12v dimmer keeps failing


Old 11-02-04, 03:07 PM
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12v dimmer keeps failing

I've installed four dimmers in a row for my 12 volt track lights, and all of them have failed, usually within a week or two (one within a few hours!).**All four of them have been the special dimmers designed for 12 volt electronic transformers running off a standard 120 volt line.**The problems seems to be associated with the fourescent lights in the garage on the other side of the wall.**Both lights are on the same circuit.**The garage has one switch which operates three flourescent fixtures- one with two 8 foot bulbs, and two with two four foot bulbs each -- maybe around 150-200 watts altogether or so.**What happens is when the 12v dimmer in the den is on and dimmed down most of the way (that's usually how I keep it), and I flip the garage lights off -- bingo -- the track lights in the den jump from their low setting (maybe 15% on) to around 60%, and even when I move the dimmer all the way down, they're still at like 50%, and still dim normally (but from a minimum of 50%) through the dimmer's range up to full on.**The dimmer, although, starts to heat up dramatically to the point that the screws on it are hot to the touch, whereas before it failed, they barely got warm at any setting.**The dimmer is Home Depot's "Commercial Electric" brand and is rated at 300 watts.**I'm running four 50 watt fixtures through it.**In my dining room, I have almost the same exact setup, with the same dimmer and -five- 50 watt 12v fixtures, and that one dimmer has never failed, so I think it has something to do with the garage flourescents being on the same circuit as the darned den dimmer!

What's the solution to my failing dimmer?
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Old 11-03-04, 12:24 PM
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I have had trouble with electronic dimmers, photo cell sensors and wireless switches when controlling fluorescent lights, but I have never had one on the same circuit (but not controlling) fluorescents.

The easiest solution to your problem might be to use an old fashioned rheostat style dimmer. These are the $3 dollar rotary knob style. I think any of the fancy electronic units are going to have trouble unless you want to get rid of your fluorescents. You could also look for a dimmer that specfically says it can control fluorescents.
Old 11-04-04, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 539
I think you may..

have a wiring problem between the garage lights and your track lights. I would carefully check the wiring at both the switches. Also check the fixture's wiring. If possible, maybe move one of the lights to a different circuit.

Do not use a standard dimmer with the transformer. You could possibly burn it out.

Last edited by Desy2820; 11-04-04 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Clarity

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