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Court
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 12:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I've been dealing with Leviton, Lutron, WAC, Lucifer and Commercial Lighting about dimming LED fixtures in a house and, to date, I haven't come close to an acceptable solution.

I am renovating a small house . . . pretty good size (mid six figures) renovation and within the next 2 weeks the lighting will be going in.

There were about 50 (max on a Lutron CasÚta system) fixtures before . . . all incandescent. Contractor is swearing by LED and I am open minded. But, I have to be able to dim them.

To date, I have tried 4 fixtures . . including 2 provided by the contractor . . .one suggested by a lighting supplier in Texas and the one that Lutron claims is "highly compatible" with their control system.

So far . . .the best I can get is about 30% of output and then boom . . . the light drops out. I am used to having the eture house on incandescent at just barely a glow (say 5%) and about 50 candles going in the evening when I am playing music.

I'd love to go with the L.E.D. fixtures because they are so darn easy to install and don't have the cleaning problems of those nasty recessed cans in the ceiling.

Anyone have any experience or ideas?

The house has evolved . . . . scope creep on steroids . . . to a technical playground with everything from heated floors, steam showers 4 Sonos speakers per room and a rack of Crown amplifiers to garage doors, buried propane system and Kohler backup generators and Navien hot water all controlled by an app on the phone that "prepares" the house when I head that direction.

Final sticking point is the lighting . . . . I trust you guys more than I do a lot of these snake oil sales folks.
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Aesquire
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Everything I know about this subject is obsolete and wrong.


I've been converting the house to LED lighting, and my solution to dimmer incompatibility had been to install alternative lighting where I want to choose dim lighting. That can be a single reading lamp set up to shine on a wall where the glow is not reflected in the TV.

Night light in the kitchen is a spot above the sink.

And Christmas tree lights in the Man Cave behind, under furniture, hidden indirect ceiling, & exposed novelty. ( I swap the visible light strings seasonally, and at whim. It's Chinese lanterns today. Pumpkins soon. Snowmen, Red\White\Blue stars, biplanes..... ) So by flipping switches I can choose levels.

But I enjoy flipping switches. I've been shopping for a big olde knife switch to steampunk the Man Cave out with the new fake Edison bulbs. ( LED) And a Jacob's ladder. Tesla speakers?



So my suggestion is alternate lighting where desired, instead of one size fits all.
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Ourdee
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

My suggestion is more lights. Now, hear me out. Use the LED for what they are good at, above 30%. Put in soft candle or colored LED in separate fixtures. I use lamps that are dim that stay on all the time myself. Could you put dim lights in the fixtures with the LEDs? Some kind of ring light?
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Shoggin
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 03:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Its a characteristic of how LEDs make light. Computer and LED TV screens do the same thing.

I ran across this issue and our "solution" was to use tinted lenses (canned lighting). Ya, I know

But we got LED's that would be bright enough ay max though the lens, then when they would be dim (about 30%), the tint would let less lumens through to an acceptable dim, uh brightness
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86129squids
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 03:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Hate to say it, but I'm kind of a dim bulb on this subject.
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86129squids
Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 03:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Oh, wait- I see you're dealing with Lucifer. THERE'S your problem.
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Ratbuell
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 07:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I second the filter/lens idea. LED's can be "dimmed" but as you're finding, they have an absolute low-V threshold at which they simply...stop. Find the most agreeable fixtures, and then...start looking at lenses or even Rosco stage gel. Go to one of your local theatres, and see if anyone has a swatchbook you can borrow.

Be prepared for overload.

The last time I had hands on a Rosco book, there were...800? colors in there. But you can "tune" every fixture / every room to the look and tone and warmth that you want. Then once you pick color/tone, you can pick saturation - how deep, or how pale, do you want that color assistance?

A thought on fixtures - see if you can find something with a removable lens, so you can drop the color gel inside the lens. Appearance-wise, it hides the gel when the fixture is off and prevents any sagging or wrinkling. Off, it looks like "a fixture". On, it takes on the personality of the new color.

Sounds like a hell of a renovation, I hope I get to experience it sometime! Which room is the music studio?
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Canario
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

As per the architect we used for our renovation:
"Have the best from both worlds"
Our new kitchen and dining room is all LED. Spot lights for countertop, and chandelier in dining room are with incandescent bulbs and dimmers.
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Court
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 12:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

>>>>"Have the best from both worlds"

That's kind of the tact I'm currently looking at . . . Limit LED fixtures to only those locations in which the depth (we installed new plumbing in some of the areas above where some of the lights MAY be located. Then, use incandescent with quality bulbs in the balance of the locations.
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Sifo
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 03:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I guess my question would be... Why LED? I know they are cheap to light and last a very long time. I'm guessing you can afford your electric bill, so not having to change bulbs periodically may be a benefit. I'm guessing you have pretty well mastered that too though.

Not meaning to be a smart ass, but what is the perceived benefit in your mind?

I have some LED 3 way bulbs in 3 way fixtures that I really like. I'm not sure if they would dim like you are looking for, and of course you only get the three levels. That is the primary lighting I have on at night, and it's acceptable to me. This house came with quite a few light cans in the ceiling. Most of those have CFL floods in them. They suck. In the kitchen, they've been replaced with incandescent floods. The modern marvel of lighting shouldn't be... Flip the switch and wait for the lights to get bright. I played with dimming LED bulbs, probably 5 years ago. I was disappointed and gave up on the quest. Sounds like they haven't gotten it figured out yet.

The old incandescent bulbs really do a remarkable job. IMO their biggest down fall is lifespan, which never seemed so bad until I got some LEDs. LEDs are also quite remarkable unless you want them to dim to a low level. I think there's a lot of overlap in what they do well. IMO, pick the one that works best in it's place.
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Ratbuell
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 03:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Tom - I have a drop ceiling in my basement that's full of recessed cans as well. When I bought the house, they were also those crappy CFL coily-things. As they started to die...I just went to the store and bought a few multipack boxes of LED replacement bulbs. I want to say they were like $8 for a pack of 4 bulbs. Look for lumens - I went as bright as I could since my basement is an exercise room, and a soon-to-be recording studio, and all I wanted was task lighting.

When I redid a sunroom in a rental apartment, I installed new-style cans that had permanent LED lights in them - no bulb. Again, non-dimmable task lighting, but if the tenant wants dimmer lighting there's an outlet every 5 feet for lamps, etc.

I do have some dimmable, warm-amber (I want to say 2700k?), Edison-style LED bulbs in decorative fixtures around my house. They're only like 200 lumens at full-tilt, and they can dim down quite a bit before they hit their "off" threshold - but the tradeoff is, lower max lumens.
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Sifo
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Yeah, I've thought about replacing the CFLs with LEDs. I might some day. The CFLs will never die though, because I don't use them. They're actually not bad when I turn them on, but after a few seconds are much brighter than I would want relaxing in my den. After a few minutes I feel like I'm sitting in an FBI interrogation room. We've learned to get by just fine with some standing lamps with 3 way LEDs though. I can tailor the amount of light with the number I have lit, and the switch setting.

The one light I really need to replace is the CFL on the back deck. I don't use it much, so it doesn't get much thought, but I turned it on a while back and thought it wasn't working. Then it gradually started to provide light. How did that become the lighting of choice? (Rhetorical)
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Ourdee
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 05:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I did light bulb shopping last week. Here are a couple of thoughts from a layman. My wife had LEDs in the ceiling fan where she likes to do puzzles. They went into strobe mode. Puzzles are for when she can't sleep. Strobe not good.



I replaced the bulbs with incandescents from FEIT, 60w enhance bulbs, simulates Full spectrum. The intended use should dictate the bulb. I use a very warm edison bulb imitation over my drafting table.



I have also put a light tint on my outside windows.


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Sifo
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

The intended use should dictate the bulb.

I have to agree, but have been quite surprised by the quality of light from some LEDs. My wife's best friend swore up and down that nothing looks like an incandescent bulb when I told her about replacing the bulbs in my front outdoor lights. When she came over one night, I put the old incandescent bulbs back into only one fixture. Then I had her try to figure out which one was the incandescent bulbs, vs. the LEDs. She couldn't tell one from the other. Neither could I, other than I knew the LEDs stood slightly taller. It was really nice never replacing those bulbs again. Prior to that they were getting replaced quite often.
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Zac4mac
Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 - 10:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

When I'm carving heads, I have two goose-neck lights -
a 100w LED and a 150w halogen, 180 degrees from each other.
Temperature/color difference exaggerates surface differences.
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Ratbuell
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 12:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Temperature/color difference exaggerates surface differences.

That's the first thing we were taught (and that I taught once I was a professor) in Color Theory class for stage/concert lighting. One side gets a warmer gel/filter; the other side gets a cooler gel/filter; and the backlighting gets "mood" coloring to outline the top edge of the performer and separate them from the background (yellows for daylight scenes, blues for nighttime, or other saturated colors for show - greens, magentas). For the front lighting, the blue shadow is filled with amber light; the amber shadow is filled with blue light; and the depth of features on the subject (actor) are HUGELY more visible.
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Sifo
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 05:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

So I was thinking last night... What would happen if you had a pair of polarized filters? You should be able to easily tune them to allow just the amount of light you want at the dim end. Not sure if you would get the amount you want when turned up though.
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Sifo
Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2020 - 07:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Court, Our new place has LED can lights on dimmers. They work great as far as I'm concerned. They put out plenty of light, but also dim down very well, and never go out as you reach the end of the dimmer travel. I pulled on down enough to get a peak at the working side, and it just has a pair of wires that screw into a normal socket. There is a small connector in the leads so you don't have to unscrew the leads with the light dangling. The rest is a sealed unit complete with bezel.

My only complaint with them, and it may be a big one for you, is that they are that stark white color, and it doesn't really soften up much as you dim them. I may have to see if they have them in a more natural color, that would match incandescent lighting. Someday I'll have to get my stepladder from the other place so I can really reach up there better and see who makes them.
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Ourdee
Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2020 - 07:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I thought I saw dimmable led bulbs at Menards.
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Hootowl
Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2020 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Tom

They do. Look for soft white. Bright white and daylight are for garages and laundry rooms.
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Ratbuell
Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2020 - 07:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I'm mid-renovation on a rental I'm going to sell, and the basement needed new cans in a hallway (pulled the crappy drop ceiling and put up drywall), and it had dead bulbs in existing recessed fixtures in the bedroom.

I found $17 LED recessed lights, no "can", super-low-profile above the ceiling. 2700k warm white, 800 lumens.

I also got a set of four, $6-each, retrofit LEDs that went in existing 6" recess cans. Remove bulb, remove baffle and ring, screw the adaptor into the bulb socket, hook the new LED fixture in place of the baffle, done. They dim clean, no hitching or flickering, nice and progressive and evenly-spaced (all four are equal brightness, consistency from light to light is extremely good). Also 2700k, and I want to say these were 600 lumens each.

All from Lowe's. Used the existing single-gang dimmer-slider that was hooked to the incandescents.

2700k warm white is the normal "light bulb" color tone. Anything that's called "daylight" or "bright" white, is going to be cold, sunshine-white - task lighting, not area lighting.
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Pwnzor
Posted on Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 06:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I replaced all the bulbs in the can lights in my kitchen with 7.5 watt dimmables.

I CAN SEE! And it no longer matters when the kids leave the lights on, because it's a total of 52 watts instead of 700!
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Ratbuell
Posted on Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 09:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Yeah, I replaced 4 48" flourescent tubes in my kitchen earlier this winter, with drop-in LED tubes.

Holy.

CRAP.

These things are BRIGHT.

I have under-cabinet lighting (LED) and I have an LED light over the sink window, and generally that's all I use in the kitchen - I can see fine to work with plates and stuff. But to cook on the island range, I need the overheads...and now I flinch every time I flip that switch they're so sudden and bright.

And I think a total of 32w power.

Ceiling fixtures can do mood lighting as well, depending on the room. Color has more to do with it than placement.
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