Help Dimmer Switch is HOT! (literally)

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  #1  
Old 02-19-06, 05:02 PM
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Help Dimmer Switch is HOT! (literally)

I have installed the Cooper Lighting "Aspire" 3 way light dimmer switches. I have followed the instructions to the tee...... they work great and dim/light/on/off etc. the way they should........... I dont have the faceplates on yet I can feel heat around the "master dimmers" and it is definitel warm to the touch. especially the metal "bracket" that screws to the gang box.....

Is that normal????

FF
 
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Old 02-19-06, 05:09 PM
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dimmer switches will be warm to the touch; that's normal. Hot is not, so there may be another problem that others here will I'm sure figure out.
 
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Old 02-19-06, 05:30 PM
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As Fuente said, it is normal for dimmers to be warm during operation. Be sure your total lamp wattage does not exceed the dimmers maximum capacity, unless you want to cook food on the dimmer switch.
Does the dimmer have an aluminum faceplate?
 
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Old 02-19-06, 06:50 PM
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Yes I beleive the faceplate is aluminum....i quess that is like a heat sink to dissipate the heat during operation? I think its normal. I quess it was so noticeable and slightly concerning because the faceplate was off and i could feel the heat directly. I have noticed my dimmers upstaires were slightly warm in the past but not as notable as these without the plates. Like I mentioned they all are working as they should..... just thought I'd check with others.
Thanks. FF
 
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Old 02-21-06, 01:53 AM
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as long as you have not overloaded the dimmer, the heat is most likely normal. There are many many dimmers available that are rated to get up 150 degrees over the temp of the room it is installed into at that front metal aluminum plate at full tilt.

Imagine if your room was 70 degrees, you could theoretically cook on it then. I doubt cooper would mount plastic componants to the heat sink if they feared this would be of any great concern though
 
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Old 02-21-06, 05:03 AM
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I had a customer who built a new house and had a dimmer operating a very opulent chandelier, with a large number of bulbs in it. The total wattage was at the apex of the limit of the dimmer, and it got hot. So check the load to make sure it isn't too much for the dimmer. After all, a dimmer is nothing more than a really heavy light bulb filament, and when the load reaches near the peak wattage allowed, it will glow and get hot.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler
a dimmer is nothing more than a really heavy light bulb filament, and when the load reaches near the peak wattage allowed, it will glow and get hot.

would you mind explaining. I am confused since solid state dimmers (which are prolly 95% of the dimmers used today) have been available for 45 years now. And the heat is due to the switching device doing the dimming being only 98% efficient so it gives off the balance as heat and so the heat is proportionate to the load being dimmed.

Sounds like you might be talking about the outrageously outdated days of rheostats.

and if a solid state dimmer ever gets so hot it glows, there is a problem
 
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Old 02-22-06, 05:56 AM
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It was an older dimmer she brought with her and had installed in the new location, which I changed to a newer one, but she still had it overloaded with all the bulb's wattage. It got inordinantly hot with the load. I reduced the load and it worked normally thereafter. Thanks for the clarification.
 
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