Be it for relaxation or romance, lighting has an important role to play in creating the right ambience for the evening. The gentle glow of soft, dimmed lights introduces an element of calm and intimacy into the environment that can be quite soothing for the senses.
So, what is dimming? How does it work? In this article, we’ll unpack the fundamentals of the art of dimming.
With so many dimmers on the market, you need a driver that works with most of them. Our adaptive digital drivers are just that – they’re compatible with most leading, trailing and universal dimmers in Australia. They have a fancy integrated circuit that detects the dimmer type and phase, and dynamically adjusts the driver characteristics to match, producing flicker-free outputs.
What is dimming?
The lights blazing brighter than the sun are good in some settings but can be quite intense when you are trying to focus or relax.
Dimmers are attached to light fixtures (usually LED drivers) and used to control a light’s output (measured in lumens). These devices are hyper-effective in creating a serene atmosphere and even reducing energy consumption. When you move into more advanced dimming techniques, they can even help with your circadian rhythm.
Types of LED dimmers
There’s a smorgasbord of different light dimmers on the market. You may be familiar with DALI and DMX, but they aren’t as popular as TRIAC (or phase-cut dimmers). TRIAC dimmers can be split into three types: leading edge, trailing edge, and universal. Each of these dimmers adjusts the sine wave of the mains power supply in different ways.
How do LED dimmers work?
TRIAC dimming involves ‘clipping’ or ‘cutting’ the voltage at phases of an input current’s sine wave. So, if you clip half of the wave, you’ll reduce the input power to the light by 50%.
Leading edge LED dimmers
Leading edge dimmers have been around the longest, and so understandably, they’re the most common. These work by trimming the start of a sine wave; to be more precise, they alter the voltage and current delivered by delaying the turn on the start of a sine wave.
Trailing edge LED dimmers
Trailing edge dimmers are more recent and designed specifically for LED lights. Trailing edge dimming is the opposite of leading edge dimming – it trims the end of a sine wave.
3 simple steps to the art of dimming
1. Choose the correct lighting driver
You’ll need a dimmable driver. Again, if you use a non-dimmable driver with a dimmer switch and dimmable LED, it just won’t dim.
While choosing the correct lighting driver can get tricky, we’ve eliminated some of the obstacles. All of our mains voltage products come standard with our groundbreaking phase-dimmable digital driver.
2. Choose the correct dimmer
You’ll need to choose a dimmer that’s compatible with your lights.
Leading edge dimmers work best with traditional incandescent and halogen light bulbs because of their high wattage range (typically between 250W and 1000W).
Trailing edge dimmers work best with LED lights and have lower wattage ranges to match.
Since we’re all about harmony here at Brightgreen, our drivers will work with all leading edge and trailing edge dimmers.
3. Don’t overload your dimmer
A dimmer switch will often have high maximum load ratings. It’s acceptable to use these ratings for traditional bulbs, but with LED lights, you’ll need to do some quick math.
To determine how many LEDs your dimmer can support, you’ll need to divide the dimmer’s minimum and maximum loads by 10. For example, if your dimmer is rated between 100W and 500W, for LEDs this range is instead between 10W and 50W.
A final note
Dimming can be complex. And if you want the experts to do the legwork, head over here. You can also read our white paper on driver design.