Dim it to Warm it

Objective: Understand LED technology that mimics low voltage warm dimming – 

At times the path of LED lighting development has been surprising. Paradoxically, despite overturning the lighting scene in the space of five years – LED innovations are keen to look identical to their incandescent forbears. The first priority was to match the form factor to make the shape of the lamp appear familiar to consumers. More recently, attention has turned toward the nature of the emitted light itself – illumination akin to halogen. How retro is that!

The beloved low voltage halogen invented in the late sixties had an inherent quality that fortuitously was flattering to an interior. The act of dimming – reducing the power to the lamp – had the effect of warming the colour of white light – taking the colour temperature down from 3000K to around 1800K.

LED came along and we lost the glow – dimming reduced the light level but just that – no orangey warm light as the current is lowered.

So in this age of LED, did we decide to move on from this charming feature of traditional lighting? Obviously not – it wasn’t long before LED fittings have been tweaked to mimic the comforting glow as a circuit is dimmed.

As lighting consultants and suppliers of lighting to predominantly high end residential and hospitality projects, you would think that we would receive regular requests for the return of a warm dim – but we haven’t. I would suggest that lighting design should not rely upon a single circuit of overhead light fittings to produce a cosy atmosphere in a room.

However, many do – and this is where I am grateful that we can produce this effect in the highest quality LED downlights … when it is required.

How does it work?

All LED chips produce a blue light and they have a phosphor coating to create the colouring of white light. So unlike incandescent lamps – there isn’t a tungsten filament to burn – the light just lowers.

So, to achieve the desired amber glow, LEDs are incorporated into the array that solely re-creates amber light as the white LEDs fade and therefore the amber LEDs take over.

However, a problem arose in our view, that the amber LEDs positioned in the fitting were not able to replicate the same pattern of light that a halogen fitting would normally produce. Typically the amber LEDs are a couple of small LED chips and so the dim would change the shape of the beam of light as the main source of light was reduced.

We now have a product that retains the exact shape and beam angle of light as the product is dimmed whilst the colour temperature lowers to 1800K.

Call us for details on the range!

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