Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Types of Dimmers can reduce the voltage supplied to the lamp, which results in a light output decrease of the light bulb. With a dimmer you may set the light levels depending on your mood. Direct advantage? You will note a reduction in consumption and that will make you save money. Another advantage is that it increases lamp life in order to replace lamps less times, so, automatically you reduce the replacement of a lamp and maintenance costs.

Be carefully by choosing the correct dimmer, if you select the wrong type it may not work, could reduce lamp life or even blow the dimmer.

Types of Dimmers:

Resistive Dimmers (Leading Edge)

Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Compatible with resistive or inductive loads,  leading edge dimmers are able to short the A/C cycle at the leading edge of the input waveform, hence the term ‘Leading Edge’.

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs are the most common bulbs where leading edge dimmers are applied. Also low voltage transformers are dimmable, as well as LED drivers. These dimmers are available in 250w, 400w, 600w and 1000w modules. Note that they also have a minimum load requirement of 25w, 40w, 100w and 150w respectively.


Resistive Dimmers (Trailing Edge)

Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Trailing edge dimmers are more expensive to produce and purchase. They incorporate many features such as soft start; smooth control, silent running and multi-way dimming that promotes the life of the lamps and fittings.

They are commonly used to dim laminated, wire-wound or toroidal transformers, which are certain types of low voltage transformers on the primary circuit. Trailing edge dimmers can also dim incandescent, halogen and LED lamps effectively.

The price of a trailing edge dimmer is higher but it has many desirable attributes over its leading edge counterpart and in certain situations may be more appropriate.

Inductive Dimmers

Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Inductive dimmers aren’t used in home settings. They are located on the secondary side of a low voltage or LED lighting scheme. They are rated in VA (Volt Amps) rather than watts and have already been over rated to deal with the rush of current from the transformers, as Sye Yehya explains.

Dimming Fluorescent Fittings

Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Dimming Fluorescent Fittings are expensive to install and are mainly used for commercial applications. These can be dimmed between 3% and 100% lighting by using a suitably rated dimmer but must incorporate a separate on/off switch. Although they’re still expensive, the price will be reduced as they become more popular.

Dimming LED lamps

Types of Dimmers : choosing the correct one

Voltage dimmable LED light bulbs can be dimmed using a normal resistive dimmer. They’ll consume very low wattages and are very energy efficient. Non-dimmable LED lamps cannot be dimmed, of course. If you fit a dimmer to non-dimmable LED’s then you’ll cause damage to the dimmer or lamps. Dimming low voltage LED lamps is also easily achieved by either dimming the driver on the primary (mains) side or on the secondary (low voltage) side. Primary side dimming is the more easiest to achieve. The LED driver would need to be of a constant current type and dimmable.