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Old 03-01-2018, 07:49   #1
F51
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LED lighting problems

LEDs have a long lifespan and low current draw. Those are good things. The problem I am having seems to be the switches! After a few weeks or months it seems that the switches fail. I don't know if they are more prone to corrosion due to the low current or what, but my dome lights, reading lights and even flashlights seem to exhibit the problem. Usually a good whack will make them function for a while longer, but eventually they quit, dim, or flicker (choose one). Anybody else having this kind of problem? Any solutions? Thanks.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:09   #2
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Re: LED lighting problems

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LEDs have a long lifespan and low current draw. Those are good things. The problem I am having seems to be the switches! After a few weeks or months it seems that the switches fail. I don't know if they are more prone to corrosion due to the low current or what, but my dome lights, reading lights and even flashlights seem to exhibit the problem. Usually a good whack will make them function for a while longer, but eventually they quit, dim, or flicker (choose one). Anybody else having this kind of problem? Any solutions? Thanks.
It sounds like you have... crappy switches. That could happen if you are just getting cheap (aka not "marine"-purpose) lights and such. You could try squirting a contact cleaner and protectant into each switch, which should stave off the corrosion for a while.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:21   #3
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Re: LED lighting problems

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Originally Posted by F51 View Post
LEDs have a long lifespan and low current draw. Those are good things. The problem I am having seems to be the switches! After a few weeks or months it seems that the switches fail. I don't know if they are more prone to corrosion due to the low current or what, but my dome lights, reading lights and even flashlights seem to exhibit the problem. Usually a good whack will make them function for a while longer, but eventually they quit, dim, or flicker (choose one). Anybody else having this kind of problem? Any solutions? Thanks.

This is an excellent question. The problem exists everywhere, and a marine environment makes it worse.
It's due to oxidation and corrosion of the switch contacts. In some of my designs I've used double-pole switches with contacts in parallel, which helps a lot. I think the best solution with low voltage and low current is gold switch contacts, maybe aided by the double-pole (redundancy) strategy. At higher current and voltage arcing may vaporize the gold. An R-C snubber and/or a metal-oxide-varistor across the terminals can minimize arcing.

http://www.nkkswitches.com/pdf/switc...ctmaterial.pdf


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Old 03-01-2018, 09:47   #4
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Re: LED lighting problems

I've used these 110v single pole switches from Home Deport for years on my 12v DC LED's and they have never failed; granted they are on the interior of a house boat and never exposed to moisture. When doing my initial research, the only concern that was aired, as mentioned above was the possibility or an arc between the contacts when breaking the contact, however it seems that this only occurs at higher voltages and my contacts have never showed any signs of damage.

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Old 03-01-2018, 11:02   #5
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Re: LED lighting problems

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Originally Posted by F51 View Post
LEDs have a long lifespan and low current draw. Those are good things. The problem I am having seems to be the switches! After a few weeks or months it seems that the switches fail. I don't know if they are more prone to corrosion due to the low current or what, but my dome lights, reading lights and even flashlights seem to exhibit the problem. Usually a good whack will make them function for a while longer, but eventually they quit, dim, or flicker (choose one). Anybody else having this kind of problem? Any solutions? Thanks.
Nothing to do with the the LED, just "value engineered" switches.

When people go into the West Marine store they always buy the cheapest light fixture they can find, so it is a race to the bottom for quality. To find quality products you usually have to get out of the "mass market" distribution channels.
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