I recently bought some LED replacements for G4 base under cabinet light which has 3 sockets. When I put the first bulb in I noticed it was very dim with a bad flicker. Adding the next two made the light considerably brighter but the flicker showed no sign of improvement.

Curiously, when I accidentally connected one halogen bulb alongside one LED in the same fixture there was no flicker. My very uneducated guess was that maybe there is some component of the fixture like a ballast that limits the amount of current and is expecting a certain amount of draw.

There is also a toggle switch which allows for a "dim" setting on the light but supposedly the LEDs are dimmable so I don't imagine this is related but may be worth mentioning.

My question is has anyone encountered this before and do you know if there it would be possible to modify the light fixture in order to eliminate the LED flicker?

  • 1
    Do you really mean in series? Lamps are normally wired in parallel.
    – keshlam
    Aug 31, 2015 at 1:54
  • 2
    Some electronic switching/dimming devices require a minimum load to work properly which when not met causes LEDs to blink dimly
    – Kris
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:05
  • @keshlam - sorry, you might be right. I'm not sure.. is there an easy way to tell? Aug 31, 2015 at 4:15
  • @Kris - That is my suspicion.. if this is the case do you know of a way to bypass/modify the lamp so that they will work with such a small load? Aug 31, 2015 at 4:16
  • 1
    @billynoah: If unscrewing one bulb doesn't cause others to go out, it's not in series with them... but, seriously, you can just about assume parallel in everything except some old christmas-tree light strings.
    – keshlam
    Aug 31, 2015 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


It's the dimmer. Dimmers and some electronic control circuitry need a minimum current to function. Get a better dimmer module with a lower threshold, or one that dimms differently. (PWM vs. resistive) Or remove the dimmer from the circuit all together.

  • Dimmers actually use triacs not resistive, and most power themselves by leaking power through the bulb(s). This old trick works well with incandescents and has variable results with LED. Feb 3, 2020 at 1:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.