Can LED Lights Be Dimmed? Don’t Make A Mistake February 4, 2023 – Posted in: General Info, Lighting Information
Yes, LED lights can be dimmed! But you first need to make sure your lighting is compatible with your dimmer switch. The reason it is possible to dim LED lighting is because of the use of electronic ballasts that transform high voltage into low voltage current. These electronic power supplies control the brightness of your light and offer several methods to manage the light. However, even though most LED lighting companies offer a “dimmable” option for their lights though you still need to confirm that your light bulbs and fixtures are compatible with that option. Some older buildings may require lots of re-wiring to modernize them for newer dimming systems so it might not make financial sense to run new wiring for a single fixture.
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Other considerations include whether or not the ballast can support different types of controllers such as 0-10V, 1-10V, PWM (pulse width modulation), and/or TRIAC dimming. Depending on your specific needs and budget, you may want to think about these options when shopping for the right kind of dimmable LED light bulbs.
Some LED lighting is not designed to be fully dimmed to zero but have been designed with a minimum level of light that is always slightly illuminated even at its lowest setting. Try to double-check the specs with your manufacturer before purchasing if this is an important feature for you.
LED Light Bulb VS LED Fixture Dimming
There are several key differences in how bulbs and fixtures work. While in the past, even light fixtures had bulb sockets, with many new fixtures it’s different, there is integrated LED designs now. One advantage of LED bulbs is they have the advantage of being much cheaper than LED fixtures as they require no external LED driver. They can transform the direct voltage supplied into a usable form for the bulb’s operation (typically 12v or 24v). This ability makes them very convenient and cost-effective, however, they do not offer much in terms of aesthetics so many customers looking for something nicer opt-in for LED light fixtures instead.
Many LED fixtures offer users more control over the brightness and color temperature of the light. Take the example of our Blocks ceiling light, both brightness and temperature are managed via remote control. This feature allows users to adjust their lighting down for more comfortable living conditions or brighten it up for task-oriented activities such as studying or cooking. However, these fixtures tend to cost slightly more upfront due to needing additional components for their wireless lighting control.
Types Of LED Dimming
The folks at nanometer created a nice explanation video.
This dimming is one of the oldest and easy dimming systems that was originally used for fluorescent lighting. Operated by direct current voltage (DC) between 0 and 10 volts, this system can smoothly dim down a light level to 10%, 1%, or even 0.1%. At 10 volts, lights reach maximum output. With 1 volt, lights dim to the minimum while a switch may be necessary to turn them off completely. This versatile system connects LED fixtures reliably to craft perfect lighting solutions with varying intensity levels and ambiance – creating an elevated atmosphere for spaces like bar and restaurant seating.
DALI is a protocol designed for networked lighting-control systems used in building automation projects. It’s an international standard and a trademarked protocol that enables easy integration of LED equipment from different manufacturers, such as dimmable ballasts, receiver and relay modules, power supplies, dimmers/controllers, and more. Developed as a successor to 0-10V, DALI offers more sophisticated and flexible control with bidirectional communication between the control system and each LED driver/ballast/device group. This protocol is extremely flexible for both small and large applications making it a popular option for scalable infrastructure. The DALI protocol includes all of the commands and channels necessary to effectively control building lighting. It can be used to control single lights and group lights together for better control.
“Phase-cut” dimmers function by taking the live current (120V) and adjusting the signal to minimize the power to the load. By “slicing” the signal, the load experiences a lower voltage, causing a decrease in light output. The two most commonplace “phase-cut” methods are forward-phase and backward-phase, both with their advantages and drawbacks. Leviton residential “phase-cut” dimmers are generally recommended industry-wide.
TRIAC dimming aka Triode for Alternating Current acts as a high-speed switch and is used to regulate how much electricity is sent to a light bulb. TRIAC dimmers are also known as Thyristor Dimming and offer advantages like fast response time, compatibility with AC power, easy installation and lightweight construction. TRIAC dimming was very popular during the days of incandescent bulbs. These days many LED fixtures use alternate methods.
Make Sure The LED Lights You’re Buying Are Dimmable
Installing LED light fixtures is often a great way to update your home or office. But before you purchase any LED lighting, it’s important to know for sure that they are compatible with your dimmer switches.
When purchasing LED light fixtures, make certain that the product labels state that it’s compatible with dimmers. If there isn’t any such labeling, then you should check the LED driver compatibility. Additionally, some LED drivers such as ELV (elective lower voltage) require special dimming technology which may not be supported by certain dimmers.
Consider Wireless Dimming Solutions
Wireless dimming solutions provide a simple yet effective way of controlling the brightness levels of your LEDs without the hassle of extra wiring or pins poking out from walls and ceilings. Many products at Modern Place often come equipped with a remote control built-in for this purpose allowing you to easily adjust the brightness and color temperature when needed. Installing high-quality dimmable LED light fixtures is a great way to update your home while enjoying energy savings in the long run.
Hopefully today I was able to answer your question “Can LED Lights Be Dimmed?”. Here is a few additional questions people asked:
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you use a regular dimmer on LED lights?
If you use a regular dimmer on LED lights, they lights will probably uncontrollably flicker and buzz which can be extremely distracting. It can also cause the LED bulbs to sustain damage and be rendered permanently defective. A little research before installation can save you lots of money.
Do LED lights need special dimmers?
Depending on what you have installed now, you might or might not need an upgrade you your system. Some fixtures and bulbs will work with old school systems. But you don’t want to be stuck having to run an extra wire through the ceiling because you picked the wrong fixture, so it’s best to consult with an expert first or check model numbers.
Are all LED strips dimmable?
In contrast to LED bulbs, basically every LED strip is dimmable when it is connected to the power supply and controller. The power is what actually affects the DC voltage to affect the output while the controller determines the color output.
I have been the project manager for Modern.Place since early 2016, spending three of those years working overseas on the manufacturing & procurement side of the LED lighting industry. Constantly learning and passing on knowledge to others while excited for what the lighting industry will involve into next.