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Bacardi 151 11-03-2007 12:19 PM

Can you wire a dimmer in any light fixure?
Do add a dimmer, do you just replace the existing wall switch to a dimming one or do you need to do something special to the actual fixure?

Sammy 11-03-2007 12:21 PM

As long as you dont have a three way switch or a flourescent fixture involved, it should be a straight swap out.

concretemasonry 11-03-2007 12:26 PM

From an amateur -

You can replace a switch with a dimmer, but what is controls will determine the results. You must use the appropriate dimmer if you have mutiple switches and only one can be a dimmer.

You cannot have anything with motor (refridgerator, freezer, ceiling fan) on the line controlled.

If have flourescents and CFs (compact flourescents) you will have problems.

Regular light fixtures with normal tungsten bulbs will work.

I may have missed some details, but this is a starting point.

Bacardi 151 11-03-2007 12:34 PM

Great, thanks for all the help. The do make a dimmable CF, but as adviced you cannot use a "standard" CF.

SwiftyMcV 11-03-2007 12:55 PM

And yes in a 3way or 4 way lighting circuit you can have a dimmer.... IDEALLY only one dimmer but some people like to have 2 3-way dimmers.

It DOES WORK... lol SORTA. Basically it becomes 2 dimmable locations BUT you should only use the ON/OFF @ one location.

Basically stubborn home owners want this and you do it to appease them.

slakker 11-03-2007 01:38 PM

Also, for low voltage halogens like MR16 lamps, there are special dimmers as well... depending on electonic or magnetic transformers...

Sammy 11-03-2007 01:49 PM

Good point Slakker!

SwiftyMcV 11-03-2007 04:26 PM

and if you get really picky Ive seen a 4-way dimmer...

J. V. 11-04-2007 01:10 PM

Dimmers are used on ceiling fans all the time. I do not use them for fans but. If the dimmers current rating exceeds the fan current rating, you most only will have to deal with noise.
It is preferable to use a control intended for fan use.

YetAnotherDIYer 11-05-2007 12:17 PM

Saw this thread at the right time...

So, I can successfully replace one of the 3-way switches which control 7 (seven) flood lamps in my Kitchen with a *3-way* dimmer?

Regular bulbs, not fluorescent. 65W each - that is why I would like a dimmer.

Stubbie 11-05-2007 12:24 PM

7 x 65 = 455 watts.... so get a good quality 600w or 1000 watt 3-way dimmer. Get a no noise type it will refer to this on the dimmer literature. Take a look online at lutron and leviton and pass and seymour (my favorite).

YetAnotherDIYer 11-05-2007 12:36 PM

Thank you :thumbsup:

I got a 600W Lutron from the local home improvement store.

Piedmont 11-05-2007 12:58 PM

They do make a 3 way dimmer which can dim at either location, I got one at my local Home Depot. It has a computer in it, and personally I don't like it just too fancy and feature rich.

You press the button and it will turn on to the last dim setting you had it at. Double-click the on button to put it at max brightness. Press the same button to shut it off and it will slowly dim to off within 3 seconds. Instead pressing and holding the same button for 2 seconds it will continue to dim then off in 10 seconds. To adjust the dim you press that same button to turn it on, and again while it's getting brighter or vice versa you can press that button to turn it off and while it dims to go out pressing it again will stop it at the lower dim setting. Or press the tiny up or down button, either of which adjusts it at both location simultaneously.

Anyway it's a pain in the butt! You press the same button for so many things half the time I'm pressing the button five or six times to get the lights at full brightness, then give up and just hold down the tiny up arrow. It's so easy to default it to lowest brightness, guests trying to use it can never figure out how to get it brighter.

My favorite is the Lutron, the one with a toggle and a bar on the side you slide up/down. Not sure if they make that kind for a 3-way.

YetAnotherDIYer 11-05-2007 04:32 PM


Originally Posted by Piedmont (Post 71774)
My favorite is the Lutron, the one with a toggle and a bar on the side you slide up/down. Not sure if they make that kind for a 3-way.

Yes, pretty economical too.

scorrpio 11-06-2007 08:37 AM

If you replace one of the 3-way switches with a dimmer, it should work. But you can't just drop in 2 dimmers. Some dimmer models have 'remotes' designed to work with a dimmer.

I like Leviton Acenti, a little pricy, but beautiful. And they make remotes for their dimmers that use neutral as reference and essentially control the main dimmer, matching even brightness LED position. Fluorescent and low voltage dimmers are also available, but costly. ($30-32 for regular dimmer, $55-60 for low voltage, $75-80 for flurescent)

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