A LED dimmer is nothing else than a device capable of controlling the luminous flux in a lighting circuit.
This device grants the ability to increase or decrease the number of lumens emitted by a given luminous body.
It’s anything else than a “potentiometer” that allows a resistance to decrease the electric flow from 220V or 110V to 0V gradually.
The origin of the light regulator is from the last century and was created to attenuate incandescent and halogen light objects.
The big brands (PHILIPS, General Electric, OSRAM, etc.) used it to attenuate the result of the flash in a space with light over dimensioned with roofs full of points of light.
So we must understand that with the appearance of the LED technologies and professionals who dedicates to lighting design, the use of the dimmer has had changes in concept and implementation logic.
Nowadays installing a dimmer of LED light, can often, make no sense.
So before using a dimmer for Led lights, read the following 12 reflections carefully:
1.- Choose to regulate the light of the spaces whenever there is a real and specific need and not only because you have no other option. Do not use it as a regular practice to illuminate spaces as with the thousands of LED properties you can achieve so much better results.
2.- Consider that the cost of the LED dimmer is quite high. First there is the cost of oversizing the amount of light and then the cost of dimerizing with equipment that MIMICS potentiometers but this being a different technology, a much more expensive one and more delicate.
3.- Justify the use of the LED light regulator when your project has zones impossible to modify due to its structural condition and you need to attenuate the area with existing points to do so.
4.- Before making the decision to regulate the light ask yourself: is it really necessary? Does it help the space? Does it help the person who uses that space? Does the quality of the activities to be carried out there will improve?
Or… can I solve this with an specific LED strip installed on the appropriate aluminum profile?
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5.- Select well which method you will use if you use a light regulator. There are several types and protocols of communication. Each of them should correspond to the characteristics of the luminaires that should come prepared for that particular protocol (DMX, DALI, TRIAC, 1-10V)
6.- Check that the LED luminaires you will buy (or bought) are designed to be used with an LED dimmer and contain the protocol driver exact to the attenuator driver.
7.- Never buy cheap dimmers because they will not work and will become a problem. You will have flash events, dimmer drops and insufficient control of lumen intensities.
8.- In a lighting circuit NEVER combine different luminaires models
9.- Never set sets that exceed 3 or 4 lighting points. This ensures the most efficient communication of LED control protocols.
10- Remember that you can only use dimmers for Leds when you are illuminating Leds.
11.- Test (through a sample kit) the LED luminaire and the dimmer before making the final purchase for your project.
12.- Never use light regulators on imitations or retrofits of luminaires. None will meet the characteristics that allows the use of technology combination (analog with digital)
In conclusion, when you do a professional lighting project, we invite you to study and rethink if you really need to use light dimmers or not. Specially because with the LED you have thousands of options and possibilities of light combinations that goes beyond dimming or increasing the brightness.
From a professional point of view, using LED light regulators doesn’t make much sense. Designing with LED is today’s trend and having multiple power options will ensure that your project remains of much more high level and artistic value.