dimmer switch/halogen lights and noise??-help!

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  #1  
Old 01-14-01, 11:17 PM
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Lightbulb

I just installed a dimmer switch (Lutron 600 watt) to control 2 halogen light tracks (6 total lights I believe totalling 300 watts). There was a regular switch on before I installed the dimmer.

I noticed after installing the dimmer switch and turning on the lights, that there is a buzzing sound coming from the fixture on the ceiling; particularly when the dimmer switch is about half way. I can still hear it when the dimmer is all the way on, but not as much as when it is somewhere in the middle. I never heard this noise before with the regular on/off switch.

There is no ground means inside the wallplate box. I have removed the gree ground wire from the dimmer switch.

Why is this buzzing noise being heard??

Please advise. Thanks!!

Steve
 
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  #2  
Old 01-15-01, 09:41 AM
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Exclamation I know!

I have installed Lutron dimmers myself and have taken them out and replaced them. Lutron is beyhind other manufacturesa on technology like Motarola, Osram Sylvania, Philips, etc. One item that suffers is their extremely cheap no-good dimmers. Is this one of the $3-5 kind?
Go to Home Depot or someplace and buy Leviton, Eagle, or something else other than Lutron. Get one that costs about $10-15. There will be better filters in them to eliminate these problems.
I am assuming the halogen bulbs are designed to be dimed.

If you have more questios about what to get come back and ask. An electrical supply would also be a good place.
---> NO Lutrons! now, hear?

gj
 
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Old 01-15-01, 09:50 AM
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GJ,

thanks for the reply. The Lutron switch I bought was about $15 at Home Depot. It is the kind with a on/off switch at the bottom and dimmer above it. I have used them before on other lights and never had a problem...

do you still think I should try another switch?

The halogen tracks were from Home Depot as well. Hampton Bay Halogen track (3 lights per track; 2 tracks joined together off of one box on the ceiling.

thanks again.
 
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Old 01-15-01, 10:29 AM
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Talking Your are welcome!

Lutron is Lutron, try another brand. (The "Orange Box" sells Leviton)

Problem solved? tell us the results.

GJ
 
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Old 01-17-01, 12:35 AM
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The problem is not the switch... It is the combination of the operation of the switch, and the fixture combined....

Dimmer switches do not lower the voltage to the device they are controlling (IE: They are not like the volume knob on your stereo). They change the shape of the waveform so that a perfect sine-wave worth of 110vac is passing at full on, and as you turn the lights down, part of the wave is cut off---but it still peaks at 110VAC.

Halogen lighting is not normally 110VAC. There should be some kind of step-down transformer on the fixture you speak of. That changes the 110VAC to either 24VAC or 12VAC that the Halogen bulbs support.

Your buzzing sound is coming from the not perfect sine-wave of AC flowing through the step down transformer of the Light fixture--- THIS WILL DESTROY THE TRANSFORMER over time, and create a lot of heat within the transformer.

This is the same reason that you cannot put a standard dimmer switch on the motor control circuit for a ceiling fan.

Possibly a dimmer that is meant for use with ceiling fan motors will work for you. They operate on a different principle than the standard dimmers.

I would check the documentation or the labeling for the halogen fixture for any comments it may have about the use with dimmers.
 
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Old 01-17-01, 01:22 AM
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Rob G,

thanks. that makes sense and I will check into a different type of dimmer right away. Thank you and I will let you know what happens....


Steve
 
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Old 01-17-01, 06:12 AM
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I concur with Rob G, even tho I have no idea what he's talking about... =)
If your track fixtures have a small "box" at the back of each fixture (where it attaches to the track), the fixtures are probably 12 volts. A regular dimmer will not work for the reasons Rob G stated. What you need is commonly called an "electronic dimmer". Last time I checked, home depot did not sell them but I was told you could pick one up at an electrical supply store for about $45.00. This electronic dimmer uses circuitry to dim your lights and keep the voltage at 12 or 24 volts.
 
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Old 01-17-01, 10:56 AM
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Handyone,

thank you too. I'm removing the dimmer on it right now and putting a regular switch on for now...

Steevie11
 
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Old 01-17-01, 07:02 PM
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Check your manufacturer's recommendations. Many ballast or transformers are forbidden to be used with dimmers. A ballast must be designed to be dimmed and usually uses a specially designed dimmer if allowed to be dimmed.

Handyone, a sine wave in loose explaination is a picture of the voltage / current action of an AC circuit. Every 60th of a second the circuit is dead, also at the oppisite end of a sine wave, the current peaks in voltage. This is where we get a picture of the power factor of a circuit.

A sine wave is a curvy line crossing neutral or grounded coinciding with the frequency of a circuit.

Hope this helps

Wg
 
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Old 01-18-01, 11:32 AM
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thank you,

 
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