Leviton 81000-w dimmer switch fins

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Old 02-02-20, 09:48 PM
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Leviton 81000-w dimmer switch fins

I have a dimmer switch for a light fixture, the switch is a Leviton 81000-w switch. It's rated for 1000W.


It has a raised profile which initially I thought it's a surface mounted box or an existing box with an extender. But it's the actual switch that has a raised profile about 3/4". It is a piece of metal with fins, then over it a screwless plastic plate.







Anyone know what these fins are for? Is it some sort of decorative feature (can't be if it's cover by a plastic cover plate right?) or does it serve a functional purpose? It's not a heat sink is it?
 
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Old 02-03-20, 02:46 AM
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It is a heat sink with cooling fins.

Needed due to the wattage.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 05:42 AM
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Since it is a dimmer switch the energy that is not being used because you lower the light brightness has to go somewhere. The fins act as a heat sink - I guess you can almost compare it to a car radiator. The more surface area the more cooling that can take place.

That is a non-technical explanation. You will notice that when the lights are dimmed the fins will become very warm to the touch.

some dimmers have the fins on the sides and some DIYers snap all them off not understanding the need for them. the more fins you snap off the less wattage the switch can handle.

you can check this article out.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 06:46 AM
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They dissipate heat when used to full potential.
The fins can be removed however that changes the unit an 800 watt rating.

From the Leviton spec sheet.
Cat. No. 81000: The dimmer must be derated to 800W when both sets of fins are removed. If no fins are removed, derating is not necessary.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 07:53 AM
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That's also old school. Newer LED dimmers / and LED bulbs actually reduced and save power. Replacing old dimmers with newer electronic switches or dimmers is well worth the cost over time.
 
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Old 02-03-20, 07:26 PM
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The newer 1000w dimmers still have fins/tabs, but don't require nearly as much heatsink.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-S...R-WH/202791249
 
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Old 02-04-20, 08:14 PM
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Is the protruding heat sink necessary?

The reason I am asking, is I am trying to reconfigure my wiring a little.

Right now in the living room, I have three sets of lights:

LEFT: 4 soffit recessed lights (75W max each)
MIDDLE: 7 lights (60W max each)
RIGHT: 4 soffit recessed lights (75W max each)

Right now, the LEFT and RIGHT lights are controlled by two switches in a two gang box, where the LEFT lights are controlled by the switch on the right, and the RIGHT lights are controlled by the switch to the left. Then to the right of the two gang box is a single gang box with this 1000W dimmer with the heat sink fins.

I would like to put in a three gang box, where the left switch controls the left lights, the middle switch controls the middle sets of lights, and the right switch controls the right lights.

In this case the middle switch cannot be this 81000-w dimmer since it sticks out very far and I need to use a three gang decora wall plate.

I am thinking of going with the Lutron DIVA DV-10P dimmer switch for the middle set of lights.



It is rated for 1000W as well but it does not have the thick protruding fins. It has some fins on the sides, but since it is going in the middle of the 3 gang box I will have to remove the fins on each side. The specifications stated that for a 3 gang box it will be derated from 1000W to 650W, I assume that means with the two sides removed?

I have in the middle the 7 lights 60W max each so it's 420W under the 650W, on top of that I will be using LED bulbs which use only 5W each. That should work right?
 
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Old 02-05-20, 11:12 AM
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You're correct, removing the fins to fit in a 2-gang or 3-gang box does derate the dimmer. But (I just learned something new), if using LED or CFL bulbs, there is no derating!

Regardless, since you'll only be using 5w bulbs anyway, it hardly matters. Keep the fins you can, but you can remove the ones needed to gang them.

Lutron derating guide
 
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