how to tell if led driver is bad

LED drivers are one of the most important components of an LED lighting system. When they fail, it can cause costly interruptions and downtime. Ideally, you would catch a failing LED driver before it goes out altogether. That's why today, we'll teach you how to tell if LED driver is bad.

As the #1 supplier of electric components online, we help people like you troubleshoot and replace LED power supplies on a daily basis. It's actually not nearly as complex or complicated as you may have initially suspected! And in this in-depth article, we aren't just going to teach you how to check if an LED driver is bad - we'll teach you how to actually find a suitable replacement and get your system back up and running.

First - let's explain why learning how to tell if LED driver is bad is so important.

Why Learning How to Tell if LED Driver is Bad is so Important

The obvious reason to learn about troubleshooting LED drivers is so you can keep the lights on. A common use for LED lighting is in horticulture. And, if your grow lights fail, it can wreak havoc on your crop. 

In the best-case scenario, you fix the problem within a day and just suffer a bit of stress (and so do your plants). But the worst-case scenario is far more grave. In a commercial grow room, hundreds of plants are on the line - and the costs of crop failure here are tremendous.

When an LED driver fails, a few things can happen. It can cause the LEDs to flicker or not turn on at all. In addition, if something goes wrong with your power supply, it can cause flickering even after you turn the power off. It's also possible that the LED driver will overheat and damage other components in your system - like the expensive LED lighting system itself. For more information, read our beginners guide to what an LED driver does.

So it stands to reason that learning how to check if an LED driver is bad is essential in order to save costlier repairs down the line. Now, let's look at some of the causes of a failing LED driver before we teach you how to check if LED driver is bad.

What Causes an LED Driver to Fail?

In some cases, a failing LED driver may be due to environmental factors like extreme heat or cold. In other cases, it could be caused by electrical surges from power outages or lightning strikes. It's also possible that the LED driver might malfunction due to poor wiring connections or a lack of correct insulation in the system.

But there is another common cause of a bad LED driver - and that's simply age. After all, nothing lasts forever - not even industrial-grade components like those found in an LED lighting system. If you have an older system and are noticing signs of failure, this is likely the most probable culprit.

Now that you have a better understanding of what causes an LED driver to fail, let's move on to the main reason you came here today: how to check if LED driver is bad...

How to Tell If LED Driver Is Bad: 4 Troubleshooting Tips to Check Your Driver

Ready to discover how to check if LED driver is bad? As we said earlier, it's actually a lot more simple than you may think. Sometimes, it's as easy as taking a look at the lighting system and noticing a flicker. Other times you may need to take closer look and measure the voltage or current. Here are all the different tactics you can employ:

Watch for Dimming or Flickering Light

The first signs of trouble for your LED driver are actually the easiest to spot - because you can see them visually from far away. If you notice the lighting levels gradually dimming or flickering, it's a sign that you have an issue with your LED driver. It's possible that the driver isn't supplying enough power to operate and maintain peak performance.

Check for Overheating

It's also important to check for overheating - as this is a telltale sign of a bad LED driver. If your power supply has been running for a while and is now abnormally warm, that could indicate an issue. In some cases, you may even be able to smell the wiring and components burning.

Look for Loose Connections

The last thing to check is the connections throughout your system. If anything appears to be loose or disconnected, this can cause disruptions in power distribution - thus resulting in flickering lights or dimming levels. As such, it's critical to inspect all of your system's wires and plugs whenever troubleshooting a potential driver issue.

Test Voltage & Current Levels

The final step is to actually measure the voltage and current levels of the driver in question. We saved this one for last because it is the most effective way of troubleshooting your system. Many of the issues above - overheating, lights flickering, etc. - can actually be the result of a problem elsewhere in your lighting system. Actually testing the voltage and current levels of your driver directly will give you more information than any other steps.

You can do this by using a multimeter to measure voltages and amps at each output port on your system. This will help you determine if there's any sort of discrepancy between what should be occurring versus what is actually happening in real time.

And while this is a bit more work, it's the best way to rule out a more costly issue with the LED board - and conclude that the LED driver itself is failing.

Generally, drivers will fail to 0v output. That means when you check the voltage levels, you will get bad power out - but good power in. On the other hand, if you are dealing with lights flickering but have good power in, and good power out - it means the issue could be elsewhere in the LED lighting system. This check allows you to determine where exactly the issue is - preventing you from replacing an LED driver that isn't actually failing!

Can LED Drivers Be Replaced?

So you've followed the steps above and confirmed that your LED driver is bad - that sucks! But don't stress - finding the problem is step one. Step two is replacing the driver. Yes - LED drivers can be replaced!

This is made easy at Bravo Electro, where we can help you find the perfect replacement for your system. We encourage you to reach out if you'd like a recommendation. This will eliminate human error or guesswork - saving you wasted time having to issue returns and exchanges. With that said, here are a few tips for replacing your LED driver:

Tips for Replacing Your LED Driver

We have a complete guide explaining the different types of LED drivers - which we encourage you to read. This will help you understand which style you have and thus, which style you need to find as your replacement.

There are constant power, constant current, and constant voltage drivers. These have various pros and cons, specifically in terms of efficiency, longevity, and power output. Since you have a driver your replacing, it's as simple as matching up with that particular style. Along with that piece of information, keep the following in mind:

  • Check your wattage: When replacing a driver, make sure the wattage matches the existing one - or you may end up with more power than necessary.
  • Size matters: Make sure to also double-check the size of the driver. Generally, bigger drivers are needed for larger spaces and vice versa.
  • Consider compatible options: Last but not least - if available - consider finding a compatible option from the same manufacturer as your current system. This will ensure compatibility from a design standpoint and usually offer opportunities for discounted pricing since it's part of an existing product line!

Get Your Replacement LED Driver at Bravo Electro!

Finding out that you have an issue with your LED driver can be daunting. But by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can quickly diagnose and replace the driver - ensuring your system is up and running as soon as possible.

And when you're ready to get your replacement AC DC LED driver, trust only Bravo Electro! You may know us for our 12v DC power supply, 24v DC power supply, or 48v DC power supply collections. But we also offer a wide selection of high-quality LED drivers that are perfect for any situation.

We source our inventory from the most trusted manufacturers in the industry- so you can enjoy peace of mind shopping with us. Whether you're looking for something simple or complex - we've got you covered! Our team of electrical engineers is here to help assist you with custom or modified projects, too. So be sure to reach out if you need any help finding the best option - our team is always here to assist.

Parting Thoughts on How to Check if LED Driver is Bad

That wraps up our guide on how to tell if LED Driver is bad. As you can see, there are four different ways to go about troubleshooting your lighting system. We encourage you to take a multifaceted approach to troubleshoot the system, as this will help you rule out other issues like a faulty LED board.

If you do confirm that the LED Driver is faulty, you can effortlessly replace the unit and keep your system going with the help of Bravo Electro. Shop now or reach out for assistance - we're eager to help you find a suitable replacement!

Or, if you want to learn more about how to test if a power supply is bad, read our full article. We also have great resources on the difference between AC and DC power supply, UL listed vs UL recognized power supplies, and whether house electrical is AC or DC.