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#1
Old 02-23-2015, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Southcoast Massachusetts
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Cold weather = flashing outside LED flood light?

I installed an outdoor, two-lamp LED, motion activated flood light above my garage a year or so ago. I purchased it from an orange-branded home improvement chain store, cost about $80 or so. Works fine.

When the outside air temperature is -4 F or less, the light doesn't stay on, it goes into a sort of strobe mode, where the light flashes about 100 times per minute. Both lamps flash together. At -3 is doesn't do it, only -4 or lower. It's happened twice this season, and a small handful of times last year. We have insanely low temperatures predicted for tomorrow morning, and I expect to see the flashing light again.

My Google-fu seems to be failing me - finding only how to make LED flashers - what's going on with this light?
#2
Old 02-23-2015, 06:56 PM
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Frozen capacitors, probably.
#3
Old 02-23-2015, 09:52 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
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Neither LEDs nor CFLs work as well in cold weather as old fashioned incadescents. I've seen the flashing strobe effect on an LED, and also found that CFLs take forever to warm up and give light in cold weather.
#4
Old 02-23-2015, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Neither LEDs nor CFLs work as well in cold weather as old fashioned incadescents.
All manner of explanations for CFL cold temperature failure is available, but I've yet to be able to locate any inference to the same for LEDs. To the contrary, any info related to LED function indicates that LED semiconductor performance increases at lower temperatures.

My guess would be that the OP's strobing LED problem is caused by inadequate circuit design in the infra red motion detection aspect, or, perhaps in the power supply (ballast) for the fixture... Not in some imagined inability of the LED itself to operate at low temperatures.
#5
Old 02-24-2015, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Frozen capacitors, probably.
I think the cap most prone to freeze problems (at approximately -40 degrees Celsius) is an oil cap... not commonly used in this type of circuitry, but nonetheless, well below the temperature discussed here.
#6
Old 02-24-2015, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by gogogophers View Post
I think the cap most prone to freeze problems (at approximately -40 degrees Celsius) is an oil cap... not commonly used in this type of circuitry, but nonetheless, well below the temperature discussed here.
I'm not so sure. Ordinary electrolytic caps--used in pretty much everything--often only have a minimum temperature range of -25 Cish. Example. That's -13 F; not too far below the OP's temperature. I can imagine cheapy caps crapping out at even higher temperatures, or a poorly designed circuit not handling the change in capacitance over that range.
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