How to dim 12v Halogen lights?
July 28, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I have ten 30 watt 12v halogen lights connected to a transformer that is rated for 300 watts. The transformer seems fairly old. I want to be able to dim the lights. What kind of dimmer do I need and how do I wire it up?
posted by Infernarl to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Best answer: Is it an iron-core or electronic transformer?

If it's iron-core (you'll notice it's heavy) you can pretty well use any dimmer. If it's electronic we'll need to know more details about it.
posted by deadwax at 5:39 PM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: very heavy large black square with vents in the top. I need a dimmer with as little flickering as possible.
posted by Infernarl at 5:42 PM on July 28, 2012

As deadwax says, pretty much any dimmer will work with your transformer.
posted by anadem at 6:51 PM on July 28, 2012

Best answer: To add further detail to my answer above -- both leading edge and trailing edge dimmers will work with that transformer, if it is an iron-core unit as it seems.

The specification of dimmers that tells you something about how much flicker you will have is rise time -- the time it takes for the dimmer to switch from off to on, in very, very simplistic terms. A longer rise time is kinder on the lamps and the electronics, as well as reducing flicker and buzz, but does correlate with larger and more expensive dimmers. If I'm remembering correctly (I haven't done specialised work in the lighting field recently but I used to), a 200µs rise time is considered pretty good for architectural/professional level dimmers.

The problem you are going to have is finding a figure for rise time on any spec sheet for consumer level dimmers, in this instance buy the heaviest and largest dimmer you can find or afford and you should be fairly right.
posted by deadwax at 3:25 AM on July 29, 2012

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