2 Way Switches with 2 Way Dimming
Is it possible? Can it be done?
We have been asked many times these 2 questions. We have decided to test it out and here’s our conclusion and recommendation.
2 Way Dimming Configuration Setup
We have setup the 2 Way configuration using Legrand Dimmers and Switches and Megaman GU10 U-DIM Bulbs that are heavily tested with many dimmers. Instead of putting the dimmers in series, we decided to split them to 2 different ends of the bulb.
Did the configuration work?
Yes. It did. Both dimmers can be used to dim the bulb. However, during our test, we realise that when trying to dim the bulb to around 30% brightness, it starts to flicker. Turning off the switch and then back on also did not provide enough current to light up the bulbs again.
Is it practical to have 2 dimmers?
Our answer is NO!!! Here’s why. During the test, we also face some issues. Not technically but functionally. During tests, we got confused and had to figure out a few things:
- Is the switch on or off as there is no light. We then started toggling the switches and that’s where we realized one of the dimmers is set too low
- Now, is the dimmer set too low again? Oopss.. this time round it’s one of the switches that is set "off".
- While we repeatedly tested this configuration, we got confused by the above 2 situations.
Linking this back to real life. A situation where 2 way switches are placed on both sides of the bed, the whole purpose is to provide convenience so that either side switched without “crossing over”. Allowing dimming on both sides increase the possibility that users have to check if the dimmer is set correctly and if light switches are on or off. This creates that extra frustration.
What do customers really do then?
We spoke to a number of customers the poll agrees that when a dimmer is set, customer don’t usually adjust the brightness that frequently. In general, once the brightness is set, they will leave it. That’s the reason why customers prefer 2 way switch that has dimmer that are separated and not the Single KNOB type.
So what is does the final configuration look like?
It can look like this where you can have a separate dimmer with 2 x 2 way switches.
Or one normal 2 ways switch and the other 2 ways switch with integrated dimmer.
What’s the Conclusion?
To conclude, for practical reasons, we recommend customer to use only 1 dimmer and 2 x 2 way switches to provide the convenience to on/off the light at 2 different location. While choosing dimmable LED, ensure the following:
- Ensure compatibility between dimmer and bulb. Megaman U-DIM provides a list of supported model.
- As much as possible, avoid combination of separate driver and bulb. Example the traditional MR16 with separate driver. Go for the growing popular GU10 bulbs with integrated driver to minimize risk of dimming not working.
- Use GU10 over MR16 for dimming spot light or track light. For down lights, dimmable downlights from suppliers such as Megaman and AZelite are reputable brands that will ensure dimming works well.