What is a dimmer switch and how does it work?
Have you ever wondered how does a dimmer switch work?
Modern-day homes typically have this switch connected to their light fixtures.
The dimmer switch allows you to control the brightness of the lights to change
the room’s ambiance. An additional benefit is saving on your power bills by
using only the amount you actually need.
You’ll also prolong the life of your
fixtures. Installing a dimmer switch is
easily done and is a simple step-by-procedure. But, if you want to know how does a light dimmer work,
we have the answers for you. Read ahead for some detailed and interesting info.
What does a dimmer switch do, and how does it work?
To explain simply, a dimmer switch raises or
lowers the brightness of the electric lights in your home or workplace. These
devices not only help to reduce your electricity bills, but also enhance your security
systems. Contemporary dimmers are compatible with smartphone apps so that you
can control the luminance of the lights from a remote location.
To understand how does a dimmer switch work,
you must first understand how your power systems work. The main power your home
receives is an alternating current that flows in one direction and then the
The current follows two
alternative pathways in quick succession along with the power cables at speeds
of 50 to 60 cycles per second. These cycles called Hertz work at specific
speeds depending on the power systems used by the country. If you examine the
current or waveform, it appears in the shape of a stretched “S” lying
The specific point when the power S waveform
changes direction is the “Zero” point or crossing point. This is the exact
point when the current stops for a split second. Your dimmer switch acts on the
power current at this point to turn it off and on.
The entire mechanism works smoothly and so
fast that you’ll never notice any flickering. Each time the power cycle or sine
wave crosses the zero point or half phase, the dimmer switches the light off
and on rapidly.
The entire process works around 100 to 120
times per second. Essentially, the dimmer chops up the waveform into sections,
just as you see in the diagram below. The interval between the on and off
functions determines the room’s brightness. And, that explains how do dimmers work.