How Does a Dimmer Switch Work? Technically Explained!
The industry around residential applications increasingly demanding – especially with regard to lighting that creates the right mood for every occasion. However, innovative lighting devices not only create a room atmosphere but can also save energy. The dimmer switch is an integral part of the lighting system and it has a unique working principle.
What is a Dimmer Switch?
The dimmer switch is a type of potentiometer that adjusts the amount of light in the illumination by controlling the current passing through the lamps. The dimmer enables the brightness of light sources such as LED, Halogen, and CFL to be brought to the level desired by the users.
The dimmer switch is used to control the brightness of the lights in parts of the home, such as the dining room or family room. They are available for either incandescent or fluorescent lighting; buy the right kind because they are not interchangeable.
How Does a Dimmer Switch Work?
A dimmer switch operates using the leading-edge phase principle. At the beginning of each sinusoidal half-wave, the dimmer blocks the current to the lamp, it is non-conducting. The TRIAC (the electronic switch in the dimmer) is only connected after the startup of a user-deﬁnable delay time tz, which energizes the connected loads.
In this way, the brightness of the connected lighting medium can be inﬁnitely adjusted. The interference voltages produced by the switching operation are dampened using suitable ﬁltering measures.
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Why Dimmer Switches are Used?
Dimmer switches create an atmosphere. Whether subdued lighting for a stylish evening meal or a work light switched to suit ambient conditions: it is the ability to adapt lighting quickly and easily that makes dimmers such an attractive option. Besides, dimmers save energy and extend the life of lighting elements.
Types of Dimmer Switches
There are 3 types of dimmer switches available in the electrical market: Rotary, universal, and touch screen.
1. Rotary dimmer switches
Simply turn the dimmer to set the required brightness – pressing it turns the light on or off. Rotary dimmers can also be mounted in the cross and two-way switches.
2. Universal dimmer switches
The universal dimmers can be used for many kinds of lamp loads: incandescent lamps, high-voltage halogen lamps, and low-voltage halogen lamps with magnetic or electronic transformers. The touch dimmers are particularly user-friendly. Switching them on and off is as simple as using a normal light switch. They can also be dimmed up or down to the required brightness. The memory function enables a specific dimming value to be stored, which is then automatically switched to when the dimmer is activated. A universal dimmer can also be switched and dimmed from various points using conventional pushbuttons.
3. Touchscreen dimmer switches
They are often installed on a wall in the home and are easy to use, plus give a modern look to a room. They are a part of a home automation system.
Connection of Dimmer Switches
Can You Put a Dimmer Switch on Any Light?
Generally, dimmer switches are suitable for use with incandescent and halogen lamps. But some LEDs and fluorescent lamps with special ballasts can also be controlled by the dimmer switch.
Are Dimmers Dangerous?
If your bulb and dimmer switch matches, dimmers aren’t dangerous. Be careful not to put too much power through them. That’s why check the manufacturer’s catalogs before buying dimmers.
Some of the less expensive dimmers may cause radio or TV interference. Better ones have noise-eliminating devices built into them.