An Electronic Low Voltage (ELV) dimmer used in conjunction with an LED (light emitting diode) is almost a match made in heaven. LEDs in general are known for their energy-saving properties. They have a higher cost because of this, but most LED lights come with a warranty of some caliber. Usually LED power supplies have a three-year warranty, while the lights themselves can have five or more years under their belt in that category.
UNDERSTANDING ELV DIMMER TECHNOLOGY
Now an ELV dimmer is going to create reverse-phase, or “trailing edge” waveforms. The brightness of a given light source hooked into an ELV dimmer is determined by how much “on” time in relation to how much “off” time is applied to a given dimming situation. LEDs can only handle direct currents (DC), and as a result, using an ELV dimmer with an LED requires some sort of driver. Diverse dimmers will affect LEDs differently. A low-frequency MLV dimmer is going to affect the LED in a way that contrasts with a high-frequency ELV waveform.
Many people forget LEDs need proper current regulation, rather than voltage regulation, to run correctly. Transformers don’t regulate current; they’re specifically designed to regulate voltage. As a result, additional circuitry is a requirement. Usually this additional circuitry is located in the base of a given LED fixture or lamp. This is the “driver” mentioned earlier.
Not all drivers that have been designed for use with LED loads of a low-voltage kind have been engineered to dim. As a result, it’s very important to know the design specifications of an ELV dimming apparatus in connection to whatever LEDs you’re planning to control.
REASONS TO USE AN ELV DIMMER
Because of these exigencies, many prefer MLV dimming solutions to ELV, but there are some great benefits to the latter. Firstly, an ELV transformer will usually be lighter, smaller, and more efficient. The biggest advantage, however, is the lower cost. That said, ELV transformers feature a circuit that is self-oscillating and generates an internal frequency that’s exceptionally high for the driving of internal circuitry. Plus, the majority of ELV options have a minimum output load specification which ensures internal stability. Finally, LED technology is quickly overtaking traditional incandescent bulb technology and has exceptional application in IT environments; from computer indicators to informative displays and more. It makes sense to double-down on savings with an ELV dimmer for LED applications.