How to Fix Broken LED Lights?

LED lighting has become extremely popular thanks to its energy efficiency and long lifespan. However, like any electrical fixture, LED lights can fail or break over time. When your LED bulbs or fixtures stop working properly, there are steps you can take to potentially fix them and restore operation. This comprehensive guide covers troubleshooting and repairing common issues with broken LED lighting including bulbs, strip lights, downlights and more.

Troubleshooting Broken LED Lights

When LED lights fail, follow this structured troubleshooting process:

1. Confirm the Failure

  • Identify which specific LED lights are affected. Check for any broader circuit issues.
  • Note symptoms like flickering, dimming, color shifts, or failed operation. Be specific.
  • Try an alternate working light in the same socket to isolate failures to that light.
  • For strips, determine if the whole strip or just sections are malfunctioning.

2. Review Simple Problems

  • Make sure LED light is properly seated in the socket, with threads tightened.
  • Check for wire connectivity issues like loose wiring or wire nuts.
  • Inspect electrical outlets and circuits – are they tripped, overloaded or damaged?
  • Replace batteries in remotes and check remotes function properly. Re-pair as needed.
  • Make sure controls like dimmers are working and compatible with LEDs.

3. Take Action Based on Symptoms

  • Flickering may indicate connection problems. Inspect power delivery.
  • Overheating could point to inadequate heat sinking. Improve airflow.
  • Dimming/fading could signify old age. Plan to replace aged LEDs.
  • Burned out diodes suggest power surges. Install surge suppressors.
  • Corroded fixtures require waterproofing upgrades to prevent more damage.

Methodically eliminating simple issues first helps zone in on likely root causes. Consider age, environment, and damage possibilities next.

How to Fix Broken LED Light Bulbs

For broken LED light bulbs:

Inspect the Bulb

  • Look for visible external damage like cracks in the housing.
  • Check for broken filaments or burnt out diodes if housing is translucent. Discoloration can indicate overheating.
  • If wall switch controlled, verify bulb turns on. If not, problem is in the switch or wiring.

Review Compatibility

  • Ensure bulb wattage, style, voltage and fixture compatibility. LEDs are polarity sensitive.
  • Dimmable bulbs often fail prematurely in incompatible fixtures. Use non-dimmable if issues persist.
  • Troubleshoot compatibility conflicts – voltage, base types, recess spacings.

Attempt Repairs

  • For filament styles, filament continuity indicates fix potential. Replace if filaments broken.
  • Reflow cracked solder on the circuit board with flux paste and a low wattage iron if skilled at microsoldering.
  • Replace faulty capacitors, fuses, or drivers if identifiable and properly rated.

If simple repair is infeasible, replacement is usually the most cost-effective option for defective bulbs. Check warranty terms before attempting to disassemble bulbs.

Fixing Problems with LED Strip Lights

For strip light issues, inspect:

Power and Wiring

  • Check for loose wire connections. Re-crimp or solder. Verify adequate wire gauge.
  • Inspect for damage along strip circuit board – nicks, impact marks, corrosion, overheating.
  • Check for power issues like voltage drop. Retest at power source.
  • For fluorescent or high-frequency electronic ballasts, replace with LED-compatible driver.

LEDs and Circuitry

  • Examine LEDs for burnout. Swap individual bad LEDs or cut out sections with electrical tape.
  • Check for shorts, exposed wires, or damage allowing water intrusion.
  • Assess solder connections. Reflow as needed, avoid cold joints or bridging.

Environment

  • Improve heat sinking if overheating. Add aluminum backing for thermal transfer.
  • Waterproof strip enclosures and terminals. Prevent moisture damage.
  • Use weatherproof, outdoor-rated strips in damp environments. Seal any openings.

Carefully scrutinizing the whole system helps determine if repair is possible or if replacement needed.

Troubleshooting Broken LED Recessed and Panel Lights

For LED recessed and panel light issues:

  • Remove housing and check for loose wiring, corrosion, damage, or heat degradation.
  • Test driver functionality. Replace driver if non-functional. Ensure compatible dimming type if dimmable.
  • Check for compatibility with housing size and insulation contact rating.
  • Improve ventilation if overheating suspected. Add exterior fins or underfill housing.
  • Use moisture sensors to detect leaks. Seal housing and gaskets thoroughly. Dehumidify interior air.
  • Replace entire fixture if corrosion or shorts cannot be resolved with cleaning or repair.

Moisture and excess heat are primary culprits for LED fixture failures. Fixing housing sealing and cooling often restores operation.

How to Repair Broken LED Traffic and Street Lights

For street and traffic LED light repairs:

  • Assess age. LEDs reaching end of useful life require replacement.
  • Check external electrical connections are clean, dry and secure.
  • Examine LEDs and drivers. Determine if individual components or entire head needs replacing.
  • Verify adequate heat sinking away from heat generating drivers. Improve if needed.
  • Check gasket seals. Reseal to prevent water entry into electrical system.
  • Clean optical components like refractive lenses for optimum light transmission.
  • Replace any broken outer housing pieces like cracked lenses.

Since failed traffic lights pose public safety risks, restore operation promptly. LED components may be salvageable.

Fixing Flickering Problems in LED Lights

For flickering LEDs:

Potential CauseFixes to Try
Loose wiringCheck connections, resolder/crimp if needed
Using incorrect dimmer or driverReplace with compatible, quality LED dimmer
Insufficient powerIncrease supply wattage if underpowered
Damaged circuit tracesRepair traces or solder jumper wires
Malfunctioning driverReplace faulty driver
Wrong voltage LEDsUse voltage specified by fixture
Defective LED diodesReplace affected LEDs

Flickering frequently stem from wiring, power issues, or component defects rather than actual LED failures.

How to Repair LED High Bay and Grow Lights

For LED high bay and grow light repairs:

  • Examine overall housing integrity. Damage allows moisture damage of electrics.
  • Assess external wiring condition. Repair any damaged insulation. Protect wires from pests.
  • Check solder points on LED boards. Reflow if cracked joints found.
  • Verify adequate airflow and heat sinking. Clean or improve as needed.
  • Inspect waterproofing gaskets and seals. Reseal to prevent condensation and corrosion.
  • Consider adding surge suppressors if in lightning-prone areas.
  • Replace optical lenses if excessively dirty, clouded or condensation forming.

Preventative improvements to sealing, ventilation and surge protection can restore function and prolong lifespan.

Fixing Broken LED Landscape Lighting

For landscape LED light repairs:

  • Check for loose, corroded connections. Clean or reconnect wires.
  • Review wiring runs for damage. Check underground wires for gnawing or moisture.
  • Ensure waterproof, gel-filled wire nuts and connectors used for outdoor connections.
  • Improve drainage and elevation if moisture presence detected.
  • Replace lenses with cracks or fogging permitting water intrusion.
  • Assess if over-voltage from landscaping equipment damaged LEDs. Consider surge protection.
  • Test transformers and drivers. Replace if faulty. Verify wattage matches load.

The moisture and dirt exposure for outdoor LEDs necessitates vigilance against corrosion, leaks, and drainage issues.

Soldering Repairs for Broken LED Circuits

Soldering can fix broken LED circuits:

  • Select appropriate gauge leaded solder wire – 0.8mm for most printed circuit boards.
  • Apply a small amount of flux paste to stripped wire ends to aid solder flow.
  • Use a 30W or lower soldering iron. Higher wattages may damage boards.
  • Heat solder points for 2-3 seconds before flowing solder to avoid cold joints.
  • Keep joints clean. Use desoldering braid to remove excess solder.
  • Avoid bridging between contacts or creating shorts across circuit paths.
  • Heatshrink all repaired connections to insulate and protect.

Soldering LEDs requires a gentle touch but enables repairing damaged traces and broken solder pads.

When to Replace Rather than Repair LED Lights

Replacement makes more sense when:

  • Total cost of multiple component repairs exceeds replacement cost.
  • Available repair time is limited. Faster to swap lights.
  • No repair possible due to unobtainable parts or lack of access.

-Fixture damage is too severe. Total rewiring would be required.

  • Product has exceeded lifespan. Repair downtime not worthwhile.
  • Repair quality or safety is questionable. More risk than replacing.
  • Warranty still active. Manufacturers replace lights free under warranty.

Weigh costs and benefits of repairing older LED lights. Newer, improved versions may be better investment long-term.

Conclusion

While LED lights generally have excellent longevity compared to other types, failures can still occasionally occur. Applying some diagnostic skills to identify the root cause, whether it be wiring issues, moisture damage, power problems or simply reaching end of life, helps determine if DIY repair is possible. For minor issues like loose wires or compatibility conflicts, hands-on homeowners can often restore operation successfully and save on replacements costs. But more complex repairs involving soldering or replacing internal components may require hiring an electrical professional. Consider cost vs. benefits, safety implications, and warranty status as you assess whether to repair or replace broken LED fixtures. With diligent troubleshooting and common sense precautions, your LED lights can provide many years of bright, energy efficient illumination.

FAQs – Troubleshooting and Repairing LED Lights

Q: Can broken LED lights be repaired?

A: Some issues like loose wiring are easily repaired. But replacement may be better if LED diodes or circuit boards are damaged. Assess cost vs benefit.

Q: What are common causes of LED failure?

A: Excess heat, moisture, power surges, compatibility issues, loose wires, old age/worn out diodes and drivers. Quality LEDs fail less often.

Q: Why do some LEDs still work if others are burned out?

A: LED circuit boards contain many individual diodes. Some can fail over time while the rest still emit light.

Q: Is it safe to repair an LED while powered on?

A: Absolutely not! Always turn OFF and disconnect power at circuit breaker before handling wiring or components.

Q: Can I upgrade old halogen fixtures to LED?

A: Yes, with LED compatible transformers and bulbs. Ensure wattage tolerances and prevent overheating.

Leave a Comment