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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Four Rules of Echoflex Phase Dimmers

ER6CD Wireless Phase Adaptive Dimmer

The phase dimmer is a versatile product. It can dim many types of line voltage lighting loads and it's important to understand what type your trying to dim.

First rule of phase dimmers: All lighting loads on the circuit being controlled by the phase dimmer should be the same type of lamp

Tungsten and incandescent lamps dim differently than LED or fluorescent lamps. Ballasts and LED drivers require power to operate. If you dim the line voltage right down close to 0 V then there's no power for these devices to operate. Tungsten, halogen and incandescent lights are pure analog using the flow of current through the lamp element to emit light and in most cases, can dim to 0 V.

Halogen lamps always have a transformer, usually magnetic, so check specifications first. Echoflex ER6CD phase dimmers do NOT function well with magnetic transformers.

Second rule of phase dimmers: All lighting loads being controlled by the phase dimmer should be the same type of load

Mixing fixture types on a circuit could mean you've forward phase and reverse phase lighting loads on the same circuit. The phase dimmer will try to automatically identify the load type and choose either reverse or forward phase. If there is a mixture of both reverse and forward phase fixtures then you will likely see oscillation when turning the lights ON and poor dimming performance.

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Third rule of phase dimmers: Minimum Dimming Level and OFF are not the same thing

The minimum dimming level should never be 0%, even if the lamp can support dimming to 0%. Echoflex controllers will save the last manually (with a switch) set dimmed level by a user. The next time someone enters the room and clicks the switch for ON, it will recall this saved value. If the value is 0%, or even < 5%, the light output will be negligible and appear to be OFF and the user will think there's something wrong.

Example: If a user is manually dimming a light down and goes to the minimum level then leaves for the day. Later, the local occupancy sensor shuts the light off. The user returns the next day and clicks the switch for ON. The light will turn ON and resume the last days previous dimmed state. If the dimmed value was below the visible light output from the fixture, it will appear as if the light is still OFF.

Fourth rule of phase dimmers: LED and fluorescent fixtures minimum dimming levels should be dictated by the driver/ballasts ability to operate in low voltage conditions

Some early LED drivers would not perform well at low voltage and the result was flicking lights. Todays drivers perform better but there is still a threshold where they will stop driving the LEDs. If a facility is keen to have the fixtures dim to the lowest possible level, it may take some trial and error to find that exact level - writing to the minimum dimming level using Garibaldi software then testing with a switch. Does the light go OFF or dim to a level just above OFF, is there any flicker?

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