profit on a job, so it’s important for them to understand the
issues concerning compatibility on the front-end,” Benya said.
Barney expanded on this dilemma.
“Contractors are stuck in the middle, for sure,” Barney said.
“In the event of a problem, the building owner may point a
finger at the contractor, manufacturer and distributor, but the
contractor is ultimately the one who has to install or reinstall
it on a deadline. It can certainly eat up a lot of the contractor’s
time and money.”
Barney and Benya advise investigation ahead of time as a
critical means of avoiding compatibility issues later on. The
following tips should help contractors position themselves for
success with the LED system they are working with.
Verify wiring and connections: Contractors know that
power from the building will go into the driver, but not all of
the traditional markers they are familiar with may apply to
today’s LED systems.
“Generally, wires are black, white and green, but these might
be different with an LED driver—dimmer wires are purple and
gray,” Barney said. “The vast majority of contractors or electri-
cians just go by standard color codes and 60 percent of current
systems follow these color codes, but some Asian, European
and Canadian manufacturers could have different color con-
ventions for wires, and if connections to the wire and dimmer
are improper, it could blow the driver.”
He recommended that contractors consult the installation
guide supplied by the manufacturer and the wiring legend
printed on every driver.
“It always helps for electricians to know what they’re
installing and why, especially when the driver connects directly
to the lighting controls,” Benya said.
Tighten loose connections: “Loose connections can lead
to arcing, damage to the fixture or smoke,” Barney said, adding
that this applies to connections that are even a couple of mil-
limeters apart where metal isn’t touching metal.
Apply deductive reasoning: If the contractor has checked
everything and connected the system, but no lights come on
when the switch is flipped, Barney said there are several pos-
“First, check the circuit breaker to ensure that there are
no shorts and that the power is on,” he said. “The next step
in troubleshooting is to shut everything down and replace the
driver. If that doesn’t work, shut everything down again and
replace the fixture/light engine, and if the fixture is defective,
send it back to the manufacturer and get a refund. If there’s
still no light, however, there’s likely a power-source problem in