I have a dimmable floor light with 6 G4 bulbs. I ordered a bunch of dimmable LED bulbs and now that they've arrived after weeks, they don't light up at all. If I take one bulb off and place a halogen one instead, they would light up and dim (even though they're flicking), but as soon as I take off the halogen bulb, the whole light turns off. The requirements for the light is 10W max for the bulbs, and what I've got is obviously less than that, maybe too low?

Another thing I notice is that the light is 230-240V as we'd expect but the bulbs are AC/DC12V,180LM.

Any idea if I could fix this without having to return the bulbs? Or what LED bulbs should I be looking for?

Please see the video of the issue, and here’s the link to the purchased bulbs.

  • Can you link the LED bulbs that you ordered? Did they say flat out that they are dimmable? Do they work on multi-voltage 12-24V, or 12V only? Aug 11, 2019 at 0:56
  • @Harper I added the link. They are dimmable, or that’s what they’re sold as. I suppose the 230-240V mentioned at the base of the light refers to its mains voltage as the user below pointed out the bulb requirement label indicates 12V which is what I have.
    – Neeku
    Aug 11, 2019 at 1:12
  • Why the downvote I’m wondering...
    – Neeku
    Sep 2, 2019 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


With LEDs, 12V dimming works differently from mains dimming.

The pictures of these LEDs show they are set up just like 12 volt LED strips - 3 LEDs in series with a resistor, repeated as needed. They also havea bridge rectifier, the angled devices in the photos, to assure they work in either polarity or on AC.

AC Mains dimmers for incandescents typically use trailing-edge triac dimming, which manipulates the AC sinewave. Mains AC LEDs "dim" the same way. Actually they are immune to dimming, but they have some intelligence that reverse-engineers what the triac dimmer is trying to do, and they dim to match.

Your LEDs are not capable of this. That doesn't make them unfit for dimming, but rather, unfit for mains style triac dimming.

In the low voltage world it is quite different. In incandescent, there are several ways to dim, including reducing the voltage, or triac dimming again. However, LEDs use a technique called PWM, which turns the power on and off thousands of times a second (not 100 times a second like triac dimming).

These LEDs are built to be compatible with PWM dimming. They might work somewhat with triac dimming, but I'd expect them to be shimmery since they turn instantly on/off. The seller didn't mention this because they are simply hawkers of cheap Cheese junk off Alibaba, which is direct shipped from China (or Amazon's fulfillment warehouses) to circumvent your country's quality and safety standards. That said, those LEDs are so simple that they should work electrically even if they do fill your house with carcinogenic smoke at the first power spike.

This luminaire's dimmer is not only a triac dimmer, but is the old style that connects in series with incandescent lights. To work, it must flow a certain amount of current through the incandescent whether it's on or off, and your LEDs + 1 incandescent aren't capable of that. You could try inserting more incandescents, but that would ... defeat the purpose ...

The smarter play is to rework the luminaire to use PWM dimming.

  • For now I’ve replaced two of the bulbs with halogen ones and it’s working. I ran into non dimmable high quality leds today and got some. Would it blow the led bulb if I try to dim it with the nondimmable led on?
    – Neeku
    Sep 3, 2019 at 21:23
  • LED's won't blow if you try to dim it. It'll just probably stop working or not turn on, but the LEDs don't "blow" unless you do something stupid, like feed it with 240V AC directly...
    – Nelson
    Jan 9, 2020 at 5:33

From the video, the sockets want 12V bulbs, so a 12V LED is appropriate. What's most likely is that the dimmer is an old-style one that doesn't interact well with LEDs. The way to fix this is to get a new lamp, or get the lamp off the dimmer, depending on your setup.

EDIT: To expand, the issue is that LED lamps are actually electronics, and are not a simple resistive load. Therefore, restricting their power input in the way dimmers do will do something weird, with the exact weirdness depending on the technology used for the dimmer and LED. There are LEDs that are designed to work with dimmers, but your mileage may vary on those. A better bet would be to get one of the LED bulbs/lights that use a remote and handle dimming internally.

I think the setup you have now is using a triac dimmer, which needs an actual load across it. Without the load, the triac doesn't actually stay on. This is why it starts working after you hook up the halogen.

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