Dimmer switches going bad

Do the slider variety dimmer switches go bad often? It seems my track lighting will not work due to bad dimmers ,I think.
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Man! They sure do. I replaced 17 switches in a new house I had built six years ago. At least 8 of them have gone bad already.
These switches were GE brand and the suckers were rather expensive, but GE doesn't respond to my querries.
Bob
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Bob you had 17 go bad, did any other electric items fail during that period, things you may have just thought of related to age. That is alot of failure and could be caused by surges, lightning, or improper house ground. High load or voltage problems . Do you have a mains surge supressor. Construction dust can cause shorting of the slide, I had a new one short till I blew it out with air I imagine it going from dim to full bright may also have been hard on the electronics . Dimmers fail over time, but there are things that will make them fail faster.
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040712 0805 - m Ransley posted:

I am using some of the rotary dimmers -- and not the most expensive ones either -- that I had remodeled when I got them new over 30 years ago. I removed the potentiometer and extended a new one to a corded cable so that the control would be portable and the dimmer box could be by the light. I have a floor lamp in the living room that I made out of an old clothes rack from a clothing store. It is stainless steel, with a flexible 12" piece at the top and a socket with a 150 watt flood lamp in it aimed at the ceiling. This gives me indirect lighting. I can dim it for when I want to amuse myself with some TV programming, or if I want to read the newspaper or magazines I can turn it up to full bright. I also have a porcelain keyless lampholder on a shelf in the bedroom with a 150 watt lamp aimed at the ceiling with the same type of dimmer set-up on it with the control on the nightstand. I don't like bright lights early in the morning, and I can turn the light on and just have enough light to begin the morning with, or if I want more light I can turn it up to full bright. These dimmer set-ups are over 30 years old now, and I predict that they will last as long as I live. The lamps in them are over 30 years old also, and I predict the same life for those.
Matter of fact, I remodeled a rotary dimmer in a small box for use with a small 40 watt soldering pencil, and I also use this dimmer with an old GE electric blanket that the control went dead on over 40 years ago. The blanket has two heating coils. I wired them in series, and fitted a new connector to it and have used this set-up successfully every winter. Very comfortable. I can turn the furnace down so that the whole house is not being heated.
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NO!, I bought 17 dimmer switches and installed them after the house was built, and 8 have gone bad. Still not a very good batting average.
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040712 0537 - Bob posted:

Probably made in China, regardless of the GE label. The rotary dimmers are the most reliable.
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Bob wrote:

Personally I would not rate GE at the top of the quality list, no matter what the price.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Marty wrote:

It is not the design but the quality that is important. Any kind of switch can go bad. Dimmers do so more often. The older ones were more sensitive and the better ones are better protected. The switch would be a good guess as to what was bad.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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Not very often. I've installed dozens of sliders over the years, and the only one that ever failed was because there was an accidental momentary short downstream of it. Dimmers are semiconductor switches, and are very sensitive to momentary over-current. In other words, they blow _extremely_ fast.
I've been installing Leviton, Lutron and Eagle brand slider dimmers.
No problems with any of them.
If you're trying to control a LV track, the slider may simply not work properly. Some LV "transformers" (more rightly "power supplies") are switching power supplies rather than simple transformers. You can't dim those. Even transformer-based power supplies won't dim that well given how dimmers work (chopping wave forms). Indeed, a cheap dimmer without any filtering at all could easily be killed by trying to chop a wave form feeding a transfomer - thru "inductive kickback".
[When you try to abruptly stop or start current thru an inductor, the inductor "resists" the change and "throws it back at you.". Often as a reverse voltage many times higher than the supply voltage. Hence things like "zero crossing" dimmers.]
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Marty:
M > Do the slider variety dimmer switches go bad often? It seems my track M > lighting will not work due to bad dimmers ,I think.
As the others implied, if the track lighting is low voltage (such as uses 12v halogens as opposed to 'normal' 120v) then you probably need to replace the dimmer with a regular wall switch and dim from the low voltage side. I don't think the original dimmer wll work because it is designed for 120v. (I've never tried and don't know anyone with dimmable low voltage.)
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* Trouble with having an open mind is people will insist to put things in it
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RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
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I recall some years ago reading a warning on the dimmer instructions about not using certain types of bulbs because when the bulb fails, they create a momentary high current condition which blows the dimmer. I'm not sure exactly what type bulbs they described, but think it might have been reflector type flood lights. I'd read the information provided with the new dimmers and see if there is anything similar.
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