(The gist is in bold)

I recently got a PiGlow and started playing around with it. When I have the yellow LEDs set at > 200 for an extended amount of time, one of them starts to flicker and eventually goes out. It comes back eventually on a lower power setting, but it keeps going out with prolonged use at high settings.

I don't know the slightest about hardware and LEDs—so before I angrily ship it back to Amazon, I'm wondering if 1. these LEDs have an expected lifespan which is substantially below infinity, 2. I am misusing them in any way.

If no, should I just send it back and get a replacement? Is there anything I can do in the future to avoid this bummer? I really like my colorful swirly lights and am making cool patterns with them ^.^

edit: I should also allow for the possibility of something else being wrong with it, I guess, maybe on the raspberry pi level.

edit 2: I have not been able to reproduce the issue by simply turning on the yellow ones, or the particular one, only by turning most of the LEDs on to a high setting, after which no matter what I do, the yellow one at hand will start to flicker and turn off.

  • I'd try a slightly larger power supply and see if the problem goes away.
    – Tyson
    Aug 16, 2014 at 20:16
  • Try removing it from the header and plug it back in. It might be a connection problem (though very unlikely). There shouldn't be anything you can do wrong with this product. Also, life expectancy of led is typically around 10000 hours. Most likely a bad led, or a bad solder connection. I would just return it.
    – Gerben
    Aug 17, 2014 at 14:28
  • @Tyson I didn't think power supplied by USB varied at all. I guess the bit that converts wall power to USB is what you're referring to? (I probably sound like an idiot—sorry).
    – user19727
    Aug 18, 2014 at 14:13
  • @Gerben I thought it'd be a connection issue so I did try jiggling it about a bit, reseating it, and cleaning the little pins. I will return it and get a replacement.
    – user19727
    Aug 18, 2014 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


I just spoke with the guys at Pimoroni (the makers of PiGlow):

Apparently, they had at one point received a batch of bad LEDs and are aware of the problem affecting some of their PiGlows. They offered to just send me a replacement with working LEDs a day after I contacted them.

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