LED dimming basics for low-voltage LED lighting

The type of dimmer you choose will be based on your lighting type, and how you want to install and control your LED lighting. Knowing your options will help you choose the right dimming method that will work best with your installation, lighting needs and budget.

There are two types of LED dimmers: 12-volt DC and 120-volt AC (Lutron style). It is important to understand the differences between these two methods of dimming and what will work best in your installation.

When to use a 12-volt DC low-voltage dimmer

In many cases, installing an in-wall 120V AC dimmer isn’t practical and installing new cabling in walls can be difficult and expensive. In these situations, choose an Armacost light low-voltage, 12-volt dimmer. These dimmers connect easily on the low voltage side anywhere between your power supply and LED the lighting.

Typical installation with a low voltage dimmer and a standard power supply

Typical installation showing a plug-in standard LED power supply

Wireless model optionsWireless model options are also available allowing you the convenience of a traditional in-wall dimmer switch but without running any new wires. Choose from RF designer-style touch pads or Wi-Fi® controllers. Wi-Fi®-enabled smart controllers give you unprecedented control on your smart phone or tablet, iOS or Android apps are available. To view a typical step-by-step DIY RibbonFlex Pro installation project using an Armacost standard power supply with a wireless dimmer, download and view this article from This Old House magazine.

Typical wiring diagram when used with an AC dimmer

Wireless dimmer typical installation

For large lighting applications and multi-zone lighting control, use multiple Armacost 2-in-1 or Wi-Fi LED dimmers.

Large lighting applications – wireless dimmer

Color changing RGB LED tape lighting

If you are using RGB color changing LED lighting, you will always use a low voltage RGB color controller which will change the color and brightness level of the lighting. IMPORTANT: never use an RGB color controller and another dimming method in the same circuit.

RGB controller typical installation

When to use a 120-volt AC dimmer (Lutron style)

Using a 120-volt AC dimmer is often the preferred choice for lighting professionals and homeowners for full-range brightness control of Armacost white LED lighting products, especially if you already have a switched 120-volt power source or an outlet controlled by a wall switch.  Simply replace the on/off AC switch with an AC dimmer. This system is often used when replacing existing incandescent or fluorescent lighting with LED lighting.

To use an standard 120-volt AC dimmer, you must use an Armacost Lighting Dimmable LED Driver power supply.

AC dimmersArmacost Universal Dimming LED Drivers are compatible with virtually every AC dimmer, from simple incandescent dimmers to Alexa-enabled Wi-Fi smart dimmers and higher-end lighting control systems such as Lutron’s Caséta Wireless and GRAFIK Eye® system.

For low cost and good performance, Armacost Lighting  recommends Lutron CL or Leviton Illumitech universal dimmers for their availability and low-end brightness trim adjustment.

Most smart AC dimmers, plug-in WiFi controllable outlets, and advanced home automation systems can also be used to control your LED lighting when use with  Armacost Universal Dimming LED drivers.

Connected lighting throughout your home with Armacost Universal Dimmable LED Drivers

Typical wiring diagram when using a 120-volt AC dimmer

Dimmable power supply installation

Multiple LED driversLarge lighting applications may require the use of multiple dimmable LED drivers/power supplies. For synchronized on/off and brightness control of LED lighting on multiple power supplies, connect a 120-volt AC dimmer to multiple Armacost Lighting Dimmable LED Drivers.

Your dimmer must be hardwired to replace an existing dimmer or wall switch that controls 120-volt AC household power to the power supply. They can also be professionally installed as part of a lighting plan in new construction.

For help with your lighting plan or questions regarding specific dimmer compatibility information, reach out to our support staff at support@armacostlighting.com.