Dimming & Lighting Control: LED Lights and Lighting from ECOLED
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Dimming & Lighting Control

One of the most common questions we are asked is about dimming. LEDs themselves are not dimmable but they can be made so using dimmable drivers or power supplies.

These will not work with traditional resistive dimmers you might already have however. For mains dimming, drivers or power supplies will dim by leading or trailing edge so you will also require compatible switches which can be advised by ECOLED's consultants.

There are many control systems available that offer more complete control of individual circuits without the requirement for lots of different switches. Many have the ability to work with our leading or trailing edge drivers but we can also facilitate requirements for 1-10V, DALI or DMX control should your control system be utilising those protocols.

There are 4 most common dimming controls for LED:

Phase Dimming

Also known as mains dimming by leading (sometimes called Triac) or trailing edge. A trailing edge dimmer has a lower minimum load than leading-edge dimmers. This makes it a better choice for dimming modestly sized low-powered lighting circuits such as those used by LED, and include other benefits for the user such as smooth, silent dimming control, without any buzzing noise. Ecoled use mainly trailing edge dimmers. Phase dimming switches usually look like Push button type dimming using standard dimmer switches, although there are a number of more modern plates available.Using the best equipment you can dim down to around 5% using this type of dimming control.

1-10V dimming

Also known as Analogue dimming protocol which is one of the earliest and simplest electronic lighting control signalling systems. Simply put, the control signal is a DC voltage that varies between 1 & 10. The controlled lighting should scale its output so that at 10 V, the controlled light should be at 100% of its potential output, and at 1V it should at 10% output.

1-10V dimming requires 2 additional wires to run the signal along as well as the mains cable.

DALI

Stands for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface. The DALI protocol provides 256 levels of brightness between off and 100%, which is translated to a power level via a logarithmic dimming curve. This curve gives larger increments in brightness at high diming levels and smaller increments at low diming levels. Lighting scene control is a feature of this Dimming down to around 1% is possible using this type of dimming control, as well as lighting scene control.

DMX

Stands for Digital Multiplex and isa standard for digital communication networks that was originally intended as a standardised method for controlling light dimmers for stage lighting and effects.

DMX has also expanded to uses in non-theatrical interior and architectural lighting, being the primary method for linking controllers (such as a lighting console) to dimmers and intelligent lights.

Recently, wireless DMX adapters have become popular especially in architectural lighting installations where cable lengths can be prohibitively long.

DMX should allow you to dim almost to extinction.

Please contact technical@ecoledlight.co.uk for further information on choosing which dimming protocol to install as well as wiring advice.

Recommended Dimmers for use with Ecoled products

Most of EcoLED's product range is designed to work with trailing edge dimmers.

Below is a list of trailing edge dimmers we recommend:

Brand Model no. Type Trimmable
ZANO ZGRIDLED Rotary, push on/off Grid Yes
Varilight Z0JP250-P Rotary, push on/off Yes
Varilight JPQ401W Rotary, push on/off Yes
Richmond MP600TE Rotary, push on/off Yes
Lutron RNSU-452B-F**-M Push button Yes
Lightwave RF JSJSW200*** Push button No
Lightwave RF JSJSW240*** Push button No
Hamilton I DTE** Rotary, push on/off Grid No

The above models have been tested as those which work best with the widest range of our lights. This does not represent an exhaustive list as there are many dimmers on the market. Please contact us directly for all dimmers which have been tested by us, including a detailed breakdown of the various configurations.

DALI, 0-10V, 1-10V, PWM & DMX dimming options are also available. These methods use protocols which enable dimming with almost any appropriate dimming system.

Bluetooth & Wi-Fi dimming is also available for some of our range. For further info please contact technical@ecoledlight.co.uk

With LED, different dimming methodologies also result in different dimming levels and the range of dimming with one method may be better than another.

How to avoid LED dimmer compatibility issues

For an LED luminaire to be functional with a phase/mains control dimmer, the electronics of its driver have to be compatibly adapted.

Leading-edge dimmer switches are sometimes called 'incandescent dimmers', as they were originally designed to handle the resistive load of incandescent light (traditional lightbulbs). Existing dimmer switches tend to have high minimum loads and may require multiple LED fittings in order to even have a chance of working.For an increased chance of compatibility, trailing-edge dimmer switches tend to work better with the capacitive load of an LED driver.

If you are installing a dimmable LED circuit from scratch, please refer to our online list of tested dimmer switches, for known compatible models.

Similarly, you can upgrade your existing dimmers to completely avoid compatibility headaches. Once you have everything working, the many benefits of LED dimming will become apparent!

For further support please contact technical@ecoledlight.co.uk