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Dimming FAQ's

WHY DO DIMMERS GET WARM, AND IS THIS SAFE? During normal operation, solid-state dimmers generate heat. A solid-state dimmer is roughly 98% efficient-2% of the power is dissipated as heat, causing the dimmer to feel warm to the touch. The closer a dimmer is run to full output and the higher the load (watts) on the dimmer, the warmer it will feel. This is perfectly normal and safe. Lutron dimmers are designed to the strictest UL safety standard, and can handle their full rated load (a 600 Watt dimmer can handle a full 600W of power*) without overheating. *Dimmers that are ganged together in a common wallbox may need to be derated. Consult the product instruction sheet for more information. CAN I DIM FROM MORE THAN ONE LOCATION? Yes, Lutron has the capability to do multi-location dimming with several of our product lines (Maestro, Spacer, Spacer System). CAN I DIM WITH JUST A MAESTRO SMART REMOTE? No, Maestro Smart Remotes only work with Maestro Smart dimmers. CAN I USE A SWITCH WITH A MAESTRO DIMMER? No, Maestro dimmers only work with Maestro Smart Remotes in 3-way or multi-location applications. CAN I USE MY 3-WAY DIMMER IN A SINGLE-POLE APPLICATION? Yes, you will use the black wire on the dimmer, and only one of the red wires. If you have the Diva or Ariadni style dimmer, and the paddle/toggle switch works backwards, just change which red wire you use. If you have the Ariadni with the screw terminals, use the copper colored terminal and one of the brass colored terminals. If the switch works backwards, just change which brass terminal you are using. THERE IS NO GROUND WIRE IN MY WALLBOX. WHAT DO I DO WITH THE DIMMER GROUND WIRE? First, confirm there is no ground wire by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is the wallbox metal? If the answer is no, it's plastic, there should be a ground.
- Is there a screw in the metal wallbox with a bare copper wire under it? If the answer is yes, attach the dimmer ground wire under the screw as well. If you feel confident that there is no ground wire, then - To meet safety regulations, cap or remove the ground wire or screw and install the unit with a plastic, non-combustible, UL listed faceplate. (NEC 380-9(b) exception) WHY DOES MY LAMP BUZZ ? This is caused by the lamp filament vibrating as the dimmer rapidly switches the lamp on and off. Lamp buzz is generally noisiest at the mid-range (50%) dimming level. If this happens, we suggest using rough service lamps (sometimes called garage door opener lamps), physically smaller lamps, or lower wattage lamps. The most effective way of reducing lamp buzz is to install a lamp debuzzing coil (LDC) in the lighting circuit. When an LDC is wired in series with the dimmer, it slows down the inrush of current during the rapid switching cycle of the dimmer. As the current inrush is slowed down, the lamp filament vibration and lamp buzz are reduced. Lutron has two LDC models available to help reduce lamp buzz. The type of LDC required depends on the total wattage of the dimmer's lighting load. Listed below are the model numbers and their respective capacities. Model#: LDC-10-TCP LDC-16-TCP Rated Capacity: 600-1200W 1201-1920W Note: For loads under 600W, consult the toll-free Lutron Hotline LDCs may be wired in series with the dimmer on its line side or load side. Each dimmer requires its own LDC. LDCs themselves make an audible buzz, and therefore, should be mounted in an area where the noise will not be objectionable (e.g. an electrical closet, a basement, or above a drop ceiling.) The LDCs are UL listed and thermally protected. I WANT TO DIM MY LOW VOLTAGE TRACK LIGHTING. WHAT DIMMER SHOULD I USE? Before selecting a control, determine what type of transformer is in the lighting fixture. Different characteristics of the two transformer types require special dimming considerations. If your low voltage fixtures use magnetic transformers, then the following product families have dimmers available: Nova T*, Vareo, Nova, Lumea 2, Maestro, Diva, Skylark, Ariadni, and Glyder. If your low voltage fixtures use electronic (solid state) transformers, then the following product families have dimmers available: Nova T*, Nova, Lumea, Diva, and Skylark. CAN LUTRON DIMMERS BE GANGED ? Yes. When 2 or more dimmers are in the same wallbox, they are considered "ganged". To install ganged dimmers, simply remove the dimmer side sections from the heat sink. The maximum wattage capacity for each dimmer is reduced (derated) so that the dimmer does not overheat. WHAT IS RADIO FREQUENCY INTERFERENCE (RFI)? RFI is a buzzing noise which may occur in some audio and radio equipment when solid-state dimmers are used nearby. Although every Lutron dimmer contains a filter to suppress RFI, additional filtering may be required in some applications. Typical examples of RFI-sensitive equipment are AM radios, stereo sound systems, broadcasting equipment, intercom systems, public address systems, and wireless telephones. RFI can be transmitted in two ways: Radiated Conducted Note: The suggestions in this application note will help minimize RFI: however, they do not guarantee that RFI will be completely eliminated. Radiated RFI: Any sensitive equipment that is in close proximity to dimming equipment can pick up the RFI and generate noise into its system. The following are three possible ways to minimize the radiated RFI: Physically separate the RFI-sensitive equipment from the dimmer and its wiring. Run dimmer wiring in its own metal conduit. Use a lamp debuzzing coil (available from Lutron) to filter the RFI. Conducted RFI: In some cases, RFI is conducted through the building wiring and directly into the AC power supply of the sensitive equipment. To minimize the conducted RFI, follow these guidelines: Feed sensitive equipment from a circuit without a dimmer on it. Add a power-line filter to the sensitive equipment. Add shielded wire for all microphones and input cables. Also, use low-impedance balanced microphone cables, which are less susceptible to interference than high-impedance types. Make sure all the equipment is grounded. Connect all shields to the ground at one point. Ground lighting fixture metal housings properly. Use a lamp debuzzing coil (available from Lutron) to filter the RFI. Lamp Debuzzing Coils Lamp debuzzing coils (LDCs) are the most effective way to reduce RFI. One LDC is required for each dimmer. Select the LDC according to the connected lighting load. The LDCs may be wired in series on either the line side or the load side of the dimmer. For maximum RFI suppression, keep the wiring between the LDC and the dimmer as short as possible. Since the LDC itself make an audible buzz, mount in a location where the noise will not be objectionable (e.g., an electrical closet, a basement, or above a drop ceiling). LDCs are designed to easily mount onto a standard 4"x4" junction box. They are UL listed and thermally protected. The following LDCs are available from Lutron: Model # LDC-10-TCP LDC-16-TCP Rated Capacity: 600-1200W 1201-1920W. QUIET OR FULLY VARIABLE FAN CONTROLS, WHAT'S THE RIGHT CHOICE ? Quiet Fan Control -- If the application is one ceiling paddle fan, a quiet (step) fan control is the best choice. Quiet fan-speed controls will not cause fan-motor hum, making them ideal for bedrooms, children's rooms, media rooms, and other locations where noise is particularly important. Fully Variable Fan Control -- Although fully variable (full range) fan-speed controls are an option for controlling one single ceiling paddle fan, they are the only choice for controlling more than one ceiling paddle fan, bathroom, whole-house/attic, range hood, agricultural fans and heat exchangers.