So I am reading the back of the Lutron dimmer & fan control selection guide and it tells me dimming the lights 10 percent saves, 10 percent electricity. I learned that that this is not true. Can you guys straighten me out? The chart continues with 25 saves 20 percent, 50 saves 40 percent and 75 save 60percent.
Ten percent of what? 10% of the pot range?, 10% of the current? 10% of the light output? I think it is a throwaway line. If they mean you are letting 10% of the wave through that might be accurate. Get out your log tables and start up your slide rules. Dimmers certainly reduce the watts used when they are "dimmed" The real question is how much light you are getting for your lighting dollar
It really depends how the dimmer works. As far as I know, most of the dimmers on the market now are of the switched type, which rapidly switches on and off a couple thousand times a second (I don't know the typical frequencies) to give you more of a duty-cycle type of dimming. This means the load still sees the same peak voltages, so W=V^2/R doesn't put us into exponential terroritory like rheostats would. On the surface looks like it would be linear- dim 50%, get 50% the light. However, at high switching frequencies, line conductors have considerable inductance, so currents while the switch is switched on are slightly higher than you'd get from looking at the resistance of the light bulb due to the building magnetic field, and the overall response curve isn't quite linear.
I'd imagine their claims are never exactly right since there are too many variables, but somewhere in the ballpark. Just don't plug in a CFL or LED bulb
Greg, I was thinking the same thing. They are usually just triacs with a variable hold off on the gate trigger. They add a snubber circuit to combat noise from the shatp leading edge at the trigger point. You'll always have some crossover distortion on them. I would guess that they all use sensitive gate triacs to allow the earliest triggering for maximum brightness. Joe