Dimmable LED lamps

Dimmable LED lamps – Selecting the right combination of bulb, transformer, and dimmer

Hi, my name is Jens. Welcome to Paulmann's World of Light on YouTube. Have you ever asked yourself which light bulbs are best for dimming, and which transformers and dimmers you would need? Today, I'll tell you about the situations that are best suited for dimming, and how to find the right combination of light bulb, transformer, and dimmer.

  • Paulmann Lichtwelt Jens

Why dimming?

Why dimming?

Dimming is a type of light control that allows you to control the brightness or luminous flux of a lamp. As a result, you can create a range of lighting moods, to fit the moment. But when does it make sense to use a dimmer?

As you would expect, it is a lot easier on the human eye if it doesn't have the work of constantly differentiating between light and dark. The main light source of a room should have dimming control, because a less bright light such as this reading lamp can't compensate for the brightness and darkness contrast in the room when the main light is switched off.

Dimming in living areas

Dimming in living areas

A dimmer is especially useful when living areas are used for multiple purposes. Game night for the family requires very different lighting than the lighting you want when drinking a glass of red wine with friends after a special dinner.

This is why it's especially useful to have dimmers in rooms that are used as living areas. In utility rooms or rooms with tech equipment, or in cases such as this, for work lighting, you don't really need dimmers.

When planning your lighting, you should carefully consider how much light you'll need in each room, and what the light will be used for.

Incidentally, dimming your lighting also saves energy.

Which bulbs are dimmable?

Dim Symbol

If you have decided to use a dimmer, you'll want to check what type of lighting equipment is installed in the ceiling. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are usually dimmable.

With energy-saving bulbs, however, it's another story. For most of these, dimming isn't possible.

Many of the LED bulbs can be dimmed, but you'll want to make sure that they are designed for this and labelled accordingly.

This is indicated by the dimming symbol on the product packaging. If you see this symbol, dimming should be possible. What's important is that you choose the right transformer and dimmer. Now I'll show you how to make that choice.

three letters R,L & C are used to classify dimmers

The three letters R,L & C are used to classify dimmers and electronic transformers.

For fault-free installation, the letters on the dimmer, light bulb, and transformer need to correspond.

This table will help:

Dim LED Lamp

For example, if you have LED bulbs for 230V operation, these can be dimmed with conventional leading-edge phase dimmers, without having to worry about the minimum load of the dimmer.

For a 12 V LED bulb with electronic transformer, however, you'll need a trailing-edge phase dimmer.

To be on the safe side when selecting transformers and dimmers for LEDs, choose products that are designed for LED. These are leading-edge phase dimmers with a low minimum load range. 12V recessed lighting sets from Paulmann always include a compatible transformer, which means that all is left for you to do is select the right dimmer.

If you want to dim a 12V halogen bulb, you will need an electronic transformer and you'll need a trailing-edge phase dimmer. For a 230V halogen bulb, any dimmer will do.

Tip: Keep in mind that when you're using halogen bulbs, it will significantly extend their lifetime if you dim them.

The bulb isn't dimming? The transformer's humming?

The transformer's humming?

This is the recipe for success in selecting the right elements for dimmable lighting situations. If your lights still won't dim, the problem is usually that the bulb is not a dimmable bulb, or that the transformer isn't compatible with the bulb. Check again to see whether the combination is alright, and then make the right selection.

If your light or transformer is humming loudly, this is often the result of the wrong combination of dimmer and transformer. Another cause can be the changes in the magnetic fields of conventional transformers, which lead to vibrations. To reduce this vibration, you can loosen the screws on the cover panel or simply place a rubber mat between the ceiling and the transformer.

Today, I've shown you the best way to use dimmers, and how you can select the right combination of bulb, dimmer, and transformer.

installation downlights

If you are also interested in how to install recessed lighting, I recommend checking out our video.

If you'd like to find out more, visit Paulmann's World of Light or subscribe to our YouTube channel.