Don't be Dumb about Dimmers!

Posted by Mike Phillipson on

Many light fittings are available in two versions; dimmable and non-dimmable. It's important that you choose the right one for your particular use...

Mixing Switches & LED LightsWhy Dimmable?

Dimming LED lamps changes the visual mood and look of your lighting scheme - you can also save energy.

When to use?

You can use a dimmable LED lamp in a non-dimmable circuit. No Problem.

When NOT to use?

You should NOT use a non-dimmable lamp in a dimmable circuit. It may cause damage to the lamp and or circuit.

Existing Dimmer?

Most dimmer switches currently installed, and many of those still available, are designed to be used in high-power lighting circuits - along with old-fashioned filament bulbs. These work well with the bulbs that they were designed for, putting smooth control from virtually zero to full power lighting at your fingertips. They're relatively simple devices which work by adjusting the voltage/power in the circuit.

LED lamps on the other hand are more complex, as they're already low power and have inbuilt circuits to reduce the voltage down to low levels. These circuits - sometimes called a drivers takes a high-voltage alternating 'mains' current and converts it to low-voltage 'direct' current to drive the LEDs. So it's unlikely that your existing Dimmer is 'right for the job' when it comes to giving you the control needed.

It's actually even more complex than that...

Not only do LED lights work over a narrower power range than fillement bulbs, they also respond differently to the different 'types' of dimmer switches available. There's a surprising variety of technologies used in dimmer switches! - resistive; leading-edge and trailing-edge and electronic. And the voltage reduction circuits in dimmable LED lamps often work differently with different types of dimmer (LED lamps generally work better with 'trailing-edge' dimmers rather than leading-edge dimmers)

In short the way that the electronic/electrical circuits at each end of the main lighting circuite interact with each other can lead to a variety of undesirable effects: Flickering, 'step' change, threshold, drop-out and 'random' flashing.

So what's the solution?

In most cases, upgrading your dimmer switch to good quality modern one, specifically designed for LED, will do the trick. These LED dimmers have a very low minimum power rating, and use technology compatible with the Driver circuits found in most LED lights.

Our own 2602 dimmer controllers are, for example, compatible with ALL the dimmable lights we supply.

Got a question regarding dimmable LED lighting?

Then get in touch and we'll be pleased to get your problem sorted out in no time...

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →