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# Dimmers and recessed lights

## Dimmers and recessed lights

#1
05-21-05, 02:50 PM
tflake
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Dimmers and recessed lights

I finished a bonus room about 8 years ago. I put four recessed lights in from Home Depot. I ran a dedicated circuit for these lights. Since then, I have gone through four dimmer switches. At first I used the fancy electronic touch switches. The last one I installed was more of a mechanical switch. They have all been Leviton switches, and the problem is, the dimmer quits working. The lights will continue to work either on or off, but not dim. I am using 45W floods. The switch is rated for 600W, 120V, 5A. I measure 1.49A and 120V. If I use the calculation W=VA, then the math works. W=120V*1.49A. W=178.8W where 4*45W bulbs = 180W. Close enough. What am I missing?

#2
05-21-05, 07:01 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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I think maybe you're just unlucky.

#3
05-21-05, 07:06 PM
tflake
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NO WAY!! 4 bad switches? The thought did cross my mind, but my wife is convinced I have something wrong. Unfortunately, I did not have the wiring inspected when I did finished the room, but It's not that difficult. Is there anything that I could have wired wrong to cause these guys to have this problem?

#4
05-21-05, 07:26 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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You got an average of two years out of each switch. That's certainly below what you would expect, but it's not like the switches were bad out of the box.

It's easy to fry a dimmer switch by running too much current through it. A fried dimmer switch often is capable of turning the light on and off but not dimming it, just like your symptoms. The normal way we see people fry a dimmer is to incorrectly wire the circuit such that it creates a short circuit. You may have some other condition that creates a short circuit in the load controlled by the dimmer. I would very carefully inspect the loads being controlled to see if any of them look damaged in any way. It is also possible that maybe you damaged the cable when you ran it so that it shorts out. Perhaps you tightened a clamp too tight or drove a staple too tight. Or maybe you hit the cable with a nail or screw when hanging a picure or mounting a shelf.

An intermittent fault that only occurs once every two years is going to be pretty difficult to track down.

#5
05-22-05, 05:49 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 325
It is possible that the type of lamp you are using is ruining the dimmer switches. Are you using Halogens or Capsulites? These new technology lamps can cause problems with dimmers.

Figure out wht sort of lamps yo have and call the Leviton factory service people. They're very good (in my experience) and I'll bet they can solve your problem.