Thursday, 1 August 2013

Dimming LEDs using push/twist wall-dimmers


For keeping wall dimmers working well, we find it best to:

·        Use an LED-compatible dimmer of rating about 5-times the total ‘load’ of all the LED spotlight bulbs, usually for approx 18 LED GU10 bulbs I’d use a “400w” trailing-edge dimmer (eg
This is partly because the electronic ‘chip’ in the dimmers has to make a lot of calculations and ‘tweaks’ to the power while driving LEDs and that makes it heat up a bit like a PC processor.

·        If the dimmer still heats up, change the front décor panel to an all-metal plate to distribute the heat into the air:
Either for grid-dimmers

Or for standard dimmers:
Make sure the front plate is all metal, not plastic faced with metal, as the dimmer needs to be in good contact with the metal front plate. I’ve even used electronics ‘heat conducting paste’ like they use when putting a new processor into a PC (eg from Maplin) to make sure the heat jumps from the dimmer to the front plate.

We’ve seen electricians pull the metal ‘wrap/fins’ off dimmer modules to fit them into the box better, but this piece is vital to conduct the heat away from the ‘processor’ chip inside.

·        Don’t cram 3 or 4 dimmers into one box as they all overheat this way being too close to each other.
Put more space between the dimmers so they can stay cool like or fit one dimmer per box

Heat is a common problem with dimmers and LEDs but we’ve always been able to solve it using these techniques.

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These are just my tips based on experience as a lighting enthusiast surveying sites and speccing energy-saving lighting in hundreds of buildings over ten years, and I know other people will have had different experiences (maybe different products and technologies too) so please feel free to share your own experiences here.