Dimming eW Powercore and eColor Powercore Luminaires

Released: April 2011 Abstract: eW Powercore and eColor Powercore luminaires are compatible only with certain ELV-type reverse-phase dimmers. This application note describes how to select a dimming solution appropriate for your installation.

Solid white and solid color LED lighting fixtures in the eW Powercore and eColor Powercore families from Color Kinetics can be switched (turned on and off) or dimmed. While switching is straightforward with standard wall switches, you must take some care in selecting dimmers, as eW Powercore and eColor Powercore lighting fixtures are compatible only with certain dimmer types.

Selecting the Correct Dimmer Type

In general, eW Powercore and eColor Powercore fixtures should be dimmed using reverse-phase control (trailing-edge) dimmers. These dimmers are made for use with electronic low voltage (ELV) transformers, which are used in Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures. While “reverse-phase control” and “ELV” are often used synonymously, they are not equivalent. “Reverse-phase control” describes a method of dimming, while “ELV” describes a type of load. This distinction is important to keep in mind, as some dimmers designed for ELV loads use forward-phase control, which should not be used for dimming eW Powercore and eColor Powercore fixtures. Selected dimming manufacturers, including Strand, offer specification-grade reverse-phase dimming solutions for 100 V, 110 V, 120 V, 220 V, 240 V, and 277 V loads which work well with Color Kinetics products. You should never use forward-phase dimmers with Color Kinetics products. Repetitive voltage peaks from a forward-phase dimmer can exceed 150% of nominal sine wave maximum, which can damage Color Kinetics fixtures.

eW Flex SLX, eW Accent MX Powercore, and eW Reach Powercore LED lighting fixtures from Color Kinetics are controlled with DMX512 and Ethernet lighting controllers, rather than with switches and dimmers.

Which Dimmer Can I Use?

Some leading makers of lighting controls test specific dimmers with integrated LED lighting fixtures, and post a list of tested and approved dimmer / fixture combinations on their websites. While such information can help you to make an informed purchasing decision, continuous improvements and innovations to both dimmers and LED lighting fixtures may introduce incompatibilities and unexpected behaviors. Such behaviors include reduced range (top and bottom), pop-on, drop-out, flicker, dead travel, and audible noise. We therefore strongly recommend that you test dimmers with your specific Color Kinetics LED lighting solution prior to permanent installation. (Most leading makers of lighting controls accommodate customer requests for dimmer / fixture compatibility testing at their facilities.) Follow the dimmer manufacturer’s instructions for calculating minimum dimmer wattage for your specific lighting installation, and for proper installation and configuration.

DO use reverse-phase (trailing-edge) ELV-type dimmers with Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures.
DO verify that an ELV-type dimmer is reverse phase (trailing-edge), and not forward phase (leading-edge)
DO follow dimmer manufacturer guidelines for calculating minimum dimmer wattage and proper installation
DO test all dimmer / fixture combinations prior to permanent installation
DO NOT use forward-phase (leading-edge) ELVtype dimmers with Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures
DO NOT use magnetic low-voltage (MLV-type) dimmers with Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures
DO NOT use and install dimmer / fixture combinations that you have not tested.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) published standard SSL 6-2010, Solid State Lighting for Incandescent Replacement—Dimming, in February 2011.


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