Yes, many LED lights are dimmable. Almost all of the lights in the Elemental LED catalog are dimmable when paired with the correct dimmer. This guide will explain how to dim our LED lights with either a 120V AC magnetic low voltage dimmer switch or a 12V DC dimmer switch, and how dimming works.
USING A 120V AC MAGNETIC LOW VOLTAGE DIMMER SWITCH
If you want to use a 120V magnetic low voltage dimmer switch with your new LED lights, our 12V Dimmable Drivers are made specifically for use with this kind of switch. (Don’t be confused by the phrase “magnetic low voltage switch.” It doesn’t mean that the switch is low voltage, just that it’s compatible with a low voltage driver.) Our dimmable DC drivers are designed for use with high voltage dimmer switches that are rated for magnetic low voltage loads or that are stated to have symmetric forward phase control. These drivers are wired between the switch and the LED fixture.
USING AN ELECTRONIC LOW VOLTAGE DIMMER
We sell several 12V and 12V-24V dimmers that are for use with all of our standard Adapters and Drivers, switches like theREIGN™ LED Dimmer and the 12V Inline Dimmer Switch. These drivers are “electronic low voltage” power sources, so they require a dimmer switch that has reverse phase control. Unlike switches used with our dimmable drivers, the 12V dimmer switches are connected between the driver (or adapter) and the light. These switches are not compatible with any of our dimmable drivers, even though the driver is 12V, because they have opposite phases. Our 12V dimmers are also known as a PWM switch.
WHICH OF ELEMENTAL’S LIGHTS ARE DIMMABLE?
Unless noted otherwise in the product page description or Tech Specs tab, all of our LED fixtures are dimmable.
There are four terms to know about dimming LED lights and they go in pairs. The first is “forward phase control”, which is a characteristic of “magnetic low voltage” power sources. The second is “reverse phase control”, and it’s a feature of “electronic low voltage” power. The “phase” in “phase control” just means the shape of the frequency of electricity. When a light is dimmed, it’s being turned on and off rapidly, 120 times per second. That means that, for 50% of a phase cycle, the light is on. “Forward phase control” means it’s on for the first half of the cycle, and “reverse phase control” means it’s on for the second half. That’s it! So if you have a dimmer switch with forward phase control, you need a 12V driver with the same phase.
Another term you’ll need to know is Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). Some dimmers reduce the actual voltage going into the LED fixture, which can damage the LED bulbs. A PWM dimmer instead chops up the steady 12V current, turning it rapidly off and on for different periods of time, depending on how dim the light should be. Our 12V Inline Dimmer Switch is a PWM dimmer, while 120V AC dimmers are not PWM.