A common misperception is that LED dimmers are all the same. On the contrary, there different types of LED dimmers, and it is crucial to know the difference when selection one. Here are the two most common types and the features that set them apart.
LED/CFL LED Dimmer
The LED/CFL dimmer, commonly referred to as a 3 way dimmer, is used for dimming LED and CFL lights. However, this will not work on panels, troffers, high bays and other fixtures that require 0-10V dimming. That is called control voltage, and LED/CFL dimmers instead use the existing voltage (120V in the United States) instead of a control voltage for LED/CFL bulbs.
While not always the case even a few years ago, it is safe to say now that almost all LED/CFL designed dimmer will work on any LED bulb plugged in, given that the wattage isn't over that particular device's limit. Make sure to check the specifications on the dimmer you want to purchase to make sure the maximum wattage on the dimmer is over the total wattage of all of the bulbs it is going to dim. For example, you don't want to have a max load of 150 watts but 11 bulbs that are 14 watts each. It might seem like it doesn't matter because it is so close, but the extra wattage can cause the dimmer to not function properly or even burn out.
Analog AKA 0-10V LED Dimmer
An analog dimmer, also referred to as 0-10 volt dimmer, is mainly used when dimming larger led fixtures such as troffers and panels. They require the low voltage to control the brightness, instead of dimming the AC voltage that turns the fixture on and off. When wiring these dimmers, you will notice a gray and purple wire, in addition to the normal black while and red wires. These are the wires used to adjust the control voltage and dim the lights. These will be wired into the area on the fixture (panel, troffer, high bay, whatever device you want to dim) that should be labeled appropriately. It may also be marked by certain symbols, so be careful to read the instructions on both the fixture and the dimmer is crucial in hooking up your device properly. If you want to dim your device and it requires the 0-10V dimming but your dimmer does not have those two wires DO NOT hook it up. Your device will not dim. Your supplier will have a better idea of which analog dimmer you should use to get your devices to properly dim without any flicker.
It is always good to be safe rather than sorry, especially when dealing with electricity. Misuse can lead to being shocked, fires, or devices burning out way before the end of their life span. Always make sure to read the instructions for any dimmer you purchase to make sure you are hooking it up correctly. If you ever have any doubts on know how to hook it up, call your local electrician.
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