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01/31/17 Why Are People Obsessed with Dimming LED Lights?

Article - January 31, 2016 By

Dimmable 12 LED Strip Light - 4.2 Watt Light Output

Why Are People Obsessed with Dimming LED Lights?

From residential spaces to industrial facilities, people want to be able to control their lighting systems. Such custom features include changing the fixture’s colors and brightness settings. The latter involves pairing luminaries with compatible dimmers. Previously, this was not an issue for traditional lighting technologies, like incandescent and halogen lamps. Most legacy dimmers work very well with conventional lights, allowing operators to focus on other aspects of the lighting system.

Today, those lights are slowly being phased out by newer, more robust lamps: LEDs. The energy efficient fixtures support a myriad of exciting features, such as instant toggling and color changing options using RGB diodes. But when it comes to dimming, LEDs aren’t quite up to par with previous lighting technologies. Simply put, not all LEDs support dimming features; and there are numerous people looking for ways around this issue.

This article aims to demystify the industry’s need to dim LED luminaries. Since many individuals view LEDs as the lighting option of choice that will eventually dethrone its predecessors, it is important to understand why consumers want to dim the lights.

Saving Energy

Using LED dimmers can help individuals reduce energy consumption. Instead of using the fixture at 100 percent throughout the day or night, one could lower (or increase) intensity levels, depending on the applicable task or activity. Using an LED light below its full capacity may also improve its already lengthy lifespan. This allows the unit to exert less effort during light production, which could decrease the possibility of overheating and premature failure.

According to DIY Stack Exchange, an online forum for technical lighting and electrical specialists, the amount of savings that can be achieved with an LED dimmer is directly related with its light output setting (depending on the type of dimming method applied). This means that at 50 percent brightness, LEDs utilize around 50 percent less power.

Comfort and Relaxation

Comfort is one of the main reasons people want to be able to dim LEDs. Working with only one brightness setting can be difficult for spaces with multiple uses. For example, a college dorm room or studio apartment that is used for sleeping, studying and relaxing would need to have a few dimming options available to cater to each type of activity. Sleeping with lights on full blast can contribute to restlessness, and relying on a night light or study lamp may not always be an option for people living in tight spaces. In such environments, dimming is an effective solution for consolidating several lights with different intensity settings.

In commercial environments, such as offices, restaurants and industrial workplaces, LED dimming is used to support a wide range of activities that may take place in the same area. For instance, a media conference room may utilize full brightness settings during a meeting. But during a slideshow presentation, the lights may need to be dimmed to prevent visual strain. This practice is becoming increasingly common, as businesses engage in multi-tasking processes that involve multi-purpose rooms.

LED Dimming Trends

Currently, LEDs are being incorporated in smart environments and mainstream electronics that thrive on intelligent lighting mechanisms (also known as the Internet-of-Things [IoT]). This trend has called for the need to digitalize LED dimming controls via smartphone apps and touchscreen panels. Normally, setting up such systems requires technical knowledge in electrical configurations and basic wiring practices. Manufacturers are hoping to boost adoption by releasing LED dimmable bulbs that can be installed instantly via standard bulb sockets without complex rewiring. Moreover, the bulbs are also configurable using a handheld remote that can control multiple units, or possibly paired with a smartphone. In commercial markets, engineers are integrating LED dimming with industrial occupancy sensors and motion-sensing devices.

Manufacturers are also testing dimmers that can control LEDs like incandescent lamps. Dimming an incandescent fixture involves a smooth transition; and as it dims down, the light appears to decrease its overall glow and color temperature rating. On the other hand, dimming LEDs often results in a decrease of intensity, but the light’s color temperature remains constant, making the effect look forced and staggered. To mimic incandescent-like dimming, manufacturers have released an LED light with CCT dimming features that is capable of decreasing its color temperature rating (from 3,000K to 2,000K). The process involves the activation of blue phosphor-converted LEDs and amber LEDs. Such products are ideal for residential and commercial environments that require controlled mood lighting.

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