Please recommend good LED dimmer - AVS Forum
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Old 03-27-2014, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently had an electrician put in 8 recessed lights and dimmer switch in my living room. They used Phillips BR30 (13W) indoor soft white flood LED dimmable bulbs, controlled by one Lutron Skylark 150 Watt CFL/LED Dimmer. They make a noticeable buzzing noise, sounds the same no matter what level of brightness the switch is set at.

As a test, I took out all but one LED bulb, and listened to the noise coming from it. I then put that bulb in a socket with a regular on/off switch, and it was much quieter.

Should I try a different LED dimmer switch? Which one would you recommend?
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Old 03-27-2014, 12:52 PM
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I have the same problem in our dining room. I installed a Lutron LED dimmer and our Cree bulbs buzz like crazy. The work awesome as long as you don't dim them. Will be following this thread in hopes of finding a quiet solution.

I'm confused too.

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Old 03-27-2014, 10:30 PM
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Usually each LED lamp manufacturer has a certain set of recommended dimmers. Philips can be found here.

http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/connect/tools_literature/ledtech.wpd

If I am looking at it right depending if you have the correct skylark (multiple skylark part numbers) this should work with your lamps. It does state that with 8 lamps on the recommended skylark you may see flickering. Hope this helps.

- Ronix
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Ronix, couldn't find the bulb I have using your link, but your post led me to find this:

http://www.lighting.philips.com/pwc_li/us_en/connect/tools_literature/downloads/2014-03-5-Dimming-Compatibility-List-Mains-Voltage-Lamps.pdf

I have the Philips LED 13W BR30 AirFlux bulbs, and that sheet lists the dimmer I have too, the Lutron Skylark SCL-153P. Lucky me, I picked the one dimmer on the whole list where:

"Audible noise may be observed when used with this dimmer, depending on the application."

Anyway, I'm happy to see confirmation that the dimmer I have is bad for these bulbs, and can't wait to try one of the approved ones on the list.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:49 PM
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So I've done my whole house in LED's and let me tell you that dimmers and LED's are an ANNOYING relationship. But I did find out that the New Lutron Maestro dimmers do work the best. I had a early maestro that flickered like crazy on ramp up but dim fine after full brightness. Installed a newer maestro and it works like butter now. Lutron MACL-153M is the one I bought and can be had in multiple colors. I'm almost positive this will fix your issue with the buzz you hear.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djearl81 View Post

I have the same problem in our dining room. I installed a Lutron LED dimmer and our Cree bulbs buzz like crazy. The work awesome as long as you don't dim them. Will be following this thread in hopes of finding a quiet solution.
At my job we used the cree retrofits and used the same dimmer with no buzz and very low dim capabilities. I'm a huge fan of the cree retrofits if application permits.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Update - this whole time I thought I had Phillips BR30 13W bulbs because that's what was on my electrician's estimate. I look at the actual bulbs and they say 10.5W, model number 9290002544. Very annoyingly, the Phillips dimmer switch compatibility list doesn't have this bulb! mad.gif

I only made this discovery after thoroughly abusing Home Depot's return policy. These are the dimmers I tried with no luck, all of them cause the bulbs to make a buzzing noise. I'm currently using a regular on/off switch. There's no way I can just lay on the couch in that room and read a book when I have a dimmer switch hooked up.

Lutron Skylark CTCL-153PDH-WH

Lutron Diva DVCL-153PR-WH

Lutron Maestro MACL-153MR-WH

Leviton Sureslide 6674
Another one that's approved on the Phillips list for the 13W BR30 bulb. Felt and looked cheaply made, noticeable buzz not only from bulbs, but dimmer switch itself too.

Lutron Skylark SELVB-300PH-WH
This one's a low voltage dimmer that wires a little differently, uses a neutral, doesn't matter, same buzz.

Lutron Skylark S-600PR-WH
(I know, incandescent/halogen, but I figured what the hell...)
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:23 AM
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Bulb design obviously is the biggest factor but generally speaking the '3 Wire' dimmers work best for LED and CFL applications. That is because the dimmers that don't have a neutral depend on current passing through the bulb to provide them power. LEDs and CFLs often don't use enough power to properly power the 2 Wire dimmers especially at low levels. One solution is to add an incandescent bulb to the load on a 2 Wire dimmer, but the best solution is to use the right dimmer. Note that by '3 Wire' I mean line, load and neutral and NOT '3 Way' which, if available, would need 4 wires.



EDIT: Here's what looks to be a good article about the issue: http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/print/volume-9/issue-6/features/understand-triac-dimmer-issues-to-ensure-compatibility-magazine.html
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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After spending much of my weekend on this, got a quiet combo that works!

Cree 65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) BR30 Dimmable LED Flood Light Bulb

AND

Lutron Skylark SELVB-300PH-WH (3 wire neutral) dimmer

After the noise from the Phillips, I'm really impressed with Cree. I can't hear anything from those bulbs with my head 6" away, and the dimmer is completely silent too. Same result no matter the brightness setting. I made two recordings, one of each bulb using the same 3 wire dimmer. Even with the crappy mic on my phone that adds a lot of white noise, you can easily tell the difference.


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Old 03-31-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Phillips customer service is available M-F, so I called them out of curiosity to see what they'd recommend. I quickly got to a human being, who told me that the bulbs I have are still being evaluated, and don't have recommended dimmers yet. After telling her about the buzzing noise, she asked me to return the bulbs for a full refund. In 2-3 weeks I'll get a shipping label for that. Gotta say, that's great service.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:28 PM
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Not sure about the buzzing you seem to be having, but with LED lights and dimming they may need a different type of dimmer. Take a look into forward phasing and reverse phase dimmers. They apply to LED lighting and can help with some issues with popcorn lighting, or flickering. I Deal with an Automation product and there dimmers have auto correcting and can be manually changed from foward to reverse. I have had issues with LED lights but changing the phasing worked great and now they work fine. I don't hear any buzzing or have any flickering. Hope this may help with your quest but if not good luck!

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Old 04-01-2014, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayliketheDIRT View Post

Not sure about the buzzing you seem to be having, but with LED lights and dimming they may need a different type of dimmer. Take a look into forward phasing and reverse phase dimmers. They apply to LED lighting and can help with some issues with popcorn lighting, or flickering. I Deal with an Automation product and there dimmers have auto correcting and can be manually changed from foward to reverse. I have had issues with LED lights but changing the phasing worked great and now they work fine. I don't hear any buzzing or have any flickering. Hope this may help with your quest but if not good luck!

I've already accomplished my quest, see post #9 in this thread.

As for forward or reverse phasing dimmers - how do you look for that? If I got to a big box store's website, and enter search term "forward phase dimmer", it doesn't return anything.
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:18 AM
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Instead of typing out a lengthy reply here, this user (kerek1369) on YouTube really does a good job in explaining the difference. Its only a 2 min video so its definitely worth the watch. As for know if the product you have is a revers forward or adaptive phase dimmer, I guessing you would have to look on the manufactures web page and look for there user manual. Possibly even email the company. The products I am currently using I order them to the spec I want, I usually just get the adaptive just incase they go LED down the road.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIK422NcXAY

 

I don’t know a whole lot about this but I did find that this help me when I was having issues. I even have an electrical ticket and this was new to me. I have asked a couple electricians buddies about it and they were in the same boat, phase dimming being new to them as well. The whole LED lighting this being very new to a lot of us.

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Old 04-11-2014, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekonn View Post

There's no way I can just lay on the couch in that room and read a book when I have a dimmer switch hooked up.

You can't read because it's too dark?

Just being silly.

I'm confused too.

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Old 04-24-2014, 09:14 AM
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Found a quiet LED bulb/dimmer combination.... Thanks to Rekonn and your research/testing.

We put 3 Cree 65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) BR30 bulbs into the Halo IC rate new construction cans. Then installed the Lutron TGCL-153PR toggle style dimmer. The dimmer has a great range with the bulbs and I had to put my ear directly under the bulb to hear any humming. 3 down, 21 to go.... Bought everything at the orange big box.

Will test with the other cree bulbs we have in the dining room tonight. (Those buzz like crazy with the current dimmer.)

Cree's dimmer compatibility list:
http://creebulb.com/Content/downloads/product_info/cree_dimmer_compatibility.pdf

I'm confused too.

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