Dimmable LED lights are perfect for creating mood lighting whether you're having a romantic evening, watching a movie or even playing your favourite video game. Before you rush to buy a new set of dimmable LED lights, this short guide provides you with five useful pieces of information that will help you with your purchase.
How dimmable LED lights work
There are two main methods for dimming LEDs: pulse width modulation (PWM) and analog. In the case of PWM, dimmable LEDs work by creating a dimming effect. Unlike conventional lighting, such as incandescent lamps, dimmable LED lamps do not rely on voltage to dictate their brightness. Instead, they are essentially based on an on/off cycle. These cycles last only a few milliseconds, so you won't notice that they actually turn on and off. For example, if you have dimmed your lamps to 10%, they will be "on" 10% of the time and "off" 90% of the time. Analogue the process is simpler. Here the current is controlled so that the lights are either dimmed or brightened - the current is increased or decreased accordingly.
What causes the flickering of dimmable LED lights?
The main cause of flickering in dimmable LED lights can usually be attributed to the dimmer switch. LED dimmer switchesDimmer switches have a compatible minimum load (in short, the amount of watts they can handle). Common top-of-the-range dimmer switches are mainly designed for older light bulbs with a higher wattage, so their minimum load will be high. In many cases, you will not operate enough LED lamps to meet this minimum requirement because they consume such a small amount of energy (and less watts). For this reason, it is important that you get a compatible LED dimmer switch to avoid possible flickering. The quality of the dimmer switch you install will also affect the performance of your lights. A good quality dimmer switch has different modes and dimming capabilities. In most cases, the flickering of the dimmable LEDs can be corrected by simply changing the mode on the dimmer switch or resetting the dimmer to the factory settings.
How to install dimmable LED lights?
First you need to make sure you have a compatible dimmer switch. If you are converting from conventional halogen or incandescent bulbs to LED, it is likely that your current dimmer switch is not compatible. Therefore, we recommend that you purchase a special LED-compatible dimmer switch to ensure smoother, quieter and flicker-free operation. If you use 12V LED spotlights such as MR16s or G4s, you will need a dimmable transformer. A dimmable LED transformer allows dimming of constant voltage LED products and works with most standard dimmer switches, so you may not need to replace your existing dimmer switch. LED dimmable transformers are available in a range of power levels. Make sure you know how many light bulbs are operated before you buy your transformer. It is also important to remember that we strongly recommend that the total power of all light bulbs together should not exceed 80% of the power of the transformer. For example, if you are running four 4W MR16 bulbs with a total of 16W, you will need a 20W transformer to generate a sufficient amount of electricity (and the subsequent 20% deficit of the wattage).
How can I determine if an LED lamp is dimmable?
In most cases, all LED lamps are available in a dimmable version. However, they are not always dimmable by default. Therefore, please make sure that the product name or specifications state "dimmable". Otherwise flickering or humming may occur, in the worst case the LED will be destroyed.