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Author Topic: LED flicker?  (Read 8106 times)

Jim Turner

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LED flicker?
« on: February 16, 2013, 05:17:35 pm »

I'm a noob when it comes to LED lighting... I recently purchased two Chauvet 4 bar tri and an American DJ DMX operator 192 to control them. I'm experiencing a flickering as I fade between scenes, not a smooth transition as I had hoped.  What is causing this? The cheap lights or cheap console? I am planing to add more fixtures but would like to solve this issue first. Thanks for your input. Cheers!
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 06:55:58 pm »

I'm willing to bet it's the fixtures because I have the same controller here and don't see any flicker with several different non Chauvet fixtures.
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 07:19:37 pm »

this is not a new issue, this has more to do with the specific LED's that the manufacturer has used. Chauvet is usually pretty good.

the flicker itself comes from the frequency that it is emitting at the time of how much power it is drawing (usually on a lower power/intensity). you will notice the amount it flicker will also differ on certain colors. you will also notice some fixtures won't seem to flicker but when you look at it on camera it will flicker.

when buying LED you will want to make sure that it is deemed flicker free...
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Jim Turner

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 05:31:35 am »



Yea... it is most noticeable in the red at low intensities. So this is a common issue with budget fixtures? The form & price really made the 4 bar tri appealing but the flicker is hard to take. Any suggestions for a similar flicker free fixture? 
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 09:14:13 am »


Yea... it is most noticeable in the red at low intensities. So this is a common issue with budget fixtures? The form & price really made the 4 bar tri appealing but the flicker is hard to take. Any suggestions for a similar flicker free fixture?

to be honest in a 4 bar like that i dont, no. i personally have steered clear of those style of fixtures almost for that reason alone. im actually kind of surprised in that you having that issue with the tri LED (specifically on dimming). my suggestion is to go to another store where you can get it (if not same shop), get one tested out and see if you have the same problem with another new one. if you do then you know its the fixture. if not, take back your fixture and get it fixed as its still under warranty.

in the earlier days of LED, this used to be a real inherent problem for this fixture style. a lot of that has been fixed, but after seeing the crappyness of those fixtures and how many i saw returned, i refused to stock them anymore. however if people wanted them i would order it, but not without ordering. (yes i work for a retailer, and am a lighting designer for concerts/festival/tv)

im not sure in what your budget is like, but Microh has released the RIO TRI PAR. these are flicker free, and super bright and have a 36degree (i think) beam angle. i can light (for frontwash) a 24x16 foot stage with 4 of them (two per side) really well, good coverage and great color. obvisously there are other similar (probably cheaper) fixtures out there...lumi for example has a great product)...
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Jim Turner

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 03:40:47 pm »

I guess I could mount a few led pars on bars myself... it seems that may be the way to go. Anybody wanna buy a pair of Chauvet 4 bar tri? LOL Cheers!
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 05:15:39 pm »

before you give up completely...just for kicks if  you can...try another controller..and also ensure that you are indeed using DMX cable, or AES/EBU cable is acceptable as well. do not use regular mic cable. whilst YES it works, it is a different cable all together...
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Jason Joseph

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 10:01:42 am »

before you give up completely...just for kicks if  you can...try another controller..and also ensure that you are indeed using DMX cable, or AES/EBU cable is acceptable as well. do not use regular mic cable. whilst YES it works, it is a different cable all together...

Also remember that the last device should be terminated with a DMX terminator. Most light issues can be solved in this manner for a simple $2 expense..
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 09:38:08 pm »

Also remember that the last device should be terminated with a DMX terminator. Most light issues can be solved in this manner for a simple $2 expense..

this isn't necessary IMO unless you are doing over 200ft runs of cable after a DMX splitter/booster, or console to fixture. i have rarely used a terminator, and have rarely had a problem in which a terminator has actually fixed the problem. 9 times out of 10 its the cable.

not saying that they are a bad idea. just not 100% necessary.
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Rob Spence

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LED flicker?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 11:47:45 pm »

this isn't necessary IMO unless you are doing over 200ft runs of cable after a DMX splitter/booster, or console to fixture. i have rarely used a terminator, and have rarely had a problem in which a terminator has actually fixed the problem. 9 times out of 10 its the cable.

not saying that they are a bad idea. just not 100% necessary.

A terminator is required by the spec. If it works without one, you are lucky but you have not changed the fact that DMX requires a terminator.

Don't give bad advice!


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Jeffhtg (Jeff Kenney)

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 12:59:19 am »

A terminator is required by the spec. If it works without one, you are lucky but you have not changed the fact that DMX requires a terminator.

Don't give bad advice!


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that may be so in the 70's but modern dmx stuff typically self terminates
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 09:52:56 am »

A terminator is required by the spec. If it works without one, you are lucky but you have not changed the fact that DMX requires a terminator.

Don't give bad advice!


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im not..just honest advice from experience. if i read a lot of manuals in the troubleshooting sections and only is it there mentioned IF having problems with DMX related issues. i have not seen in a manual that says YOU MUST USE A DMX TERMINATOR or this fixture wont work. therefore is not a spec.

As i said...they are not required, but are a good thing to have if having DMX issues, which is more commonly going to be a cable.

in a lot of my gigs(i will keep this to the last 12 months) i have may have only used a DMX terminator once. and never had an issue. and on any one of my shows i will have 4 different fixture types, and at least 6 of one type.

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chris johnson

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 10:21:29 pm »

so i am having flickering light problems myself, and am also in the process of cleaning up my runs and organizing everything and all that. what would be a proper order for troubleshooting my leds to determine exactly what is causing them to flicker? after asking a lot of touring light guys, they think that the problem lies in
1. my fixtures.
2. the fact that i only have one dmx run for everything.
3. the dmx run is fairly long.
4. xlr. not actual dmx.
5. no opto splitter.

my plan is to replace all the cabling with dmx cable, and to send my dmx run to side of stage, and then split it off to its various areas from there from the opto splitter. besides replacing the fixtures, and i missing anything obvious? someone also mentioned the possibility that my lighting console is programmed shitty, and is sending bad data to the lights.

any other ideas? or am i on the right track?
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Josh Daws

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 04:27:29 pm »

i personally think you are on the right track.

the first thing is that you should always use DMX cable not MIC cable for data. there is a specific difference in the impedance capabilities of cables. and since you sending a digital signal you need this cable.

secondly an opto for example, microh dmx splitter, is a great help, it completely isolates the building ground from the DMX ground, so if there is any issues electrically, then theoretically this will protect your equipment. and also acts as a booster.

having one dmx run is an unlikely issue.and same as the console (although not unheard of).

more than likely it is the cabling or the fixtures, however you can try a terminator. it could help.
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John Lopez

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 12:11:30 pm »

New to this forum... plans is to help shed some light. :)
1.
DMX = Digital multi plex.. in order for communication to work at its best you must use 110-120ohm cable.. this helps transmit digital signal.
microphone cable is 80ohms.. so your most expensive microphone cable will create interference problems. Get yourself some DMX data cable.
2.
There is actually a fixture limit even with DMX cable, the rule of thumb is no more than 20 fixtures.. This is where a data splitter or DMX branch is a huge benefit to eliminate data glitches.
If using the proper data transfer components data glitches go away.
DMX Terminator is only an option when problems occur but it will not fix bad glitches if your data line is just really bad with microphone cables and no dmx branch 4.
Keep in mind there really is no problem using microphone cable with short runs of 4 fixtures within a 20' radius... its when your going with bigger runs and more fixtures when you see issues.
3. The flicker-free feature on LED pars only refers to flickering on camera.
So if you are recording or broadcasting you must use flicker free led pars otherwise they will strobe on the camera.
Physically flickering without a camera is just a really bad LED fixture.

I mention this because Elation just worked on an inexpensive LED par that has beautiful dimming and no flickering.
The Epar Tri - see video
http://www.elationlighting.com/ProductDetails.aspx?Category=&ItemNumber=1813

Also Elation has a great free DMX-101 handbook.
http://www.elationlighting.com/ProductDetails.aspx?Category=&ItemNumber=1560
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Mike Pyle

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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 02:14:15 pm »

IMO the flicker during fades that the OP describes is caused by "stepping" or the incremental change in DMX values during a manual fade. This can be caused by either the fixture or the controller. In some models the incremental value can be changed to deliver a smoother transition with less flicker. That issue is unrelated to the video flicker that others are discussing.
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Re: LED flicker?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 02:14:15 pm »


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