As their name suggests, dimmable light bulbs can have their brightness adjusted to fit your heart’s content – with the right set-up you can match the light’s intensity to your current mood. A properly installed dimmable bulb allows smooth control without flickering. Let’s take a closer look at LED bulbs with that feature and how to make them work properly.
How do dimmable LED bulbs work?
Basically, LED dimming uses one of two methods – analogue or PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). The first option is rather straight-forward – the effect of dimming/brightening is achieved by increasing or decreasing the electric current accordingly (just like in traditional bulbs). The PWM method doesn’t depend on voltage – instead, it utilizes the on/off cycles. Of course, you won’t be able to catch those changes – they switch back and forth in a matter of milliseconds. Let’s look at an example – a PWM LED bulb dimmed to 40% would be ‘on’ for 40% of the time and ‘off’ for 60%. Remember that the dimming range may vary greatly between bulbs and the effects can be extremely diverse.
What bases do dimmable LED bulbs have?
There’s really no difference between them and their non-dimmable counterparts – you can find various options, suitable for practically any currently available lighting fixtures. You can easily get your hands on the traditional E27 LED screw, popular B22 bayonet and GU10 LED bi-pin, as well as more specific ones like E14, G4, G9, or GU5.3 fittings.
You can find the most popular versions of dimmable LED light bulbs at https://lucasled.ie/led-bulbs-fitting-light/dimmable-led-bulbs-light.
Things to know when setting up LED-based dimmable light bulbs
To make your light bulbs work properly, you’ll need a compatible dimmer switch. The bad news is, your old one (especially if you used a leading-edge model dedicated to incandescent or halogen lights) most likely won’t do. Despite that, always check out its stats before buying a new one. For the best performance, make sure you’re getting a specialized LED-compatible model – preferably use one of the same brand as your bulbs.
If you’re upgrading from a standard lighting, make sure your fixture allows dimming. This applies to lamps using 12V LED bulbs with specific fittings (e.g., spotlights utilizing MR16 or G4 bases), as the fixtures have a built-in transformer which can be made for solely non-dimmable lights. The info on that should be on the fixture’s box or in its manual – if you no longer have those, try the internet. The so-called retrofitting bulbs (e.g., E27) don’t have this problem – they have their own transformers and can be used with any compatibly socketed lamp.
While setting up stand-alone low-voltage lights, remember to get a suitably powerful transformer – its wattage should surpass the wattage of all the to-be-connected lights by at least 20%. This way you’ll ensure its longer lifespan – running it constantly with 100% load would drastically shorten its longevity and cause the lights to flicker. As a plus, dimmable transformers work with most dimmer switches, so you might not need to replace your old one.
alt=”You Can Find All The Necessary Info On The Bulb’s Box”
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Frequently asked questions
To sum things up, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions regarding dimmable LED light bulbs. Here they are:
How to know if a bulb can be dimmed?
This fact should be indicated on the box or in the product’s description. If you no longer have the box, simply search for the model online.
Can I use normal LED bulbs with a dimmer switch?
Yes, but only as long as you keep it at 100% light output. Trying to dim a LED bulb without that function will end up badly – you can even blow out the entire circuit (the bulb, lamp, and the switch itself).
Can a dimmable bulb be used with a non-dimmable circuit?
Well, yes, but it’s rather pointless – you won’t be able to use its main feature, and you’d overpay for essentially a normal LED bulb (which would be about £1 cheaper).
Do dimmable bulbs come in colour?
Of course – there are some that give off a specific colour of light, or even some that can cycle through the whole RGB palette.
Why is my LED bulb flickering/not dimming properly?
This can have various reasons. The most likely answer is you’ve under-loaded or over-loaded your dimmer. Dimmers have a set range of wattage that they operate in – if you connect them with lights weaker/stronger than their minimum/maximum load respectively, they won’t be able to power them properly. Hence the flickering and sub-par performance. If switching things up doesn’t help, there might be a problem with compatibility – make sure all your connected bulbs are of the same type and brand, and that you got the right dimmer switch. Or you simply got unlucky and bought faulty equipment, which can happen even to the best of us.
Dimmable LED light bulbs – great mood-setters
Although being trickier to set up, dimmable lights are a great option for mood and ambient lighting – with them, you can create a really cosy atmosphere in your room. That being said, they’re only worth their value, if you plan on using that feature regularly – investing in the whole dimming circuit is pointless if you’d only use it once or twice a year.