Continuous Improvements in LED Lighting
Color rendering has been another significant improvement area for LED lighting in recent years, besides lighting efficacy. The higher the color rendering performance, the closer the objects appear to be as they should look under the sun. As a LED lighting solution provider, we enjoyed the benefits of these improvements, which helped us develop quality LED lighting solutions with our control much more accessible.
Here, we can find the same subjects that different LED lights have illuminated with other CRI parameters; it's easy to see the LED light source on the left has a higher CRI than the typical LED light source.
LED Dimming Performance
So, in addition to the substantial improvement in luminous efficiency and color rendering, we are more concerned about the dimming capability of LED lamps. We must point out that the deep dimming performance requires both dimmers and dimmable drivers. The incapable one limits the overall deep dimming performance. This fact highlights the importance of a mature dimming solution, which is why we spent a lot of resources on matching dimmable drivers on top of our dimmer development.
A remarkable difference is that different LED dimmers achieve different dimming performance of the same LED downlight. Our DZ2G450DIAL (then) achieves the deep dimming performance versus the lowest dimmable effect by another LED dimmer with the same downlight. The significant difference demonstrates the impact of different components or that the dimming solution is crucial for the desired result.
Shared Experiences on Lighting Fixtures Selection
After successively developing dimmers and dynamic lighting solutions, we began to design dimmable and tunable white light fixtures to support our control solutions. Since many dimmable LED lamps are already on the market, we will focus on designing Tunable White lights to support our solutions. At the same time, from daily customer inquiries and actual project experience, we still have some suggestions on dimming LED lamps for customers who are relatively unfamiliar with dimming applications.
Importance of Compatibility
Regardless of the project scale and control technology, compatibility between control (or a dimmer) and the dimmable driver is always the first thing to look at in lighting control. Sometimes, we receive inquiries about the incompatibility of our trailing-edge dimmers or dimmers from other manufacturers and their dimmable drivers. Sometimes, contractors found although TRIAC dimmers can dim their lights, they encountered unexpected and worrying issues and asked us for recommendations. Once in a while, we are invited to visit a site to help solve the flickering problems.
Before answering these questions, we should know the two types of mutually exclusive phase-cut dimming methodologies: leading-edge and trailing-edge phase-cut dimming. Traditional incandescent dimmers are the classic example of leading-edge phase-cut dimming, which has proven unreliable to provide consistent, deep dimming performance with LED lights. So, one of our suggestions to customers is to validate the driver's dimming input signal by using a TRIAC dimmer (e.g., KB31). Suppose they found improved dimming performance after replacing our trailing-edge dimmers with TRIAC dimmers. It's then easy to explain why a trailing-edge dimmer fails to provide decent dimming performance with TRIAC dimmable drivers. We'd suggest customers replace the LED drivers instead for project success in these cases. Very often, project failure is often due to a lack of thorough tests. So, it's essential to check for compatibility at the outset.
As in purchasing an audio amplifier, the surefire approach for lighting product compatibility tests is conducting actual product tests, especially with unmet dimmable fixtures or drivers. Phase dimming compatibility tests are relatively straightforward because we can quickly tell the result once the products are powered up. However, lighting system compatibility that involves different manufacturers' products can be time-consuming and difficult to spot because incompatibility usually only appears when more devices are connected. Testing a DALI lighting project involving control from vendor A, constant current drivers from vendor B, and constant voltage drivers from vendor C shall be done carefully before installation. However, such tests can be time-consuming and demand resources.
Internal LED Driver
Commonly used dimmable LED bulbs have the same nozzle size as available quartz lamps MR16 (GU5.3), AR111, GU10, E27, or PAR30. These standard dimmable LED bulbs require direct-air dimmers, our phase-cut dimmers. Several factors in choosing dimmable products include depth of dimming, phase-cut dimming compatibility, and whether product lifespan would be affected due to compatibility issues. Furthermore, customers may also need to know the minimum number of bulbs required and the maximum number supported by the dimmer. In our experience, a single DZ3G450DIAL dimmer can quickly dim ten to twelve 7.5W LED GU10 bulbs. Interested customers can refer to our product support section to keep in mind when using LED dimmers and standard bulbs.
If the project involves some unmet brands, we recommend that customers test the compatibility before installation. While our phase dimmers are not tied to a specific LED bulb manufacturer, we recommend that customers consider SORAA® brand products for superior lighting effects. SORAA® is a world-renowned manufacturer of professional-grade LED light sources and lamps. In addition to its rich product portfolio, customers can achieve different lighting effects through various optical lenses of its SNAP System. SORAA® has relatively high acceptance in other projects around the world. If the customer is not familiar with SORAA® products, we will explain to the customer. If customers already use SORAA® bulbs, they can also inquire about our SORAA® dimming solutions if they are interested.
External LED Drivers
Standard bulbs have built-in LED drivers, making it impossible to change the dimmable driver inside at the finished product level. Therefore, we recommend that customers test the compatibility before installation. Conversely, it would be best to tell the supplier that you need standard dimmable bulbs at the outset.
On the contrary, if it is a lamp with an external LED driver, such as a downlight, a flat panel lamp, etc., we can change the original non-dimming into a dimming light by selecting a suitable LED driver. Suppose the customer has already chosen a luminaire and wants to change from non-dimming to dimming. In that case, they can provide the luminaire or LED driver information to determine further or suggest the relevant dimmable LED driver. Interested guests can refer to our application notes to learn more about choosing a dimming LED driver to match the light fixture. Interested customers can refer to these phase dimmable LED drivers (Fixed Constant Current Outputs, Selectable Constant Current Outputs) to understand further.
As for 1-10V dimming, it's more straightforward. Electricians shall pay attention to the on-site wiring and finish the wiring with the proper polarity for the DC devices before powering up. If the external LED driver can already support the dimming function, we need to choose a different dimmer according to the dimming method supported by the driver. For our LED dimmable or dimmable white light fixtures, see the relevant section.