Dimming LED bulbs

Led bulbs have come a very long way in the last couple of years and dimming compatibility is one of the area that has been confusing for consumers wanting to convert to LED. The reason is that there are different types of dimmers for different applications.  Led bulbs usually dim best on leading edge dimmers and Clipsal universal dimmers. Then Osram makes some LED bulbs that prefer to dim with trailing edge.

Because most people invest a fair bit of money converting to LED for long term energy savings or to save on maintenance costs, it is prudent to not look at the LED compatibility, but the dimmer. The best way to go is the excellent Clipsal (32E450UDM) universal dimmer. You can pick them up for around $50 and they are a one fits all dimmer. All good electrical wholesalers will sell them and they are a high quality product with features such as short circuit protection. Now LED bulbs which are being made for the Australian market are made to work on this dimmer because of it’s long standing reputation in our market.

Another specific area that warrants mentioning with dimming LED lights is with MR16 LED bulbs. ‘Any dimming MR16 bulb should come with it’s own LED driver’ or 12v transformer. Why? because their is an added compatibility issue with the 240v to 12v conversion within the transformer.

Many manufacturers have made 12v MR16 LEDs that will work on some halogen transformers and a very few such as the excellent Go Green MR16 LED bulbs are compatible with all halogen transformers, but are not dimmable. The added risk of buying an MR16 ‘dimming’ LED that not only has to work on your dimmer but also the halogen transformer makes for more things to go wrong. Just buy a MR16 dimming retrofit kit complete with the LED driver and you won’t go wrong.

If you are changing your fitting, you might as well skip the MR16 and transformers, and just go for a mains voltage GU10 dimming LED or an integral downlight that dims.

In Summary. Our advice would be to:

  • Use Clipsal universal dimmers when dimming LED lights
  • Only buy MR16 LED bulbs that come with a dimming LED driver OR
  • Get mains voltage dimming GU10 LED’s instead.
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