Are you struggling to get your LED to dim properly?
Perhaps your installation or supplier is telling you that LED does not exist?
Or are you just wondering if LED are in fact dimmable at all?
LED Dimming is NOT a myth!!!
When bulbs were incandescent, dimming was a popular and “must have” thing. It is so because dimming allows lightings to be adjusted according to the ambience required. Consumers can enjoy those good days again. Due to the complexity of dimming LED, many small time manufacturers or retail shops and many electricians will probably share that dimming is not possible in LED but that is certainly not the case.
What happened to DIMMING?
When fluorescent lightings (CFLs, Energy saving bulbs, PLC) becomes common due to being more energy efficient, popularity of dimming starts to fade as dimming fluorescent can be challenging, unstable and expensive.
Dimming is BACK with LED.
Now with LED, dimming can become easy again due the nature of electronics and LEDs. However, dimming LED is a little more complex than what many would have thought off due to compatibility requirements. This is a very important point to note: “NOT ALL LEDs can be DIMMED and works with every LED dimmer.
DO choose dimmable LEDs
The number one rule for successfully dimming LED lighting might sound obvious but one must understanding that NOT ALL LED lights can be dimmed with an LED dimmer. The driver circuitry must be designed with dimming in mind. Therefore, it is essential to choose lamps that the manufacturer describes as ‘dimmable’.
Choose ‘dimmable’ lamps but be aware that this in itself is not a guarantee of a good dimming performance. It is, however, a good starting point.
DO stick to recognised brands
There is a lot of variation in the dimming performance, under test, of LED lamps described as dimmable. In particular, the achievable brightness range and stability of output are the features most likely to disappoint with unbranded lamps.
Some manufacturers are happy to label their lamps as dimmable even if they can deliver only the smallest change in brightness. Choose lamps from established lighting manufacturers. Aside from dimming considerations, established brands are also more likely to offer better product warranties. Look for established shops like ThreeCubes that honor warranties as well. Brands like Megaman and Azelite has done a good job in dimming as they produced bulbs that are very smooth and stable in dimming.
Top tip: Stick to brand names that you can have confidence in and don’t be tempted to make false economies.
DO ask manufacturers about compatibility
Most established lighting brands publish compatibility data on their websites. Dimmer switches are tested with various loads and the lamp performance graded. These grades are a useful reference point and can help when choosing a dimmer. It can be confusing though, Megaman is one brand that lists all the tested dimmers in the web.
Top tip: Manufacturers want customers to experience the full potential of their lamps and will often be happy to recommend the best dimmer switch to use.
DO choose a dimmer designed for LED lighting
Sophisticated dimmers are available to deliver the best possible performance from dimmable LED lighting. Some have several dimming modes to enable smooth dimming across the diverse driver technologies in the market. The brightness output a lamp produces from the same power input varies markedly between brands. For this reason, some manufacturers now include an adjustable minimum brightness setting so the user can access the full brightness range of a given lamp. An adjustable minimum brightness also ensures that any instability a lamp might exhibit at its lowest level of illumination can be avoided.
Top tip: Dedicated LED dimmers are equipped to exploit an LED lamp’s full dimming potential, better replicating the dimming behaviour of an incandescent lamp.
Not all LEDs are dimmable. Choose reputable brands like Megaman U-DIM (Universal Dim where intensive range of dimmers are tested) and Azelite that have extensively tested dimmers with their bulbs. The range of dimming can vary and be aware of “self-proclaimed” dimmable bulbs that doesn’t actually dims well.
Choose brands and resellers that have ensure the dimmers and bulbs will work well together and able to honor changes and warranties. ThreeCubes is one of such shops that never say no to exchange when products are under warranty.