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Facing Flicker

Facing flicker: scary consequences, smart solutions

A floorboard creaks somewhere in the attic. You glimpse luminous ectoplasm flitting from room to room. Strange moans permeate the night. And every evening, your lights flicker ominously…

If your home is haunted, Senso Lighting can’t help much with the ghost. As for the flickering light, however—that we can solve!


Negative effects of flicker

Of all the freaky effects of the Halloween season, chronic flickering lights can be legitimately scary. Flickering lights can affect your health—sometimes even if the flicker is too rapid for your eye can detect.

For example, most fluorescent lights flicker anywhere from 100 to more than 20,000 times per second. While you’re not likely to visually pick up on flickering at that rate, a 1989 study found that office workers were twice as likely to experience headaches under lights that flickered at 100 Hz compared to non-flickering lights.

Visibly flickering lights are distracting, and can lead to migraines, eye strain, and fatigue. Flicker can also trigger seizures in photosensitive epileptics, although this condition is rarer than the popular media would have you believe (only about 5% of epileptics are diagnosed as photosensitive).

What causes flicker?

Many lights flicker as part of their normal operation. For LEDs, flicker arises from a variation in the voltage fed into the module: both in amplitude (how much the voltage changes) and frequency (how quickly the voltage changes). Direct current (DC) voltage theoretically eliminates flicker because it offers a constant voltage with no variation. However, since no power supply is perfect, there will always be some ripple present.

How Senso controls flicker

Testing Equipment

At Senso, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional quality control, and that includes controlling flicker. Power is key, and so we start by selecting industry-leading drivers and power supplies that provide clean DC power with low ripple. We’re also big proponents of the Xicato XIM module for its top-notch low flicker capabilities.

We also test our modules for visible and invisible flicker to ensure that we’re using the best components possible and confirm manufacturers’ claims about their products. Our Goniophotometer’s advanced optics and processing power is able to detect and measure flicker that that is invisible to the naked eye. We want you to have the best experience possible with your lighting solutions—which mean we don’t want our lights to be a literal headache for you!

Happy Halloween from Senso Lighting!