LED Tip 8: Understanding LED Dimming

In the world of LED, its the driver that determines whether the LED bulb or fixture is dimmable or not. Here are some brief tips on LED Dimming and what to look for when you buy LED product.

Being able to dim a LED is essential for 2 main reasons.

  1. You want to control the light levels to the proper settings. Full-on is not needed, all the time. If you are in a restaurant, you want to set the mood.
  2. If you are in a warehouse, why light up every row when no one is around. Turning off or dimming down is essential. It saves you money, and isn't converting to LED to save money the reason you're here? (Well ok, maybe you are interested in reducing your costs of maintenance too!)

So there are essentially two types of dimmers, Triac and O-10V. Here is an explanation of both and how they work.

1. LED Triac Dimming

Triac dimming is typically found on smaller LED bulbs and tubes, except tubes with external drivers. They work in a way that we are typically used to in a dimming solution. A wall switch that allows for dimming is used and limits the current sent to the bulb. The dimmers in the LED bulbs are capable of working with the Triac dimmer, and dim accordingly. Some bulbs that are not Triac compatible will work, but only for a very short period of time before the driver inside the bulb fails. It is important to make sure the dimmer used is compatible with the dimming LED bulb, or else you the LED driver will fail prematurely. And unfortunately, this is not a warrant-able return.

2. 0-10V Dimming

This type of dimming is common on larger commercial and industrial fixtures. High Bays, Wall Packs, Area Lights, Parking Lot Lights, can all be equipped with a 0-10V dimming driver to control light source. But these drivers work with external controls to dim the light, which is slightly different than the way you would use a triac dimmer. Picture a warehouse, many rows, and each row having a series of linear high bays. Each high-bay could be equipped with a motion sensor. When no one is around, the motion sensor would send a signal to the driver to dim down, or turn off. All of this can be programmed on the sensor. When it detects motion, to goes to full output. In this way, each fixture can provide all the light that is needed when someone is working in the row or dim / turn off when the row is vacant.

Typically, a 0-10V driver has 2 extra wires that you connect to, a grey and a purple wire. This is what controls the dimming. Sending a 1V signal down these wires dims the light to 10%, a 5V signal dims the light to 50% and so on.


Dimming is important, it can save you more money by using less electricity and extend the life of the LED fixture. If you think you can use dimming in your application, tell one of the sales experts at MYLEDLightingGuide and we can configure your lights with the correct drivers.

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