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LED Flicker & Scanners: Can You Turn Your Brightness Up?

Energy Focus Blog


In the age of modern technology, just about everything can be accessed on your phone. If you’ve ever traveled by airplane, you probably use your phone to access your boarding ticket instead of printing off a paper pass. However, it seems the scanner only works about half of the time when using your phone. The airline attendant might ask, “Can you turn the brightness up on your phone?”

But this probably isn’t the only time you’ve noticed a scanner not working properly.

Why Scanners Fail

Scanners have become a part of daily life. They are installed in grocery stores, clothing stores, hospitals, warehouses, and more. It’s frustrating when this technology that is supposed to make tasks quicker actually slows your operations down. Scanner interference can be caused by a multitude of factors, but did you know the flicker in low-quality LED lighting can be a silent disruption? Flicker in most cases can’t be seen by the naked eye.


How Flicker Interferes with Scanners

The sensor of a barcode scanner emits light on a high frequency light carrier to operate, which functions to generate contrast between black and white. The typically infrared signal from a barcode scanner has to reach the barcode and bounce back to the receiver for the scanner to work properly. If a room’s light source is flickering at a frequency similar to the barcode scanners’ carrier, the scanner will not function. If you would like to read more about optical flicker in lighting, download out whitepaper.

How Do I Check for Flicker?

There are several ways to check to see if you are under LED lighting that is flickering. The first way is by using a flicker meter. If you do not have access to a flicker meter, you can record a video of the lights and play it back in slow motion. We did this experiment ourselves with several competitors and our Energy Focus flicker-free 500D series LED tube. Watch the video at the end of this blog post to see the difference.

Does your workplace utilize scanners? Contact us today to order Energy Focus’ flicker free lighting so you can focus more on your work and less on your lighting.