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#47884 - 01/28/05 08:39 PM Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
bwise121  Offline
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 114
Sacramento, CA USA
Recently I purchased some Lutron Maestro dimmers. When I went back to get more I mentioned to the sales person I was putting in Halo low voltage recessed cans. When she heard that, she told me I needed to purchase the Maestro dimmer not for incandescent but for magnetic transformers. She informed me if I did not the transformer would eventually burn out.

My question is to find out if she is right about this and also learn more about the technicals of why a different kind of dimmer is required for low voltage lighting.

Many thanks in advance,

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#47885 - 01/28/05 09:32 PM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
Speedy Petey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 173
Upstate, NY
I am not an engineer so I can't tell you why, but Low voltage needs a lo-vo dimmer.
Magnetic transformer needs a magnetic dimmer.
Electronic needs an electronic dimmer.

There are exceptions though. Some lo-vo lights require a standard dimmer. The instructions will tell you what is required, no way I'd rely on a sales person.

Speedy Petey

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein

#47886 - 01/28/05 10:39 PM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
Attic Rat  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
Bergen Co.,N.J. USA
... From what I understand,fixtures that require electronic x-formers are those where size is an issue..You can get an electronic ballast to fit in smaller places,although the load/watts are generally alot less than it's cousin,the big,ol' clunky magnetic ballast/transformer which is not much more than an iron core with copper windings and a capacitor or two.. Being electronic,utilizes choke coils,and other small semi-conductor parts,thusly requiring the use of an electronic type dimmer control.Failure to do so can result in either x-former failure,or pre-mature dimmer burn-out.I believe hertz(frequency) has something to do with that here..I usually check with the manufacturer,or my rep at the lighting supply house I go to.. Good Luck!!

[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 01-28-2005).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"

#47887 - 01/28/05 10:54 PM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#47888 - 01/28/05 11:01 PM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
Attic Rat  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
Bergen Co.,N.J. USA
... Thanx e57,... extremely useful stuff there!! I be printing it tonite!! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"

#47889 - 01/29/05 01:10 AM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Here have some more!

I give these (and other interesting things)out during the rare dull moments on site, to those interested.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#47890 - 01/29/05 07:00 PM Re: Why are there magnetic dimmers?  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
There are a number of approaches to dimming a light bulb.
Simply reducing the voltage works well if you're talking about a standard light bulb.
For motors, the speed is sometimes adjusted by electronically blocking part of the 'pulse' from the AC supply.
For fluorescent lights, dimming is accomplished (in part) by changing the frequency of the AC to the bulbs.

In other words, how you "dim" something depends very much on just what that "something" is. That is why it is essential to match dimmers with the appliances.

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