Correcting 0-10V LED dimming with digital drivers

March 05, 2019 //By Russ Sharer
Correcting 0-10V LED dimming with digital drivers
Solid-state luminaires have taken the market by storm due to the amount of energy they save. LED luminaires use one-third the power of fluorescent lighting and less than half the power of incandescent lighting. Dimming capability can increase energy savings even more, while improving the work environment for tenants. But the problem is that 0-10V LED dimming is not truly standardized. If you mix and match LED luminaires from different vendors you will likely get different dimming profiles, which can really be a problem especially for lighting retrofit projects.

The design of dimming electronics has evolved, and many earlier LED luminaires are not compatible with conventional dimmers. What’s more, traditional switch-mode power supply controllers don’t work with most LED ballast installations. Running low-voltage control wire to every luminaire to circumvent the problem is not cost-effective and can create even bigger issues with LED retrofit projects. There needs to be a more elegant, universal solution to control LED dimming systems.

The 0-10V convention for luminaire dimming is widely accepted by the lighting industry, and LED drivers usually come with a firmware upgrade to accommodate 0-10V dimming. Unfortunately, these dimming instructions are unidirectional, and one-way communications does not offer any indication if the luminaire has dimmed or even is dimmed to the appropriate lumen output level. There is no way to determine if the light levels are visibly correct or the energy consumption has been reduced.

Retrofits are increasingly popular for reducing
energy usage.

To overcome these challenges, intelligent microprocessors are being integrated into LED drivers to provide digital dimming control. With programmable controls, which can sometimes include two-way communications, you can reduce installation costs and use software for rezoning luminaires and reprogramming to ensure consistent light output and quality, even among multiple manufacturers. However, even with digital dimming controls you still need to compensate for driver variables via software.

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