Dimmer Not Dimming

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  #1  
Old 03-26-07, 07:42 AM
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Dimmer Not Dimming

Hello,

I have a problem with a dimmer not dimming. The dimmer controls 9 recessed can lights with 50W Halogen bulbs (450 watts total). The original dimmer failed (not dimming) after approx. 9 years. It failed to dim after one of the 50 w bulbs burnt out. I replaced the dimmer and it operated as expected for approx. 1 month. Yesterday, another 50 W bulb failed and again the new dimmer no longer dims the light, but I do not know whether the dimmer failed at exactly the same time as the bulb. I did turn off the breaker before replacing the dimmer. I no longer have the dimmer packaging, but believe this was a 600 W dimmer.
The only other devices on this 15A circuit are 2 stair lights (100 W total). They are operating normally.

Any ideas on what is happening?
Thanks in advance for your replies.

Glacier54
 
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  #2  
Old 03-26-07, 07:47 AM
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A 600 Watt dimmer should be able to handle 450 watts. Are you buying good quality name brand dimmers, or are you buying cheap stuff? What type box is the dimmer installed in? Is it a large box? Is it a single gang box? If not, what else is in the same box?

You might try a higher wattage dimmer.
 
  #3  
Old 03-26-07, 07:48 AM
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The dimmer is shot. It is a common occurrence for a dimmer to fry itself when a bulb blows out. Of course it doesn't happen all the time, but often enough. If it happens too often, buy a different brand of dimmer.
 
  #4  
Old 03-26-07, 08:01 AM
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The dimmer is a Leviton 600w. It is installed in an extra deep double box along with the 3-way switch controlling the afore-mentioned stair lights.
 
  #5  
Old 03-26-07, 08:09 AM
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Dimmer electronics cannot handle a surge of current. It fries them. We most often see fried dimmers when somebody miswires and creates a short circuit downstream. However, the brief high current caused by a burning out filiment (which is why sometimes bulbs flash a bit as they burn out) is also sometime sufficient to fry the electonics. It's a random fluke thing. Sometimes it fries the dimmer, but most of the time it does not. Just replace the dimmer and hope it doesn't happen again soon.

What kind of bulbs are you using?
 
  #6  
Old 03-26-07, 08:29 AM
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I asked about the box because heat plays a role in dimmer longevity. The larger the box the better heat can dissipate, and dimmers get hot. Additional switches and any receptacles in the box also contribute to heat. Further, when additional dimmers are present in the same switch box, the dimmer manufacturer usually lowers the wattage that the dimmer can support.
 
  #7  
Old 03-26-07, 01:15 PM
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I have always used 50W Sylvania par 30 Halogen Bulbs. Many have burnt out in the last 9 years, but the last two took the dimmers with them.

I am presuming that the Leviton is a "quality" dimmer. I will look for another brand.

Thanks for your replies.
 
  #8  
Old 03-26-07, 06:00 PM
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Not unheard of, nor is it uncommon. Levitron is a quality brand. nothing reall you can do but replace it, possibly a higer rated one.
 
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