First you say it's the light humming then you say it's the switch
I've never heard of the switch humming.
I've heard lights and fans make a noise. Bet when the dimmer is all the
way up there's no humming?
Perhaps yours is heavily loaded (relative to its capacity) or
overloaded, or poorly designed, or defective. There's not much
that can go wrong with the installation.
Dimmers are cheap, so I'd probably replace it even if for no other
reason than to eliminate the annoyance.
Are you sure it's the switch and not the lamp(s)? I don't think
it's unusual for lamps to buzz when dimmed; dimming can cause
thermal stresses that some lamps don't handle well.
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i remember these cheap halogen lamps everyone had in college. those
things all had dimmers and when you used them they got very loud.
my advice would be to demo some other dimmers at the store and find a
quieter one. i'm thinking you most likey have a very cheap dimmer.
on another note, i'm a musician and doing some remodeling in my
basement. in this search i discovered there are 2 very different ways
that dimmers work. one quickly switches on and off the power (solid
state), the other actually changes the voltage (variable power
transformers). for muical purposes, that is, not having a buzz creep
into your audio signal you want the later (variable power
transformers). here is a link with more info then you probably care to
but if i were you, i'd just try and find a better solid state dimmer.
the variable power tranformer type are more expensive and may require a
housing. i have a solid state dimmer for 6 50watt lights in the
kitchen and the thing is very quiet to the ear (although it does cause
minor noise in my recording signal....a different issue you are not
my 2 cents.
is buzzing, but the dimmer. I can hear it clearly when I put my ear to the
wall next to the switch. Damn, I'll go shopping around tomorrow then.
On a second note, aside from the buzzing, is there anything dangerous about
its condition, or is it simply buzzing because of cheap construction. I
believe I understand how dimmers work, is it possible that the lights might
also affect how it performs.
About 3 mos ago I tried testing a dimmer with a DVM before installing it.
Nothing. Dead. I got another one. Put the DVM and analog on it. Nothing.
WTF? I Put it in. It worked but yet NG with meters.
Now I am very curious as a lifelong debug method is out the window. I
actually called the tech line at Leviton. Guy says yea you can't do that
any more. The dimmers are all solid state. Nothing works until power is
Maybe the WallyWorld is unloading all those dimmers with coils left on
the planet :-)
In a solid state dimmer switch circuit the control is a timer circuit
that sends pulses to a triac. The triac is normally OFF. Each pulse
switches ON the triac to conduct electricity and light the bulb.
During the dimmer LOW setting there are fewer pulses and therefore
less current passes through the triac. At HIGH setting the pulse
train is almost continuous and the lamp is at full illumination.
See now that's what I would have thought. My dimmer is a solid state device
so far as I know, it's not a rotary dial type rather its a 5 button selector
style, off, low1, low2, low3, on. I doubt it has a core or a magnet in it
as that wouldn't make sense. So that's why I asked, I can't see a solid
state device buzz as there is nothing mechanical about it, the only thing I
could think of was some sort of wiring issue.
I had one like that. Humming was the last thing it before it exploded. I
never figured out what happened because the pieces were so small. I just
bought a better one, repaired the box, drywall, wiring, paint, and door
jamb, and replaced it.
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