LED rated dimmer?

Anything out there in wave land besides the Leviton VRMX1-1LZ? Dimmable LEDs have become fabulous in the last year, but they sure can buzz on the wrong dimmer.
I just test the Cree TW series (CRI of 93) but it buzzed badly on an old style dimmer. I’m going to retest on the VRMX1-1LZ.

This is already covered in other topics of the forum. Ge now offers a three were dimmer, you also have Evolve which also offers a three wire. Search led dimmer. There are some very detailed discussions.

  • Garrett

I’m asking about led RATED dimmers. For example GE has an on/off switch for which they specifically include LEDs in the spec, but not so on their dimmers. I don’t see LED mentioned in the Evolve specs either. It’s nice to accumulate anecdotal evidence on specific models of LEDs, but the lack of manufacturer specificity on LEDs is noteworthy.

As Garret said, discussed many times.

In other posts, I’ve detailed my experiences with LEDs on z-wave dimmers, and after having tried various dimmers (Cooper RF9540, Leviton VRMX1, Leviton VRE06, Fibaro FGD211, etc), in conjunction with various dimmable LED bulbs (Cree, Philips, Sylvania, Utilitech, etc), the ONLY dimmer I’ve found that doesn’t make the LEDs buzz is the Leviton VRE06. To be clear, I tried the new Leviton VRMX1 that’s specifically LED compatible, but it caused the bulbs to buzz like all the others.

The VRE06 is expensive, but the only option I’ve found that doesn’t cause the buzzing.

As Garret has said, this horse has been beaten to death so many times it doesn’t even look like a horse anymore. Search is your friend. Search both this site and the web in general reveals lots of anecdotal info. This is what I have done. And what I do is order ONE sample of a dimmer I’m interested in for my particular bulbs or use case. If it works, great, if not, I’m out only one dimmer and I can repurpose it somewhere else.

And the caveat is that while many dimmers are rated for LED use, depending on which LED bulb you use, it still might have issues with with it. And then there are Cree bulbs that even though they are LEDs, they work perfectly with 2-wire non-LED dimmers.

This is one of those YMMV subjects.

-TC

[quote=“TC1, post:6, topic:180910”]As Garret has said, this horse has been beaten to death so many times it doesn’t even look like a horse anymore. Search is your friend. Search both this site and the web in general reveals lots of anecdotal info. This is what I have done. And what I do is order ONE sample of a dimmer I’m interested in for my particular bulbs or use case. If it works, great, if not, I’m out only one dimmer and I can repurpose it somewhere else.

And the caveat is that while many dimmers are rated for LED use, depending on which LED bulb you use, it still might have issues with with it. And then there are Cree bulbs that even though they are LEDs, they work perfectly with 2-wire non-LED dimmers.

This is one of those YMMV subjects.

-TC[/quote]

Totally agree, I too have tested 5-6 popular models of Dimmable LED’s and CFL’s with 3-4 popular Z-Wave dimmers, although most of them do work, and most do not buzz that I can hear, if you try a 3-wire dimmer - one of each model, get a dimmable bulb that you like and try it! Don’t get 6 or 10 switches and a 12 pack of LED’s without trying ONE of each.

Its a personal choice too because what bothers some as far as noise goes, will not bother others and it may depend upon where your switches are installed too. Quality of the bulbs, especially as far as CFL’s go, matters a lot as well.

I just bought a few Cree LED bulbs from Home Depot and have tried them with my ZWave dimmers (Leviton) and non ZWave (Lutron) dimmers with disappointing results. The Bulbs are meant to be dimmable but they have this phenomenon of “drop out” at the low end. They dim to about 10% brightness then just go dead. Incandescent can dim infinitely down to zero.

Until the bulb/dimmer guys get a solution to this drop out issue I think people will be disappointed with LEDs in dimming situations. This idea you have to perfectly pick a dimmer to match a specific type of bulb is madness. Who wants to keep track of bulb model numbers in a ceiling of 20 pot lights!!!

I was encouraged to see what the silicon guys were doing to bridge this performance gap ( Cirrus Logic, Inc. | Cirrus Logic ). They claim Zero -100% dimming range. After searching for a couple hours I couldn’t find any reference to a specific bulb vendor using this chipset. I’d love to buy a sample of a bulb with this chip in it but dammed if I can find out who uses it. Madness.

I think most if not all of my LEDs drop out like that. Some are better than others and at the same time they drop out at different levels on different dimmers.

For instance those Cree bulbs drop out at a higher percentage on my leviton lamp dimmer than they do on my schlage lamp dimmers.

Ultimately I don’t go much lower than 10% light anyways. I suppose it all depends on your application and use cases.

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If you’re looking for a LED bulb that can dim between 0 - 10% then you are out of luck. Nothing on the market actually shipping, that I am aware of, can do that at the present time.

And as already mentioned, less than 10%? That seems like an impractical use case unless you have a long string of bulbs on one circuit where say 5% would still be a lot of lumens output.

-TC

Eye sensitivity isn’t linear. So 10% might sound like a trivial amount of light. As you state “impractical use case”. It isn’t once you factor in the eye sensitivity and pupil dialation. I would think lighting in a home theatre walkway or wall wash sconce wouldn’t be too good with 10%.

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Just chiming in here, agree with both TC and SirMeili, I haven’t seen a dimmable LED that dimmed to zero on any that I have tested yet. I tested Evolve/Linear, Leviton and GE Z-Wave switches, they all dimmed to maybe 5-10% depending upon the bulbs used, maybe more. The Bulbs I tested were EcoSmart, GE, Philips, Cree and WalMart brand.

Just had a customer call this morning complaining about that functionality (well he actually called re Volt bulbs that buzzed quite badly with Evolve LRMAS dimmers) but like I told him, other than lamp dimming modules, all hardwired switches do not dim to zero in my experience. I am starting to wonder if its isn’t the dimmers at fault not the bulbs, especially in light of my next comments…

I have been testing, z-wave and insteon dimming modules lately, with plug-in lamps using dimmable LEDs and found them to dim to zero, no problem. GE 45602 was not as smooth as the Linear PD300Z and the PD300 was alot more responsive, but both dimmed 100% down to zero in one keypress. Insteon performed far better than both zwave modules. Anyone know why modules work better exactly? My initial thoughts were that the modules use a neutral obviously so they should work, but so do LED compatible dimmers. Why the superior performance in a module?

[quote=“TC1, post:10, topic:180910”]And as already mentioned, less than 10%? That seems like an impractical use case unless you have a long string of bulbs on one circuit where say 5% would still be a lot of lumens output.

-TC[/quote]

Wakeupramp?

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,5718.0.html

[quote=“S-F, post:13, topic:180910”][quote=“TC1, post:10, topic:180910”]And as already mentioned, less than 10%? That seems like an impractical use case unless you have a long string of bulbs on one circuit where say 5% would still be a lot of lumens output.

-TC[/quote]

Wakeupramp?

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,5718.0.html[/quote]

I still say YMMV. I’ve got about 200W of incandescent lighting in my bedroom high hats, and at about 10% (according to Vera) it’s pretty low light output

But no matter, the current state of LED lighting in general won’t support 0 - 10%. I’m sure there are or will be some bulbs that will do this though.

In the testing of philips BR-30 type bulbs in cans with mechanical dimmers I was able to get the LEDs at least as dim as incandescents. So if the 10% bottom constraint can be removed, at least some LEDs are capable of getting very dim.

An interesting BR-30 type is the Philips dimtone. It starts at about 2700K and gets warmer as its dimmed. It matches up very precisely with the incandescent 65w br-30 on a dimmer. About $35 in the U.S. I wonder if some of the complaint of LEDs not getting dim enough is actually dissatisfaction with dimmed color temp.

I was mostly using Hue to get warm with dim, but the dim tone is better and less expensive for most automation uses. (higher wattage, controllable by zwave dimmers, cheaper, has color temperature behavior many people like). My ideal of light design is rooms that can very bright when needed, but are normally subdued ed and warm with brighter task lighting.

I’m getting an evolve/linear dimmer this week to test with the dim tones. I want to find a zwave dimmer/led combination that can be turned on by motion sensors as night lights.

Going off on a further tangent… ;D

How society in general got stuck on 2700k being ideal is insane. I think the reason it became the popular standard is because it resembled candlelight at the time… the very thing the incandescent bulb was replacing. But 2700k offers bad color rendering, you don’t see things in their true color.

For me, 3000k offered by many LED light sources is the ideal. Doesn’t have the harshness of daylight temp bulbs (around 4000 - 5000k), but colors are more vibrant and accurate than 2700k. My new under cabinet LED light bars with diffuser are fantastic and allow me to see food prep as it really appears. 3000k is now my personal standard.

[quote=“curiousB, post:11, topic:180910”]Eye sensitivity isn’t linear. So 10% might sound like a trivial amount of light. As you state “impractical use case”. It isn’t once you factor in the eye sensitivity and pupil dialation. I would think lighting in a home theatre walkway or wall wash sconce wouldn’t be too good with 10%.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/quote]

For low light scenarios I would use incandescent if possible in those situations anyways (especially a theater where the 0-100% would just “look better” when you dim down for the movie). However even in my kitchen in the middle of the night, I only dim the lights down to 20% and that is coming from no light (they are currently the only “auto” lights in my house). Anything less and it just doesn’t seem right to me (I can’t see, even with my pupils dilated). I’ve found for those specific lights (equivalent of 6 65w recessed lights), that 20% is what allows me to see without it being “too bright”.

As I said, it really depends on the use case. There are reasons to use incandescent, I just don’t have any of those in my house and for what I use my current bulbs for, having that 0-10% range is not necessary. I do see what you’re getting at, but I think the majority of use cases won’t need that lower end of the range.

The color temp of candlelight is about 1800K.

But we did evolve with fire as our night time light source. Bright, bluer light at night is associated with reduce melatonin production. Not that the difference between 2700K and 3000K is meaningful in this context.

If color is rendered more accurately, the CRI is higher. The high CRI LEDs render red better. These can be 2700K bulbs. I do think the kitchen is a good place for high CRI lighting.

I’ve used the free software f.lux for years on my computer screens to avoid blue light in the evening. I have no idea if it helps with sleep. But I do think total household lighting design should try to keep both lumens and color temp. down later in the evening. If everyone in the house sleeps great, then there’s probably no need.

I bought a couple of these dim tone bulbs. I put it in one pot light 30" from a matching pot with an incandescent. Dimming they looked very similar down to lowest level. At $29 each they are still a little pricey but if you want an incandescent like experience with led benefits this is a GREAT bulb. Hopefully they get to $15 range before too long and then they’ll fly off the shelves.

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Similar to the dimtone is the LEDnovation EnhanceLite. I haven’t seen it, but it claims a better CRI than the dimtone.