First thing’s first. Don’t think that connecting LED lights is a one-off job for LED troubleshooting experts and connection specialists.
However, no matter how experienced you are in the world of electricity. LED lights do not allow a minimum error in terms of wiring and installation.
When installing and connecting LED lights, it’s very important to be very aware of the electrical connection and wiring throughout the entire system path.
Checking the wiring and connections two and up to three times will ensure a safe and mistake-free installation, avoiding possible needs of LED troubleshooting.
That is why the subject of wiring for LED light installations and possible LED troubleshooting must be known in depth.
The important thing to achieve a successful and functional LED lighting system is to know and understand the basic principles of wiring and installation.
We have made this article to help you understand how, ideally, a wiring for LED lights should be, guaranteeing its good operation and stability, explaining the possible problems that can occur with the wiring when installing the LED lights.
Table of Contents
1ST LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION: INCORRECT CABLE THICKNESS SELECTION
Why is knowing the wire thickness important for LED troubleshooting? Well, because of Ohm’s law: as resistance increases, voltage will decrease.
Although it is an excellent conductor, the internal copper in cables has an inherent resistance.
The longer the wire, the more resistance (measured in ohms) there will be in the circuit, just because of the wire itself.
Also, as the wire gets smaller, the resistance increases as there is a smaller area for electrons to flow.
If the chosen cable is too small and the run is too long, it is possible that the volts, emitted by the transformer or driver, will actually be much less by the time it has run the length of the cable.
This voltage drop could cause problems with the LED lights and their operation, as small changes in voltage can produce large changes in current.
2ND LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION: A CABLE WITH INADEQUATE CAPACITY
You need to choose a wire that is enough to handle the electric current that is being sent through it.
If the wire is too thin, it can get hot due to the high resistance, and this can be dangerous.
If the cable gets too hot, it can melt the cable jacket and, in the worst case, start a fire.
Similarly, attention must be paid to the cable voltage. Often the cables with the least capacity are 300V, and from there you should not exceed the circuit.
Connectors are typically rated for less than this, most are 250V, so it’s always a good idea to keep the voltage low anyway in order to avoid any need of LED troubleshooting.
Since most simple, easy-to-install LED lights, like the ones you can find in this collection of ready-to-install kits, have relatively short wire runs and are connected in series with a low amount of current, flowing through each chip or board (often 700 mA – 3 A maximum), they work without problems with thin cables.
However, if you are installing a large number of lights in parallel, the system could end up with enough current making you to analyze better what cables will be used.
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3RD LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION - INCORRECT POLARITY
For a safe check of polarity, make sure you have exposed wires. All should have full and correct contact with the connection ports or connectors.
If the wires are touching each other or crossed, there may be an electrical shock and there may be damage to the LED lights.
Cables usually use a general color code to inform their polarity and thus make a secure connection.
We strongly recommend using the same type of connection and colors in a line when there are several transformers, lamps or LED strip lights. The less LED troubleshooting, the better.
This is due to a very specific reason: if each luminaire is installed regardless of polarity, a phenomenon occurs at the end of the line called “bounce”.
The bounce is when the last lamp or the last sector of light emission in that line becomes unstable.
This is when we see that there is a line of luminaires where the last one “flashes” and we think that there is a problem with the light emitter or the lamp. When really the problem is the wiring.
Red positive with black negative
Red positive with white negative
Gray positive with black negative
Yellow positive with blue negative
Positive brown with negative blue
Red line positive with white negative
Positive yellow line with negative white
Load black, neutral white, ground green
Load brown, neutral blue, ground green, or yellow line
For high voltage we mainly advise to connect POSITIVE brown / blue and neutral BLACK / WHITE.
Positive Black, Negative Blue- Negative Green- Negative Red
Positive white, negative red- negative Green- negative blue
4TH LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION: OBSTRUCTION OR LOOSE CABLES
Just as highways, electricity and power lines must be free and continuous to avoid accidents or malfunctions that will lead to unnecessary LED troubleshooting.
We usually see this error in RGBs when a specific color is not generated.
It may also be an obstruction or loose wire that is why the LED lights would not work once installed.
Normally when inserting a cable into a connector we think that when we hear a “click” the connection is secure.
But this click can occur when getting a certain resistance of the cable inside the connector. However, this resistance and false connection can occur due to the catching of the protective PVC of the cable inside the connector.
If the cables are not properly inserted into the connectors, there will be no transmission of electricity.
This is why once you have all the wiring installed, you should always double and triple check all connections.
5TH LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION: FRAYED OR OVERLAPPING CABLES
Another very common problem when LED troubleshooting that can cause instability, malfunction, or simply not turning on the lights is frayed or tangled wires.
If new, clean, straight cables are not being used, eventually the system will present problems.
It is enough to have a single wire in contact with some other or with a conductive surface to put your LED lights and their quality at risk.
Likewise, the transformer or driver cables must be in good condition, without exposing the conductor cable and without unnecessary contacts.
If there is a need for soldering, make sure you have the wires and the surface clean.
6TH LED TROUBLESHOOTING SITUATION: VOLTAGE DROPS DUE TO WIRING
It is common to hear people ask for LED troubleshooting of new and recently instalLED LED lights that aren’t working properly, are flickering or are not lighting up the way they should be.
As we mentioned previously, failures in the wiring, in the selection of materials and their connections can generate the “bounce” effect in a lamp or simply that a sector of them does not light.
First we must explain that to install LED lights we always recommend doing it in serial connections.
The serial connections are 10 to 20 ft. of LED lights connecting to the same power source that is appropriate for them.
Running a circuit in series helps provide the same electrical current amount to each LED.
This means that each LED in the circuit will have the same brightness and will not allow a single LED to draw more current than another.
When each LED receives the same current, it helps eliminate problems like thermal runaway.
FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL WIRING AND AVOIDING UNNECESSARY LED TROUBLESHOOTING:
– Use multi-fiber cables: the advantage of using this cable model is that you provide a more intimate contact, reducing voltage drops and minimizing heat generation at the connection point.
– Use new, clean and undamaged cables: this will help ensure an ideal connection with sufficient contact at the connection points. Frayed cords will make improper electrical contacts as well as increase the possibility of electrical or fire accidents.
– Use cable connectors: They make easier and faster the installation work and will avoid the need to connect the cables between them through the internal strands, which makes unstable and highly insecure connections
– Use Serial Connections: As we explained above, serial connections help get secure and stable LED light connections. However, study the possibility of using parallel connections for very specific cases.
– Check the wiring two and up to three times before turning on the lights
All of our kits are pre-design and come with everything needed for easy, fast and secure installation including cables and connectors. To take a look of these, click here