I've been looking at lighting for a house I've just moved into, and see lots of low voltage lighting which is marked as not working with dimmer switches.

I can live without the dimming but will setting the dimmer to 50% say, a) actually damage the transformer or b) just make the lights go off or flicker or something..

I would worry if accidentally dimming the light caused permanent damage.

  • Transformers expect sinusoidal power, not the chopped waveform that most triac type dimmers provide. Resistive loads and devices engineered to handle this "abuse" should be the only things driven by a triac dimmer. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


If they say they are not for use with a dimmer they mean it. Regardless if you set it at 50% and leave it or whatever. Yes, you will damage the transformers or electronics of the systems if you use them on an incompatible dimmer.

Don't forget, many low-voltage lighting systems can be used with magnetic or electronic low-voltage dimmers. You need to check the manufacturer's specs to be sure.

Lutron, a leader in dimmer technology, has a good explanation here: http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Education-Training/Pages/LCE/DimmingBasics.aspx

  • +1. That's largely what has kept me from installing home automation -- I'd either have to upgrade the non-dimmable CFLs, or get switches which were guaranteed full-on/full-off (and then have to repurchase if/when I do replace the bulb). The former's probably less wasteful, especially now that LED bulbs are becoming cheap, but given that part of the point of the exercise would be to reduce waste...
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 21:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.