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.
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.