The Power of Dimmable Lights (& How they Work)
This blog post was updated December 2022
Dimmable lights are a relatively recent invention which have seen a surge in popularity in homes and offices. Dimmable lights provide a convenient way to quickly and easily adapt the lighting in a room to suit the time of day, or the activities taking place.
Understanding how they work, the right products to use and the benefits can help you decide if these types of lights are a good option for you to install in your home or office.
How Do Dimmable Lighting Fixtures Work?
Have you ever wanted to adjust the brightness of your lights, but didn't know how? Well, if you have dimmable lights, it's actually quite simple! Dimmable lights are light fixtures that can be adjusted to produce different levels of brightness, giving you more control over the lighting in your home or office. But how do they work?
The basic principle behind dimmable lights is pretty simple. Most light fixtures produce light by using an electrical current to heat a small filament or LED. The brighter the light, the more current flows through the filament or LED, and the hotter it gets. This is why light bulbs often get hot when they are on for a long time – the heat is a by-product of the electrical current flowing through them.
Dimmable lights work by controlling the amount of current that flows through the filament or LED. This is typically done using a dimming switch or remote control, which sends a signal to the light fixture to adjust the current. The more current that flows, the brighter the light will be, and vice versa. Some dimmable lights also have built-in sensors that can automatically adjust the brightness of the light based on the ambient light levels in the room.
There are a few different types of dimmable LED lights, each of which uses a slightly different method to control the current. Some use a technique called pulse width modulation (PWM), which involves rapidly turning the current on and off to create the illusion of a dimmer light. Others use a device called a triac, which allows you to adjust the current by controlling the amount of time it is turned on.
Regardless of the specific method used, dimmable lights all work on the same basic principle: they adjust the amount of current flowing through the light source to control its brightness. This allows you to create the perfect lighting atmosphere for any situation, and can even help you save energy by using less power when the lights are dimmed. So next time you dim your lights, remember that there’s a little bit of electrical magic happening behind the scenes!!
Currently there are three main types of dimmer switches available, they are; Leading Edge, Trailing Edge and Universal.
Problems with Flickering Bulbs When Use a Dimmer
Why are some dimmable LED bulbs susceptible to flickering through the dimming range? We know from the brief layman description above that a traditional dimmer works by cutting the electrical waveform. Stated very simplistically, LED's also operate by switching the LED's on and off at very high frequencies, faster than the eye can detect.
The result of the processes of dimming, combined with the LED's process of producing light can cause wave frequency clashes, which can appear as flickering.
To be honest this is less of a problem now than it used to be as LED technology has improved, along with the quality of the dimmers. As long as you use the right bulb for the light fitting you shouldn't experience flickering. If you do talk to your lighting supplier, or the manufacturer to check there isn't a fault with the light fitting and that the globes you are using are the right ones for the job.
Just remember that the number of LED fittings which share the same dimmer can have an impact, so always take this into account.
Traditional filament incandescent and halogen light bulbs don't usually flicker, however these are becoming harder to purchase as the Australian Government continues on its phase out of these less energy efficient lamps from the Australian market.
Why should I get a dimmable light?
If you're wondering whether you should get a dimmable light, the answer is simple: yes! Dimmable lights are a great addition to any home or office, as they give you more control over the lighting in your space. With a dimmable light, you can adjust the brightness to suit your mood or the activity you're doing, whether you want a bright and energizing light or a soft and cozy one.
Another reason to get a dimmable light is that they can help you save energy. When you dim your lights, you're using less power, which can reduce your electricity bills and help the environment. This is especially useful if you're using LED lights, which are already very energy-efficient.
Additionally, dimmable lights are often more versatile than regular lights. They can be used in a wide range of settings and situations, from creating a romantic atmosphere in your bedroom to providing focused task lighting in your home office.
Overall, there are many reasons to get a dimmable light. They give you more control over the lighting in your space, can help you save energy, and are versatile and useful in a variety of settings. So if you're thinking about getting a dimmable light, go for it – you won't regret it!