They're connected to a 1000W dimmer and I think (hope) it's that. In total there are 12 pot lights connection (600W total) and at full dim or at certain levels they're fine but between a certain range they randomly flicker. Is this a dimmer issue or a fixture/bulb issue? I do have a random selection of bulbs from halogen, incandescent to LED.

Could this also be why we lose a light bulb a month?

  • Is it 12V lighting or 120V?
    – Steven
    Jan 13, 2013 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


Dimmers have to be compatible with the types of lights in use. The bog standard dimmers that have been in use for years generally work fine for incandescent type bulbs and the halogens that work at direct line voltage.

With the advent of CFLs (compact florescent lamps), low voltage halogens and LED types it talks special types of dimmers for these to be used in a variable brightness mode. Do note that not all items are even dimmable and you can get into serious overheating issues in either the dimmer switch or in the light module if you try to operate with a dimmer. Similar issues can happen when a non-compatible type of dimmer is in use.

My suggestion for you, if you need to keep the mix of light source types, is to convert over to simply using a switched on-off control instead of dimming. If dimming is desired then switch all of the light sources on the circuit to the same type and then select a dimmer that is compatible with that type of lamp. Modern dimmers should show on their box what types of lamps they should work with. In the realm of the light sources themselves you may need to do some additional research to determine if a particular low voltage halogen, CFL or LED lamp assembly is actually dimmable. It may come down to specifically only purchasing items that are marked as dimmable on the box or product information sheet.

  • So you're saying that the issue is most likely the dimmer and not some electrical issue? Jan 13, 2013 at 15:58
  • @RyanDetzel - Most likely yes. Particularly if you have an incompatibility issue as I describe.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 13, 2013 at 16:11
  • 1
    @RyanDetzel - If you have everything that is compatible sometimes flicker becomes noticeable when the dimmed light sources are observed in conjunction with other things. AC light fixtures are intrinsically operating at 60Hz in your area and if there is something else in the vicinity such as a TV, florescent light, bright clock display etc there can be a beat rate that shows up between the two sources. This could be more apparent at certain brightness levels and be perceived as flicker.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 13, 2013 at 16:19

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