Your Simple Guide to Dimming - Digital Dimming

Welcome to Part Two of Your Simple Guide to Dimming.

If you missed Part One, we recommend catching up here. In Part One we explained the terms Primary and Secondary Power along with the differences between Leading Edge and Trailing Edge Phase Dimmingwhich is commonplace in residential settings.

As promised, in this article we'll look at Digital Dimming along with the benefits of lighting control systems.


What is Digital Dimming?

Digital dimming works by reducing the secondary power that feeds from an LED driver into an LED light fitting. 

In this style of dimming, the primary power that connects to the LED driver always remains constant. Additional control wires are connected to the LED driver which carry a dimming signal from a switch or lighting control system. 

The LED driver interprets the control signal received via these additional wires and reduces the secondary power it provides to the lighting fitting accordingly, dimming the light fitting as a result.

Dali (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is the most well-recognised style of digital dimming. Dali dimming is the dominant style of digital dimming on the market as it delivers the best performance, achieving the smoothest dimming results over the broadest range with industry-leading drivers dimming flicker-free from 100% to 0%. Dali is also compatible with the widest variety of luminaires.

Dali dimming is commonplace in commercial and some residential settings.

It is possible to digitally dim a single light fitting using an appropriate wall switch and the required wiring, known as 'Push to Dim' however, this falls far below the available advantages of digital dimming. 

The core advantage of digital dimming is the ability to forgo individual switch controls such as Push to Dim and utilise a Lighting Control System.


What is a Lighting Control System?

A lighting control system is a network that allows a central user interface, usually a computer or touch panel, to communicate with the lighting devices throughout a building.

A lighting control system also incorporates feedback from additional automation devices such as daylight and occupancy sensors.


The Benefits of a Lighting Control System

There are two major benefits to lighting control systems:

Power management - By integrating automation devices such as daylight and occupancy sensors, the lighting in a building becomes responsive to the environment. Reducing or avoiding unnecessary use. For example:

  • Lighting around the perimeter of an office dims in response to sufficient levels of natural daylight entering through window glazing.
  • Lighting in transition areas such as halls or sporadically used areas such as bathrooms will dim or turn off entirely when not required.

Scenes - Lighting control systems enable the creation of multiple pre-set lighting scenes. This allows us to change the experience within a space with the touch of a button. For example:

  • Transitioning from a well-lit 'meeting' to a darker 'presentation' scene in a boardroom.
  • Gradually shifting from a vibrant 'daytime' to a relaxing or moody 'evening' scene in a restaurant or bar.


In summary, if you are looking to create a sophisticated lighting system in your next project or property - It's Digital dimming combined with a Lighting Control System that you are looking for.