LED Lamp And Dimmer: Still no Dream Pair (Update)

An extensive series of tests with two “LED dimmers’ the company of young and a” No. name “shows the phase dimmers from the hardware store: the connection between traditional control electronics and new light technology works better than previously, but not optimal.
A dimmable 7-Watt Philips LED lamp, flanked by “Young”-phase control dimmers to thebuttons and turning. Together, they can develop an impressive soundscape.

LED Lamp And Dimmer Still no Dream Pair (Update)

In the past few years I wrote here every now and then about the difficult relationship between conventional dimmers and dimmable LED light sources. Short conclusion so far: can work well, but have not. I had the best results in my lamp tests usually when connecting to a phasesfromcutting dimmer with Justierschräubchen (marked “C”).

Even more amazing, I found that the renowned company “Albrecht Jung GmbH & co. KG” in Schalksmühle with their current “LED dimmers’ on thephasesofcutting principle (marked”R”or” R, L”) sets.

Two of these models I received – on request free and permanently for my future tests available one forpressing and turning, the other with a sophisticated key management and “soft-start” circuit (in the picture the removed button attachment from behind with five-pin connector).

Higher LED load phase section

My demand when Jens Stoll, the head of the “young” product management:
“Why is there no LED dimmers with phase control with you?”
His answer:
“In our building automation and smart home systems KNX and eNet we have quite Suitable for LED dimming actuators, where you can toggle between leading – edge and section. Their two test devices are however been derived from NV-tactile and Rotary dimmers with phase control. Our market observations have shown that that the manufacturers of most officially recommend this principle dimmable LED illuminant. In Central Europe it looks however differently; Here, the distribution of arrival / section is about 50:50. “According to CENELEC-‘Interpretation Sheet’ in the cutting of 100 and in section 200 watt LED load are allowed.”

The recommended total power of all connected 230-Volt LED lamps is according to package insert per dimmer between at least 3 or 7 and no more than 100 Watts (in the picture the corresponding note on the button dimmer). With the minimum load there should not be problems; the maximum load is exceeded only in very large installations (for example, with more than 14 Â 7 Watt GU10 spots in the same circuit).

You know so Jens Stoll however, that the LED lighting market is very inhomogeneous and especially the retrofit lamps react very differently to conventional dimmers. Partly even two copies of the same lamp model might behave differently when they come from different lots.

The future lies in digital control

He agreed also my assessment that a phase control is the principle of generally better. There will shut in the zero crossing of the stage; There are smaller inrush currents and a lower tendency to unwanted buzzing noise. Moreover, permitted dimmers duration maximum loads are higher than for phase angle control. The famous universal dimmer (labelling “L, R, C”), which automatically measure the load and then select the Dimmprinzip best for, could these choices unfortunately not with LED lamps connected.

He himself already believe that current LED retrofits and conventional dimmer only for a transitional technology. The future lies in much betriebssichereren integrated LEDs and digital control systems such as the “Ledotron” technique. Here, dimmers and lamps or luminaires using a standardised, open industrial Protocol are co-ordinated. Class, sounds is but unfortunately still a more expensive fun.

Small screw, big impact

Okay, my two test-dimmer are not really cheap with approx. 56 or 95 Euro (the non-binding price recommendations according to jung with 64,97 and €108,64 even higher). But for this they both adjustment screws to the adjustment of range of the used LED lamps (in the detail screen of the Rotary dimmer with a crescent-shaped icon selected. Providing load ’20-500 watt’ refers here, by the way, to conventional lamps, not LED lamps).
Even with the brightness, each retrofit model differently — regardless of the brand name, socket type or performance reacts namely. Young advises in its instructions to use only lamps of the same manufacturer and same type within the dimmer circuit.

Otherwise, you will experience that almost certainly that some LED retrofits at lowest position are already completely dark, while others shine with half strength. Or that some models with specific settings Merry blink and Flash.

In principle, but an mixed operation of various types of lights means is possible. Glüh-, halogen and LED lamps may be used, for example, together on the young dimmers. LED retrofits and compact fluorescent lamps don’t mix but according to the product description in the same dimmer circuit. The operation with transformers (button dimmer) or “tronic Transformers” (Rotary dimmer) is also prohibited. Low-voltage LED lamps are thus ever out of the game.

Review: three dimmer and many LED lamps

And how do the young LED dimmer in practice? In my tests with individual E27 and GU10 bulbs I used first my previous DIY standard dimmers with phase control and without adjusting screw as a reference (20-315 Watts, dimmer 1), then the young phase angle control Rotary- (dimmer 2) and most recently the button dimmer (dimmer 3, detail screen with adjusting screw) – individually and optimally for the light fine tuned. The tests were carried out with two-wire standard connection without an additional neutral conductor.
I will not bore you now with numerous readings, that’s why I write’s flat and simplifies: dimmer 1 the electrical power factor was usually much better (when the one above 7-Watt Philips-“Pear” for example, 0.68 instead of only 0.55, at a “LED’s change the world”- A60-lamp 0.85 instead of approximately 0.70), the range in the direction of “dark” considerably reduced and the familiar whirring noise from lamps or dimmer at most half as loud – often it remained quiet completely.

Rotary and pushbutton dimmer behave similarly

There were no significant differences between dimmer 2 and 3. Two young models I could adjust the brightness of LED retrofits flicker-free and usually between 100 and less than 10 percent thanks to adjusting screw. If one buzzed while loudly using the test light to the bet, so did the other. In quiet surroundings, this “concert” partly still at over a meter audibly – was distance often depending on of the controller. Mostly, the LED lamps to dimmer 2 lightest and darkest setting was far quieter than in a medium; at dimmer 3 the motto was: “ever brighter, the louder”.
Curiously it was even at the experimental cross-check with a conventional light bulb.Here, buzzed the dimmer only and were audible up to approximately 50 cm distance.What about the operating instructions? “quiet… buzzing the appliance due to possible interference suppression choke. These are not malfunctions in the appliance”. Whether it’s a consolation, if annoys the 100-Hertz whirring,-Sirren, or totals?
The young LED dimmer were the quietest with 6.5 watts verbatim-“Diamond Cut”-GU10 spots (10 cm distance) and a 6-W-Segula Spotlight (completely silent). In the latter case, but the length of the rule was very small and the spot with smaller dimmer setting back light – no matter how the adjusting screw. My dimmable OSRAM- and LEDON-Philips-GU10-spots landed in midfield with a whirring noise at approximately 50 cm distance.

Progress is clearly visible

All three dimmers have something together:

  • Input and switch-off delay are not identical and only dependent on the respective electronic of lamp ballast from the principle of the dimmer.
  • The dissipation of the dimmer electronics held in the test with up to 2 Watts in the frame.
  • Decent, current brand LED bulbs can be consistently flicker-free and continuously controlled with them – this was before anything else for granted. Here a lot has teamed in the past few years clearly, even if it is not optimal.
  • Unchanged important: You may connect only expressly marked “dimmable” LED lamps, otherwise anything goes and you could destroy dimmers and lamps.

The surr volume of the respective combinations can incidentally you differently than for me, because here many random factors play a role: cable lengths, construction of the light fitting enclosure or electromagnetic interference on the power grid.

There is the “Super LED-dimmer” soon?

My conclusion: Especially the button dimmer by young could be a very hot partner for dimmable LED lamps and LED electronic transformers with his adjustment, programming and control convenience, if it weren’t for him as phase dimmers. I told even by analogy Jens Stoll, head of product management. And what do I get to hear amazing? As well as at the KNX dimmers by young, theoretically also conventional dimmer versions with manual switching between input and control are feasible. There are still not in the range, but could develop.

That would of course be a wet dream for LED fans because could then select the best functioning mode for the lamps – used when you or lighting model. If it so, for example, loud buzzing: switch easily and is quiet. If you’re lucky.

(Disclaimer: the young company has provided free the two dimmers me.) If you want to even look at the devices and try out: at the trade fair “light + building” in Frankfurt from 30 March to 4 April, the company has the stand B56/B72 in Hall 11.1.)

Update 06.02.2015: Meanwhile another this has joined to the three above described test dimmers: an adjustable phase dimmers in the Conrad brand “Sygonix” with 15 to 150 Watts (33596V). Until the end of February, I expect an also adjustable Merten universal Rotary dimmer with automatic load detection (MEG5134-0000), which is to cope with LED lamps depending on the mode 4-40 (RL, gate) or 4 to 200 Watts (RC, section) then as a fifth reference model.