Why Your LED Lights Are Different Colors | How To Fix Them

I recently bought a couple of LED light strips, and yes, they do look cool… Unfortunately, after I installed them, the color on one set was not consistent throughout the entire strip.

What initially just bugged me, has turned out to be a bigger problem, it’s no longer about aesthetics, but the lights do not illuminate properly.

I later learned that LED lights can run into some issues like any electrical device. So I decided to dig deeper and understand a little more about why my LED lights are different colors, and what you can do to fix them. 

Why Are Your LED Lights Different Colors 

Your LED lights might be suffering from change or loss of color due to a combination of overheating or purchasing low-quality lights.

LED lights are bright, and they draw a lot of power to operate. For example, a short strip of ten LED lights needs 600mA of power. In other words, 0.6 watts per volt. In general, you’ll need a powerful electrical source to run multiple strips, which in turn, can significantly heat the strips if not taken managed properly.

Since LED lights have many components, they require proper heat dissipation. LEDs are designed to run cool, but the temperature is a relative thing, they can still overheat.

Most of the LED light products we purchase come with adhesive tape to apply on your walls, cabinets, etc. This adhesive tape has actually provided cooling properties.

However, this function is often reserved for premium LED strips from high-quality manufacturers. The particles in the tape reduce the heat from the strip, thus lowering the risk of burnout to the sensitive lights.

The majority of the time, LED light strips have built-in design features that lower the chance of overheating. The aluminum casing within the strip acts as a heat sink to aid the cooling process for the conductive elements. 

LED lights can last a long time if they’re maintained, and it’s recommended to spend a little more if you’re serious about getting a quality product rather than having to replace them down the road. 

Low-Quality LED’s Not Color-Matched 

The less expensive the LED lights, the more likely you’ll experience lighting color issues. With mid-range priced LED products, they’re liable to deteriorate quickly, and the technology simply gives out after overuse. 

The epoxy coating starts to deteriorate from the heat and the UV radiation that these lights emit. Therefore, you’ll notice that the encapsulant turns yellow or brown, affecting the color of your LED lights.

Again, it’s better to invest in the best-LED light strips you can afford from a reputable brand. 

Paint Or Adhesive on LED 

When it’s time to repaint your room, it often feels like too much effort to remove and reapply your LED setup.  Well…it’s common during renovations to contaminate the LED strip with paint or other material, leading to dull, faded, or different colored LED units.  

The best advice is to make sure that the LED lights are kept clean and remove them if necessary. The worst possibility is having paint go inside of the wiring. You may experience flickering, shortage, damage, color changes, or the lights stop working and need replacing.

LED Strips Are Overheating

Where the LED light strips are installed plays a large part in how long they last. LED lights need to be applied to a surface that has good air ventilation. For example, underneath kitchen cabinets, around bed frames, or furniture. Wood is insulating and retains heat, causing the LED lights to overheat easily

Metallic or ceramic surfaces are a better bet since they dissipate heat due to their properties. Tight or heated spaces are not recommended, such as near stoves or electronics. 

The LED temperature can rise when the environment of the material they are mounted to does not allow them to cool adequately.

Voltage Drop 

A voltage drop can occur for a few reasons, a poor connection, fluctuating mains current. Or more likely a poorly made LED strip where the current decreases as it travels through the length of the LED strip. In other words, for every foot of the LED strip, the voltage decreases as it travels along its length. 

A voltage drop can result in a different color, or one end of the lighting is brighter than the other.

Half Your LED Lights are a Different Color

If you see that one section of your LED lights is different from the other, then voltage may be to blame. As seen in the previous section, the voltage or the current from one power supply might not be enough for the entire length of LED lights that you have set up. 

The best solution would be to supply power from the two opposite ends of the strip. You might have a damaged or broken connection which is affecting the color of your lights. Frustratingly, one compromised LED chip can cause the entire light strip to malfunction. 

Damage to LED Strip Circuit

If you suspect your LED strip is damaged, you can start by troubleshooting and cycling through the colors in an attempt to identify the issue:

  1. Switch on your LED strip
  2. Switch through each color one at a time. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow etc, and check the whole strip lights up with the selected color.
  3. If any color fails to run the full length of the strip, inspect the strip to find any damaged section and repair or replace it

The best solution at that point would be to solder it in place with your iron and contact pad, bridging a connection. Remember to turn off the LED because your safety is a priority. Then, you can move on to the other steps without fear of being electrocuted. 

Sometimes, if sections of the LED strip do not light up and remain dark, that points to an open circuit or a manufacturing flaw. It could also propose mechanical damage during shipping or installation. Or, the LEDs or their components for a single section have become loose, resulting in an electrical malfunction.

You can ask your supplier for a replacement and see if they have any warranties in place. 

Another option is to completely remove the failed section by cutting on the designated lines if any. Then, you rejoin the strip lights with connector clips. Remember to not cut any light strips that don’t have the lines or proper indicators that they can be cut, or you risk ruining your new purchase.   

Why Do LED Strip Lights Turn Yellow

Yellowing is usually a result of purchasing low-quality LED strips that are housed in epoxy resin. The epoxy reacts to the LED blue light diodes and discolors over time from transparent through to yellow, which continues to darken with age.

High-quality LED strips that are mounted within glass housings or silicone will remain crystal clear and shine bright, true colors indefinitely.

Another reason for yellowing is…yep, overheating. Overheating again? Yes, I know, but overheating is a common problem with LED strip lights.

It is most likely that you are running a long series of RGB LEDs and the red LEDs are overheating, causing the yellowing. You will need to purchase a new LED strip designed to operate at the length you require. Avoid connecting separate strips together.

How To Fix LED Lights That Are Different Colors

As we have discovered there are many reasons why your LED light strips could be of different colors. Here are a few additional reasons and solutions to fix your LED headache.

LED Factory Reset

You can choose to reset your LED lights, returning the product to its original, factory settings. This process resets the lights as well as the controller. If you are experiencing different colors a few months or even years after purchase, you possibly changed the settings, or some accident caused a malfunction. 

Resetting eliminates this and any bugs. Most of the time, you can reset your LED lights by holding the power button down. But, double-check with your manufacturer’s information.

LED Strip Lights Not Factory Color Matched

The quality control process of color-matching LED diodes is a critical part of the manufacturing process. However, it can often be omitted by low-cost manufacturers and the result is, well poor color-matched LEDs.

If the problem was present when the product was new, then it is simply a manufacturing or quality control failure.

Damage to the Mounted Surface

When a single or a small number of LED diodes are a slightly different color from the rest of the strip, it is most likely that the foot of the diode which sits on the LED strip has become detached.

It is near impossible to fix the individual diode. It is better to remove the LED section and replace it. You can do this by soldering in a new section or using LED strip connectors.

Replace the Remote Control

Lastly, you can replace the controller or the LED strip itself, but only if the above solutions didn’t work for you. 

Why LED Strip Lights Blink?

If you’ve noticed that your LED lights are blinking, or flickering there could be a number of reasons why. So let’s take a look at the most common causes and give you a few remedial actions to take.

Power Supply or Voltage Drop

LED lights require a consistent and finite amount of power to operate correctly. If they aren’t getting the voltage they need, it will lead to flickering or worse, diode damage.

Easy fix: Check for loose connections. If there are none, I recommend you check the manufacturer’s guidance for the LED strip power consumption, to see if the power supply you have is strong enough.

Poor Connection 

If you notice a constant blinking or flashing from your lights, a poor connection may be the culprit. This means that the cables connecting the LED strips aren’t connected properly, resulting in your lights not functioning. 

The current is being broken through this disturbance, so confirm that no parts are loose. You should solder loose connections, or cut them out and reconnect with LED strip connectors.

Constantly On

Keeping your LED lights for prolonged periods of time can cause LEDs to blink. The voltage used is reduced after long periods, so be sure to allow your LEDs some downtime to cool down.

If you like to have your LEDs on for long periods then I would suggest using a plug timer to switch them off for a period every 12 hours. That way, you won’t have to worry about the lights flickering and giving out on you prematurely.

Damaged Strip

Finally, your LED lights are sensitive to water or dust. If exposed to either, a circuit could break or be damaged. Keep them away from water, and clean them regularly to prevent any grime from accumulating.

Verdict: Why LED Lights Are Different Colors

LED lights can change into different colors for multiple reasons. 

Overheating is the main issue. Therefore, be sure that when you’re installing your LED lights, they’re placed in an environment that has consistent, fresh airflow to reduce any risk or damage.

A second possibility is poor-quality lights. Elements of less expensive products will deteriorate faster, resulting in colors that you don’t want in your lights.

Power, or voltage, contributes as well. LED lights need a lot of energy to function and give you the breathtaking lighting you desire in your kitchen or bedroom. Dust or paint can also trigger your lights into acting weirdly.

Most of the repairs you can do on your own, or take preventive measures already to avoid encountering these problems later on. You can always reach out to a professional for help if you have further questions. 

FAQ: Fix Different Color LED Lights

If you notice that your LED strips are giving you the wrong color, most of the problems can be remedied by simply checking the markings and correcting any wrong terminals. When LED strips are controlled via remote, there’s a frequent disruption between the circuit board and the lights. 

Other times, different colors mean damage to the lights or insufficient power. Check the wiring and troubleshoot with the elements of the LED light strip to gauge where there’s an issue.

The next section will elaborate further on how to reset your LED lights and answer any questions you might still have about this process.   

Why Do MY LED Lights Change Color By Themselves

That was a lot of information, but hopefully, you’re still reading! With the new knowledge you’ve gathered from this article, you have a better understanding of why your LED lights are acting differently and displaying varied colors.

There are simple steps you can take to ensure that your lights will last a long time, and how you can fix them if you’re having issues with different colors, flickering, or require a reset. Most of the issues can be prevented, so be sure that you take all the precautions when installing your LEDs and maintain them properly.