What is the Ripple Effect? Know the Causes and Remedies

May 19, 2021

What is a Ripple Effect?

A ripple effect is first detected when your lights start to flicker. It is created when electricity suppliers in Australia are reducing the amount of energy provided to certain areas.

Ripple Effect in a light refers to the sudden flickering of the (LED) light in your home.

This is done to help deal with the on-peak demand for electricity and what the electricity grid can accommodate.

On-peak demand is usually between the hours of 7 am-10 am and 5 pm-10 pm. This is when most people are home and consuming the most amount of electricity.

When the electricity providers lower the amount of energy provided to manage the electricity demand in your area, your home is now receiving less energy.

The electrical current provided to your lights has been decreased and therefore your lights may flicker. This is due to LED lights using such little power.

A standard halogen bulb uses 50watts versus an LED light using 5watts.

It is important to remember that there are other factors that could contribute to the severity of the ripple effect. An example of this is via air conditioning.

Air conditioners consume so much electricity that it takes away some of the electrical currents that would normally go through to the lights.

The Ripple effect in LED light is characterized by reducing electricity usage by the supplier in a specific geographical area.

This is done to deal with the high demand for electricity in homes and at that particular point when people use the electricity the most.

LEDs are known for their solid features and durability.

There are varying reasons why a ripple effect could happen on a LED light; however light flickering could be quantified, measured, and reduced with particular solutions to the issue.

How Do I Resolve the Flickering?

There are three main ways you can resolve the ripple effect in your home. We will list the following steps to help troubleshoot the issue starting from the least to most cost-effective methods.

This will depend on the area you live in and the severity of your ripple effect.

The first option is to get more of an electrical current to your lights. This can be done by turning up the dimmer.

The lights will then demand more of a current as the lights are not dimmed. Turning up the dimmer increases the amount of power required by the light.

Secondly, you could look at installing a load bypass device. This device is designed to improve the dimming and switching performance of some problematic lights.

This is installed on the first lamp of each lighting circuit and/or behind the switch.

Lastly, you could look at installing a ripple signal filter. The ripple signal filter is specifically tuned to eliminate the ripple effect signal frequency. This is typically installed on the electrical board.

The outcome of the ripple effect on LED lights

Exposure to light flickering for humans can cause slight to significant adverse effects. And the ripple effect on LEDs can be said to be imperceptible.

There are visible flickers and invisible flickers of lights. Nonetheless, the brain can detect light flicker frequencies up to 200 Hz and 100Hz, in LED drivers output ripple, even though they are not visible to the naked eye.

For one, the constant flickering of light could cause neurological problems for sensitive people. Although this is quite common in adolescents, it’s a very uncomfortable problem to have for yourself.

Examples of these problems are headaches, eye tension, vision impairment, or, in rare situations, an epileptic seizure is a potential complication.

Stay away from the constant flickering of lights at all points.

The Ripple effect in LEDs could also cause a significant impact on the LED driver’s life.

A high ripple current would adversely affect the LEDs driver or power supply and weaken this system drastically if it becomes too frequent. The driver of a LED is an essential component of the system.

To this extent, the LED can not function properly without its input.

LED lights are known for their efficiency.

However, a high ripple current can reduce the efficiency of LED lights. Therefore it’s imperative to do away with ripples in your LED light.

What causes the ripple effect in LED light?

Ripple effects are common issues, but there are several reasons why they happen, and most causes have simple solutions.

The Ripple effect on our health and the system itself should not be downplayed.

Once detected, you would need to figure out the reason for this cause to find a way to solve it. Some of these reasons are;

The Ripple Effect

The main reason why there is a ripple effect is when there’s a specific division or proportion of electricity to a particular area at a given time.

This is where we have high-peak electricity and off-peak electricity.

To contain the total amount of electricity in a room, the electricity formulates the ripple control to maximize it. This causes issues with LED lights.

Therefore when there’s a sudden drop in electricity supply, and yet you still have lots of appliances consuming the energy from it, it could make the light fluctuate and subsequently flutter.

LEDs Driver

Another reason for a ripple effect is when an unmatched driver is used for a LED light. It would help if you used drivers that match the LED. Therefore those recommended by the manufacturer should be used.

A good measure of avoiding light flickering is to understand the topology of the LEDs driver and a good knowledge of the system’s characteristics.

Excessive load on the circuits

Whenever you add up too much load on your circuits, a sign to it could be made with your light flickering from time to time or constantly.

An overloaded circuit could cause your LED lights to flicker.

Excessive usage of electricity

LEDs use a lesser wattage to produce light compared to other light bulbs. However, excessive use of electricity in your home can cause flickering, especially in an off-peak electricity moment.

Loose Wiring

A loose wire could also cause your light to flicker. You should seek the help of an electrician to help tighten up flexible points in your wiring.

How to minimize the ripple effect

Although ripple effects are sometimes unavoidable, they are caused by several factors.

There are, nonetheless, possible solutions to the ripple effect in your home. This is depending on the severity of the ripple effect in your neighbourhood.

These solutions are;

  • Be sure all the LED products or devices are synchronized with the control circuits and power supply you’re using in your home or workplace.
  • You could get a ripple signal filter that alerts you of ripple effects and even your home or workplace frequency.
  • Use a current-matching LED driver.
  • Make sure you use the correct dimmer for the particular LED lights you have installed in your home.

Ripple Effect FAQs

What triggers a LED light to flicker?

There are several reasons why your LED light flickers. Some of these reasons are; incompatible drivers, on-peak and off-peak electricity, dirty circuits, loose wires, overload, and so much more.

Are flickering lights dangerous?

Depending on the matter at hand, however, flickering lights could pose a problem to sensitive people who are photosensitive.

It could also cause headaches, eye stress, and other health problems over time. This, however, happens when the flickers get constant or too much.

How do I fix my flickering light?

Depends! If this occurs because of the ripple control in your neighbourhood, you could get a matching driver and a dimmer of excellent quality.

Otherwise, other solutions can be sought, such as reducing electricity usage, fixing loose wires, and installing a ripple management device.

Can I see the light flicker?

It depends on the frequency of flickering. Light flickering can be visible or invisible to the human eye.

However, the fact that LED lights flicker between less than 10 percent and 100 percent will make it more visible or noticeable.

Is light flicker the same thing as ripple control?

No, ripple control is the method used to reduce electricity usage in a particular area. And the effect of this control could cause your light to flicker.

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