Do Smart Lights Work with a Dimmer Switch? Do You Need One?

It seemed like yesterday when the first ever smart bulbs made their way to the market. Although the first ever smart bulb was launched in 2012, making this a decade-old invention.

But transitioning from traditional bulbs and LEDs to smart bulbs wasn’t easy and raised issues, specifically in the smart light switch with a dimmer section.

What does a Dimmer do?

Before smart bulbs were real, dimmers were only used for appliances like fans, etc. In simple words, a dimmer is kind of a switch that is responsible for controlling the voltage input for an appliance.

For example, let’s talk about a fan first. The dimmer will control the voltage level received by the fan. Higher voltage means faster rotation, and lower voltage means slower rotation of fan wings. In the case of smart bulbs, a dimmer switch is used for brightness control.

Dimmer switch vs. App Control

The technology of the dimmer switch may seem very old. It is, to be very honest. But even modern-day smart bulbs can be controlled through dimmer switches. However, this is not advised as there are many other ways to control a smart bulb other than dimmer switches. 

The most popular of such ways is app control. Almost all types of smart bulbs today come with app support that allows the user to control the bulb’s brightness through WIFI control. This option is more commonly used as it comes with many additional features, like timing the bulb or setting up a pattern.

Dimmer Switch vs. Hub Control 

The hub control is a more advanced and upgraded version of the mobile application control for smart bulbs. The dimmer switch only allows the user to control the bulb’s brightness, but a hub is advanced. Even if compared to the mobile application control, the hub control is a broader control option.

Consider the hub a complete panel that centers between the mobile phone and the smart bulb. But the main advantage of using a hub is that it allows you to control and coordinate multiple smart bulbs through one connection and during the same time stamp.

Is the old Dimmer switch any good?

That depends upon the extent you are willing to use the dimmer in the first place. These switches are exceptional if we talk about dimmer switches and their ability to control fan speed. Even after so many years of technological evolution, using a dimmer with a fan is still the ultimate power electronics combination.

This may surprise you, but dimmer switches were also designed specifically for smart bulbs. Yes, you just can’t use any kind of dimmer witch with smart bulbs. The compatible ones are restricted to controlling the bulb’s brightness and nothing more.

Getting the Right Dimmer Switch for your Smart Lights 

So, you are now looking for a dimmer switch compatible with smart lights? That’s a great option if you only have a few smart bulbs and want nothing more than to control their brightness according to the time of the day.

Most of the time, dimmer switches compatible with certain smart bulbs are mentioned on the bulb’s packaging. Some smart bulbs also come with already packed dimmer switches ready to install. 

Here are some factors you need to consider to get the right dimmer switch for your smart bulbs,

  • Power Rating

Power rating is something that users quite frequently ignore all around the globe. If you want to manage your home’s whole smart bulb installation, try to avoid this mistake. The power rating of electronic appliances should be considered thoroughly.

A dimmer switch is a more advanced form of a potentiometer. Now, if we try to explain it in terms of electronics, not all potentiometer offers the same level of resistance. They can range from 1K Ohm to up to M Ohms. 

  • Compatibility

Again, compatibility is an issue that is not easy to detect at first. Especially if you don’t have much knowledge regarding the electronics of appliances. Compatibility issues are usually confined to the power rating of bulbs and potentiometers. Here’s an example that can help you understand it all better.

Suppose you have a smart bulb that operates on 5V DC. The voltage in the main house line is somewhere around 220-240V AC usually. The process of AC to DC rectification takes place within the bulb. But you have also used a dimmer switch with an output voltage of 2V DC. Will it be able to operate the smart bulb? Certainly not.

  • Short Circuit Protection

Time to talk about some serious issues now. According to verified survey reports, the leading cause of fire in household and office spaces today is short circuits. One bad connection and the current conduction can spark a fire in seconds.

Now, if you are looking to install a dimmer switch, it is better to carefully observe all the factors like power rating and short circuit protection. Pay very special attention to the connection diagrams to avoid future short circuits.

  • Multiple Control Modules

Just think about it for a second, is there any way you will be using just one smart bulb at any corner of your house? If you are just looking to add to the aesthetic of your study room, then yes, it is possible. But usually, there will be multiple bulbs involved.

Remember, no matter how much you try, using a single dimmer switch for multiple LED bulbs is not advisable. That’s not how electronics work, guys. You need to use individual dimmer switches for each of the smart bulbs you are installing.

  • Easy to Mount

Last but not least, make sure that the dimmer switch you get is easy to install. What’s the point of getting a dimmer switch if it won’t in the first place? Also, make sure that you have an idea about the switchboard in your room.

Suppose that all the switches on the switchboard are round in shape, and you get a rectangular dimmer switch. The worst possible pairing there can be. We would advise you to get individual dimmer boards in your room. This will help you get straight to the dimming options without doing something with the main board.

Final Note

Well, this concludes our guide to smart light switches with dimmer. We hope that now you have mastery over this topic and can make the best choice yourself!

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