Dimming LED Bulbs and need of a low load dimmer switch?
If you plan on buying dimmable LED it is worth checking their compatibility with your existing dimmer switches. Dimming an LED Bulb is not as simple as dimming a halogen bulb where a simple change in voltage will suffice. Rather, the dimmer switch has to compensate for their constant current and low wattage.
first thing to remember is that there are two main types of dimmer
switch; leading edge, also known as triac dimmers, and trailing edge.
These switches are not interchangeable. The internal driver on LED Bulbs
require a trailing edge dimmer switch in order to work.
dimmer switches are designed to operate with relatively high loads,
typically between 40 and 200 watts. In order to function correctly the
circuit load, the combined wattage of all the bulbs on the dimmable
circuit, must meet the minimum load stated on the dimmer switch. The
circuit load can be calculated by multiplying the number of bulbs on the
circuit by the individual wattage of each bulb. If the resulting figure
is less than the minimum load on the dimmer switch you run the risk of
under-loading it, which may cause problems such as limited dimmability
While halogen bulbs, which use about 50 watts each, have no problem achieving the minimum load on a dimmer switch (the major concern here is overloading), it can take several LED Bulbs before the minimum load is reached. This might not be a problem if you are running ten or more light bulbs on the same circuit, but if you are using less you will need a low load dimmer switch.
Load Dimmer Switches are designed to compensate for the low energy
requirements of LEDs. As the name suggests they have a much lower
minimum load than standard dimmer switches allowing them to run fewer
dimmable LED Bulbs on a single circuit.
Most dimmer switches are designed with an in-built micro-processor that offers protection against overloading. This means that if you mistakenly connect too many bulbs or transformers to your switch it will protect itself by automatically dimming the lights or by shutting down altogether.
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