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Dimmable LED lights can not only help to alter the overall mood and ambience of a room, but they also reduce energy consumption and last longer than conventional bulbs. Good for the environment, and for your pocket! Thanks to advances in modern LED technology, the intensity of overhead lighting can easily be adjusted to suit any lighting design scheme.

Why Choose LED dimming?

How Do They Work?

Types of LED Dimmer

Some Things To Consider

Why Choose Dimmable LED Lights?

Put simply, they give you more flexibility to light your space in the way that suits you best. LED dimming allows you more control to select your preferred level of light for a particular activity or time of day. Dimming enables you to easily transform a brightly-lit workspace into an ambient or relaxing setting at the turn of a dial – not to mention that you’ll be saving energy at the same time!

So How Does it Work?

That’s a great question, and one we get asked all the time.

There are several types of dimmable LED lights, and each one operates slightly differently, but the most popular example is mains dimming. This works by reducing the amount of power to the LED light source, effectively by blocking a fraction of the voltage.

Within mains dimming, you have ‘trailing edge’ and ‘leading edge’. These again have their differences, making them compatible with different types of light form:

Leading-edge dimmers:

A dimming control is used to lower the light output of a source by reducing its operational wattage. Put simply, less power is going to the bulb, therefore making it shine more softly.

A leading-edge dimmer uses a TRIAC (Triode for Alternating Current) switch to control power. Leading-edge dimmers are a common option, providing a cost-effective and simple solution.

Trailing-edge dimmers:

Alternatively, a trailing-edge dimmer uses a transistor and offers a more sophisticated solution that provides smoother, more silent dimming control. Mains Trailing Edge dimming can be used to dim most dedicated LED fittings when coupled with a mains-dimmable driver.

We offer trailing-edge dimmable drivers for a number of our fittings.

What other types of dimming are there?

1-10v

While mains dimming works well, low voltage dimming offers an alternative. 1-10v dimming operates effectively with dedicated LED fittings. This can be smoother than the leading-edge and trailing-edge mains dimming options, although on the downside requires a separate control cable to be run from the controller to the fitting’s driver.

DMX

DMX is most commonly used for colour-changing light installations and professional lighting control systems. The DMX dimming method relies on a signal being generated by a lighting control system which is then transmitted through dedicated wiring between the controller and the driver.

DALI

The final (and our personal favourite) non-mains dimming method is the DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface).

We love it because it brings two-way communication into lighting, making it much more user-friendly and ideal for commercial or more complex lighting systems.

With DALI, LED drivers can be linked to a central computer, allowing each of them to be controlled independently. Each lighting fixture is given an address in the system, allowing the user to dim the lights either individually or by room.

Here at Sera Technologies we offer several varieties of DALI dimmers and are more than happy to advise you on which would work best for your lighting project.

DALI 2 develops on this concept even further; adopting a DALI 2 dimming method allows for more colour changing control and the ability to individually control twice as many light fittings (128 as opposed to 64), giving specifiers and designers many more possibilities.

 

Considerations when choosing a dimmer

The innovations we’ve seen in dimmable led lights means that there’s now a workable solution for everybody, and you’ve never had more control over the brightness, colour and ambience of your lighting design. However, now that there are so many options, there are some things that you’d be wise to consider before making a final decision.

The main issue to be aware of is compatibility. Even the most experienced electrician or specifier may have trouble remembering which dimmer switch is best suited to your dimmable led light fittings. In many cases, existing dimmer switches don’t work well with newer LED bulbs.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, which dim indiscriminately, LEDs either dim or they don’t. If a LED bulb is used with an incandescent dimmer switch, the bulb may only work at full brightness, may hum or flicker at certain levels or may even not turn on at all. This is due to the complex circuitry of the LED’s built-in driver.

Although it is the driver which dictates whether an LED product will dim, the driver’s performance largely depends on its compatibility with the dimming device. The driver must be designed to understand and interpret the signalling by the dimming device for dimming to occur.

Another decision you will have to make will involve finding the balance between cost and control. For example, a DALI network arguably provides the best user experience, but the advanced technology that facilitates this can come at a higher price than other more established solutions. Once purchased, they’re extremely efficient to run, which should offset the initial higher cost.

Ease of installation is another factor to consider, especially if your lighting project has a tighter timeframe and budget. Certain fittings require dedicated control cabling alongside power cables between fixtures, such as the DMX and DALI options. Furthermore, to gain maximum benefits from a DALI system, all your light fittings should be independently wired, meaning that retrofits, while possible, are certainly more complex.

It’s also important to remember that smart bulbs are not designed to work with dimmer switches. They have a built-in mechanism that will conflict with a wall-mounted dimmer, causing the bulb to flicker, hum or simply not turn on. Using the app or included remote will avoid these common concerns.

At SERA Technologies, our team of experts can advise which dimmers are compatible with your chosen fittings, and vice versa. Send us a message on our contact page or via the Live Chat at the bottom of your screen, and we’ll ensure you don’t purchase incompatible products.

At SERA Technologies, our team of experts can advise which dimmers are compatible with your chosen fittings, and vice versa. Send us a message on our contact page or via the Live Chat at the bottom of your screen, and we’ll ensure you don’t purchase incompatible products.

If you have any further questions or would like help from our experts, Contact Us.

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