I'm getting ready to install a couple pendant lights above my bar. We are
going to put them on a dimmer switch. I was telling a friend our plans, and
she asked if we got a special low-wattage dimmer since the pendant lights
should be low wattage. It said it should indicate this on the packaging (it
does not, nor does it state anywhere that I need a special dimmer switch).
How can I tell if they indeed are low-wattage, and is it okay to use a
standard dimmer switch?
if there's a transformer, then it's low voltage. if the bulbs have a voltage
written on them, then look at that. if they are low voltage, then no, you
can't use a standard dimmer switch. she's also wrong; not all pendants are
Lamps Plus have a good summary of when to use the two main types of low
voltage dimmers, if your pendant lights are actually low voltage (your
friend may have said low voltage not low wattage). Basically, magnetic
stepdown transformer-fed 12 lites need matching (magnetic) dimmers.
Electronic transformers need to have electronic dimmers. We installed
electronic dimmer in a room using magnetic fixture transformers, and now
have buzzing sounds at all light levels except full brightness. We'll have
to fix that.
As far as I know the only way is to ask the distributor/retailer, or better
yet would be info from the manufacturer of the light unit. Go to their
website, give them model no., and ask for tech. help with identifying the
type of transformer.
Herein lies the problem. It's a Hampton Bay light, which from what I can
tell is sold exclusively at Home Depot (at least as far as I can tell by
doing a search on Google). I called Home Depot, and the lighting guy said if
it does not say low wattage, I'm okay.
There are no stupid questions. magnetic transformers have an iron core and
weigh more than an electronic one, which if you have no reference point,
means nothing to you. call the place where you bought it or better, the
manufacturer and ask them. HTH
It's definitely low voltage and most likely it's electronic as they tend to
be cheaper. The transformer is most likely in the canopy. Take a look at it,
if it is a little plastic box and not a one pound metal thing, it's
electronic. If you do need an electronic low voltage dimmer, all of the ones
I've seen require a neutral connection, which you may not have in the switch
No, If that's the case , you want a magnetic low voltage dimmer, which only
needs two wires, just like the switch ( or three if it's on a three way
switch). You could try a line voltage dimmer, but you'll probably get whine
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