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Triac Dimmer Controls Dimmable LED Lights & Traditional Bulbs

Traditional bulbs such as incandescent, halogen are still widely used nowadays. These lamps are energy swallowing monsters with low energy efficiency. To make them more efficient, you need a Triac (triode alternating current) dimmer which can adjust brightness of them to the desired level. LED light with built-in triac dimmable driver can also be dimmed by a triac dimmer.

Then how does a triac dimmer work to control the standard incandescent, halogen, or xenon lights? With an electrical component called a triode alternating current switch, the dimmer turns the lights on and off very rapidly, about 120 times every second. Human eyes can not notice the flashing since it is too fast. This process is similar to how video works – the still frames move so quickly that what we see looks smooth and continuous. To adjust the brightness lower, the triac keeps the lights "on" more than "off." To adjust the brightness higher, they're "off" more than "on."


For LED lights, since they are DC input light source, to dim them with a triac LED dimmer, they should have a built-in or external triac dimmable LED driver. As technology developed, triac dimmer can be compatible well with LEDs and overcomes the flickering issue in early days.


Traditional triac dimmer is manually controlled with a rotary knob or push button, although it is simple but not smart enough. Nowadays smart control interfaces such as wireless control, DMX, DALI are developed for them.


Wireless control such as radio frequency and WiFi are intelligent solutions to enable more flexible control without restrictions. With built-in RF/WiFi receiver, the dimmer receives wireless signal from a remote or smart phone and converts it to phase cut dimming signal. With max. transmission distance of up to 30m, you can control the dimmer anywhere in your house.


DMX512 signal can also be used control a triac dimmer, which has a built-in DMX interface to accept DMX signal input. The dimmer converts DMX to phase cut signal to control the connected lights. Controlled by a DMX master controller, an advantage of this dimmer is that it can be integrated into a DMX512 control systemComputer Technology Articles, which mean all installed dimmers can be addressed individually with different DMX addresses.

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Jerry Xu is a professional intelligent lighting control specialist from Hongkong Sunricher Technology who is specialized in triac dimmer and LED dimmer for smart home solution.

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