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Old 03-06-2009, 06:03 PM   #1
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humming lights


recently installed 3 way dimmer in my basement, which controls 6 - 75w lights. Switch is rated for 600w and is a Lutron. Everything works just fine, except that there is a noticable hum when the lights are on. Whether they are on full power, or turned way down. In searching on the web, most say this is an indication of a poor/low grade dimmer. But most says the Lutron is one of the better dimmers. Some suggest getting heavy duty/rough service lights to help reduce the noise.

Has anyone run into this and been able to eliminate or reduce the noise? Or is replacing the dimmer with a switch the only solution?

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Old 03-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #2
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I have heard noise from lamps on a dimmer, but mainly when turned down to about half brightness or lower. I wouldn't describe it as a humming, but more of a buzzing.
It's 120Hz (or 100Hz if your line is 50Hz), twice the line frequency, as the dimmer controls brightness by switching at varying points in the waveform (depending on what the setting is), causing a sharp turn on, which is what you hear.

I suppose that using 6 bulbs would make the noise louder than just one or two.

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Old 03-06-2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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humming lights


Cheep bulbs. (They don't know the words)

Try using a different brand bulb.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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Your dimmer won't last too long.

NEVER put 600 watts on a 600 watt dimmer. If you read the instructions you will notice that even breaking off that 1/4" tab on one side in order to gang the dimmer with other switches, derates it quite a bit...475 maybe??

Anyway, get a 1000 watt net time.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:27 PM   #5
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Ummm ... 6x75 watts = 450 watts. Nowhere near 600.

I'd use 65BR30 bulbs for a total load of 390 watts.
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Old 03-06-2009, 09:28 PM   #6
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humming lights


I did read the box, in particular about breaking off the tabs, which I did not do. I guess a buzzing would be a better description than a hum.

Bulbs are Westinghouse 75w flood bulb labled as "Superisor". But then again, I wouldn't expect a mfg to label their product as P.O.S
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:19 PM   #7
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I was using metric
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Old 03-07-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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humming lights


I've got a more expensive Lutron dimmer that not only hums the bulbs, it hums itself.

Got two Cooper dimmers(about half the price for both compared to the Lutron) that still hum cheap incandescent bulbs but no issue with real halogen bulbs or the dimmer itself humming. I recently tried as many R20 incandescent bulbs that I could find and they all hummed, some a bit less. Halogen replacements would be an option but I'm not prepared to put a bulb that operates at extremely high temperatures that will melt your skin into a fixture not rated or designed for that situation regardless if the halogen bulb was designed as a direct replacement(eg. PAR20 for R20).

Only thing I can suggest is find a halogen fixture or buy a $100 dimmer.

Recently in an episode of American Dad, Roger installed some dimmers and they hummed. Even in cartoon land it happens!


Last edited by n0c7; 03-07-2009 at 05:40 PM.
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