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Dimming 110VAC LED Fixtures

LED Under Cabinet Lights Explained

Early LED fixtures were not receptive to dimming. In recent years, advancement in LED technology has made dimming possible and even easy, but it will still require a little planning.

First things first: dimming 110VAC is different in a few critical ways in comparison to 12VDC or 24VDC. If you’re working with 12VDC or 24VDC, click here for our "choosing a power supply" article, which discusses power supplies and dimming more in depth for low voltage products. This article refers exclusively to 110VAC dimming.

How do I know if my fixture is 110VAC or 12/24VDC?
All of our strip lights and color changing products are 12/24VDC. For everything else, there should be a label on the fixture or wires saying whether it’s low voltage (12VDC/24VDC), line voltage (110VAC), or higher (240, 347 or 480VAC).
Are all 110VAC aspectLED fixtures dimmable?
Not everything. Although almost all our recessed fixtures are available in dimmable varieties, some products still have limitations.
-Our smallest (2” and under) fixtures have poor dimming performance due to the difficulty of decreasing the current to a fixture that already consumes so little
-In-Ground/landscape lights and specialized fixtures are not dimmable due to their included (built-in) drivers being non-dimmable.
-Products that plug directly into wall outlets (such as flood lights and wall washers) are not designed to be dimmed.
You can determine whether the product you’re looking at is dimmable by looking at the “Specifications” table on the product page. Some products require you to choose the dimmable option when adding to cart.
Why are dimmable LED fixtures more expensive?
There’s a little extra hardware circuitry and development cost involved with them, as well as increased customer service costs. Rather than raise all of our prices, we prefer to pass the cost savings on to our customers who don’t require dimming.
So if I buy a dimmable fixture, will any dimmer do the job?
Not quite - but we’ll help you choose one that will. Our fixtures use ELV (electronic low voltage) dimming, whereas most traditional incandescent dimmers use MLV (magnetic low voltage) technology which is not compatible with any of our recessed fixtures. Some ELV dimmers that we have tested to work with our products include:
Eaton TAL06P1 - Our lowest cost dimmer and probably our favorite. This supports both ELV and MLV and performs great.
Lutron Skylark SELV-300P
Lutron Diva DVELV-300P
Any other ELV dimmer that can be found at your local hardware store should perform admirably, but these are simply the ones we recommend and sell.
Do ELV dimmers have a minimum load?
This depends on the specific dimmer. As a general guideline, we typically recommend 40 watts per dimmer, but you’ll have to check the documentation on your specific model.
Do ELV dimmers have a maximum load?
Probably. Many dimmers have a load limit of 300 watts. Again, you’ll have to check the documentation for your specific model to avoid overloading it. For most home installations, thanks to the low power draw of LEDs, this shouldn’t be a concern.
Do your lights buzz when they dim?
No. They shouldn’t buzz under any circumstances.
Does it shorten the life of LEDs when used with dimmers?
When set up correctly with a compatible dimmer, dimming will have no significant impact on the life of your LED fixture.
My lights are flickering when I try to dim them. What would cause this?
Most flickering issues are due to incompatibilities - either with the dimmer in question, or voltage.

1. Verify the product you purchased is dimmable.

2. Check that you’re using a compatible ELV dimmer. Many people install incompatible dimmers and experience issues. You can simply swap these out with a recommended ELV unit and you’ll in business.

3. Verify voltages. Your 110VAC driver needs between 100 and 120VAC supply. Many commercial buildings use 277VAC or even higher. If that is the case, you will cause damage to your driver by feeding it too much. The solution is to purchase a step down transformer designed to step down from your voltage level to 110VAC.

4. Dimmer or occupancy sensor may be under loaded. Most dimmers require a 25-40 watt load in order to recognize a light is attached to them, and dim it correctly. That may be an issue if you’re looking to put a single 10W LED light on the circuit. Solutions in these cases involve using a load simulator or resistor to meet the minimum load necessary for optimal performance.

5. Your dimmer could be overloaded. Most dimmers have a maximum load of 300-600 watts. That may sound like you could run 20-40 15W LED fixtures, but you also need to account for start-up in-rush current, which draws roughly another 20% on most of our fixtures very briefly. That means you can’t run quite as much, despite the lower operating wattage.

Still no luck? Contact us and we’d be happy to troubleshoot.

Have questions?

We offer free technical support for all of our products. Please feel free to live chat with us or to contact us via phone at (888) 503-1317.