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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Voltage Distortion and LEDs

What is Voltage Distortion

Voltage distortion is a somewhat common physical byproduct of dimming an LED on a dimmer with a copper choke. These dimmers (like our D20 modules, Smartpack dimmers, and Colorsource dimmers) used the copper choke to handle the high inrush of older lamps like halogens, but these chokes can cause problems with LEDs.

When voltage distortion occurs, it can impact LED performance. Common symptoms are light instability at standing levels, poor fade performance, audible buzzing of the fixture, and even shortened fixture lifespan.

Will Voltage Distortion Affect My LEDs

Voltage distortion is always a possibility when dimming LEDs if your system uses the dimmers mentioned above. Voltage distortion tends to get worse and more likely with more LEDs on a circuit, but it's never a guarantee and every LED out there will work a little differently.

How To Resolve Voltage Distortion

Unfortunately, the only resolution is to change either the light or the dimmer - if a combination experiences problematic voltage distortion, there is no programmatic fix for the circuit to resolve the issue. ELV-type dimmers, like the ELV10 and LED10 module, the Foundry and Echo 600W dimmers, and ERP 300W dimmer lack a copper choke, so cannot cause voltage distortion.

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