I have five LED bulbs outdoors near the Twin Cities in Minnesota, all of the same brand (Feit 800 lumens, if that matters), which have been installed somewhere around mid-summer 2013. We don't have dimmers, just a bog-standard on/off switch.

Four of them work perfectly fine, but the fifth doesn't. It glows dim, while all the others burn brightly. There haven't been any circuit, wiring, switching or other changes; the only thing I can think of is that we're springing out of a reasonably cold winter.

This bulb used to work well, too, similar to the others. And it's now consistently dim.

This is in a slightly-difficult-to-get-to spot, hence the question instead of pulling out ladders and playing with different bulbs / configurations.

Is there anything that could contribute to this issue?


Well, turns out that repeated slamming of the front entry door isn't good for many things, electrical connections included.

I finally had a chance to open the outdoor sconce yesterday and saw that one of the neutral white wires had sort of slipped out of its wirenut, and wasn't holding on very well to the others. I don't know why this resulted in lower voltage going through instead of arcing, but that's probably a good thing.

Fixing this was a simple matter of winding the tip of this loose wire a bit deeper and screwing in the wirenut a little stronger than it already was. Did this to the hot black and bare ground wires too, and the light's as good as new now.

Lesson learnt? Electrical gremlins don't need to be caused by faulty installation, sometimes things that you don't expect to break (like immobile wirenuts) also loosen up due to mechanical vibrations.

Next step? Trying to convince the family that slamming doors isn't a good idea, but that's a battle I'm not going to win in any case.

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It seems very likely that the bulb is just faulty. Depending on the vendor/warranty, it might be worth taking it back.

Since it sounds like it's in a awkward position, I'd buy a new one and change it with only one ladder excursion.

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Water intrusion - LED "bulbs" are typically complex assemblies with joints, as opposed to the glass envelope of an incandescent floodlight. Add water, add freeze-thaw cycles, and perhaps a manufacturing flaw on one bulb, water gets where it should not, things don't work so well.

Simple component failure is the other likely option. In either case, replace; try to get a replacement from the manufacturer (since this should be within warranty for most LED bulbs, unless you used "inside-only" bulbs outside) but perhaps do that after buying a different brand to put where this one was, on the gamble that something different might work better there.

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I bought about a dozen or more NOMA LED string lights for Xmass decorations around a tree outside. I got then for $5 a string...about 50 LED per string. They worked well last year, but now half of them either are too dim, only half a string is functional, or it doesn't work at all. I Googled this tool for fixing the strings called, you guessed it...LED FIXER at Home Depot for $35. I bought it, and got all malfunctioning string sets working perfect. HINT Cut the two prong plug with fuses off and replace with non-fuse two-prong plug...that might save you a lot from a ton of crap right off the hop.This tool has a spot to check your LED bulbs, a spot for fuses, and the tool for checking the wire going into the LED bulb...great tool.

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  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Good info, but I'd be concerned about un-fusing the string, especially when you can daisy-chain just about anything you want to it. Having an electrical fire on a Christmas tree would be just a little too entertaining. – Daniel Griscom Nov 17 '18 at 1:40
  • Honestly sounds like snake oil - a $35 tool to "fix" cheap $5 strings of LEDs? – Criggie Nov 18 '18 at 10:00
  • Telling folks to remove a safety device in a UL listed product is foolish and unsafe that's why I am down voting. – Ed Beal Feb 20 '19 at 15:02
  • Ed Beal: Well Ed, that's so Dudley Do-Right of ya'll, and I agree with you, suggesting to break rules is not nice, but I paid $5 each for these...I'd do the same thing if Noma paid me $5 each to take the crap home. Junk either way. – Gerry Dixon Cummings Jun 15 '19 at 19:51

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