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Thread: Any way to control dimming on 12V DC lighting?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021

    Any way to control dimming on 12V DC lighting?

    I'm looking at installing Caseta and new deck at roughly the same time. We're going with a Trex deck with their lighting system, which uses a transformer and offers an optional dimmer that sits on the DC side of the circuit. Is there anything in the Caseta line that could be used in place of the Trex dimmer (downstream of the transformer)? It doesn't need to be outdoor rated, I can keep it all inside and just run DC out to the deck lighting. Otherwise I'm thinking my best bet is to just use the new outdoor plug for simple on/off and not worry about dimming control. Other ideas?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Lutron only offers line voltage controls.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Deck/landscape lighting is generally 12-15V AC, not DC as DC would have way too much voltage drop. Regardless, Lutron does not offer any kind of low-voltage dimming devices. Someone else asked about dimming landscape lighting which is similar to what you are talking about.

    If you are really interested in dimming your deck lights, I wouldn't go with those Trex deck lights (I wouldn't go with Trex lights anyway, they are good at composite decks not lights). As I described to that user, your best bet would be to find a transformer without a built in timer that has a chance of being dimmed, and getting non-integrated-LED fixtures that you install your own dimmable LED bulbs in. I'd say a professional grade transformer (Kichler, basic FX, etc) is the better choice. Just make sure there is no built in timer, screen, electronics, etc. Just a transformer and circuit breaker in a box.

    If you go this route make sure to study up on landscape light wiring methods, just going daisy-chain for a bunch of lights probably won't work all that well in this application.

    Almost certainly not warranty-friendly, not orthodox, don't blame me if it doesn't work right or the transformer dies after a week. Just something I have seen done (once) that might help you achieve what you are looking for.
    Evan Kirkhart- Home Electronics Solutions
    Santa Barbara, CA

  4. #4
    You can - but only via additional equipment. there are 2 options - electronic & magnetic. The electronic is typically for small loads and is not very linear in dimming, however these are cheap and work with normal Lutron dimmers. The magnetic is for bigger loads, has more linear dimming, costs a lot more, is physically bigger and requires Lutron ELV/MLV dimmers. These are both dimmable line voltage adapters that convert to 12V (possibly 24V) LED sources.E.G. Magnetic: AspectLED MLV Dimmable Power Supply power at least up to 300W Electronic: IlluminUs 12V 12W Dimmable CV DC LED Driver Transformer ETL (UL) Approved Amazon:

  5. #5
    DC or AC makes no difference to voltage drop. Only the current impacts voltage drop over a given set of wires. For the same power output output at 12V the drop for DC or AC will be the same.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Sorry, that is wrong. That is why AC is used to transmit power over transmission lines. DC has a high voltage drop over any distance.

  7. #7
    Sorry that's just plain WRONG. Read the very article you quoted and actually understand it. AC is used to transmit power over long distances because using simple transformers you can step the voltage up to thousands of volts and not need much current to transmit lots of power, at the use point you step it back down again. You cannot easily, efficiently or cost effectively step up DC voltages at high power levels. Only the higher voltage & conversely lower current make a difference. V = I x R where V is the voltage drop, I is the current and R is the fixed resistance of the wiring. The voltage drop is always proportional to the current (the direction of the current makes no difference to the losses). AC & DC voltage drops are the same for the same RMS power at the same voltage/current. Best to understand what you are talking about.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by davisadm View Post
    Sorry, above comment was meant for another thread. I could not find a way to delete it.

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