4 steps to successful dimming

Use a digital dimmer, NOT TRIAC

Dim an LED with a TRIAC dimmer and both the dimming range and user experience is restricted (it’s bad news for the LED’s life span, too). A TRIAC dimmer switches at the peak of the cycle where there are maximum volts. When the TRIAC switches off, the energy has to flow somewhere, and where does it go? Through to the copper coil, which tries to absorb it, and across the cable network, which bleeds it in to the LED power supply. The result: flicker & buzz.

However, as this spike radiates out across the cabling on the circuit, it can also disturb WiFi, DAB radio, and any other radio signal in the building.

While some manufacturers attempted to address LED dimming issues through creating variants of the TRIAC model, none worked completely: it simply wasn’t compatible. Zano Controls’ developers acknowledged that the coil needed to be removed in order to dim LED successfully, and turned to digital solutions for the answer. That’s how Zano's technology was born - through replacing the coil with a digital microprocessor that can control LED without interference.

Allow for inrush

It’s a contentious subject, but independent testing has found a huge disparity between the wattage listed on an LED’s box and the power it actually consumes.

An LED’s inrush current – the surge of current that flows through the driver as a lamp ‘powers up’ – is often not included in the wattage on the label. In our testing lab, we’ve seen lamps regularly quadruple their labelled wattage, with one 5W downlight reaching 20W.

Not every lamp has such a significant inrush current: some LEDs spike only slightly above their labelled wattage, and many lamps from reputable LED manufacturers keep inrush to a minimum. When calculating the wattage of your installation, it can be frustrating, but if in doubt, leave a generous inrush allowance or have your lamps tested independently before fitting on site.

Use good quality lamps

LED lamps are great for saving energy, but the wattage isn’t always technically as low as the number on the label, thanks to inrush. In our testing room, we’ve seen lamps quadruple their wattage on start-up, taking an installation that should be 50W/VA to 200W/VA.

Our advice is to only buy good quality lamps from reputable LED brands, which have a much lower inrush than cheaper models. We then suggest doubling the wattage on the box to account for inrush when calculating your load. So if you’re using 10 X 8W lamps, account for 160W/VA to make sure you get the right product for the job.

Buy a Zano Controls digital LED dimmer

The quickest and easiest way to upgrade your next project? Switch to a digital dimmer.

TRIAC dimmers (even those advertised as LED appropriate) just can’t dim LED effectively, resulting in flicker, buzz, and disturbance at low levels.

If you want to install flicker-free and silent control, you need a digital dimmer. All of our LED products replace the copper coil found in TRIAC with next-generation digital dimming technology. No coil? No flicker, no buzz.