Guide Technique Variation de lumière

Technical Guide | Dimming

What is dimming?

What is dimming?

Dimming refers to the capability of a lighting fixture or source to adjust its light intensity, allowing you to lower or increase the brightness according to your preferences. This feature, known as dimming or dimmable lighting, lets you set different moods and atmospheres in your home, making it more comfortable and adaptable for various activities.

Dimming allows you to control the lumens emitted by a light source. Think of lumens as the measure of the brightness of a light source. Dimming is like having a volume control for that light. When you dim a light, you're reducing the lumens, making the light less bright. For instance, if a bulb is normally very bright at 1000 lumens, you can use dimming to make it 500 lumens, creating a gentler and cozier lighting effect.


What is dimmable LED lighting?

When you come across the term "dimmable" on a light fixture or an LED bulb, it means that the product allows you to control its brightness. However, there is a small nuance in how to interpret the dimming feature for bulbs and for fixtures with integrated LED modules.

  • Dimmable Bulbs
  1. A dimmable bulb refers to a light source that can be used with compatible dimmer switches in a standard light fixture with a socket. The dimming functionality depends on the bulb itself and whether you use a dimmer switch. The driver, responsible for making the bulb dimmable, is located in the base of the lamp. This option gives you the flexibility to choose dimming capabilities by selecting the appropriate bulb for your light fixture without taking into account the dimming technology. Note that dimmable light bulbs work fine on a non-dimmable circuit (but they will not dim), however, non-dimmable light bulbs will not work on a dimmable circuit.

  • Dimmable Luminaires with Integrated LEDs
  1. Dimmable luminaires, on the other hand, are light fixtures that come with integrated LED technology. These fixtures have the dimming capability built into the design. The ability to dim integrated LED luminaires relies on the dimmable LED driver, a critical component that regulates the flow of electricity to the LED module. This connection plays a crucial role in dimming technology. Integrated LED fixtures can offer multiple dimming options, such as DALI, 1-10V, or TRIAC, which provide varying levels of control. The choice of technology depends on factors like the type of the dimmer driver, the complexity of the lighting setup, control preferences, and compatibility with existing infrastructure (wiring).

What is a dimmable LED driver?

A dimming driver is a crucial component that connects LED fixtures to your home's electrical wiring, ensuring they work seamlessly. It performs two functions: it is both a driver and a dimmer for LED lights.

  1. LED lights require low-voltage direct current (DC) to operate, whereas the electrical supply in your home provides high-voltage alternating current (AC). The dimming driver acts as a translator, converting high-voltage AC into the low-voltage DC needed by LED lights.

  2. The dimmable driver also lets you adjust the brightness of your LED lights. It regulates the flow of electricity to your LEDs, making them brighter or dimmer as needed. To function as a dimmer the dimmer driver has extra terminals where control wires can be connected to provide a dimming control signal.

LED lights do require a driver to operate but, no worries, most commercial luminaires are supplied with a driver. The driver plays a significant role in enabling dimming with different technologies like Triac, DALI, and 0-10V. These dimming technologies are basically methods of controlling the driver to adjust the brightness of LED fixtures.


What are the different types of dimming?

Keep in mind that technologies may have different names or synonyms, but understanding the underlying principles will help you make informed lighting choices.

  • 1-10V / 0-10V / Analog Dimming
  1. Analog dimming is a common method for smoothly adjusting light brightness from 0 to 100%. It utilizes a rotary switch to vary voltage between 0 or 1 and 10 volts. A 0/1-10V dimming system for lighting fixtures usually involves 5 wires, including 2 mains supply wires, 2 control wires, and a ground wire, originating from the electrical junction box where the fixture is installed.

  • DALI / Digital dimming
  1. DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) provides enhanced flexibility, precise control, and advanced functionalities. Unlike directly controlling energy, the DALI dimmer switch transmits a digital signal to LED driver(s) using two additional wires alongside the mains supply wires. A DALI system typically consists of 4 or 5 wires, including active, neutral, and two control wires. In single-insulated devices, an earth wire is necessary. DALI drivers can be controlled by a variety of input devices beyond just sliders or push switches, like sensors for light levels and motion detection, dimming controllers and even building management systems for centralized control.

  • Triac / Forward Phase-Cut / Leading-Edge
  1. Triac stands for "Triode for Alternating Current" and adjusts light intensity by rapidly switching power on and off during each AC voltage half-cycle. Smooth and flicker-free dimming is achieved by controlling the on-off duration. Triac dimmers are cost-effective and utilize a standard 3-wire electrical installation (2 mains supply wires and 1 ground wire), making retrofitting existing lighting installations straightforward.

  • Push / Switch dimming
  1. Push dimming is a straightforward method to adjust lighting brightness as it uses mains cables only. A shorter push on the retractive switch will turn the luminaires on / off, whereas a more extended push dims the LED. This is a much simpler solution compared to other dimming systems that require 3-core mains and 2-core signal cables.

When choosing dimmable lighting, it's vital to ensure the compatibility of your fixture's LED driver with your current setup and your desired level of control. If it's the right type for your infrastructure, you can connect the existing dimming control wires alongside the mains supply wires. While connecting an LED driver to the mains power is typically straightforward, we strongly recommend having a qualified electrician inspect the installation to ensure the connections are made safely.


What is Casambi?

Casambi is a wireless lighting control system powered by Bluetooth technology, offering remote control and dimming capabilities for lighting fixtures. Unlike traditional dimming methods like Triac, DALI, or 0-10V, which require specific wiring, Casambi operates wirelessly. This makes it perfect for retrofitting existing lighting installations and new construction projects, providing flexibility and adaptability.

One of its standout features is Casambi-compatible switches, designed for wireless communication with the Casambi network via Bluetooth. These switches simplify installation and eliminate the need for complex wiring.

Casambi also offers drivers that can be added to fixtures with standard light bulbs, allowing non-Casambi fixtures to join the network. With a Casambi driver, you can control brightness and behavior through the Casambi app or compatible switches.

Its popularity as a smart lighting solution has grown, with many manufacturers integrating Casambi into their LED fixtures. Brands like Louis Poulsen, Tunto, Foscarini, Brokis, Marset and Flos offer Casambi-integrated luminaires, enabling wireless lighting control via the Casambi app or compatible switches for a modern and convenient experience.

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