DIY Doctor

Best Dimming LED Lighting System and Where do I buy it all?

Postby anthonyg » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:46 am

System = dimming warm-white LED bulbs and fully compatible dimming switches.

To replace our lovely existing system similar system with 60W incandescent pearl bulbs and one dimmer switch driving 3 bulbs.

Great control from very bright to very low with no flickering, with bulbs that last for a long time.

Is this even possible with LEDs?

If so, what brands, where do I buy it all, and for how much?
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Postby ericmark » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:44 pm

Yes can be done, dimming switch manufacturers tend to publish a list of compatible bulbs, however I have found BA22d bulbs seem to work great, not had a problem with E14 either but tend to have 5 or 8 to a fitting.

With GU10 had flicker problem, and with G9 would not switch off had to add capacitor and flicker problem.

GU10 was not a problem, loads of GU10 around the house, just swapped them around until they worked, G9 however only one fitting used them, tried changing one bulb, no better, and a set of 5 bulbs around £15 and no guarantee it will work then, so would have 6 spare bulbs which since LED last a long time unlikely to use.

I am using electronic light switches not dimming switches, but have to use dimming bulbs. At to dimming the ambiance was due to the red glow as lights were dimmed, LED do not do that, so not the same.
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Postby anthonyg » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:34 am

Eric, many thanks. There's a lot to follow up there.

So much so, that it is tempting to stay with incandescent, for variably lit areas only. I'll have a go at LED though, based on your comments.

Mike
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Postby Mr White » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:01 am

To add something that has not so far been said, although obvious if you are aware, if you have no idea it is worth mentioning.

Since dimmable LED lamps have their electronics in the lamp itself, there is (as yet) no standard for lamp manufacturers, so each manufacturer will do it in their own way, this will cause no problems / spurious flashing etc with any given dimmer switch, but it MAY cause problems if you use several lamps from different manufacturers controlled by the same dimmer.

So if a lamp fails, It would be wise to make sure you change it for an identical one from the same manufacturer.
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Postby anthonyg » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:35 am

Mr White - thanks, that is very helpful.
Mike
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Postby ericmark » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:24 am

I think in real terms tungsten bulbs worked well as we actually used the inferred heat from the bulb it saves turning up the central heating in the evening so they save energy (although if using gas or oil heating not money) as they reduce the air temperature required in the room.

However one should not dim quartz bulbs, I know many do, but if the quartz is not hot enough then the tungsten will deposit on the quartz so reduce the bulb life.

Getting pearl tungsten bulbs suitable for dimming has become a problem, so I have moved to using table and standard lamps so I control the light in the room by how many lights are turned on rather than how bright they are.

First saw it in Turkey where being a lot hotter than here, they went to so called energy saving bulbs well before us, to keep the rooms cooler, they split the lights 1/3 and 2/3 so they had three levels of light without using a dimming switch.

Even in UK there are rooms where getting too hot is a problem, I have used fluorescent lights in the kitchen for years, to give high light with low heat, same with cooker using an induction hob keeps the kitchen cooler, also having kitchen on North side of the house.

Seems odd, but last house main room moved tungsten to fluorescent to LED and each time the watts have reduced and so has the lumen output, was around 3500 lumen now down to around 2300 lumen but is seems brighter, that is until you try to read, only when you try to read do you realise the lumen has dropped, and we ended up with standard lamps behind the seats for when we wanted to read.

As said by Mr White there are different ways to control LED bulbs, the simple way is a capacitor and using them the lumen per watt is not that good, but they can easy be dimmed, a better method is a pulse width modulated control chip, this gives a much better lumen per watt, but it auto corrects voltage drop so is not suitable for dimming. There is also the flashing very fast of the LED which we can't see, but makes them seem brighter, but this is not reflected in the lumen output.

For any electronic switch to work, it needs power, with industry we got the 5-20 mA industrial standard for switching where the first 5 mA is reserved to work the switch with, but we have not seen the same with LED lights, so to power an electronic switch without having a neutral some bulbs have leak through resistor that stop bulb flashing both with the power used by switch, and capacitive and inductive linking in the supply cables, our method of wiring ceiling rose to ceiling rose with drops to the switch was great with tungsten bulbs, but not with LED.

Back in the 1980's I fitted loads of dimming switches, but today I want to control lights without needing to get up and use switches, I have become lazy, I want to as the evening comes to just lean forward and pick up the remote control and turn on lights. Or use phone or tablet.

Great having dim lights when watching TV, but if I want to read anything don't want to get up and turn up lighting, and also found either want it dim or bright, not some where between, so having a switch giving a range of lighting output not really required, in the main just two levels, dim or bright, so standard lamps easier to install than wall lamps so that's the way I have gone.
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