How to Troubleshoot an LED Wiring Issue.
Wiring mistakes are the most common of all LED lighting issues. Typically if your LED lights simply “don’t work” it is not because the products are defective but due to a basic wiring mistake or overlook. If you are having issues getting anything to work in your LED installation or your lighting is inconsistent go over this trouble shooting guide for some pointers on resolving your issue. If you are sure that your wiring is correct read our Multimeter troubleshooting guide on tips for testing the input and output of your LED Power Supply.
Common Wiring Mistakes
- Incorrect Wiring or Reverse Polarity.
When troubleshooting the wiring of your LED installation it is important to double and even triple check every connection, even the most skilled electricians can make a simple wiring mistake. Be certain that your wires are exposed and making contact with the correct wires or ports on your LED Lighting products. If you have wires crossed up or touching you may be at risk for electrical shock or product damage. Click the image to the right to check common wire colors and be certain that you have your polarity correct when wiring. If you are not certain the polarity of your wires use a multimeter to test.
- Loose or Obstructed Wires.A very common wiring mistake that is easily overlooked is the possibility of loose or obstructed wires in your LED installation. Typically if your lights simply don’t work or you are missing a color on your RGB installation this is the case. If your wires are not stripped back far enough or you push them too far into a connector it will give the illusion of a secure connection when really there is no connection at all the connector is only clamping on the pvc wire coating. See the picture to right for an illustration of this example. This is why it is important to double and even triple check your wiring installations because even if a wire looks like it is connected it may not be.
- Frayed or overlapping wires.Frayed or overlapping wires are another common wiring mistake. If you are not using clean and straight wires then you are probably going to experience a wiring issue sooner or later. All it takes is a single strand of wire touching another wire or a conductive surface to put your LED installation at risk for an electrical short or mixed color effects. When working with LED modules be sure that the end of your module string does not have bare wires touching. When soldering be sure that your wires are clean and straight and never touching each other and be certain to never overload a wire connector that is designed for a single wire input.
- Voltage Drop Wiring Issues.
Voltage drop is a very common LED installation issue and it all has to do with the layout of the wiring. If you are experiencing voltage drop it is most likely due to the fact that you have wired your LED installation in a serial connection rather than a parallel connection. Think of a parallel connection as each 10-20ft section of your LED lights running independently back to the power supply rather than linking them in a single series. Parallel connections will always give you the most even and consistent lighting output due to less voltage drop with less serial connections. See the illustrations at the bottom of this guide for a visual reference on the difference between the two types of connections