Low voltage LED strip lighting is now a widely used component in domestic and industrial lighting systems. These products have been manufactured as a roll of single LED’s mounted to adhesive tape that can be attached to an aluminium extrusion to create lighting of almost any length.
This type of lighting is used along cupboard feet, overhanging shelves, stair treads, bathrooms, and all manner of lighting components and fittings.
Essentially a driver/transformer supplies low voltage as either 12 or 24 volts from mains supply. In order to make dimmable we need to supply a driver that can allow dimming.
There are two methods to achieve dimmability for Low voltage LED strip lighting.
0-10 Volt dimmer
0-10V dimming is a dimming standard, originally developed for fluorescent dimming ballasts (updated from 1-10V). It has since been widely adopted for drivers of LED lighting. The 0-10V dimming driver receives a voltage level signal from 0 to 10VDC, via a compatible 0-10V dimming device, along two dedicated wires. The driver then controls the LED brightness level utilising pulse width modulation (PWM), which is basically switching on and off at a rate undetectable to the human eye.
- There are many systems currently available that control 0-10V found in modern homes, hotels, shopping centres etc.
- It is more efficient than traditional dimming methods.
- Good stable dimming can be achieved, regardless of power load.
- It requires two dedicated wires from the light fitting to the dimmer.
- It is not compatible with traditional dimmers.
TRIAC or Phase Cut Dimming
A Triac is a semiconductor device that controls current flow in an AC Circuit.
Phase cutting is the technique employed for reducing current flow to traditional lights resulting in dimming. It is compatible with traditional style mains dimmers.
- It can be installed into existing lighting installations that have traditional dimmers without extra wiring.
- No new learning curve required for electricians and installers.
- Can be controlled by phase cut dimmers in other control systems.
- It is not as efficient as 0-10V
- Depending on the LED power load, the dimming level may be reduced.