Dimming LED Tape
In normal lighting circuits users are only able to choose from one of two settings; on or off. While sufficient for most applications, this level of usability is not really any better than blowing out a candle, going from full illumination to complete darkness almost instantaneously.
Dimmer switches increase the available options by allowing the brightness of a light to be varied very gradually. This is a particularly attractive option when using supplementary light sources, such as LED Tape.
Many customers find it difficult to decide on what type/brightness of LED Tape to buy, and even then regret the idea that they will be unable to change the brightness of their tape once it is installed. However, the inclusion of an LED-compatible dimmer switch allows users to vary the brightness of their LED Tape when ever they choose and therefore take full advantage of the practical and aesthetic benefits on offer.
The brightness of Single Colour LED Tape can be varied using either a specially made dimmer switch that operates at 12 volts, or a dimmable driver.
In the case of the 12V Dimmer Switch, the unit is installed between the LED Driver and LED Tape, and runs at 12V DC rather than the mains 240V. The entire unit usually consists of a rotary wall panel and seperate remote controller, which can be used to programme the tape with preset dimmer modes and save lighting preferences.
Unlike regular LED Drivers, dimmable drivers are capable of managing a variable input voltage and will adjust their output voltage accordingly, thereby varying the brightness of the LED Tape. This allows a conventional 24o volt dimmer switch to be installed before the driver.
Both dimmer options work equally well, but it is important to seek the advice of your retailer before using dimmer switches with LED Tape. LED-technology is not compatible with regular dimmer switches and therefore a Low Load Trailing Edge variant is required. These are designed to manage the low energy requirements of LEDs and cater for their constant current.
Colour Changing RGB LED Tape features a dimmer setting as part of their ordinary function. This should be available on the controller supplied.
Once installed, your dimmer switch will allow you to increase or decrease the brightness of your LED Tape depending on your needs. This is particularly useful where the lights need to serve a dual purpose as they can switch quickly between subtle background ambience, serving a largely aesthetic role, to an intensely bright task light for aiding concentration.
One of the latest developments in LED Tape technology are dimmer systems that allow users to change the colour temperature of their LEDs. Using a unit not too dissimilar to the controller supplied with RGB LED Tape, the lights can make smooth transitions between warm and cool, and back to warm again. This is particularly useful for anyone that is undecided on what colour temperature to use.
Remember, always make sure to use the dimmer switches recommended by your retailer, otherwise you may be forfeiting your warranty.
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