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Info on Low Volt Systems and Dimming


Low-voltage lighting uses a transformer to reduce a 120 V~ line voltage to 12 V~ or 24 V~

This lower voltage is then used to power an incandescent low-voltage lamp.

Some Examples of low-voltage lamps: AR11, MR16, MR11, PAR36, T3-1/4, T5

But not ALL low-voltage lamps are tungsten halogen.

Low voltage dimming depends on the style: There are 2 common types of loads

Electronic Low Voltage: One advantage of using ELV dimmers on an incandescent load is that they can completely eliminate AM radio interference, but they do not provide any advantage at controlling lamp buzz

Magnetic Low Voltage: Magnetic transformers are inductive loads and are sensitive to DC voltages. MLV transformers with built-in input chokes or “debuzzing coils” will help in controlling lamp buzz

Each of the above requires a matching dimmer. ELV and MLV control transformers, most have designations in the stock number to help in identification, i.e. ELV – Electronic Low Voltage, MLV – Magnetic Low Voltage.

Most new screw in LED lamps work best with ELV dimmers.

For newer LED fixtures: 0-10V Low Voltage dimming is becoming more common

0-10V used to control a dimming signal in a ballast or driver for Fluorescent or LED devices. These can usually be identified by the presence of purple and gray wires.

When dimming LED it is best to always check the dimmer compatibility list on the LED devices website, or get ahold of us and we can help navigate you thru the process to figure out which dimmer you need!

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