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#13875 - 09/12/02 10:38 PM noisy dimmers
elecbob Offline
Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 142
Loc: WA
Another customer is complaining to me about noisy dimmers (Lutron Ariadni)I installed . What a pain. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a dimmer on the market that is quieter? In some insrances I've found that it is actually the filiments in bulbs making noise and not the dimmers themselves. This is fustrating.
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#13876 - 09/13/02 01:14 AM Re: noisy dimmers
Trumpy Offline

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8560
Loc: SI,New Zealand
What type(electrically) of dimmer are you
Also, what type of lighting are you
controlling with the dimmer?.
Love to know, reckon I can sort this one
out for you!.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin
#13877 - 09/13/02 04:10 AM Re: noisy dimmers
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
just what is it that creates the 'noise' in the first place?
#13878 - 09/13/02 04:27 AM Re: noisy dimmers
ThinkGood Offline
Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
This is from , Pass & Seymour: Knowledge & Know How: FAQ

Q: I installed a dimmer at a new house and the owner is complaining that the incandescent light bulbs are humming. I changed the dimmer and the bulbs are still humming. Is there a problem with the dimmer or the installation?

A: Why does a light bulb hum with a dimmer controlling it, is a very common question. The noise the bulb is making is called "bulb sing" or "filament hum". The sound is created from the turning on and off of the A.C. sine wave. The rapid switching causes the tungsten filament to resonate. This is not harmful to the lamp but could be annoying depending on the location of the installation. Filament hum is typical with what is referred to as "contractor bulbs". This is an inexpensive lamp that is common to new construction. The hum can be greatly reduced by upgrading the lamp. By using an incandescent lamp with a heavier filament, the hum is practically eliminated. The family dog can still hear it, but he doesn't care.
#13879 - 09/13/02 04:31 AM Re: noisy dimmers
ThinkGood Offline
Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
P. S. Seems that changing the bulb used can be a real hum dimmer...
#13880 - 09/13/02 11:29 AM Re: noisy dimmers
Bjarney Offline
Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
In stage lighting, the filament noise is called "lamp sing." The voltage waveform serving the lamps is not a smooth, wavy sinusoid—it is sharp and ragged, changing shape somewhat over the brightness range of the dimmer control...{except at truly zero or full-on states.}

The only absolute cure are these quaint, stone-age yet most gnarley things . Warning: may require a touch-up by the local plasterer after install.

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 09-13-2002).]
#13881 - 09/13/02 02:48 PM Re: noisy dimmers
Electricmanscott Offline
Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
Check out for more info. They also have a good tech support hotline.
#13882 - 09/13/02 08:09 PM Re: noisy dimmers
Electric Eagle Offline
Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I get that complaint every once in a while, but more commonly people complain that the dimmers are burning hot. I asked Lutron how hot was too hot and they said 150 degrees F above room temp. They told me to use nylon plate screws to stop the heat transfer, it works! I don't think older dimmers got that hot, why?
#13883 - 09/13/02 08:38 PM Re: noisy dimmers
spkjpr Offline
Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 226
Loc: Sedalia,MO, USA
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the old dimmers have a massive heat sink on them. I seem to recall it being because the power transistors in it were in their infancy and produced much heat, the technology of power transistors has been advanced since then and they operate a little cooler now.
#13884 - 09/13/02 10:05 PM Re: noisy dimmers
Trumpy Offline

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8560
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Are "Contractor Bulbs", them really cheap
bulbs, you get with new light fittings,
these days, we have had a real problem
from these over here in NZ, mainly in
cheap imported (China)linear-type tungsten-
halogen outdoor fittings, we nowadays, throw
the lamp out, that comes with these fittings,
because their life is measured in minutes,
not the 1000-2000hours that they are quoted
as lasting.
Just a short note, on the dimmers, however,
the Triac and Diac in a light dimmer,
require pretty much a perfect sine-wave to
operate correctly, if there are any DC or
Harmonic components in the supply, feeding
them, this can upset their output, quite
When light dimmers first came out over here,
they had a whopping great wire-wound rheostat
as a series voltage dropper resistor, and
these used to hum like crazy, especially
when the lamps were dimmed down low.
Thank God they are gone now, they were
terribly in-efficient(with heat loss) and
to a certain extent they were a fire risk
if the lamps were kept dimmed for long
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin
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