Same dimmer keeps eventually failing

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Old 10-03-18, 07:35 AM
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Same dimmer keeps eventually failing

I have a Lutron skylark dimmer switch location that eventually starts arcing/crackling and failing.

This particular dimmer switch is one switch in a 7 gang box that actually contains a total of 8 different switches, 6 of which are the lutron skylark dimmers and one is a double older style switch. I've replaced one of these particular switches numerous times over the years. It works fine for awhile (months-years) then eventually starts "crackling" when I use it and eventually just fails if I don't change it before then.

Not sure why this would be other then box fill. Needless to say the simple process of changing out the switch is not so simple because with so many switches in this multiple gang box it's rather crowded with wires in there. Add to that that these style dimmers are particularly bulky.

Any thoughts why only this particular dimmer seems prone to failing more then the others in this crowded box? Suggestions to fix this "permanantly" going forward?
Do they make equivalent dimmer switches that are not so bulky? Thanks

Changing out this box seems like it would be quite the process given how many switches are in there so I'd like to avoid if possible
 
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Old 10-03-18, 07:39 AM
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Dimmers produce a lot of heat. It sounds like the dimmer and box is probably overheated or overloaded. How much load is on these dimmers and have they been derated to compensate? Usually in a multi-gang situation dimmers drop down to half the rated capacity - the chart is in the installation instruction sheet for the particular brand.

I would think the one that fails more frequently probably has more load on it. Can you confirm? Add up the watts of all the bulbs it controls.
 
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Old 10-03-18, 07:44 AM
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I believe it is rated for 600 watts. What you said actually did cross my mind. I will check the wattage of all the bulbs controlled by this particular dimmer. Do they make dimmers rated for more then 600 wats? Thanks
 
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Old 10-03-18, 08:14 AM
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Yes, the next level up is usually 1000W but you might have to special order or visit a commercial lighting dealer.
 
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Old 10-03-18, 08:16 AM
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I started looking after you mentioned it and I see them available up to 1000w. I will calculate the wattage and see if 1000w will work. DO you know if they make any dimmers rated for even more then a 1000w?

Thanks
 
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Old 10-03-18, 06:48 PM
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Yes..... they make dimmers up to 1500 watts but dimmers of that size are usually two gangs wide.
Some 1000 watt dimmers don't have or allow their metal heat sinks to be broken off to maintain full heat dissipation. This can be a problem with multi ganged dimmers.
 
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Old 10-03-18, 08:57 PM
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The 600 watt rating is before any derating for multiple dimmers next to each other.
 
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Old 10-04-18, 03:41 AM
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I noticed that about reading the inserts with the 1000W dimmers that if you start to break iff sides wattage capacity goes down
 
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Old 10-04-18, 08:59 AM
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Yes that's true for all dimmers. There's a chart in the install instructions that tells you how much the rating drops as you break off tabs. They have to be able to dissipate heat or the electronics inside get cooked. When the box has other devices right next to them it limits the ability to dissipate heat and may even add more heat if the neighbor device is also a dimmer.
 
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Old 10-04-18, 10:37 AM
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Thanks. Hopefully changing to the 1000W dimmer will solve the issue.
 
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