The methods of dimming and the benefits of dimming lighting

Dimming is the process of controlling the amount of electrical power supplied to a light source. The four most popular methods for dimming LED lights are described below and cover 0-10Volt dimming, PWM(Pulse Width Modulation) dimming, Forward-Phase dimming(sometimes referred to a “Triac” or Incandescent Dimming) and Reverse-Phase dimming(sometimes referred to as an ELV or Electronic Low Voltage Dimming).

1.0-10V Dimming

This method can use a number of devices to control the dimming. This requires additional low voltage wiring, but is more accurate than AC phase dimming.

0-10V dimming applies a direct current voltage (DC) between 0 and 10 Volts to produce light at varying intensity levels. At 10V, the lights controlled by the dimmer are at 100% brightness. At 1V, the lights are at 10% measured brightness, which may actually be perceived as 32% brightness. Read this blog post to find out why. At 0 Volts, it either turns the lights off or has the lights dimmed to the lowest possible level and a switch is required to turn the lights completely off.
0-10V dimming started as a method for dimming fluorescents but is also used on LED lighting today. It’s typically used in offices, retail spaces, and homes with fixtures that have an LED driver designed for 0-10VDC dimming input. While it can be used for RGB or RGBW color-changing lights, there are some limitations. Each of the three or four colors needs to be assigned a zone so that the controller can adjust the intensity of each color separately to produce a range of color possibilities. If the color changing lights require additional inputs beyond intensity, a different dimming method should be used. For applications like entertainment spaces and those epic Christmas light displays that inspire “Ditto” lights from the neighbors, it’s common for people to use DMX512 protocol products instead, allowing them to connect the lights to a computer.

2.Pulse Width Modulation (PWM Dimming)

PWM is a dimming method that is prevalent in LEDs that use constant-current drivers. This technique works by adjusting the duty cycle of the current, resulting in changes to the average current in the string. PWM is effective for accurate light dimming requirements, as it can handle high dimming ratios at 100 Hz (high frequency, so that the human eye cannot detect the flickering effect), with minimal effects to the LED color/color temperature. To achieve dimming, the LED is toggled at a very rapid rate. For instance, at the highest setting (full output), the LED stays “on” and is never toggled. At 75 percent dimming, the lights are only “on” 25 percent of the time. When plotted on a graph, shifts in current appear to be staggered, like a set of evenly spaced blocks or stairs without a long-term ascending or descending pattern (rates/values of dips/increases are constant).

This type of dimming is ideal for lighting systems that need to be dimmed below 40 percent in a very consistent manner. PWM is suitable for color-mixing requirements, due to its precise dimming properties. Lastly, it can be incorporated in electronic systems via direct digital control.

3.Leading Edge

Also commonly knowns as “Triac Dimming”,”SCR Dimming”,and Forward Phase control dimming, Forward Phase dimming control is the most common form of phase dimming. It uses a silicon device, usually an SCR or a Triac, to turn the mains waveform on part way through its cycle. By varying the point at which the waveform turns on, we can alter the amount of power delivered to the load.

It is a the cheapest, relatively simple and widely available technology but a drawback is that it often causes buzzing.

The switching from zero to peak of the wave is enough to cause vibrations in the electronic components as a surge of electrons move each time. If the vibration is strong enough, the dimmer, and sometimes the lamp, will buzz.

4.Trailing Edge

Trailing Edge (ELV) is a more advanced technology designed to combat buzzing. It works in the same way as leading edge, by switching off the signal twice every wave, but it switches off the end of each cycle.

Trailing-edge dimming causes less buzzing because each time the wave is switched on, the wave is at the lowest strength of the cycle and gradually grows bigger.

As there is no sharp difference between off and the state when first switched on, and the current gradually increases there is less chance of a vibration being caused. Without vibration, there will be no buzzing.

The technology is widely available but the more complex electronics means that it is more expensive to manufacture.

The benefits of dimming

A dimmer light switch provides adjustable voltage to a light fixture. This controls the brightness of a lighting fixture, allowing it to fade up brighter or down to a dimmer lighting. Light dimming switches are very safe and efficient. No special wiring is needed to install a residential dimmer switch.

To make a lighting dimming, you need buy a dimmer and a dimming LED lighting(with a dimming LED driver). There are so many benefits of the dimming lighting for your home or business place.

The benefits of LED lighting can be further enhanced simply by dimming light to appropriate levels needed for the application, if the amount of energy consumed is reduced while dimmed. The dimmed LED lamp also operates cooler, which can save air conditioning costs. Dimming then further increases the operating life of the LED lamp.
Daylight harvesting is the concept of using natural light to enhance indoor lighting and, thereby, reducing the generation of artificial light and saving energy. Proper daylight harvesting requires the artificial light to be dimmed at different level throughout a room and throughout the day. For example, more dimming of the light source near a window and less further away. Here, an automatic dimming function may save a tremendous amount of energy.

1.Dimming lighting save energy

When you dim a light, you save up to 80 percent in energy and up to about 20 percent on your energy bill. Dimmer fade your lighting to a level that is preset. You have total control over how much lighting is used in a room. Dimmer switches give you an annual savings of about $100 or more in your office and building applications. When you reduce the lighting wattage, you have less wear and tear on the lighting which makes the life of the lighting longer.

2. Longevity of Dimming lighting

The LED lighting can last longer when you use a dimmer to keep them lit. If you dim the lights by at least 25%, you will save approximately 1/5 of the electricity required. The softer the lamp fade, the longer the lamp lasts. If you keep using the LED lighting fixture products in dimming method, the products can last more than 5 years.

3. Lighting Controls

You can control the dimmer light switch with a knob or by sliding the switch up and down. These days with the more modern dimmer light switches, you can control the amount of lighting with a remote control. Touch dimmers give you a change of lighting just by pressing a button. You can set the mood for any room that has the adjusted dimmer light switched lighting. You can use dimmer switch lighting in living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and breakfast nooks.

4. Dimming lighting Saves Energy and the Environment While Enriching Your Life.

While there are many ways to reduce energy use, most involve sacrificing something. Few actually enrich the quality of living and working environments like use dimming LED lighting products. Dimmers and other lighting controls allow individuals to adjust light levels for specific entertainment options, enhance ambiance, set a mood, and take advantage of daylight to reduce energy use.

5. Adjustable Ambience

Lighting sets the ambiance of the room, and that is why it is important for every room to have multiple lighting levels. Dimmer switches are a quick and cost-effective way of offering multiple lighting levels in rooms that have a limited amount of lighting arrangements. Installing adjustable dimmer switches lets the homeowner more accurately set the tone of a room. It also can improve the room’s functionality. For instance, you may prefer darker lighting for watching a movie but still want the option of full brightness in that room if you’re reading later.

6. Easy Installation

A dimmer switch can add a lot of value to your home if properly installed. They are extremely small and can easily fit into a regulation box designed for normal electrical switches. However, before you replace your old switch with a dimmer switch, it is always important to turn off the power of the electrical system.

The Top Lighting Dimmer Switch Suppliers


Founded in 1961, Lutron designs and manufactures more than 15,000 energy-saving products, from dimmers for the home to light management systems for entire buildings. We are the only company to create systems of dimmers and motorized window shades, for control of both electric light and natural daylight


Leviton is the smart choice, delivering the most comprehensive range of solutions to meet the needs of today’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 90 countries across the globe. We’re committed to promoting an open, honest and trustworthy culture, where each employee is respectful of our customers, vendors and one another. Driven by the needs of our customers and by industry standards, we strive for continuous improvement in all we do as we elevate the quality of our products, services and system solutions.


Legrand is a French industrial group historically based in Limoges in the Limousin region. In 2011, the firm was the largest global producer ofr switches and sockets, with 20% of the global market, and in cable management (15% of the global market), generating 75% of its turnover internationally. Legrand dimmer switch is ideal for typical residential and light commercial applications, the Tru-Universal Dimmer is the simple solution to all your dimming challenges. It works with any 120V dimmable lamp, load and fixture.

Philips Hue:

Control and dim your lights with a Hue dimmer switch. Both a wall switch and remote control, this smart switch attaches easily to walls with the included adhesive and can be removed from the magnetic base to use as a remote control.

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