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Trouble with Recessed Lights on Dimmer - Differing results

424 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Let it Snow
Just installed 6 recessed light fixtures in our living room, and am getting some weird results with the bulbs/dimmer that I can't understand.

We have a Legrand RHCL453PT preset paddle dimmer in our basement, and it gives a great range of 'dim-ability.' So, figured we'd use the same thing in the living room.

I first tried some Sylvania LED 65W 3K retrofit bulbs, but they don't dim nearly as much as we want them to, even after adjusting the internal control to full range of dimming. Next, tried some Commercial Electric 65W 3K retrofit bulbs (Home Depot), and while they dim slightly more, it's still not down to the 10% as advertised in the documentation for the bulb. I then tried a bulb from the basement (Patriot from Menards), and it gets a lot dimmer, but not as dim as it does in the basement.

Then it got weirder. I boxed up the Sylvania and Commercial Electric bulbs to take them back, and for kicks turned on the lights with only the Patriot bulb installed. With just one bulb installed, the dimmer control could turn the bulb almost all the way off. Figured this was a good thing, so added a second Patriot....but then it went back to less dim-ability (maybe 15% at it's lowest).

So I'm a bit stuck....I have a few more bulbs that I'll try to see if it's a matter of manufacturer differences (of course, the Patriot bulbs are discontinued...), I'm open to trying a different dimmer, but am also confused about why I'm getting such variation between bulbs (both manufacturer and # installed...).

Any thoughts & input are greatly appreciated.

And to reiterate, yes, I have set the internal adjustment control on the switch to full range.
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I think the problem happens because the dimmer has a rated operating range which has a lower limit as well as a higher one. Check to see if that's the case. I have noticed on some that 60 watts is the lower limit. I would expect it to either act strangely or not at all if I loaded it less than the bottom rating. Some may be rated lower than others.

I'm guessing... you can check the rating on the dimmer to confirm. There would be no point in listing a lower limit if it didn't matter... that's my logic.

A test you could do is put enough high wattage bulbs in the mix and see it the dimmer is more sociable.

If no joy with any of that info, you might just have a dimmer with a birth defect straight from the factory.
Since you mentioned it... The shortcut for computing 2 parallel resistors is product/sum .. simple, what?

If you have more than two resistors, it get a little more complicated. You need to add all the individual reciprocals together and then find the reciprocal or that number... the reciprocal of the reciprocals so to speak.
Some of the dimmers I have seen are able to be calibrated to match the load they are serving and you can set both upper and lower limits. I can't seem to find any information for the exact part number you listed so you'll have to check the spec sheet if it came with one.

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