More people are starting to invest in LED strip lights as they are a wonderful lighting tool for a whole range of projects.
However, you may wish to control how bright you want the lighting. A quick example of when you might need to be able to control your LED strip lighting is when you are reading a book which requires strong lighting. The darker it is, the more lighting you might need - this is when LED strip lights could come in handy.
If you’re wanting to understand how dimmable LED strip lights work then you’ve come to the right place. Our expert in-house team have put together this guide on LED strip dimming methods, so continue reading to find out more.
What LED Strips Are Dimmable?
When you’re browsing for common LED light bulbs - for example, A-style bulbs - you might notice that they’re advertised as undimmable when you see the product description. The reason why some LED bulbs aren’t dimmable is that the electrical circuitry designed inside the LED bulb isn’t able to identify the dimming signal of a wall dimmer.
LED strips aren’t designed to be able to be connected directly to the line voltage - an example of this is a 120V AC wall socket. You’ll be required to have a power supply in order to convert the higher voltage AC.
Therefore, if you are deciding to get a wall dimmer involved, it must be able to connect with the power supply before you can start dimming your LED strip. For that reason, the question of whether you’re LED strips are dimmable heavily relies on your power supply unit. If your LED lights are able to successfully ‘talk’ to the dimming signal that is being created from the wall dimmer, then that’s great.
Basically, most LED strips are dimmable. Whether your LED strip lights are dimmable or not depends on the appropriate DC electrical signal. If you have the correct electrical signal then any LED strip brightness will be able to adjust.
So, how does the LED strip get the correct DC electrical signal needed in order for our LED strip lights to be dimmable? These are two common options that you will come across.
Traditional TRIAC Wall Dimmer
If you’re a fan of the traditional wall dimmer style and are looking for a permanent LED strip installation that’s both attractive and aesthetically pleasing, then this might be the best option for you. Most of the wall dimmers that you come across today will use the TRIAC dimming signal, and if you are planning to use TRIAC then you’re going to need to source a TRIAC dimmable power source.
Your TRIAC dimmable power source attaches directly to your TRIAC wall dimmer and then the output end of power will link to the LED strips. As you’re working with internal wiring within your walls, these components are unlikely to feature any of the plugs or connections you’re used to. The power supply for your LED strip lights needs to be concealed or hidden away in the wall so that there’s no risk of damage.
As there’s a chance of voltage drop, the power supply for your lights will need to be mitigated - this means you should have your power source ideally located near the LED strip as possible.
You should always keep in mind that when you’re dealing with this type of technology, you’ll have to deal with hard-wiring connections to the main electricity. Therefore, you should only be dealing with hard-wiring if you are qualified and trained in the matter in order to avoid hurting yourself or damaging your property.
Low-Voltage DC PWM Dimmer
Don’t want to run the risk of potentially ruining the wiring in your walls? Not to worry, there’s a solution to this. This option allows you to use components that use power from a regular wall output.
A DC PWM LED stripper dimmer is able to be installed between a normal non-TRIAC dimmable power supply and the LED strip. This power supply will usually feature a turn dial that can adjust your LED strip brightness with ease.
The chosen power supply can be any standard DC power supply and will not be required to be TRIAC dimmable. This solution is great for people looking for a more affordable option as they are normally a lot lower cost and can be easily read, unlike the TRIAC dimmable power supplies.
It’s still recommended that you get a qualified, experienced person to install your power supply regardless of its very simple circuit design. that works best when paired with small or portable units as the dimmer does not need to be built into the wall wiring. Standard power supplies will usually consist of 2-prong plugs that are able to be plugged into any wall outlet.
LED Strip Light Quality
It can be difficult to know which LED strip lights are designed to have a long lifespan and those that aren’t - especially if you have no previous experience in dealing with dimmable LED strip lights. Before you make any decisions on anything, you should learn how to determine the quality of your LED strip light.
The most important thing to look for when you’re trying to find the perfect LED strip lights are how efficient they are. The quality and stability that your LED strip lights are able to produce are determined by the LED emitters.
When it comes to searching for LED strip lights, you should find ones that offer top-quality control and clearly display important specifications.
We recommend that you should avoid purchasing LED strip lights that claim that they have a higher power level despite it having a low LED count - the reason this is because it could be an indicator that it will overdrive the LED emitters, which ultimately leads to premature failure.