LED Lights not turning off on timer

concreteholeNovember 29, 2009

A few years back I installed an electrical box under my eves for Christmas lights. I bought an industrial grade timer that mounts in a switch box and installed it in my garage. I have had many different types of lights and combinations connected into the electrical box and all have worked great until I bought the LED lights.

Now during the time cycle when the lights should be on I get nice bright LED lights but when the off cycle starts the lights only dim and do not turn off. The timer has an off switch and if I move it to off the lights will turn off. I put a meter in the electrical sockets in the off position and I get 0 volts.

Is it possible that the timer could allow enough power to drain across it to power the LED lights at this lower level in the off cycle? Could the LEDs be pulling enough current off the netural line to light dimly?

Happy Holidays!

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joed

The timer does not have a neutral connection. It runs a small current through the lights to operate. This is unnoticable with regular lights. However that small current is enough to light the LEDs. Similar problems exist with CFLs, only they flicker.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 8:15AM
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saltcedar

Try reversing the plug. Being diodes this sometimes makes a difference
in how brightly they shine when turned off .

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 8:43AM
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concretehole

I tried reversing the plug and it did not make a difference. Can running the LEDs at the low power damage them or reduce the life?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 12:50AM
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saltcedar

Not that I've noticed, also the larger number of strings in a run can also reduce the daytime glow.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 7:14AM
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joed

Check the timer and see if it say to use only with incandescent lamps.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 8:18AM
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pharkus

Is it possible that the timer could allow enough power to drain across it to power the LED lights at this lower level in the off cycle?

Yes.

I've been waiting for this problem to start cropping up with the new widespread use of "energy-efficient" lighting and other devices. It's bound to conflict with automatic controllers whose engineers try to predict their end users' minimum loads.

Replace the timer, or add a relay in between (extra work), stop using LED lights, or add an extra incandescent/resistive load (like a 40w light bulb).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 9:23AM
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pjb999

Yep, most of those cool motion-sensing indoor lights (great idea, in theory at least) can't be used with energy-saving lights! Most, apparently don't use a relay, and most solid-state 'switches'/scrs or whatever, don't fully switch off. Same issue.

Concretehole would need some sort of modification with a relay, I guess, or one incandescent bulb plugged in to pull the current down, however, I guess it'd be drawing power, more than the xmas lights even.

It's annoying, off should be truly OFF.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 2:28AM
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concretehole

You guys were right and I was not pulling enough voltage. I added a small (20 lights) string of regular Christmas lights to the end of my LED run and now when the timer goes to the off cycle everything turns off.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 5:59PM
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pjb999

Great! However, you are probably still drawing power, unless the additional load forces it to switch off properly.

If govts want us to use high-efficiency lights, motion sensors, etc, they need to mandate designs that are compatible with cfls and LEDS, imho.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 1:32AM
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