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I recently bought a 5-bulb track lighting & installed GU10 base MR16 shape, dimmable LED lights bought off of eBay. The lights started flickering after turning them on after a few seconds.

I thought it was due to the cheap bulbs & bought a 3-pack from HomeDepot. I swapped 1 bulb from the track & it looks like the flickering issue is gone.

Can someone explain whats going on here?

edit: Gu10 base, MR16 shape. Plain regular plug in socket.

Also, I would like to install a dimmer switch to this & I hear there are different kinds of them. Which one should I be buying?

Please let me know if you need any further details or if you want me to try something.

  • What model bulbs are involved here? Also, is the existing switch a plain switch, a multi-way setup, or something with fanciness to it? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 1 '16 at 4:48
  • @ThreePhaseEel Added info to the question. Gu10, MR16. Connected it to plain regular 3-prong plug in socket. – deppfx Oct 1 '16 at 23:33
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That's very common. Dimming LEDs is a rather complicated business, due to the need to interoperate with old style dimmers.

Older dimmers were designed to be retrofit into old-style "switch loops" where there is not a neutral. The dimmer itself needs a small amount of energy to power itself. The way that happened was by "leaking" a tiny amount of power through the circuit, which worked just fine with old style incandescent bulbs. But this sometimes confuses the electronic power supplies found in LEDs.

Quality problems with LEDs occur in three areas: - Electronic power supply (driver) operating life, particularly, capacitors - subtle and complex functions like dimming - physical build quality (the plastics falling apart or breaking)

eBay products generally fell off the back of a truck in Shenzhen, China, are unvetted for quality, and the manufacturer saved about 25 cents a unit making them as cheap as possible. On 4 million units that's a million bucks. Because of the capacitor issue, you can expect disturbingly short service life from these LEDs. When that happens, don't blame all LEDs generally, blame that brand. Quality ones will last 10-30 years. I like General Electric, Philips or Ikea. I avoid Lights of America, Feit Electric, Utilitech, or any big-box store house brand.

  • Thank you, but you haven't answered my query. How are the lights working fine when I replace just one of the cheap bulbs with a good one? Also, are you saying Feit, Utilittech are garbage & that I should prefer GE, Philips or Ikea? – deppfx Oct 1 '16 at 23:35
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    @deppfx -- because that one bulb is providing a good load that shunts out the annoying flickery ones to the point where they no longer flicker...and get a good branded LED bulb instead of some cheapo non-brand or worse yet some eBay back of truck garbage. – ThreePhaseEel Oct 2 '16 at 1:16

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