View Full Version : Dimmable LEDs flicker

Steve Jenkins
11-09-2017, 1:17 PM
I put dimmable leds in a fixture thatís powered by a dimmer. They flicker. Iís there a special dimmer for leds or a cure of some sort?

Mark Patoka
11-09-2017, 1:30 PM
I ran into the same problem when we had LED can lights put into our ceiling in a couple of rooms. Our problem was humming and I had to try several different dimmable switches until I found one that was acceptable. Even then, the same model switch would work well in on room but not the other. Just recentl our kitchen LEDs started flickering briefly and now won't dim as low as before. Kinda frustrating and I haven't really been able to find a solution.

Adam Herman
11-09-2017, 1:46 PM
you should use a dimmer that works with leds. many of the standard dimmers can not control the voltage/current at the low current draw of an led. they work fine when you are pulling 50 or 60 watts, but your led runs on 5 or 6 watts.

Steve Peterson
11-09-2017, 2:06 PM
I had that problem about 5-6 years ago at our last house. 3 LED bulbs would work fine on a dimmer. Adding a 4th bulb would cause some sort of feedback and they would flicker. It happened with multiple "old" dimmer styles. Most of the circuits had 4 bulbs in them, so I would either take out one bulb or run 3 LEDs and one regular bulb.

Our new house doesn't seem to have the issue. I don't know if the bulbs got better or if the dimmers are different. The dimmers in the new house are 15 years old so they were designed before LED bulbs were available. I suspect that the bulbs are different. Maybe you could try a different brand and use the blinking LEDs on circuits without dimmers.

Also, make sure that the bulbs are marked "dimmable". Some LEDs are not.

Brian Henderson
11-09-2017, 2:29 PM
You have to use an LED dimmer and use LEDs that are marked as dimmable. Old dimmers may or may not work without a flicker.

Jim Becker
11-09-2017, 8:37 PM
In addition to the advise to be sure that the dimmer is LED compatible, I've also found "some" older LV fixtures, such as older M16 halogen fixtures flicker maddeningly with LED replacements while the newer ones in our home addition installed in 2008 work fine.

Steve Jenkins
11-10-2017, 6:38 AM
Thanks for the input. I may look for an led dimmer but for now we just put incandescent bulbs in.

Jim Becker
11-10-2017, 9:26 AM
At the 'borg, there is usually a display of dimmers, typically Lutron. Those that are LED compatible are clearly marked. They tend to cost slightly more, but do a good job. I've installed several in the past year with great results as I converted over most fixtures to LED lamps.

Paul F Franklin
11-10-2017, 10:28 AM
Many of the LED rated dimmers go one step further and actually list the brands of lamps that they have tested with the dimmer. You generally won't find it on the packaging, but if you go to the dimmer vendor's website, they often list compatible lamps. This can help you avoid having to try multiple brands of dimmers and/or lamps.

One thing you have to watch out for when buying new dimmers, is whether the new dimmer requires a neutral connection or not, and whether you have one available in the box where the dimmer will mount.

Code now requires neutrals in every switch box, but this is a fairly recent change and many older installations don't have a neutral in the switch box.

You can get LED compatible dimmers that don't require a neutral connection, but you have to know to look for them. If you have a neutral connection available, I think the dimmers that use a neutral have a better chance of working without flickering or other issues.

Frank Pratt
11-10-2017, 1:41 PM
Lutron has a line of dimmers that are compatible with LED, CFL and incandescent. They are reasonably priced & good quality. They don't require a neutral either. Just make sure the lamps are dimmable.

Steve Jenkins
11-10-2017, 3:48 PM
Thanks again all good info. When I do change out the dimmer I have a neutral in the box so that’s not a concern.