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buzzing dimmer switch

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by micks_address, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. micks_address

    micks_address
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    Hi folks,

    We have a standard brass rotary dimmer switch in the sitting room.. just last week we replaced the single bulb in the room to be a chandelier type light - 5 * 50 watt downlighter... the thing is now when the lights are dimmed the dimmer switch buzzes a good bit more than it used to with the single bulb.. i've checked the bulbs and they aren't the culprit..

    i've read about more expensive dimmer switches that dont buzz.. lutron and futronix but i am wondering if there's any dimmer switch maybe about 50 euro that i could use that wouldnt buzz? The dimmer i have is a 2 way dimmer and most of the ones i see seem to be only 1 way... whats the cheapest lutron solution i could get... as i say its only for the sitting room... remote control would be nice but not a necessity... i dont want to spend a fortune on a dimmer to find it still buzzes..

    if say i went for one of these

    http://www.letsautomate.com/10450.cfm?

    would a master unit be ok for the two way switch?

    cheers,
    mick
     
  2. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Most dimmers that I've seen incorporate a small choke (inductor) in series with the triac, which acts as a filter. As with any inductor, the magnetic field generated is proportional to the current flowing. You have replaced a single 60W or 100W bulb with 5 x 50W bulbs, so you have increased the current by a scale of either 2.5x or 4x, so an increase in buzzing is not surprising. I'm not sure if there are any dimmers without chokes, but you may be able to find one which has a choke which is less noisy under load.
     
  3. davehk

    davehk
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    Most standard domestic dimmers are rated to 300W, so it's likely yours is the same and therefore running close to maximum current; it's therefore no surprise that the choke buzzes, since in order to keep costs down the makers will not have overrated the components by more than the minumum required for safety and reasonable lifetime.

    The Lutrons are a much higher quality unit and rated to 500W, so I'd expect them to be much quieter at 250W. But why not drop Lets Automate an e-mail and see what they say. If they say it wil be OK and it's not you can then get a refund!

    NOte that for two-way operation you need a Lutron master and slave
     
  4. micks_address

    micks_address
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    if i need a master and a slave unit - where does the slave get wired? does it replace the two gang switch in the room that controls the dimmed light and the porch?
     
  5. davehk

    davehk
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    What do you understand by the term by two way? In the UK, this means that you can control a single circuit from two physically separate switches, eg control a landing light from two switches, one at the top and on at the bottom of the stairs.

    This is what Lutron mean by two-way switching with a master and a slave and if you've read the information on the Let's Automate website you posted the link to, you know as much as I do. It says:

    "Replaces standard light switch - No additional wiring to do
    Does not require a Neutral connection at the switch
    Slave module replaces standard two way switching lights - again no additional wiring to be done"

    If, as I suspect, you mean that your current dimmer is a DUAL-GANG unit ie, it has two separate dimmers that control two separate circuits, then that is a totally different kettle of fish and is not the "two-way" that is being referred to here.

    I assume you know how to wire up domestic lighting circuits, including 2-way? Loop in/out, travellers etc - if not, you should probably get an electrician to do this work.
     
  6. micks_address

    micks_address
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    Hi Sorry for being confusing... having a frustrating day with sky installers but thats another story :(

    let me try and explain better... in our sitting room we have 5 * 60 watt downlighter chandelier type light... its controlled by a two way dimmer switch. The switch is a single gang but is two way because there is a second switch in the room (just inside the door) which controls the chandelier also.. this switch is a double gang switch... the second switch on this unit controls the light in the porch... so if you can imagine when i come into the room... i have 2 toggle switches on the one switch (one controlling the porch - the other the chandelier) the dimmer is over in the corner just beside the couch...

    i think what i need is a lutron switch... to replace the dimmer switch but at the entrance to the room.. i'm going to need to replace the two gang switch with a lutron slave unit for the chandelier and i think i'm going to have to install a new switch box plus single gang switch to control the porch light

    so in summary i think i need this

    http://www.letsautomate.com/10450.cfm?

    a master and a slave unit... and then

    separate the porch light onto another switch box / switch

    does that make sense?

    if so i'm off to the power buy to order the master and slave unit in brass...

    cheers,
    mick
     
  7. davehk

    davehk
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    Yep - makes perfect sense. Let us know how you get on with the Lutrons - I might have a need for them myself.
     
  8. erockybalboa

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    If you want to replace your regular switch with a dimmer switch, it's simple to do, and it will also improve your lighting options. The first thing you want to do is remove your cover plate, which is very simple, just removing the screws. And you want to make sure you've cut the power off at the breaker, because you don't want to touch anything in here until you've done so. The next thing you'll want to do is remove the switch by simply loosening these screws- it helps to have a power screwdriver but it's not necessary.

    I don't have much wire to work with here in this old house, but you would normally have excess wire which would allow you to pull the switch out. and then you would detach the wires from the side of this switch by loosening these screws. Once you detach the wires, you just want to straighten the ends so that you can attach the wires on the dimmer switch to it. In most houses, you'll have a white wire and a black wire. In this old house, there are no such things. But it doesn't matter when you're installing a dimmer because it can go to either wire. You're going to attach them with these wire nuts, which you simply twist the wires together and you twist the wire nuts over each connection.

    Once you've done so, you'll simply fold up the excess wires, push them to the back so that you have room to put this in there, and then everything is just in reverse. You'll put the screws back in the same holes that the old switch came out of. And then you'll simply put the knob back on, turn on the power at the breaker, which I've already done, and you have light
     

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