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Thread: Why is it so difficult to dim LEDs?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator
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    Jul 2013
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    Why is it so difficult to dim LEDs?

    Throughout my time at Lutron, the question that always seems to come up has been "why is it so difficult to dim LEDs?". A document that I have sent out many times to help explain this new technology is Lutron's white paper on controlling LEDs, so I thought I would share.

    Does anyone else have other informative articles or resources they use on the dimming control of LEDs?

  2. Likes Ty W. liked this post
  3. #2
    The DOE has a fairly good presentation on the topic
    http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildin...12-10-2012.pdf

  4. #3
    Shouldn't the real question be,"Why do companies that make LED bulbs and control lie to the public about their ability to be dimmed?"

    Just like the lie about how long the bulbs last or how well they work. I keep trying to save energy, but I keep getting lied to. The CFL industry should all be in jail. They don't last that long anywhere but in the idea circumstances. The don't like cold or vibration, neither of which is an issue for an incandescent bulb.

    I bought you Diva switch and now I have to replace the LED bulbs I have because they're not the exact type that work with your switch. Liars.

  5. #4
    Pete F.
    Guest
    Chris,
    We absolutely understand the frustration that comes along with dimming CFLs and LEDs and how it can feel like companies are not providing you with complete or accurate information. The issues that consumers, and even us, face now, is that there is no industry standard for the manufacturing of LEDs or CFLs. Because there is no industry standard for how they are made, performance will likely vary greatly from bulb to bulb. Our C•L dimmers are designed to control a wide range of LED and CFL products. However, since the way LEDs and CFLs are manufactured varies greatly, it would be impossible to create a dimmer that will control all of them.

    Because of this, we conduct extensive compatibility testing on LEDs and CFLs and provide a list of all the bulbs that we have tested and have passed testing with our controls. Our Compatible Bulb List can be found here. If you have any further questions about finding compatible CFLs and LEDs, please let us know.

  6. #5

    The List Stinks

    I've used the list, and it has several weaknesses.

    The 16 digit number by which an individual bulb is identified.
    1. Some of the digits appear to be a date code, are we to believe that only bulbs shipped on a given day are good?
    2. Some appear to be a store code, so that Home Depot and Lowes can inventory and track differently.
    3. Some appear to change when the bulbs are bundled together in a multi-pack.

    The lack of any meaningful scoring of the bulbs performance. I want to know exactly what your results were so I can get a bulb that does what I need it to do. If one has a buzz, and another doesn't transition smoothly from dark to light, I might not care about the buzz, but I won't know which one to choose because you don't tell me.

    Price! I need to know if my only option to match with your $30 switch is a $59 bulb.

    Here's a challenge : I need a 40W bulb that looks like traditional incandescent but can be dimmed well with no buzzing. I don't care about the brand.

    Here's an idea : Partner with Amazon and have your ratings listed next to bulbs so that we know, and then you can send us there to buy. They get more traffic and sales, you get customers whose lights actually work.

  7. #6
    Pete F.
    Guest
    Chris,
    When an LED manufacturer ships bulbs to us for testing, they provide the model number(s) of the bulbs that we test, or are comparable. Do you have specific examples of a model number that shows a date code or a store code so I can research this further? As for the number of bulbs in a pack, dimming performance will not vary based on the number of bulbs in a pack, as long as the bulb is identical to the one we tested.

    We do offer report cards on our website which will show specific performance of an LED with our controls. The report cards can be found on our LED Product Selection Tool.

    Often times, pricing is determined by the retailer and can vary from one retailer to the next. If we list pricing information of a bulb from a given location and the pricing changes, we would have no way to inform customers in a timely manner. Our focus is on compatibility and performance. For specific pricing information, it would be best to consult the manufacturer of the product.

    Using the LED Product Selection Tool would be the best location to find a bulb that meets your specific performance criteria.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    340
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F. View Post
    Chris,
    When an LED manufacturer ships bulbs to us for testing, they provide the model number(s) of the bulbs that we test, or are comparable. Do you have specific examples of a model number that shows a date code or a store code so I can research this further? As for the number of bulbs in a pack, dimming performance will not vary based on the number of bulbs in a pack, as long as the bulb is identical to the one we tested.

    We do offer report cards on our website which will show specific performance of an LED with our controls. The report cards can be found on our LED Product Selection Tool.

    Often times, pricing is determined by the retailer and can vary from one retailer to the next. If we list pricing information of a bulb from a given location and the pricing changes, we would have no way to inform customers in a timely manner. Our focus is on compatibility and performance. For specific pricing information, it would be best to consult the manufacturer of the product.

    Using the LED Product Selection Tool would be the best location to find a bulb that meets your specific performance criteria.
    Hi Pete-
    I have a hard time locating Report Cards with the LED Product Selection Tool.
    I am probably spoiled (kneecapped?) by Google- I'm used to just inputting a brand name or a model number into a search field and then filtering all of the results. I would love to be able to go to Lutron's LED website, input "phillips 2314534" and get all relevant results in one search: report cards, Ra2 list of dimmers, QS list of dimmers, etc.

  9. Likes ekimla liked this post
  10. #8
    Pete F.
    Guest
    Thank you so much for your feedback and I apologize for the delay in response. Adding a more intuitive search feature is something that we have been looking into adding to the website.

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