HOW DOES DIMMING WORK? Let’s explain a little bit more about how dimming works:
Standard Dimming Controls (incandescent and halogen lamps)
Typical residential incandescent lamp dimmers are essentially electronic switches that toggle on and off 120 times per second. By delaying the beginning of each half-cycle of AC power (known as "phase control"), they regulate the amount of power to the lamp filament. Because this occurs so quickly, most people do not detect flicker, but see continuous dimming. Although the general operation of such electronic dimmers is the same, the specific electrical characteristics of residential dimmers can vary considerably. These variations are immaterial to incandescent lamps, but matter greatly when used with electronic devices such as LEDs.
So the electronics in the LEDs are often incompatible with dimmers designed for incandescent and halogen lights. An LED power supply connected directly to a line-voltage incandescent dimmer may not receive enough power to operate at lower dimming levels or it may be damaged by current spikes.
As we will see in the entry How can I dim my LetsLED® Tri-Core strips?, our LED strips can be used with line-voltage incandescent dimmers (although we do not recommend it), but the dimmer and the LED driver electronics must be carefully matched. Because of variability in installed dimmers, it is not possible to guarantee that a given LED fixture will work with all AC dimmers, that is why it is important, if choosing to use an AC dimmer to use one fully compatible with LED.
The LED dimmers that we recommend use a more sophisticated technology and use low-voltage controls connected separately to the electronic driver. Full AC power is provided to the LED Power Supply (LED driver) enabling the electronic controls to operate at all times, thus allowing LEDs to be uniformly dimmed (typically down to 5% or lower). These dimmers – such as the ones we offer in our dimmer category - use pulse width modulation (PWM) to regulate the amount of power to the LEDs. This technique turns the LEDs on and off at high frequency, varying the total on time to achieve perceived dimming.
Visit our our LetsLED LED dimmers assortment.
Other questions About LetsLED LED Dimmers:• When do I need a dimmer?
• How does dimming work?
• Does dimming affect the color?
• How can I dim my LetsLED LED strips?
• Which LED dimmer should I use?