TLC Varilight Touch Dimmers - Buzzing

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by milanlad, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. milanlad

    milanlad
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    I'm using these remote touch dimmers from TLC with mains holagen lights. I have noticed that the buzzing is very audible, even from a distance of about 3 metres.

    I have a twin gang 400W rating switch. I have a load of 240W per gang which I believe is not overloading.

    The buzzing is more audible when the lights are dimmed between almost off and almost fully on.

    I have swapped the dimmer but I get the same result.

    One thing I suspect is that the buzzing is to do with loading. If I switch off 2 of the 3 side lights which are operating from one dimmer, thus giving me a load of 80W, then the buzzing is much less audible at any light level.

    Is this normal?

    Thanks
     
  2. John

    John
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    every dimmer I've had has buzzed to some extent , can also get warm
    JS
     
  3. i4c

    i4c
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    Do these dimmers save electricity or dissipate the heat equivalent to the amount of power - going to the light? - Thanks - Ian
     
  4. milanlad

    milanlad
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    Do Dimmers such as the Lutron and Futronix also buzz?
     
  5. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    AFAik the more expensive dimmers like the lutrons and futronix don't buzz - I don't have them myself so maybe someone who does can confirm this. The buzzing with cheaper dimmers gets less the BIGGER the load you put through them, in my lounge I've got one switch doing 4 lamps and one doing 2, the one with 2 is a LOT louder.

    owain
     
  6. milanlad

    milanlad
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    My experience is the opposite.

    The louder dimmer has 240W load, and is louder when light is dimmed down, and slightly quieter when fully on.

    The quieter dimmer has a 120W load.

    Mine are mains holagen so maybe that has something to do with it!!

    Strange???
     
  7. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    thats a bit odd, when you dim the lights does the noise go up or down as the lights get dimmer? with mine the more dim they are the noisier they get.
     
  8. milanlad

    milanlad
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    Yes, as i mentioned before, i get the same. The lower the lights are dimmed, the noisier the buzzing becomes.

    The problem is that the Lutron and Futronix dimmers costs so much more than these varilights.

    Also, are there any alternates dimmers out there which are dual gang, infra-red remote, and don't require a neutral mains connection?
     
  9. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Sorry don't know of any that are going to solve the problem :(
     
  10. IanW

    IanW
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    Guys, I will have to check the volume later.

    Go really careful when fitting these, they get really hot! Make sure you give these a VERY deep backbox. When I first fitted these I think that I used a 35mm backbox, but noticed that the plate was getting very hot, so I took the dimmer off and fitted a 47mm backbox and since then it has been running a lot cooler, but still warm to the touch.
     
  11. simonali

    simonali
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    I had 2 of these dimmers, 1 on halogens (loud and hot) and 1 on tungsten (OK) in the bedroom. Both packed up a few months after fitting. I had a 2 gang 400W that wouldn't turn on and a 1 gang that switched on my bedroom light at full brightness at 3 in the morning!

    I sent them and the remote back to TLC who were really good and gave a full refund including postage.
     
  12. Dominic

    Dominic
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    just to try and balance the debate
    i have a futronix 2 channel controller in my lounge/cinema running 10 x 20w halogens and 4 x 50w halogens, it doesnt get hot or buzz even with both channels on very dim or very bright. all i get is some RF interferance on the baby monitor :mad:

    i was going to get a tlc dimmer (local store) and put it in my dinning room where i have 6x50w , but from whats being said im not sure if thats a good move, although im too far down the road to fit a 47mm back box and another neutral, and also shell out another 100 and something pounds ( missus may read this ) :blush:

    oh what to do :confused:
     
  13. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    use candles? ;)
     
  14. Hopkins

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    Sorry to commit thread necrophilia, but this is the closest existing thread to my problem ;)

    I have just installed a couple of Varilight dimmers from TLC and, I'm afraid to say, I'm a little disappointed with the level of buzzing. I have installed one of these for 2 x 180W standard light fittings, each comprising 3x60w candle bulbs:

    http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/VLIQ1252.html

    and one of these for a single 240W standard fitting, comprising 4x60w spotlight bulbs:

    http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/VL11.html

    Both buzz audibly in a quiet room. As expected, the noise is loudest when the light is dimmest - annoying because the time I want to have some quiet music playing is also when I want the lights to be dim :p

    I'm more sensitive than most to buzzing and whiney noises, but this is my experience.
     
  15. SeanT

    SeanT
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    I found the Varilight dimmers pretty quiet, but have only used a small load (100W) downstairs and 160 or so upstairs.
     
  16. b1g1an

    b1g1an
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    You might just be unlucky with the position of your switch accentuating the buzz.

    I've got 6 60w bulbs controlled by mine, usually set very low and yes it buzzes but I can't hear it until I'm closer than four feet and even then it's pretty quiet, the pimple does get very hot though.

    The sky+ and Tivo are far louder at normal distances.
     
  17. kevlar

    kevlar
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    I have 2 double gang varilight dimmers and both are totally silent. They are warm though. When I did C & G Electrical installation in college the subject of buzzing dimmers came up and the tutor, who was excellent by the way, said it was down to positioning and the length of cable!. He did go into detail, and I did understand it at the time but like most things learned in college it didn't stay in there long! :(

    I have had the odd problem with the dimmers tho, one kept losing the learned infrared code so had to be tought often, eventually it also stopped dimming through the full range. I had it replaced but have lost the learned code once or twice on the replacement also.

    All said and done they are cheap so if I have more problems I'll probably end up just replacing them like for like, as far as I know there isn't anything else even approaching this kind of price.
     
  18. b1g1an

    b1g1an
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    Just checked mine again and it seems to have gotten much better with age as I now have to get my ear within 6 inches to hear anything at all...either that or I've gotten far deafer with age than I thought :)
     
  19. Hopkins

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    Just updating my feedback having lived with the dimmers for a few weeks now. The remote/touch ones that I have installed the living room are fine when I'm watching the TV even at quieter volumes. Watching the TV is the main reason for having the dimmers in that room, so I'm pretty happy. If I do something in silence with dimmed lights then I do notice the buzzing and it does annoy me, but then I just turn the lights up to stop it! Not ideal, but not terrible, especially as I only need to pick up the remote and not get off my lazy arse :D. Incidentally, there is a high pitched component to the "buzzing" that eminates from the bulbs themselves, not the dimmer. Do other people find that?

    Interesting what kevlar says about the cabling affecting things. That would explain the myriad different experiences out there!
     
  20. dolph

    dolph
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    Have several of these dimmers. The ones driving mains halogen are (to me) silent. When used with a transformer the dimmers themself are again silent, however the greater the lights are dimmed, the more noise the transformer makes...
     
  21. Hopkins

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    My dimmers are all driving normal 240v lights.

    And since the last post:

    I can now state that, with the TV at less than "quite loud" volumes, this higher pitched "bulb buzzing" is audible and very annoying. I wonder if it's something wrong with the light fitting: it takes three 60w candle bulbs. The sound seems to come from only one of the bulbs, and the first bulb which I placed in there blew after a few days. I'm not really sure what to test for - I think I'd need an oscilliscope and a few spare hours to do anything!
     
  22. SeanT

    SeanT
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    Try some contact cleaner on the offending lampholder, oh and check the wiring to the fitting (I killed a Varilight switch with a dodgy neutral connection on an existing light fitting, but of course with the new laws I just have to watch my house burn down rather than replace the circuit myself....)
     

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