The Reason Why Some Lights Are Turning Purple

Recently, there has been a lot of press about outdoor LED lights turning purple.

This is happening not only in Florida but all over the country and the rest of the world. As more and more LED street lights have been installed, we now have lights burning for several years so we are starting to see some of the problems with LED technology.

Most people have seen lights that blink on and off, sometimes very rapidly or other times a slow fade on and off. This issue is due to the power supply of the fixture. Usually, it can be fixed by replacing the power supply.

The issue with the light color changing to purple is not a new issue. It’s been happening for a while, mostly with cheaper, foreign manufactured products. This occurs because the LED diodes that they use have a “phosphor displacement” which causes a spectral shift.  

Remember, a light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits light when current flows through it. Electrons in the semiconductor recombine with electron holes, releasing energy in the form of photons.  

The way we get different colors on LED diodes is by putting layers of phosphor on top of them. If those layers were manufactured cheaply and were rushed in production, it can cause failures later on. This is precisely what is happening with these purple lights. There is a breakdown on the layers of phosphor.  

Most good LED fixture manufacturers have warranties against color change, but many do not.  It is extremely important to make sure that you work with a manufacturer that understands this issue and protects you against it.  We have seen too many customers use cheap LED fixtures to get a great ROI and then a year or two later are re-installing new fixtures because the original ones are not functioning properly and the warranty is not worth the paper it was printed on.  That is why we focus on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to ensure our customers have lights that will last 10 years or longer.

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