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About Low Voltage Dimmers
This guide answers typical questions encountered by Lutron's Technical Assistance and Applications personnel concerning low-voltage dimming applications. Lutron manufactures low-voltage dimmers for lowvoltage fixtures that use magnetic transformers.
To control electronic (solid-state) transformer-supplied low-voltage lighting, Lutron developed special dimming circuitry after an extensive engineering research and development program. This technology has been built into a Series of dimmers specifically for ELV transformer loads.
Lutron offers dimmers for both load types in a variety of product families.
Facts About Low-Voltage Lighting
Why Use Low-Voltage Lighting?
What is Low-Voltage Lighting?
Low-voltage lighting uses a transformer to reduce a 120VAC line voltage to 12VAC or 24VAC. This lower voltage is then used to power an incandescent lowvoltage lamp. Examples of low-voltage lamps are AR111, MR16, MR11, PAR36, T3-1/4, T5, striplites, etc. Many, but not all low-voltage lamps are tungsten halogen.
Where is the Transformer Located?
A low-voltage transformer may be mounted remotely or as an integral part of the fixture.
Does Dimming Affect Lamp Life?
Dimming will increase the life expectancy of low-voltage lamps. Occasionally, darkening of a low-voltage halogen lamp may occur. If this happens, simply turn on the lamp at 100% illumination for 10 minutes and the black residue (the result of tungsten evaporation) will nearly be eliminated.
Dimming Low-Voltage Lighting
When dimming a low-voltage fixture, the dimmer controls the line voltage (120VAC) input to the transformer powering the low-voltage lamps. There are two types of transformers manufactured for low-voltage lighting:
Important: Before selecting a dimmer, determine
what type of transformer is in the lighting fixture.
Different characteristics of the two transformer types
require special dimming considerations. If you have a
question concerning what type of transformer a fixture
uses, refer to the fixture manufacturer's literature. Note: Line voltage incandescent and low-voltage
fixtures can be mixed on the same circuit, but the
correct low-voltage dimmer (for the given low-voltage
load) must be used. The total load must not exceed the
dimmers capacity. Do not mix magnetic and electronic
transformers on the same dimming circuit. Note: Some low-voltage fixtures cannot be dimmed.
Differences Between Magnetic and Electronic Transformers