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Flicker Free FAQ’s

Flicker is a risk to any lighting project and in public areas where today’s mobile technology identifies poor quality it is vital to choose premium products.  We asked our team of  experts in both Lighting control and power for their top FAQ’s.

What is flicker?

Flicker in lighting is related to very rapid changes in brightness of a source. To some extent, flicker is in the eye of the beholder – human perception of flicker is variable and some people notice faster frequencies than others. Flicker is a particular concern with LEDs since they have no persistence, any oscillation in the driver current correlates directly to the light output. Hence, PWM (a common method of dimming LEDs) which turns the current on/off at high frequency is a problem if not managed correctly.

If I can’t see it, does it exist?

Possibly. Different people have differing threshold for observing flicker (the flicker fusion threshold). Studies show that flicker rates which are just above the upper limit detectable by the human visual system can still have a sub-conscious effect (eyestrain, headaches, epilepsy etc.). So due diligence in the design not only ensure professional performance of lighting but also safe and user friendly operation too.

How does the control method affect flicker?

It shouldn’t. If using an appropriate LED driver with integrated control (Phase, 0/1-10V, DALI, DMX etc.), flicker-free operation will be inherent to the specification of the product. Phase (mains) dimmable drivers require particularly good designs to ensure flicker-free operation. Specific attention should be paid when using separate interfaces or controllers – in addition to an LED driver – as a control method, as these components will alter the frequency of the power rail.

Why should I worry about flicker?

There are a few reasons to be worried about flicker. The most obvious is that it leads to an unpleasant experience – occupiers and visitors may complain of headaches, eyestrain and other ailments. More subtly, flicker is a result of poor system design or components and can easily be designed out with the right expertise. Flicker also looks terrible on social media and will stop people sharing videos of your lighting design.

Flicker and mobile phones

Recent developments in smartphone imaging software have helped eliminate the dark lines that used to frequently show up in still photos. However, advancement in video capture and processing has resulted in flicker being much more easily picked up by the latest mobile technologies available. With this technology at everyone’s fingertips and video conferencing becoming a bigger part of our lives, lower quality installations are quickly being exposed.

Is there anything I can do about it?

Yes. The most effective approach is to specify all the components with performance and reliability in mind. A control system that is efficient, dims smoothly and has a long warranty is likely to be a good choice for flicker as well. Speak to suppliers specifically about this issue and insist on a test if you are not completely sure.

Choosing the right products to ensure your lighting is flicker free

We’re always talking about flicker, whether it’s an architectural, commercial, or industrial application – or even for our clients in TV/Film/Broadcast. Flicker (and quality of light in general) is something that should be considered when specifying control or power products for lighting.

Flagship retail development, Kuwait

Our latest project in the Middle East showcases RGB lighting with PRO Range power and control to illuminate the cross section of this dynamic ceiling.  for customers capturing their instore experience the lighting is flicker free providing a premium look and feel to the store from any of the animated sequences available.

view Kuwait project

Flagship retail development, Kuwait

Bright Green Technology was tasked with delivering ceiling lighting that delivered maximum “destination impact”, attracting visitors and ensuring an exciting customer journey.  We designed and supplied a huge, animated RGB ceiling using LED Light Panel with a sophisticated DMX PRO Range control system.

view Kuwait project