Ever since the early 2000s, when the first residential LED lamps were introduced to the market, the question of dimming LEDs has been a topic of constant research and discussion in the lighting industry.
Can they be dimmed satisfactorily? What are the options for dimming them? Which is the best dimming protocol to use when dimming them? Will dimming them compromise the life of LEDs?
Yes, LEDS can be dimmed. There are four commonly used ways of dimming them – phase dimming, dimming via 0-10V, DALI dimming and DMX.
Phase dimming often gives a poor result although the technology is improving constantly. When opting for this method it is essential that the number of luminaires is checked carefully against the dimmer manufacturer’s specifications. This method of dimming is typically used for decorative luminaires which require LED equivalents to incandescent lamps. Take care though; the dimming range can be limited on these.
Dimming via 0-10V
Dimming via 0-10V gives a simple and reliable way of controlling LED down lights, accent lights and linear systems but does require an additional 2-core cable to the driver position from the dimmer unit. With this method a good dimming range can normally be achieved.
DALI Dimming also requires a 2-core control cable but has the added benefit of allowing the lighting circuits to be re-configured digitally (within certain parameters) after the installation is complete. Again an ideal control method for LED down lights, accent lights and linear systems but rarely used for chandeliers, pendants, decorative wall lights, table lamps or floor lamps. This protocol is becoming more popular in high-end residential projects – download this whitepaper giving more details on DALI Dimming for Residential Projects.
DMX is a highly addressable and controllable dimming protocol requiring a specialist control cable and interface. This is commonly used for controlling colour programmable RGB or RGBW luminaires such as underwater swimming pool lighting or colour changing coffer lighting in a games room or home cinema.
How to decide the best method for your project?
To decide the best method of dimming the LEDs on your project you should consult your lighting consultant and your AV consultant making sure that they are working closely together to ensure a perfect outcome. In doing this the lighting consultant will be able to specify products from a variety of manufacturers that will work with the lighting control system that has been specified. Download this 10 Point Checklist for appointing a lighting consultant for your super-prime residential or luxury hospitality project.
Download our white paper to learn about DALI dimming and when it should be used for high-end residential projects.
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