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In my bathroom I have 4 x 50W 12V halogen lights, each one connected to its own dimmable capable transformer.

I've purchased a ceiling-mounted dimmer switch from Amazon, to replace the current on/off switch:

Picture of dimmer switch

However now I've received the dimmer switch, on the packing it states:

Min 40 Watt Max 200 Watt - 240V Tungsten Lamp
Min 20 Watt Max 175 Watt - 12V Low voltage lamp

Now by my calculations, I've got 4 x 50W lights installed which equals 200W - whereas the switch states a max of 175W for low voltage lamps.

Is this an issue? Or does it just mean the lamps won't be as bright as they used to be?

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1 Answer

This is a bad idea.

The maximum power rating for low voltage lights is lower than that for normal lights because no transformer is 100% efficient, so some allowance is made for that inefficiency in the specifications. In your case, those four lights draw 200 W plus whatever overhead the transformers add, so you're drawing more current than the switch is designed to handle. More current through the switch means more waste heat generated by the electronics in the switch, which leads to higher temperatures inside the electrical box, which in turn will shorten the life of the switch1.

To answer your question about the brightness: I'd expect that they'd get less current than they should normally which would make their light both dimmer and redder. Generally, you have bright lighting in bathrooms, so even if it weren't a problem for the switch, it might not be something you'd want.

1. If you look at the specifications for the switch, you may see de-rating information for using two or more of them in a single electrical box; this de-rating is caused by the waste heat generated by the switch.

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