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Thread: LED Dimming with older RadioRa2 "Incandescent" dimmers

  1. #1
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    LED Dimming with older RadioRa2 "Incandescent" dimmers

    So, we have had these older RRD-6D and RRD-10D dimmers for a while. They were suggested to us by a Lutron dealer who seemed to be on top of it all. He knew we wanted to dim all LED bulbs. He mentioned if we had enough of a load, it would not be an issue and we should get a full range of dimming throughout. These are NOT dimmers with a neutral.

    Well, today I decided to hook one of the RRD-6D to a BR30 (9.5Watt) LED bulb on my test bench. It seems to work flawlessly. I added 2 more and it worked just as well, if not better. I then swapped the 6D for the 10D and it works very well also.

    Still being quite new to the design portion of it all, I am unsure if I will be doing any damage this way.

    The bulb itself says it can support specific dimmers. In the Lutron section, it sited all ELV dimmers (CTCL-153P, DVELV-300P, SELV-300P, NTELV-600). Does this mean I can only use ELV dimmers with these bulbs?

    The issue comes in when we want to buy more for the same project. I know those RRD-6D and 10D are discontinued.
    Assuming we are using these bulbs everywhere, do you have any suggestions for me?
    Could I be doing damage by using the RRD-6D and 10D?
    Does this mean these dimmers are ELV?

    Thanks for being patient with me. I am new but I am retaining what I am being told.

  2. #2
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    What I have found is that some LEDs will dim and work just fine and some will not. Sticking to what www.lutron.com/led suggests is best but when it isn't possible I have been pretty lucky. The 10ND will be the most compatible but sometimes a 6NA is better. If you do not follow what the manufacturer says you will most likely shorten the life of the LED and void the warranty of it. I always try to use LEDs that the manufacturer lists a RadioRa2 dimmer as compatible and that Lutron says will work as well. When I haven't I have seen varying results, some bulbs dim differently on the same string of lights, sometime the dimmer stops working after a while. Sometime the LED start to flicker after months or years, or just burn out. Other LEDs have never been listed as compatible but have never had an issue in years and years.
    RadioRa2 PSE Level 2 Gold
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  3. #3
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    Thank you for the reply! If you have a sec, I need a real quick answer to a couple questions
    If it is a reno/retro upgrade job with no change of the wiring, most houses have a 2 wire switch installed and the power is run to the light box instead of the switch box.
    2 followup questions:

    1. Is the RRD-6CL the only option (supported and available) to put LED bulbs in with dimming capabilities without a neutral at the dimmer?
    2. Why would the 10ND be most compatible when the 6NA has phase-adaptive trait?


    Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    1. Is the RRD-6CL the only option (supported and available) to put LED bulbs in with dimming capabilities without a neutral at the dimmer?

    YES

    2. Why would the 10ND be most compatible when the 6NA has phase-adaptive trait? The 10ND is the most durable, the 6NA sometimes has issues and "locks up"
    Residential Lighting and Shading Specialist for CED Escondido

    mbalay@cedescondido.com

  5. #5
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    Use the LED web pages. Not all LED lights are equal or perform predictably on all dimmers. In some situations a 6NA supports more lights than a 10ND.

    http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Educatio...xcellence.aspx

    http://www.lutron.com/en-US/service-...mermatrix.aspx

    Here's an example: http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Resource...ort%20Card.pdf

    Look at the difference in number of cans the 6NA supports versus the 10ND.

    Each fixture/bulb/driver will have a different set of factors that affect how well (or even IF) it can be dimmed effectively.

    Yes, this is "my head hurts" territory.

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  7. #6
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    The situations surrounding LED lighting truly are chaotic. No two LED part numbers behave the same, even from the same vendor. And in some situations what the vendor called 'xyz-123' two years ago isn't actually the same thing they're shipping now.

    Some pull a lot of inrush current, which surprisingly the 6NA does a better job of handling that the 10ND for some lights.

    That and how some lights react to dimming varies wildly. Or some lights can be 'dimmed' but their dimmable range has ridiculously high low end. If the customer wants barely a candle wick of dimming some LEDs just cannot do that, no matter what kind of dimmer is attached.

    Calling Lutron with your lighting part numbers is a VERY good idea. They test quite a lot of lights. The ones that test above approval get listed in the database. There are others they test that may have issues. Calling Lutron is the way to find out if something you're considering isn't listed.

    If you have the opportunity to spec Lutron lighting and/or Lutron drivers you'll get much better lighting control. Yes, these cost more but like all the rest of Lutron's solutions, they work very well.

    For retrofits or new fixtures without Lutron drivers/elements you'd REALLY need to check the Lutron database for test results. If you really need very low dimming then you almost cannot do it with most retail lighting solutions. They just can't be dimmed that way, regardless of dimmer model.

    One fix to avoid customer complaints with problematic dimming is to raise the low end trim to make sure the slider doesn't dip below the light's minimum level. This can help avoid the lights blinking when dimmed to a low value. The slider shows a 0-100%, but with trim you're getting that just within the trimmed range.

    Then there's the color shift question when dimming. Customers that want incandescent-like orange-ish light when dimmed are likely going to be VERY disappointed with dimmable LEDs. They don't do that, they simply reduce the light output. In a lot of situations that's actually better, you get more consistent color instead of the shift.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanDiegoRep View Post
    1. Is the RRD-6CL the only option (supported and available) to put LED bulbs in with dimming capabilities without a neutral at the dimmer?

    YES

    2. Why would the 10ND be most compatible when the 6NA has phase-adaptive trait? The 10ND is the most durable, the 6NA sometimes has issues and "locks up"
    I'm pretty sure they told me in training that if you turn off the adaptive phase setting, and explicitly set it for forward/reverse - then there are no issues with a 6NA locking up. Unfortunately, I can't remember which way you are supposed to set it - or actually, I guess it might be specific to the bulb that you are putting in for this setting. The reason the 10ND is preferred in a lot of cases is because of the large current inrush these LEDs have, and since it can handle a larger load, it is able to cope with these large inrush currents better.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgerken View Post
    I'm pretty sure they told me in training that if you turn off the adaptive phase setting, and explicitly set it for forward/reverse - then there are no issues with a 6NA locking up. Unfortunately, I can't remember which way you are supposed to set it - or actually, I guess it might be specific to the bulb that you are putting in for this setting. The reason the 10ND is preferred in a lot of cases is because of the large current inrush these LEDs have, and since it can handle a larger load, it is able to cope with these large inrush currents better.
    If you are aware of which direction, there is a way to lock the phase control of a 6NA. Right click the dimmer in question in the design tab, look for Advanced Settings. Click and go down to Phase control and change from Auto to the appropriate choice. That being said, Sebco drivers will still give the 6NA fits even locked into MLV/forward phase.

    Often times, the 6NA is spec'd when you don't know what the homeowner is going to provide or the designer spec. A lot of people assume that the 6NA would be "safe" and do not change the design after the fixtures/bulbs have been selected. Since the 10ND is the same price, I don't really see why people do not take the extra step and check.

    If you want to see crazy, the old Cree CR4 fixture (about 10w) ran 8 on a 10ND and 54 on the 6NA.
    Residential Lighting and Shading Specialist for CED Escondido

    mbalay@cedescondido.com

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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgerken View Post
    I'm pretty sure they told me in training that if you turn off the adaptive phase setting, and explicitly set it for forward/reverse - then there are no issues with a 6NA locking up. Unfortunately, I can't remember which way you are supposed to set it - or actually, I guess it might be specific to the bulb that you are putting in for this setting. The reason the 10ND is preferred in a lot of cases is because of the large current inrush these LEDs have, and since it can handle a larger load, it is able to cope with these large inrush currents better.
    I see forward phase dimming support more often than reverse phase, but it might just be because of the LEDs I like.
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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukeetal View Post
    I see forward phase dimming support more often than reverse phase, but it might just be because of the LEDs I like.
    Most LEDs for the DIY/Big Box market are designed to "work" with incandescent dimmers, thus forward phase. The 6NA is a FET dimmer and tends to be a bit more finicky. My default dimmer when specifying has become the RRD-10ND-xx. Allows the L2s to use the WPMs if the LED's are spec'd forward phase based on your quote. Good brands like Nora and Juno often can use either phase control (with slightly better performance on the ELV 6NA), but the 10ND is my workhorse. I see a lot of people spec'ing the 6CL due to price. Hard to tell the customer the price went up 33% on their dimmers when you find the neutral required for the low wattage switch leg or flickering/dimming issues. I just make sure to point this fact out in my bids. I'm the last of the L3s left in San Diego County and the former rep who taught RA2 BLASTs, so I usually don't have too much of a fight on my hands.
    Residential Lighting and Shading Specialist for CED Escondido

    mbalay@cedescondido.com

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