A guide to LED controllers: dimmers
As more and more of us become aware of our impact on the planet, finding ways to cut down on our energy consumption is more important than ever.
If you're looking to cut down your electricity bill and save energy, replacing your traditional lighting system with LED lighting is a great option. Not only does LED lighting last longer than the average incandescent lamp, but it's also incredibly energy efficient and emits almost no heat—not to mention extremely versatile and striking to look at.
One of the most appealing benefits of LED lights, however, is their different control systems. With LED DMX systems, flashers and dimmers, you can have greater control over your lighting. By using a high-quality LED dimmer, you can alter the amount of light output emitted by your bulbs, allowing you to save energy and create a unique ambience for your space.
In this article, we'll be taking a look at what LED dimmers are, how to choose the right LED dimming device for your needs and some of the benefits of using dimmable LED lighting. Click on one of the links below to jump to that section:
What are LED dimmers?
LED dimmers are devices that are designed to control the lighting output and energy consumption of a dimmable LED bulb. Dimmer switches work by trimming a section of a waveform to a light bulb to reduce the power delivered to it. They do this either on the trailing edge or the leading edge of a wave. Most LED light bulbs are compatible with both trailing edge and leading-edge dimmers.
Trailing edge dimmers are designed specifically to slowly reduce the voltage transmitted to a bulb until it reaches zero, rather than switching it off abruptly. This is done by applying resistance to the wiring to create a ramp, which increases the amount of heat dissipated by the bulb.
Leading-edge dimmers are typically used with mains halogen light bulbs or incandescent bulbs, as they are compatible with inductive and resistive loads and are capable of reducing the load by shortening the cycle at the input waveform's leading edge.
What are the benefits of using an LED dimmer?
LED dimmers have many practical and environmental benefits. Using an LED dimmer can reduce the output level of your bulbs, saving energy and ensuring the electrical components run cooler and have an extended life. LED dimmers also make it easier for you to adjust the lighting within a space to suit your changing needs, and they can help designers create mood settings with ambient lighting pre-sets.
LED dimmers can also reduce the amount of heat emitted by an LED bulb, which can reduce the risk of fire and accidents.
Which dimmer do I need?
The first thing you need to determine when choosing a dimmer for your LED lamp is to make sure that it has a wattage rating that exceeds or meets the total wattage of all of the LED bulbs that will be controlled by the dimmer. You should also consider the scale of your application or lighting need, as some dimmers, such as the 311 Dimmer/Flasher with Remote 18A, have been designed specifically for heavy-duty installations.
Then, you need to decide what functionality you want your dimmer to have and what you want it to look like. Dimmers come in a variety of styles, including touch-sensitive, rotaries and toggles in many different colours.
LED dimmers from WeLoveLEDs
Micro Dimmer/Flasher with Remote 6A
Product Link - Rotary Dimmer 30A
With 30A capability, this device can reduce 100% brightness to 20% without flickering. It has an operating voltage of 12v or 24v. All you need to do to use it is simply turn the dial to adjust the brightness of your lights.
Rotary Dimmer 8A
Product Link - Rotary Dimmer 8A
Mini Dimmer with Remote 9A
Product Link - Mini Dimmer with Remote 9A
The remote control and dimmer unit can bring 100% brightness down to 0%, giving you access to a full range of illumination. It has a wall-mounted storage case and a sleep mode for preserving battery life.
311 Dimmer/Flasher with Remote 18A
Product Link - 311 Dimmer/Flasher with Remote 18A
A robust unit for controlling heavy-duty signs and displays. The buttons on the remote match the buttons on the controller for ease of use, and features include six pre-programmed effects, memory, speed and brightness.
Frequently asked questions
How many LED bulbs can a dimmer switch support?
It's a good idea to put less than 10 LED lamps on a single dimmer module to avoid overloading the system. If desired, you can put more than one lamp on a single plate, so if you have a three gang dimmer plate, for example, you can put 10 LED lamps on each module (30 in total).
All dimmer switches are equipped with a maximum and minimum rating in watts. LED loading has to be calculated in a different way to mains halogen light bulbs and traditional incandescent bulbs, but a good rule to apply is to take the dimmer switch's maximum rating and divide it by 10. So, for example, if your dimmer switch has a 400W maximum rating (which translates to 40W), you can run five 7.1W dimmable LED light bulbs.
Why is my dimmable LED light flickering?
There are several reasons why your LED light may be flickering. The dimmer switches may be incompatible, the LED driver in the bulb itself may be defective or the wiring may be loose or incorrect. A low frequency of less than 50 Hz may also make your LED bulb flicker, or there may be an issue if the wire is under 6" in length.
Any voltage fluctuations in the wiring in your home may also cause flickering, and if your LED lights are on the same circuit as some of your appliances, they may flicker when you first turn your appliances on. To avoid this inrush current of motors causing the voltage of the circuit to drop, make sure that your appliances are on separate breakers (such as your dryer, washer, stove and fridge). If you have attempted to resolve any of these issues and your dimmable LED lights continue to flicker, get in touch with a certified electrician.