New dimmer is warm


Old 01-31-11, 06:20 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 30
New dimmer is warm

I installed a dimmer this weekend and it is rather warm. It works correctly other than the possible heat issue.
The dimmer is the type with a standard looking toggle switch and a very small slide next to the toggle. It is rated for 600 watts. The fixture is five 60 watt bulbs.
The room is being painted, so the switchplate is not on. When I shut the lights off last night I noticed the heat. It is uncomfortably warm to the touch, but not so bad that you can't hold your finger on it.
Is this normal? The directions stated that there is no In/Out to the connections, just hook up the wires with no concern for supply and light.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 635
While I'm no electrician, a friend of mine installed one of these himself but was using the new curly fluorescent lights that everyone hates so much.

Apparently dimmer switches don't like those very much.

He walked by the switch at one point and heard crackling, then smoke coming out of the switch.

Just a thought.
Old 01-31-11, 06:36 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
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mid-life....yes it's normal. I've had one installed for 3 yrs and it's just as you describe. Seems like the dimmer (lower) it's set..the more heat it produces. Full bright...not so much.

Did you break off any of the heat sink fins to fit it in the box?
Old 01-31-11, 08:51 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
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It is normal for the dimmer to be warm. The metal fins on the front are heat sinks for dissipating the heat. If you install a metal coverplate it will help to keep it cooler, but it is not necessary to do so.
Old 02-01-11, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 30
Gunguy and ibpooks, your two posts clarified something for me. I couldn't figure out what the legend on the front of the thing was talking about. What it amounts to, now that I read your posts, is a description of how much power it can handle depending on how many fins you have removed.
I have not removed any of the fins, and there are three on one side and two on the other, if I recall correctly.
This thing is pretty warm when running in full brightness setting. I'll have to see what it is like with the lights down for a while.
Thank you for the replies everybody.

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