How to Dim LED Strip

How to Dim LED Strip

The easiest and most reliable way to dim fixed colour LED strip is with a phase cut triac dimmable driver which utilises the 240V dimming signal from an LED dimmer, and converts that into a 12/24V DC PWM signal for dimming. I have found the DIGINET LED Smart Phase Adaptive Dimmer optimised for LED loads to be the best 240V LED dimmer on the Australian market, and it can be purchased from most electrical wholesalers.

The beauty of using a triac dimmable driver over other dimming methods is the ability to use a dimmer which perfectly fits into a standard switch wall plate, and not having to run extra wires if it is an existing installation.

If you already have LED strip installed that you’d like to dim it’s a very simple task for an electrician to change the wall plate to allow for the new dimmer and then remove the existing LED driver in exchange for the new triac dimmable version. Job done!

Another reason why a triac dimmable driver is perfect for the task of dimming LED strip is because of its PWM (pulse width modulation) output signal. With PWM the size of the load and the size of the LED driver do not have to be closely matched. Let me explain.

With 1-10V analogue dimming the LED driver must be closely matched to the size of the load, otherwise there will be a dead spot at the start of the dimming process. Let’s say the LED strip load is 41W and the LED driver is 80W, as you start to turn the dimming knob nothing happens until the 1-10V dimmer reaches the same potential as the load, and then the dimming starts. If we use the analogy of increments and say that a 1-10V dimmer breaks the dimming from 0-100% in to 10 increments, then a PWM dimming signal breaks it into 1000 increments! Hence PWM offering a much smoother dimming cycle.

I would not recommend using DALI for dimming LED strip because it is a system that was designed for the dimming of ballasts associated with fluorescent lighting, not LED. If there was an existing DALI control system, I could use a DALI to PWM converter to dim the LED strip, but DALI would not be the control system of choice when designing, especially when it comes to residential projects.

There are a plethora of Wi-Fi/Bluetooth systems available on the market today which can dim LED strip and are marketed as making our lives easier, but as an electrician, nothing beats hard wiring for reliability. I also do not believe that ever increasing levels of Wi-Fi signal around us has no harm.

If you are wanting to dim some LED strip, or you are needing advice on best practices, please call us today and we will be happy to share our knowledge with you. If we can educate you, then you can make an informed purchasing decision which is empowering.