Dimming LED Bulbs: Why you may need 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 switch has to compensate for their constant current and low wattage.
The 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.
Standard 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 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 switch you run the risk of under-loading it, which may cause problems such as limited dimmability and flickering.
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.
Low Load 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 switches allowing them to run fewer dimmable LED Bulbs on a single circuit.
Most 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.
If you would like any more information on dimmable LED or low load dimmer switches please leave a comment and make sure you consult an professional electrician before attempting to change any electrical connections to avoid any possible accidents or mishappenings.
For further information on LED technology and LED lights, watch for this space in future as there would be many new articles coming up on this and related topic.
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