How Does A Dimmer Switch Work?
Lighting is now a key feature and focal point in a lot of modern houses and one of the best ways to get a good effect is the use of an electrical dimmer switch, which can be used to set a variety of light levels in a room. Most people now do not want bright lights all of the time.
Dimmer switches are clever devices that can be used to control the level of lighting at the twist of a dial, or now with modern technology you can just touch the light switch to make it go up or down. The latter type of dimmer switch is perfectly safe to use, however some people can struggle with the idea of just touching a metal pad to switch a light on and off. With many of these types of touch dimmers, you simply hold down your finger for a couple of seconds to bring the lights up to the required level of light.
They basically work by regulating the amount of electricity going to the light.
The way that they do this though has changed over the past few years. In the seventies and eighties nearly all of them worked by regulating the electricity via a resistor, but this was not efficient as they used a lot of electricity, which was wasted in the form of heat coming off the resistor. They also had a tendency to overheat.
However modern types of switches use a different approach and are far more efficient as a result. The modern version still uses a resistor, but the way it does its job is very different. It basically switches itself on and off several times per second. This can have the slightly annoying side effect of a slight buzzing noise. This is often only found on cheaper dimmer switches with better ones using more suppression technology to reduce this buzzing noise.
You can now get very modern dimmer switches that are touch sensitive, or ones with a photovoltaic sensor in them that allows a constant lighting level to be maintained in the room at any time of day or night.
Overall they are extremely simple to use and they can now be installed to just about any lighting system very simply indeed, where as the older style dimmer switches could not be used with halogen lights. So this change of technology in dimmer switches has helped to modernize modern lighting systems.