Category Archives: How-To`s

How to dim lights without a dimmer (Fast and Easy Guide)

Dimming lights without a dimmer is possible. It`s easy, fast and very affordable.

You basically got three options if you want to dim your light bulbs without a dimmer.

Dimming lights bulbs without a dimmer options:

  • Sceneswitch bulbs
  • Smart bulbs
  • DIY project (which I don`t recommend)

 

Number one and best option is Sceneswitch bulbs which I do recommend. These light bulbs work with your existing light switch on the wall and on regular lamp fixtures. For full review check below.


Second option: Smart bulbs are great for dimming without a dimmer but they are expensive but if you don`t mind the high price they are a great choice.


Third option: DIY project is something I don`t recommend. Yes you can build a dimmable bulb with a diode but it can be very dangerous because of the electric shock risk.

DIY dimmer switch
DIY dimmer switch I don`t recommend this option

Philips SceneSwitch Review

I’ve got a pretty interesting product to review today. One that I almost wrote off but then upon second glance I was like you know this is actually pretty cool. This is the Philips scene switch LED bulb.

This is the 60 watt version, it`s also available in 100W and 65W reflector lamp.

Any light fixture can be dimmable

The Philips scene switch LEDs don’t work with traditional dimmer switches but they also don’t need traditional dimmer switches.

You got three brightness options with the sceneswitch bulb and you don`t need a dimmer

They’ll work with any old lamp or regular light switch.

This reminds me a lot of old-fashioned three-way light bulbs that had three different brightness levels but instead of brightness levels this bulb has three different color temperatures or shades of white light.

Different activities require different light settings

You can change brightness settings just by turning the bulb off and back on. They’re a bit like common three-way bulbs except you don’t need a 3-way compatible lamp in order to use them.
Color temperature for dimming without a dimmer
Color temperature for dimming without a dimmer

 

Color temperatures for your home

Now if you’re not familiar with what color temperature means, let me just review for you real quick.

This philips bulb is the scene switch bulb at 2700 K.

dimmer switch built in bulb
Soft white 2700K – dimmer switch built in bulb

Color settings without a dimmer

Kelvin is the scale,from blue on the cooler side and higher numbers
to warm on the lower side with lower numbers.

Kelvin is just the degree number that everything is measured in for color temperatures.

The above light bulb setting is soft white which is what we’ve been used to with incandescent lighting for the longest time.

This bulb will also switch to daylight white which definitely has a much more blue look to it. And that’s again on the higher side
of the Kelvin scale kind of what you would expect to see at like noon in broad daylight outside.

5000K sceneswitch setting
daylight 5000K sceneswitch setting

You can definitely see the bluish light if you compare to the former one that is the warmer soft white kind of a more yellowish light.

You can make the light bulb less bright – Night light mode

This also has one more setting, the third setting
is 2200 Kelvin and it also dims the light down to about 15% brightness.

2200K candle light setting scene switch option
2200K candle light setting scene switch option

So the different light options you have with this bulb are:

Soft white, daylight white(more bluish) and cozy warm glow.

You don`t need to use any apps, controllers or home automation it’s all built into the bulb for under 10 dollars which is great because you don’t have to buy multiple bulbs to get different types of color temperature of your light.

And you don’t have to buy dimmers, you don’t have to do any of that
if you want something really simple this bulb may be the bulb for you.

Now let`s dim it down and take the shade off so you can see the what the bulb looks like.

sceneswitch bulb
sceneswitch bulb

It looks like a standard LED bulb and it’s pretty much exactly what their other bulbs by philips look like.

I’ve got another one here this is one of their hue bulbs
that is just a white bulb and very similar in design and shape.

philips hue looks like this
philips hue looks like this

Heat testing the bulb

This review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t do some testing for heat temperature of the bulb.

So we’ll look at the bulb shell itself which is about 105 degrees and it’s been running for a while so that’s not too bad.

The heat sink itself on the bottom which is metal of course gets much warmer about 130 degrees.

How to dim a lamp

The first light option that you get when flipping the switch on is a yellow soft light, flipping the switch again gives you a daylight more bluish light and when you hit the switch again you get a warm glow light. Settings are comparable to a 60 watt bulb, a 40 watt bulb and a nightlight bulb.

Energy saver

It’s an energy-efficient bulb at 9.5 watts, 8 watts and 3 watts. Respectively for the different soft white, daylight white and super cozy warm glow mode.

Life time of sceneswitch bulb and warranty

These are not specifically designed to last as long as other regular LED bulbs. Normal led bulbs without scene selection will last you 20 to 25 years.

This sceneswitch LED bulbs is supposed to last about 13.7 years probably just due to the change in technology that they’re generating these different colors of light.

Philips has a standard 5 year warranty on the bulb that you can double to ten years . You just simply register the bulb online within 60 days of purchase at their website and you’ll get 10 years of warranty out of it.

The companies are usually pretty good about replacing the bulbs if
they go out within the warranty period, so I think that’s a smart move to register to get the 10 years warranty.

Brightness confirmed

All three of them nailed my lighting tests. At the brightest setting each one exceeds the stated 800 lumens, so they offer plenty of light.

These bulbs deliver 800 lumens or 60 watt equivalent light output at the soft white and daylight white.

And then about 80 lumens and 3 watts when you want to create a kind of a cozy warm glow.

Smart features

A really good feature is that once you turn it off and you wait at least five seconds and you turn it back on it will resume its last setting.

So you don’t have to worry about flipping it on and off a bunch of times the next time you turn it back on so it has some smart features built into it as well but not for the smart bulb price.

Sum Up

If you’re looking for something simple not like the advanced home automation stuff with Philips hue and all the more expensive color-changing, this may be something for you in terms of if you don’t want to deal with dimmers, don’t want to install special stuff and just have on/off functionality.

If you use one to replace a 60 watt incandescent it’ll pay for itself in energy savings in just over a year, then continue saving you money for years to come.

These are outstanding bulbs and an absolute no-brainer if you want
to dim the lights down low but you don’t want to rewire your switches or spend money on costly smart bulbs.
Standard non-dimmable LEDs can be had for a few dollars less
and if you don’t care about the sceneswitch feature then they’re probably the better buy.
But I think the sceneswitch bulbs are worth it and deserving winners if you want to easily dim your lights without a dimmer.

Basic House Wiring Rules – (14 SAFETY TIPS)

Are you planning on doing some Basic House Wiring? Well then it might be a good idea to read and follow these 14 DIY home wiring safety tips.

Your safety should not be compromised and some basic house wiring rules need to be followed first.

You can save a lot of money by doing your own house wiring. But home wiring is not a DIY chore that should be undertaken unless you are confident you know what you are doing.

No matter how often you may have carried out home wiring jobs, never forget the dangers of electricity and never be tempted to take risks by failing to take precautions or use the proper tools or protection.

When installing any type of wire or wiring system, there is always a risk involved.  Hurting yourself, someone else or loss of property if the wires are not properly installed are some of the dangers involved. Preparation is key to safety.

There are however proactive measures that can be taken when you are working with or installing wires.

The following safety tips can guide you to make sure your home wiring project goes smoothly and safely.

Basic House Wiring Rules

  1. Power off. Before doing any electrical work, make sure the power is off at the breaker. If possible make sure everyone in the area knows it is turned off for a reason. Leave a note to say you are working on the circuit and tape the circuit breaker into the off position. It may seem logical but it’s critical for a safe work environment.
    electrical work safety power off
    electrical work safety power off

  2. Test. A voltage tester is a cheap life insurance policy when working with high voltage.So use a voltage tester something like a Klein Dual Voltage Tester to make sure wires or electrical connections are dead before you start working with them.
    house wiring safety 101
    house wiring safety 101

  3. Take care what you touch. This tip is something many don`t think about. You should never touch plumbing or gas pipes while working with electricity and it`s because they are many times used to ground electrical systems.
    DIY house wiring safety tip
    DIY house wiring safety tip

  4. Plan ahead. It`s usually smart to have a work plan so that you know precisely where the outlets, switches and fixtures are going to be placed before you start. And this also allows you to look over that you have got the proper tools and materials.
    DIY wiring planning tips
    DIY wiring planning tips

  5. The right tools. It`s a lot easier and faster to complete your wiring if you make sure you have got all the tools you require and always use the suitable tools.I always use insulated tools while working. Tools you are going to need at a minimum:
    • Long-nose pliers
    • Wire cutters
    • Electric drill
    • Fish tape also known as a draw wire
    • Cable stripper
    • Wire and cable strippers
    • Colored tape
    • Voltage tester
    • Continuity tester
    • Right-angle drill
      DIY wiring tool tips
      DIY wiring tool tips

  6. The right materials. This one is obvious, you are going to need depending on your project the necessary materials:
    • Switches
    • Junction boxes
    • Wire connectors
    • Electrical staples
    • Push terminals
    • Breakers
    • Track lights and fittings
    • Dimmer switch
    • Waterproof junction boxes
    • Ground fault interrupter
    • Conduit
    • Cable
    • Silicon caulking
    • Grounded receptacles
    • Nail guards
      DIY wiring material
      DIY wiring material

  7. Put in a junction box. Do you conceal connected wires within a wall? You should never splice wires together and conceal them within a wall without a junction box, it`s a fire hazard. Do this instead, put in an accessible junction box for the connected wires. 
  8. Do you got old wires? Replace them. Always replace wires that show signs of deterioration.
    electrical wire deterioration
    electrical wire deterioration

  9. Take care of fuse and breaker problems. Before you replace a fuse or circuit breaker, find the reason for the blow and fix the problem that caused it to blow.
    blown fuse diy wiring
    blown fuse diy wiring

  10. Don’t overload. If you overload outlets or extension cords it`s going to create a fire hazard.
    extension cord fire
    extension cord fire

  11. Avoid water at all times when you are working with electricity. You should never touch or try repairing any electrical appliances or circuits with wet hands. Water increases the conductivity of the electric current.
    do not touch electrical appliances with wet hands
    do not touch electrical appliances with wet hands

  12. Faulty equipment. Never use equipment with frayed cords, damaged insulation or broken plugs.
    Basic House Wiring Rules
    Basic House Wiring Rules

  13. Never try repairing energized equipment. Always check that it is de-energized first by using a tester. When an electric tester touches a live or hot wire, the bulb inside the tester lights up showing that an electrical current is flowing through the respective wire. Check all the wires, the outer metallic covering of the service panel and any other hanging wires with an electrical tester before proceeding with your work.
    Basic rules House Wiring
    Basic rules House Wiring

14. Never use an aluminum or steel ladder if you are working on any receptacle at height in your home. An electrical surge will ground you and the whole electric current will pass through your body. Use a bamboo, wooden or a fiberglass ladder instead.


If you are handling the wiring yourself, follow all safety precautions from the beginning to the end of a project to help ensure the safety of you, your neighbors and your property. It will also guarantee the longevity.

But If you are in doubt after these points, you should consider consult a detailed reference book or get a professional contractor in to do the shore. A reputable electrician understands all aspects of home wiring and may be able to wire your home safely in less time than it takes you to learn.

Types of dimmer switches?(LED AND TRADITIONAL BULBS)

Types of dimmer switches you can get

In this article you`re going to learn about the types of dimmer switches there are available.

There are hundreds of dimmers on the market and I know it can be difficult to choose the right type of dimmer, they almost all look the same and with a bunch of model numbers it can get a bit overwhelming.

 

how to choose the right type of dimmer.

Basic dimmer information

So let`s go over the basic information and determine the type of dimmer you should get.

Single-pole dimmers are used for lights controlled from a single dim switch in one spot. Example of a Leviton single pole dimmer.

How to choose the right type of dimmer
Single pole dimmer

 

Three-way dimmers are used for lights controlled by one dimmer and one or more switches in other places. Here`s a Lutron 3-Way Dimmer.

How to choose the right type of dimmer
3 way dimmer

 

Several or multi-location dimmers are used for lights managed by multiple companion dimmers allowing for full lighting control from four or more locations. Here`s a Lutron Multi-Location Dimmer.

How to choose the right type of dimmer
Multi location dimmer

 

Plugin dimmers are used to dim bulbs in table and floor lamps. You just plug it into your lamp and wall socket. It helps you save energy and extends the lifespan of your bulbs. Example of Lutron plug-in dimmer.

how to choose the right kind of dimmer
Plug-in lamp dimmer

 

Types of dimmer switches

Trailing edge and leading edge dimmers

Okay, so there are many types of dimmers available, but the most popular are the two that we’ll be concentrating on  are leading edge and trailing edge phase-cut dimmers.

As their name implies, both work by trimming the voltage at various phases of an alternating current’s sine wave and thereby reducing the power they send to the bulb. Now, at this point I’m aware that there’ll be some amongst you that are itching to know exactly how this works, which is why I’ve kindly included a link to our leading edge and trailing edge dimmer guide.

  • Leading edge dimmers are the most popular of the two. They’ve been around for a long time and are traditionally used to dim normal incandescent and halogen bulbs. They have a much higher wattage range usually anywhere between 250W and 1000W and because of that they don`t operate well with low wattage LED bulbs, though this can be  achievable if the required tolerances are met.
  • Trailing edge or LED compatible dimmers have been designed for use with LED bulbs and because of that they share a number of characteristics that make them much more compatible, such as comparable wattage ranges and an inherently digital make up. The needed wattages for these dimmers are way lower, making them more compatible with the lower wattage of LED bulbs. But again, trailing edge dimmers can also be used to dim normal bulbs if the wattage tolerances are still met, and they do this more effectively than using a leading edge dimmer to dim LED bulbs.

Universal Dimmers

Universal Dimmers are used to control halogen, incandescent, dimmable CFL and dimmable LED bulbs.

They offer maximum-range dimming, soft start-up, and eliminate flickering of lights. When using CFL or LED bulbs with a dimmer, check that the packaging on the bulb shows that it is dimmable. Most bulb and dimmer manufacturers gives bulb compatibility information on their sites.

Halogen and Incandescent Dimmers

Halogen/Incandescent Dimmers are used to control halogen and incandescent bulbs. You are not supposed to use them to control CFL and LED bulbs or dimmable CFL and LED bulbs. If you use them for that, it may result in bad performance.

Electronic Low Voltage Dimmer (ELV)

ELV Dimmers are used to control electronic low voltage transformers and dimmable LED power supplies ex. ELV track lighting, Led strips and under cabinet lighting . For installation ELV Dimmers needs a neutral wire.

Magnetic Low Voltage Dimmer(MLV)

These Dimmers are good for recessed lights which are often magnetic and low voltage. Magnetic low voltage lights are often heavier and larger than electronic low voltage.

Fluorescent Dimmers

Fluorescent Dimmers are used to control fluorescent lights.

High Wattage Dimmers

These dimming devices are used to control high wattage lighting, mainly 1000 W. If you have a fixture with over 600 W your choice should be a HWD.

An important thing to remember is that, use only one type of bulb in a lighting fixture, otherwise it may cause some trouble in performance.

 

Dimmer switch wattage calculation

Now you`re maybe wondering, but what about wattage?

Choose the perfect dimmer switch

Dimmers come in many different wattage models. The most typical dimmer wattage ratings are 150 watts, 300 watts, 600 watts and 1000 watts. 150 watt rated dimmers are usually used for a single bulb. You can find the wattage rating usually on a sticker on the light fixture.

Dimmers are built to control many wattage loads and levels. You should select the dimmer by your wattage requirements. The calculation could not be easier.

Here`s how you calculate dimmer wattage.

Do like this:
Add the total wattage of the bulbs you want to dim. Like this, a fixture with three 50 W bulbs has a total wattage of 150 W (3 bulbs x 50 watts).
You can use a 200 W dimmer or bigger in this case.

What about when you have 2 dimmers then?

You calculate it the same way. Say you have six 50 W lights in a room, but they are split, there are 3 lights per dimmer.

First dimmer: 3 x 50 W=150 W

Second dimmer: 3 x 50 W=150 W

You will need two 150 W or bigger dimmers in this case.

Dimmer switch control designs

dimmer switch control designs
With a wide array of control options, styles, and colors, you can choose from hundreds of stand-alone dimmers.

 

The most used styles of dimmer switches

With so many styles of dimmers to choose from, you are very likely to find one that fits your needs. So let`s go over the most used models and couple of funny ones too.
Rotary dimmers are classic, you adjust the lighting level with a rotating knob.

dimmer switch designs
rotary-knob dimmer

Toggle dimmer switch up and down like a normal switch, but the level of light returns automatically to the last level that was set.

dimmer switch design toggle dimmer
toggle dimmer

Slide dimmers slide up n` down and are available in preset or slide-to-off designs.

electric dimmer designs
slide dimmer

Rocker dimmers resemble a decorator-style rocker switch that “rocks” up and down to return the light to your favorite level.

rocker dimmer design
rocker dimmer

Tap/Digital dimmers feature a touch pad or button controls that return light levels to your preset level. Some tap levels have LED lights that indicate the current light level.

touch dimmer design
tap dimmer

Scene selector dimmers feature multiple buttons that let you switch to different light levels.

all digital scene dimmer design
scene dimmer

Maybe you want something totally different?

Take a look at these:

dog dimmer
dimmer switch dog
dog dimmer switch design
dimmer switch dog

 

What dimmer switch should i use?

In conclusion:

Determine the number of switches that control the light group. If only one switch controls the light, purchase a single-pole dimmer. If two switches control a single light or a group of lights, you will need a 3-way dimmer.

Then look at the bulb type you are going to be using and pick the right type of dimmer. The universal dimmer model will do it for most locations.

Kelvin Temperature K – How to choose the perfect color temperature?

Light bulb color temperature is represented in the unit of absolute temperature, Kelvin and illustrated by the symbol K.

It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000

Color Temperature Chart

Kelvin Temperature Led
Kelvin Temperature Led
  • 2700K – Homes, Restaurants, Hotel lobbies, Boutiques
  • 3000K – Libraries, Office Areas, Retail Stores
  • 4100K – Showrooms, Bookstores, Office Areas
  • 5000K – Museums, Jewelry Stores, Hospitals
  • 5600K – Used to Simulate Outdoor Conditions

Bulbs Have Vastly Different Color Temperatures

Many people are familiar with “cool” white or “warm” white light  led bulbs. These bulbs have vastly different color temperatures.

Warm white led bulbs

The “warm” white light bulb often has a color temperature of up to 2800K. It imparts a more orange/red light on objects. Because you normally associate warmth with red or orange objects, this accounts for the “warm” descriptive name, even though it is a cooler temperature on the Kelvin scale.

Halogen White Led

Halogen White bulbs fall within the range of 2800K to 3500K.  They impart a clear, white light with very little red or blue tones.

Cool White Led

A “cool” white bulb commonly has a color temperature of 3600K to 4900K. This is in the low range of blue color, similar to ice. Hence, the “cool” adjective.

Full Spectrum Led

Full Spectrum Bulbs have a color temperature of 5000K and above.  They impart a bright, white light that makes all colors stand out. Be sure that the bulb you choose for full spectrum applications says “Full Spectrum” as all full spectrum bulbs are 5000K and above but not all 5000K and above bulbs are “Full Spectrum”.

Daylight Led

Bulbs that are 5600K and up are considered Daylight bulbs.  These bulbs offer a clean, bright light.

Decorating Trick To Brighten Up Your Home

Color Temperature Can Affect the Way Things Look in Your House

If you decorate with reds, browns, and oranges, you want to illuminate these rooms with bulbs that have a color temperature in the 2750 – 3000K range. Conversely, if you happen to like green or blue colors, light these rooms with bulbs that produce color temperatures of 4000K or above.

And while full spectrum lighting sounds good in theory, many will find this type of lighting too harsh for overall home lighting applications.  It’s best to install full spectrum bulbs in those fixtures that are used when you need to differentiate between colors.

What is the Perfect Color Temperature for Residential Interiors?

Most people prefer around 2700K – 3000K for a warm, cozy, romantic, and sheltered experience.

Ever wondered how a dimmer switch works?

Let`s take a closer look at how a dimmer switch works

By altering the amount of power delivered to a light source, a dimmer directly affects the level of light output from that source.

The more power delivered, the higher the light output. The less power delivered, the lower the light output.

dimmer switch power source

On Off Switch

The two extremes of light output range are of
course achievable by a simple switch.

With a simple switch, we either turn the light on, meaning we close the circuit, delivering full power to achieve the full light output capabilities of the lighting mode or we turn the light off.
Meaning we open the circuit, cutting off power from the lighting load and getting no light output in return.
While this explanation is obvious and simple, the concept is actually foundational to the understanding of how typical dimmers work.

dimmer switch understanding

In order to achieve light level from are given lighting load, that is somewhere between fully bright and fully off, what the dimmer actually is doing a switching power on and off at a high rate of switching. Thereby reducing the power delivered to the lighting load and resulting in a lower light output.

High Frequency Switch

The frequency of the switching, is high enough that you cannot see it.
The very nature of the power delivered by the electric company makes this feasible.

dimmer switch frequency


sinusoidal signal

This graphic represents a single cycle that delivered sinusoidal voltage signal. This cycle repeats 60 times every second.
Using a simple light switch and turn that switch on, we will be delivering this voltage to the lighting load throughout the entire cycle.

 

As a result, current would flow through the lighting load.
The product of the voltage applied and the resulting current through the lighting load to determine the power delivered to the lighting load.

dim light bulb

To reduce the light level output again, we need to reduce the amount of power that’s delivered. We will do so by switching twice,
off and on during a cycle. Using power electronics, such as a triac, we can turn the voltage off, where the sine wave crosses the zero line. Then we leave it off for certain delay, then back on in order to deliver some power, reduced power to the load.

And we do that again on the negative side. The longer the delay before turning on, the less power we will be delivering and the lower the light level of the light source.

Forward Phase Dimmer

So this then would be the modified waveform coming out of the forward phase dimmer. So this is how a standard dimmer works.

A dimmer with the output characteristics explained here, is known by many names, including standard dimmer, household
dimmer, incandescent dimmer, triac dimmer, magnetic dimmer, forward phase dimmer, leading edge dimmer. I will refer to this throughout the remainder of the article
as a forward phase dimmer.

Keep in mind that these dimmers were developed for dimming conventional light sources. Particularly incandescent lamps.

Resistive light sources

These light sources are resistive in nature and they don’t care about the shape of the wave applyed. They will react to how much power is delivered to them, regardless of the waveform.
When the lamp is low voltage and a transformer is used to convert the line voltage to 12 volts, for example to apply to that lamp, then the addition to the lamp itself, some complexity is introduced by the transformer.

Now conventional wire rounded magnetic transformers are compatible with this type of dimming or forward phase dimming,
so long as certain factors are implemented in the dimmer.

For example:
The power delivered during the positive half of the cycle, must equal the power delivered to the negative cycle. So that any DC component the power delivered is within tolerance of transformers, and out of tolerance, DC component would cause the transformer saturate, leading potentially to its failure.

Incandescent dimmer vs magnetic dimmer

So the difference between an incandescent rated dimmer and a
magnetic rated dimmer, is the ladders ability to perform without detriment to the transformer -they are both forward phase dimmers.

electronic transformer

Electronic dimmer switch

At one point the history of light source development, the electronic
transformer was introduced, with a very different set of characteristics from those of a magnetic transformer.

One key difference is that, it is not all compatible with a sudden voltage rise, that occurs twice during each cycle.

So there’s a compatibility issue between the electronic transformer and the standard dimmer – you cannot use the two together.
The solution to dimming electronic transformers is, to swap the sequence of power delivery to the lighting load each half-cycle, instead of opening the switch at the beginning of the cycle,
the switch is closed and at that point the power is delivered for a time.

Then after a predetermined delay, the voltage is turned off and power is no longer delivered for the remainder of the half cycle.

In this way, no sudden voltage rises occur, so it works with the electronic transformer.

Elv or electronic voltage dimmer

Dimmers that produced this backward wave form, are more known by the following terms: elv or electronic low voltage dimmer, simply electronic dimmer, reverse-phase dimmer
or trailing edge dimmer.
I will refer to these from here on out as reverse phase dimmers.
Again the incandecent light source, without a transformer doesn’t care about the waveform. So we can then dim line voltage
incandescents with either forward Phase or reverse-phase dimmers.

However the following differences exist.
The triac that is used to perform forward Phase dimming, cannot be operated in reverse phase matter and so different electronics are used for reversed-phase dimming – typically a FET or an IGBT.

These electronics are comparable more expensive than a triac and their current ratings are typically lower. So if you use reverse phase dimming you will pay a premium and your load capacity will be
somewhat lower, compared to the forward phase dimmer.

Compatible dimmer switches

I should mention here, that some electronic low voltage transformers have been modified, specifically to be compatible with forward phase dimmers.

The manufacturer of the elv transformer must state, that it is compatible with forward phase dimmers or a electronic transformer should always be paired with a reverse-phase dimmer.
As these two introduced dimming methods share a common
concept, of switching power on and off during each half-cycle and because they’re not the only means of dimming, we’re going to classify them together and refer to them collectively as phase counter phase control dimming.

While phase control is still the primary dimming method, it is not the only method. Historically there came a point, when it became desirable to dim fluorescent light sources, but fluorescent lights don’t typically respond well to phase control dimmers.

So other methods of dimming became commercially available.
All of which have carried forward in one form or another to LED dimming.

These other methods of dimming differ from phase control dimmers, in that the dimmer is not actually directly modifying the power delivered to the lighting’s load.

Rather it’s sending a signal, a control signal to an intermediary electronic circuit, known as a dimmable ballast in the fluorescent fixture or is a dimmable driver in an LED fixture.

Indirect dimmer switches

The signal is used to communicate to what level the light output should be set and the ballaster driver uses some mechanism beyond the scope of this article, to achieve that lighting level. For this reason I refer to dimmers that use these methods as indirect dimmers.

Indirect dimmers are of two major types: analog and digital.

I will discus the analog indirect dimmers first.

A light source which includes indirect dimming capability, will be looking for a variable control signal, separate from the power delivered, that power typically being switched on and off by the controlling dimmer, in addition to the variable control signal.

The first type of control signal I will discuss, is the variable low voltage output – sometimes referred to as zero to ten dimming.
Such a device will react to a control signal, that varies between 0 and 10 volts DC, to regulate the light output.
If the control signal received is 10 volts, the device causes
the light output, to go to its full on value.

If the control signal received is zero volts, the device causes the light output to go to its minimum or off value.

A control signal value of 5 volts, being at the midpoint of the
control signal range, would cause the light output, theoretically to go to the fifty percent output level.

The second method of analog indirect dimming is pulse width modulation or PWM.

square wave signal dimmer switch

In pwm a constant voltage square wave, a repeating square wave as a control signal.

Now the percentage of the time that the voltage is on, is actually the variable.

We don’t change the frequency, we don’t change the voltage, we just change the duration, then it is on. And that goes between 0 and 100 percent.

100 percentage output dimmer

Now there is a standard that applies to dimming pulse width modulated control light sources.

That standard is actually opposite of what you might expect. Meaning that if I were to actually apply zero percent of the time
voltage, then the light output is actually going to be a hundred percent and reduce down linearly to 0 percent when we apply a hundred percent of the time the voltage – opposite of what you expect.
Now because it is opposite of what we expect, you do find from time to time manufacturers of PWM control light sources that don’t comply and go more with what you would expect.

With those light sources, if I apply a zero percent of the time the voltage, then I will get 0 light output.
And I will increase linearly up to a hundred percent or full output when I get hundred percent of the time that I’m applying voltage.
A third and final method of analog indirect dimming, uses a
line voltage phase control waveform as a control signal.
Such a device, is characterized by a neutral conductor, a conductor for power switching and a conductor for dimming control.

So it’s known as a three-wire balusters – a three-wire driver.

While the power delivered to the light sources switch
between the switch leg and neutral, in addition a face control signal is applied between the third conductor neutral, to signal the desired light output level.

Finally there is indirect digital dimming, where in we will send a series of bits, according to a preset protocol to communicate commands and status updates over a two serial communication port.

bit operated dimmer switch

Two examples of this are DMX and Dali
while these technologies are mentioned to round out the discussion of dimming control, they fall outside of the scope of this article.

I hope you understand a little bit more about dimming now.

Led lights can be dimmed using any methods discussed in this article.

That`s pretty much how a dimmer switch works.

How to Buy Dimmers – Light Dimmers Guide?

How to Buy a Dimmer Switch?

Light dimmers either by themselves or as part of a bigger dimming system, switches, and controls can be a confusing topic. Leviton and Lutron are popular for their variety of light controlling dimmers and switches. Let`s take a look how to select which dimmer is best suited for your home.

Dimmer Lighting Guide: Why you should use a dimmer switch?

Here are a few reasons why you should buy a dimmer:

  • save energy
  • make your room multifunctional
  • better focus
  • set the right mood
  • help you relax
  • boost your productivity

Good lighting is an important piece of your daily well-being. We often choose the paint, floor, furniture and other interior accessories after long consideration. But we often forget the most important thing, the lighting.why get a dimmer switch

The right amount and type of light helps you focus, set the mood and relax when needed.

The correct light setting really brings life to the room. You can get your rooms multifunctional with a dimmer switch – convert dining room to a studio, workroom, office and even a game room for the kids.

why get a electrical dimmer

The right amount of light increases your productivity too. With a light dimmer you can adjust the amount and form of light in a given area for specific chore or environment.

Using the correct light, not only improves the experience, it assists to save energy and money by using the right amount of light in every situation.why get a dimmer switch

Save energy by using a dimmer

Any dimmer automatically saves 4-10% in electricity, even at the brightest lighting levels, over a normal light switch. Dim the lights and you save even more.

A regular light switch only saves energy in the switched off position. Dimmers and controls save money 24-7. On average, dimming an incandescent or halogen light will reduce energy use by about 20%.

Dimmers extend the life of a bulb

Dimmers reduce electricity to the light bulb, so you can save energy and extend bulb life up to 20 times – a big money saver right there. Plus you get cooler bulbs when a dimmer is used, that can convert into much cooler rooms and that`s a very nice benefit in the summer.

why you should get a dimmer switch

After installing dimmers, you can really experiment with your new lighting, use it for your advantage and make changes when needed.

How to wire a dimmer switch?

You got a new dimmer and now you`re not quite sure how to wire a dimmer switch?

Let`s go over the basics in this article, so you can easily install your dimmer.

What tools do you need to install a dimmer?

You don`t want to hurt yourself while installing, that`s why a voltage tester is always good to have available.

Voltage tester

 

Screwdriver

 

Wire strippers

 

Wire nuts

Wiring a dimmer light switch

How to replace a light switch with a dimmer?

Let`s get started:

Any switch, that controls a light, can be replaced with a dimmer.
how to wire a dimmer switch
You will need a special dimmer to control a fluorescent light or a fan, but when you come right down to it, a dimmer is just a another switch. The major difference, is that instead of terminal screws the dimmer has wires coming out of it.
Start the job the way you start any electrical job, turn off the power at the fuse or breaker box.
how to wire a dimmer switch
how to wire a dimmer switch
Double check, by testing the wires for power, before you do any work.
Slip the probes of a neon voltage tester against switch terminals, if the tester lights, the circuit is still hot.
Try shutting off another circuit and don’t start working until the light tells you the power is off.
how to wire a dimmer switch take out the old switch
When you are sure the power is off, remove the switch, which can be either a regular switch or a dimmer than needs replacing.
remove the wires from the switch
Remove the wires connected to the switch or dimmer,
cutting the loops off the wires
if there are loops at the ends of the wires, cut them off and
strip one inch off the insulation
strip off about an inch of insulation.
strip the dimmer wires
Strip the dimmer wires as needed, to expose about an inch of wire.
connecting both the cables bare ground wire and the dimmers green wire to the box
If the switch box is metal, you’ll start by connecting both the cables bare ground wire and the dimmers green wire to the box.
making a ground wire to dimmer
If there isn’t already a ground wire running to the box, make one from a piece of scrap cable.
Get a pack of ground screws,
putting the ground wire in the box
 attach a ground wire
put one in a threaded hole in the box and attach a ground wire.
Twist the solid ground wires together tight
wrapped wires clockwise
Twist the solid ground wires together, wrapping them clock wise,
roll the strand dimmer wires together tight
roll the strands of the dimmer ground wire together and
wrap it around the ground wire
then wrap it around the two solid wires.
wrap the stranded wire around the solid wires
Wrap it, so that about one eighth of an inch of the stranded wire, extends beyond the ends of the solid wire.
wrapping with a wire nut
Cover all three with a wire nut and turn it clockwise.
The extra one eighth of an inch of stranded wire,
helps keep the stranded wire in place while you tighten it.
dimmer wiring in a plastic box
If the box is plastic, you can connect the dimmer and cable ground wires to each other without connecting them to the box.
wrap dimmer wire around black or brown wire
Once you have installed the ground wire, wrap one of the remaining dimmer wires around either the black or white cable wire,
wire in nut and tight twist
once again letting the dimmer wire extend beyond the cable, by about one
eighth of an inch. Slip on a wire nut and twist until tight.
red wire nuts and dimmer switch
Repeat with the last two wires, cover them with a cap and twist until tight. Tug gently on all wire nuts, to make sure they are firmly attached, fold the wires into the box and
screw the dimmer in place
screw the dimmer and cover plate in place.

It not harder than this to replace a light switch and wire a dimmer switch


If the dimmer is replacing a three way switch, replace it with a three-way dimmer.

screw the dimmer in place
When you remove the existing switch, label the wire that’s attached to the common terminal, the screw it’s on will be a different color than the others.
clipping the loops wires
Clip the loops off the ends of the cable wires, strip an inch of insulation off each of the clipped wires.
common wire wiring three way dimmer
When you wire the new dimmer, connect the wire you labeled it to the common wire, on the dimmer and cap with a wire nut.
Connect either one of the remaining dimmer wires, to either one of the remaining cable wires and put on a wire nut. Connect the remaining two wires together and cap with a wire nut.
replacing three way dimmer with a new three way dimmer mark the wires
If you’re replacing a three-way dimmer with another three-way dimmer, label the cable wires as you remove them, so you can connect the new dimmer the same way the old one was connected.
If wiring a dimmer switch is too diffucult for you, remember there is no shame in getting an electrician to do the job.

Dimmer light switch history

Light dimmer switch history goes back to 1896, when Granville Woods patented his Safety Dimmer.

Early dimmers were controlled through the manual manipulation of large dimmer panels. This demanded all power to come through the lighting control spot, which would be inconvenient, amateurish and very dangerous for large powered systems.

dimmer switch history
Over the last decades, their energy efficiency has improved drastically.

Ever heard the buzzing sound from a dimmer?

The earliest dimmers decreased a light’s brightness by feeding less electricity into the bulb and converting the remaining energy into heat. That`s the reason why older dimmers and lights would get very hot – and bring up your electric bill.

 Ever heard a dimmer buzz? That was one of the side effects when energy was being converted to heat. Yeah you get the nice perfect light you wanted, but you also got the background sound of your electric bill ticking sky high. It got the job done, but this was a risky and inefficient method that didn’t actually save energy.

Now, thanks to engineering advancements and technological improvements, modern dimmers have the ability to reduce your bulb’s energy use, without waste – plus they are quiet.