will help shed some light on the issue. Now you won't be stuck in the dark.