LED LIGHT DIMMER
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LED LIGHT DIMMER – YOUR 101 COMPLETE GUIDE!

The light controllers – LED light dimmers not only provide you with the amount of light you want, but they make your environment cozier and more relaxing than before.

WHAT!

You don’t have LED light dimmers to make your dimmable LED lights dim?

Worry not!

As our today’s lighting guide on LED light dimmers is going to help you in your journey of installing LED light dimmers to your home.  

SO, let’s get started!

 

When it was the reign of conventional light bulbs that consume much of the energy offering low output, dimmers were introduced to decrease the power consumption that eventually lowers the electricity bill.

With time, LEDs were introduced that started ruling the lighting world in no time because of their unique specialty “least power consumption.” With them, their dimmers came but not with the sole purpose of decreasing power consumption, but to dim your light at levels you want!

The story ends here! Now, let’s see the various lighting benefits, a light dimmer offers, and it’s working!

Benefits of having a Light Dimmer:

  • Easy light adjustments.
  • Energy and money saving.
  • Increased life-span.
  • Fewer light replacements.
  • Low maintenance cost.

Working of Light Dimmers:

LED light dimmers work by adjusting the amount of light. This is done by changing the supply voltage waveform to the dimmable light bulb or lighting source. Because of this light intensity decreases, so does the power consumption by the source, leading to multiple lighting benefits.

LED DIMMERS DIMMING METHODS AND TYPES

There are two dimming methods on which the dimmers operate. They are:

  • The Analog Dimming Method
  • The Digital Dimming Method

Analog Dimming:

Light is controlled in analog manner.

Dimming types in analog dimming method:

  • Phase Dimming

Based on this method, there are two types of dimmers:

Leading edge

Trailing edge

  • 1 -10 V DC Regulation
  • Touch

Digital Dimming:

In this method light is controlled in digital manner in which dimming signal is transformed into bits.

Based on digital dimming, there is a dimmer known as:

  • DALI

DIFFERENT DIMMER TYPES

Now, here’s a list of different types of light dimmers. This will help you identify the right dimmer for your house!

1. Standard/Rotary:

The oldest type of dimmer we’ve on the list is standard/rotatory dimmer that was designed with incandescent in mind. By turning the knob, you lower the amount of power that reaches the fixture that in return, lowers the light generated.

2. CL:

This dimmer was specifically generated to be used with CFLs and LED bulbs.

3. Magnetic Low Voltage (MLV):

This is the dimmer designed to be used with a magnetic driver. It lowers the power in a way that the driver can read and respond to. This operation operates without damaging the driver hardware.

4. Electronic Low Voltage (ELV):

This dimmer is designed to be used with an electronic driver that is required for most dimmable LED fixtures.

5. 0-10 Volt:

This is dimmer that requires extra wiring for its operation. It is widely used in Europe and US for commercial purposes. It is best for applications that are being newly wired or areas where rewiring is not a major issue.

6. Integrated Dimmer:

This is the dimmer with most complex controls other dimming. It has its own integrated system that mostly offers remote based proprietary controls.

Now, you might me confused by seeing these much dimmer types. Which one to buy, is really a hard question at the moment! But, don’t you worry! As always we’ve got you covered:

Pro-Tip:

  • Purchase a dimmer switch that can dim light fixtures with any kind of lamping.

Here’re some of our recommendation, from which you can make a wise purchase:

LEVITON – Sure Slide Universal 150 Watt LED Incandescent Dimmer

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GE – 3-Way Dimmer Switch for LEDs, Halogens, and CFLs, Incandescent

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EATON – Wi-Fi Smart Light Almond Universal Dimmer

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LEVITON – DW6HD 600W Universal Smart Wi-Fi Dimmer Switch

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THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF LED LIGHT DIMMERS

The two main types to look for, at this moment, for your dimmable LED light bulbs are:

  • Leading Edge Dimmers
  • Trailing Edge Dimmers

But, What Are They?

As, discussed above, leading edge and trailing edge dimmers fall together in phase dimming- Analog method. They are named after the part of the AC wave they cut to dim off the light.

Now, let’s study both the dimmer types in detail!

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEADING EDGE AND TRAILING EDGE DIMMERS

The difference between the leading edge and trailing edge phase cut dimmers are:

LEADING EDGE TRAILING EDGE

These dimmers cut off the cut off the front edge of the half cycle of each AC wave.

LED LIGHT DIMMER
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Source: electrical counter

These dimmers cut off the second half of each half cycle of AC wave.

LED LIGHT DIMMER
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Source: electrical counter

They are in the market for long time, are most popular, and widely used.

They are new in market with growing demand.

Traditionally used to dim conventional light bulbs incandescent and halogens.

They are specifically designed for LED light bulbs.

Up with higher wattage range normally in between 250W and 1,000W, because of their design compatibility with traditional bulb types.

They require low wattage range to operate because of their design compatibility with LED bulbs.

They can, sometimes, dim LED bulbs if wattage requirement meets, if not flickering will occur that may destroy the whole lighting set-up.

They are not considered good to be used with traditional bulb types.

Best for incandescent and halogen bulbs.

Best for LED light bulbs.x`

Here are a few of the best leading and trailing edge dimmers ruling the online market!

Trailing Edge Dimmers:

MARTIN JERRY – Single Pole Smart Trailing Edge Dimmer

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MARTIN JERRY – 3 Way Touch trailing Edge Smart Dimmer

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Leading Edge Dimmers:

MAXXIMA – 3 Way Single Pole Trailing Edge Dimmer Switch

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KASA – Smart Single Pole Neutral Wire Trailing Edge Dimmer

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DIM YOUR LED LIGHT BULBS WITH A TRAILING EDGE DIMMER – THE ULTIMATE BENEFITS!

It’s advisable not to use your dimmable LED light bulb with a leading dimmer. Instead, always use your bulb with a trailing edge dimmer. Both the dimmers are poles apart.

Trailing edge dimmers are:

  • More expensive,
  • More complex and complicated,
  • More efficient,
  • Brilliant to use,
  • Up with albeit sophisticated electronic system,
  • Offer smoother control,
  • No flickering, silent operation,
  • Require modest wattages.

…and lot more!

Because of this all, they yield a whole slew of benefits, making them perfect to be used with dimmable LED lights.

DIMMING LED LIGHTS WITH DIMMABLE AND NON-DIMMABLE LIGHT BULBS

If you want to dim your light, you need to check two things first:

  • Is your LED light bulb dimmable? If yes, then
  • Do you have a dimmer compatible to your bulb?

Confused?

Let’s discuss the points in detail!

1. Dimmable and Non-dimmable LED Light Bulbs:

You can’t dim your LED light if it’s not dimmable. Now, to check whether your light bulb is dimmable or not, see the label on your bulb’s box. If it’s dimmable, you will see the word “dimmable” written on it, if its not there then your bulb is not dimmable. In case of online purchase, check the product page description, and you’ll find out the dimming factor in your bulb.
LED LIGHT DIMMER
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2. Compatible Dimmer Switch:

While buying dimmer switch to dim your light, always check whether it’s compatible to your light or not. To check the voltage and wattage compatibility, the label on the bulb’s box will help. In case of dimmable LED lights, the recommended dimmer switch to buy is the trailing edge dimmer. It is specifically designed to dim LED lights.

  • Furthermore, the compatibility of your LED light bulb depends on the type and minimum maximum load range of the dimmer switch.

Now, it’s time to check how many light bulbs your dimmer can support!

Number of Lights Your Dimmer can Support:

To check how many lights your dimmer can dim, simply divide the minimum and maximum load of your dimmer by factor 10.

For instance,

  • Your dimmer is rated 200-500W.
  • Divide the min and max rating by 10.

i.e.

  • Minimum Load: 200W / 10 = 20W
  • Maximum Load: 500W / 10 = 50W

This shows that, when you use dimmer with LED lights, the load must not exceed between 20 and 50 W.

Now, to check how many bulbs you can use with your dimmer,

  • Add the combined wattages of LED bulbs, the total wattage must not exceed the calculated minimum load of your dimmer.

Precaution:

If the combined wattages of your LED lights exceed the calculated value, flickering, buzzing, poor dimming, or the entire failure of LED bulbs may occur.

Dimming range of your bulb:

The prime three factors that decided the dimming range you get on your bulb are:

  • The electric or wiring system i.e. 3 or 2-wire installation (with or without neutral wire).
  • The bulb type.
  • And the dimmer module.

Now, let’s have the most popping questions related to this guide section!

Can you install a dimmable bulb without a dimmer?

Yes, you can install a dimmable bulb without a dimmer. In the case, your bulb will operate just like the normal bulb i.e. ON and OFF only, no dimming.

What are 3-step dimmable bulbs?

3-step dimmable bulbs, in most of the cases, have three dimming ranges i.e. 10, 50 and 100%. They are simple to use that is why much in demand. When you ON them, they light to 100% of their brightness, the next OFF/ON turns the light to 50% of its brightness, and at OFF, they dim to 10% of the brightness.

Can I dim any LED light bulb?

NO, you cannot dim ANY LED light bulb. You need a dimmable LED light bulb to make your light dim.

WHY?

  • Both the dimmable and non-dimmable light bulbs use entire different componentry.

So, putting a non-dimmable one on a dimmable circuit, and expecting it to dim? Chuckles! Your light will flicker, buzz, or might destroy completely, in this scenario.

Can I use my existing dimmer switch to dim my LED light bulb?

Yes, you can use your existing dimmer switch to dim your LED light bulb, if it is compatible to your bulb. Up there, is a complete guide to check out your dimmer and LED bulb compatibility.

Pro-Tip: Dimmer is already installed, just put your dimmable bulb on the circuit and check whether it’s dimming or not, for just 1-2 times. If it’s not, better change your dimmer with the one that is compatible. The best to go with is trailing edge dimmer.

 

WHY ARE MY LED LIGHT BULBS FLICKERING?

Your LED light bulbs might be flickering because they are not dimmed properly. To identify what is the reason behind your flickering LED light bulbs, read the points below!

Low Load on the Dimmer Switch:

It is by far true that the new LED lights consume less power than the old incandescent bulbs. However, people don’t consider it a mistake. Let’s clear this concept by an example: Suppose you have two filament bulbs of 60 watts each. You connect it to a leading-edge dimmer that can handle the wattage between 25 watts to 250 watts.

If you look at the above scenario, the circuit will perfectly work. Two filament bulbs (60 watts each) will have a wattage of 120 watts. It is way more than the minimum and weigh less than the maximum wattage of the dimmer. Now, you think of installing some LED bulbs to the same circuit.

It is surely a great idea. However, these LED bulbs are energy-efficient. One LED light bulb will be of 6 watts only. Using two of them with the same leading-edge dimmer will have a wattage of only 12 watts. It is almost half of the minimum wattage of the dimmer (25 watts). In this case, the LED lights will flicker because of the low load.

Use a low wattage trailing-edge dimmer to solve this issue.

High Load on the Dimmer Switch:

Just like low load, the high load may also result in your LED lights flickering. But how will you know that your circuit will become overloaded with the LED lights you use? For this, divide the max wattage of your dimmer by 10. Now, calculate the cumulative wattage of your LED bulbs. You have to make sure that this wattage lies in between the minimum and maximum value of the dimmer. If the wattage is higher than the maximum wattage of the dimmer, the lights will flicker.

A Bit Unfortunate:

If your day is unlucky for you, everything you do will go wrong. For those who don’t know, LED lights work on the low voltage direct current (DC). You can consider it as a significant advantage of the LED lights. However, you will require an electronic driver for converting the voltage (from AC to DC).

LED lights come with built-in electronic drivers. These drivers may or may not work with your dimmer switch, causing the lights to not dim properly. It all depends on your luck. If it doesn’t work, you can’t do anything about it.

You can avoid the issue by finding the best-LED lights for your dimmer switch. Most LED lights have a list of dimmer switches that are compatible with them. All of those dimmers are mostly tested and certified for those LED lights. Thus, make sure to go through that list.

HOW TO DIM THE LED LIGHT BULBS PROPERLY?

Use Dimmable LED Bulbs:

Not all LED bulbs are dimmable. Check the product description portion and look for the LED bulbs that are dimmable.

Replace Your Dimming Circuit:

Most of you might have a leading-edge dimmer circuit installed in your living space. This circuit is not compatible will LED light bulbs. So make sure to replace it with a trailing-edge dimmer circuit. These are also known as LED-ready circuits.

Check The Dimmer Switch Compatibility:

Go for the dimmer switch that is compatible will almost every LED bulb. You will find many dimmer switches in the market that come with this feature. Using a compatible dimmer switch is indeed a crucial step to remember.

Use Bulbs From The Same Manufacturer:

LED bulbs usually have the same working principle. However, buying LED bulbs from multiple manufacturers might be problematic. The quality of material being used by one manufacturer might not be there in the LED bulb from another manufacturer. Also, using LED bulbs from multiple manufacturers will not make the lighting effect look appealing. Therefore, using all the LED bulbs from the same manufacturers is the best choice.

Use Main Voltage Light Bulbs:

You can replace the low voltage light bulbs with the main voltage ones. It will eliminate the need of using external transformers and compatibility issues. Consider the above scenario of using the bulbs from the same manufacturer. These LED bulbs will require a transformer for converting AC to DC. If the transformer is not compatible, your dimmable circuit will not work.

Use a Non-dimmable Circuit:

Dimmable LED lights are not what we love to use daily. Their dimmable feature is perfect for use in parties, indoor festivals, or family or friends gatherings. In short, you use the dimmable feature occasionally (once or twice a year). Using a non-dimmable circuit will work the best here as you will not have the option to set the lights to dimmable feature again and again.

LED light bulbs flicker because of your carelessness. If you do everything carefully, you can set the dimmable circuit that works properly.

Also, dimmable LED lights have lots of advantages over ordinary lights, so never miss a chance of enjoying these.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I know if a light bulb is dimmable or not?
To know whether your light bulb is dimmable or not, check out the label on the bulb’s box. If there is a crossed dimming curve, then that light bulb is not dimmable.

Can I replace a dimmable bulb with a non-dimmable light bulb?
Yes, you can replace a dimmable light bulb with a non-dimmable one. In the case, it’ll only light up when it’ll be having 100% voltage.

Can I replace non-dimmable with dimmable light bulbs?
Yes, you can easily replace the non-dimmable light bulbs with the dimmable ones. But, if you want that your newly installed dimmable bulbs dim, you need to install the compatible dimmer switch that helps in dimming. This is because, in your previous lighting system of non-dimmable bulbs, the dimming switch was lacking that only operates with dimmable bulbs to dim the light.

Can I dim a non-dimmable light bulb?
No, you cannot dim a non-dimmable light bulb. But, you can operate your non-dimmable bulb over a dimming circuit, only when the dimmer is set to its maximum of 100%. In case, if you want to dim your light in the condition, it’s not possible. Buzzing and flickering might happen in the case, leading to the damage of the whole lighting set-up.

CORE-CRUX

This was all we’ve got for you in our today’s guide to LED light dimmers. We hope this article has answered almost all the relevant and related queries on LED light dimmers.

To sum this all up:

  • The best LED light dimmers are with trailing edge technology.
  • LED light dimmers can dim a dimmable LED bulb, but not a non-dimmable one.
  • The leading ways to flickering, buzzing, and destruction of the lighting.
  • To avoid any flickering or buzzing, you need to check out the steps for getting a perfectly dimmed LED light bulb.
  • You can replace a non-dimmable bulb with the dimmable one, and vice versa.
  • Only dimmable bulbs can be dimmed.

So, this was all. Do let us know in the comment section below of your journey with LED light dimmers. We’d love to hear back from you guys! Now, with your permission, we’ll see you with another lighting guide containing queries you might have asked about!

So, stay tuned – More lighting is yet to come!

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