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I'd like to use this dimmer but it's made in Europe and designed for 230 V AC. Is it nonetheless possible to use it in the US with dimmable LED bulbs?

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  • Probably not since it is probably illegal to use in the US. Do not think CE is listed/allowed mark for American electrical products. It might work, but the difference in voltage it might act weird.
    – crip659
    Sep 20 at 20:58
  • Why are you deadset on using that specific dimmer? Sep 21 at 2:53
  • It's the only one I could find that works wirelessly and is cheaper than the $300 unit made by RunLessWire.
    – Will
    Sep 22 at 21:50

3 Answers 3

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Certification

The EU allows companies to "self-certify" to the relevant safety standards, under threat of financial penalties if they lie. This is called the "CE rating". Brussels refuses to enforce the CE mark anywhere outside the EU, so the Chinese fake it on everything.

The USA has bad experience letting companies self-certify, so per NEC 110.2 all electrical equipment must be Listed by an independent, 3rd party Nationally Recognized Testing Lab or NRTL. The most famous of these is UL.

That unit does not appear to have the mark of any NRTL. So it is not legal to install in the USA unless the manufacturer can provide a letter showing an NRTL did certify it to US standards.

Lack of certification will impact insurance's willingness to pay if it causes a fire, in which case the mortgage lender will "call the note" and you'll need to do a crash re-finance of a fixer-upper or new build. Not fun.

Cannot disable the only switch in the room

In North America, both building codes and electrical code require each room have a light switch in the usual location (your hand knows the location)... and that switch must operate either a light or a switched receptacle into which a floor lamp would presumably be installed. This is so guests and First Responders can function in your house safely. Of course some rooms have 2 or more lights; you're welcome to break others but Code requires one work.

People often want to install smart controls which bypass the normal switch, and this is one of those. You're not allowed to do that if it will break the last Code required light switch in the room.

Now, that particular unit has an input to a physical switch. That's what the "S1" terminal does. It connects to a plain switch. The other pin on the switch goes to either neutral or hot (whichever the installer finds more convenient - clever!) S1 is floating if the switch is off. So the device can detect switch position!

However, that only works if your in-wall wiring is a particular way.

Physical fit

The UK has "switch gang boxes" like we do, but they're larger and square. This thing is sized to live inside one of those (but it's still tight). This will likely be a fit issue in our switch boxes. It should fit in our "octagon" round lamp boxes which are about comparable to a UK receptacle/switch box. But that limits you to "up at the lamp" which may not be compatible with the wiring issue mentioned just above.

This module lives up in your ceiling rose, and talks to some sort of smart hub or remote.

Dimming may not play well.

Dimming is a slapdash bunch of technologies thrown together haphazardly. That's putting it nicely. Dimming is really hard if you don't want the dimmer to weigh 20 pounds or put out 300 watts of heat. To make it work in the USA in the 1970s, they used a semiconductor called a "Triac" which chops the AC sinewave in a peculiar way. It was a complete hack, but it worked with incandescents. Total disaster with CFLs and LEDs. Dimmable LEDs effectively have to decrypt the broken sinewave, try to guess at what the dimmer is trying to do, and then set LED brightness accordingly. It's really hit-and-miss.

So you want to add the X-factor of a foreign light controller not even made for this voltage -- good luck. The manufacturer lists specific models of dimmer they think play well with their LEDs, and if you have a problem all they'll say is "use a recommended dimmer". That one definitely will not be on the approved list.

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  • Thanks for the comprehensive answer! I didn't know that code requires a switch in each room—and that's interesting, because the reason I want to install this one is because there is no such switch! The apartment I rent has a ceiling fan with a pull-cord light, and I want to replace it with a new fixture and wall switch without changing any wiring. This was the only dimmable option I found that doesn't cost $300. Seems like I may need to forgo the dimmer and get one of the $20 wireless switches on Amazon... though those are probably made in China and maybe not much better.
    – Will
    Sep 22 at 21:45
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No, not legally.

That device, while electrically capable of working at 120V AC (rated AC/DC voltage is 86V-265V), that device transmits on 868 MHz, a radio frequency that is not legal to use without a license in North America.

Not to mention, it is not UL listed either, so it is against code to attach that to your mains wiring in the US.

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  • my teacher would say "you can, but you may not"...
    – dandavis
    Sep 21 at 16:21
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Not a good idea...and dimmers are a lot cheaper than the deductible on your home owners insurance. Dimmers must be rated for dimable LEDs as well.

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