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Why do LED lights and LED downlights flicker?

Why do LED lights and LED downlights flicker?

12V MR16 LED Downlights swapped directly with halogen downlights can start to flicker. This flicker may not occur instantly and may be noticeable after a few minutes. The flicker can also be very slight and you may not even notice it until you watch the light carefully on the floor. In some cases the flicker can be quite distracting making the LED downlight unusable.

The reason 12V MR16 LED downlights flicker when replaced with halogen downlights is generally due to the type of transformer your halogen downlights use. Halogen downlights are powered by 50W electronic transformers which are incapable of driving 12V LED's.

Why you may ask? Electronic transformers cannot provide a smooth current output to LED's and instead output tiny bursts of current causing LED's to flicker. These tiny bursts of current not only causes flicker but can actually result in permanent damage to the LED's. Sometimes you may not notice the flicker because it is too faint, nevertheless, the electronic transformer will still cause damage to your LED and reduce its lifetime severely.

How can you prevent LED lights from flickering? Below are some solutions on how you can have flicker free LED downlights depending on your current situation and budget. The easiest option is to try out a flicker free LED downlight. These lights are designed to be compatible with old halogen transformers.

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 Replace your transformers with LED drivers

LED Drivers are transformers specifically designed to deliver the correct amount of voltage and current to low voltage LED globes. Using a 12V LED downlight with a LED driver will ensure maximum efficiency and lifespan of your LED globe while providing flicker free light. Also LED drivers are far more efficient than using electronic transformers that come with your halogen downlights. If you have already purchased many expensive 12V MR16 LED downlights, then a good choice is to buy some quality LED drivers to ensure your LED globes lasts its designed lifespan. You will however need to find yourself an electrician to install the new LED drivers.

See our CLA 12W LED Driver

 Convert your downlight fittings to a 240V GU10 type and use GU10 LED downlights

Using a 240V GU10 LED downlight is by far the best solution. These GU10 LED downlights contain inbuilt LED drivers and do not need any external transformers to run. They are similar in shape and size to a 12V MR16 LED downlight but instead connects up to a 240V GU10 Downlight socket / lamp holder. With this setup, you will not need to worry about transformers or any flicker. However you will need an electrician to remove your existing electronic transformers and wire in a GU10 socket / lamp holder. Our best selling GU10 downlight is the Osram 7W GU10 LED Downlight.

 Replace your downlight fittings with a complete LED Downlight Kit

LED Downlight Kits are LED downlights that come complete with an integrated housing and LED driver ready to be installed into your ceiling. LED downlight kits can be found in sizes that can slot into your existing ceiling cutout. However you will need an electrician to wire in this new LED downlight kit. The great advantage of LED downlight kits are that they are available in higher wattages than LED downlight globes and can be much brighter than your 50W halogens. Our best selling high powered LED downlight kits are the 14W Choice LED Downlight kit which is available in a dimmable option.

 Purchase new Osram or Philips flicker free 12V MR16 LED downlights

If you haven't already bought LED Downlights and do not have the budget or time to remove your existing electronic transformers, then you may wish to buy the Philip's 7W 12V MR16 latest plug and play LED downlights. These LED downlight are designed to work with most electronic transformers as it contains an inbuilt conditioning circuit to remove any flicker and ensure it lasts its designed lifetime. They can be installed yourself, just pull out your halogen downlight and plug in the Osram or Philips 12V LED globe and off you go. However it is best to try a few samples with your existing halogen transformer before you buy in bulk. Both these led downlights will function with the Osram Redback 60Va Electronic Transformer. They can also be dimmed with your existing dimmer setup.

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