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Looking for a 4" LED bulb for Halo recessed light and RA2 Dimmer


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#1 snmhanson

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 02:40 PM

I just completely outfitted our new house with over 50 RA2 dimmers.  I used 6NA dimmers for about half of the fixtures and they are working great.  However I am getting flickering from the LEDs in the 4" HALO cans wired to 6ND dimmers.  The fixtures are just the regular ICAT HALO recessed cans and the bulbs are Elite LED bulbs from TCP I believe.  They start flickering at around 50% dimmed until they are completely off.  We want to be able to dim below that adjusting the the low limit setting isn't a solution for most of them.

 

I'm going to see if the electrician can work with me in terms of replacing the bulbs, but I am not placing fault on him as he was unable to confirm that the combination would work and I made the call to go with the 6NDs - and purchased them myself.  I am pretty sure the bulb is the key ingredient in this setup and the HALO cans shouldn't have any impact the dimming performance.  So, I need to find a replacement R30/BR30 bulb that will work with the 6ND dimmers.  Price is a bit of an issue as there are probably about 20 lighting circuits using this setup with upwards of 100 bulbs.  Anyone know of any LED bulbs that will fit my needs?

 

Thanks!

 

Matt

 

edit: I should add that I did try the Lutron compatibility tool, but the 6ND dimmer doesn't show up on it yet.


Edited by snmhanson, 07 February 2019 - 02:45 PM.


#2 cobra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 11:11 PM

Are the bulbs rated for dimming? Just curious, as the 6ND sounds like it is supposed to handle LED. If you can’t do 50% then that makes me think you have on/off only LED bulbs.

#3 wkearney99

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:34 AM

Talk to Lutron, call them directly.  They often have more info than gets listed online, for various reasons, but basically to avoid making marginal devices look bad due to slight technicalities.  If you call them with part numbers they often have more info.

The reality is the people that invented the dimmer know pretty much EVERYTHING there is to know about lighting.  LEDs are being made with truly terrible designs and the public has no idea.  It's hard for Lutron to stand up and say that without taking a lot of abuse for it.  But that's the reality, many LED lights are CRAP and there's no good way to know that ahead of time.

Thus my house continues to have a bunch of incandescents.  I do not have the patience to sort through it, or the willingness to disrupt the WAF.



#4 123

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 03:43 PM

...

Thus my house continues to have a bunch of incandescents.  I do not have the patience to sort through it, or the willingness to disrupt the WAF.

 

Ditto.

 

Only situations where I have been satisfied with LED lighting have been:

- Three non-dimmable GE BrightStiks inside our fridge (replacing incandescent bulbs).

- Two of the same bulbs to illuminate our pool (to replace halogen spotlights).

 

Six exterior lights (three on all night) are CFL bulbs. Seem to work OK down to about -5 F.

 

So far I only have two dimmable LED bulbs (Luminus brand) in one interior ceiling fixture and, although I can dim them down to about 10% (using a Simply Automated UPB dimmer) I can't say the quality of light they produce, at low-output, is attractive (not warm, not cold, just weird - 'ghostly pallor' sums it up). They're also the second set I tried because the first model (from the same manufacturer) had even poorer dimming characteristics. They're OK when full-on  but definitely undesirable as a substitute for all our incandescent bulbs (which can be dimmed to candlelight levels).

 

From the standpoints of energy-savings and carbon-footprint, I have no qualms. The lights that are on the longest are CFL bulbs outside. I live in Quebec where almost 100% of our electricity is hydro-electric and rates are about ~ 7 cents kwh. All our interior incandescent bulbs are typically lit to <50%, and even lower in less-used rooms (just enough to provide a warm glow). Whatever heat produced as a byproduct is fine because the interior lights are on the longest during cold, dark, winter months. Lighting represents a tiny fraction of our annual electricity consumption (the lion's share is the pool pump in summer along with the AC unit and clothes dryer; furnace and hot-water run on natural gas). Long story short, we're not ready to save a few bucks in exchange for poor dimming performance and weird color rendition. Actually, given the cost of good LED lighting, and our cheap electricity rates, there's no short-term savings; it'll take years to breakeven.

 

Having said all that, I recently played with some so-called 'vintage-style' LED bulbs (clear envelope and you can see the long 'filaments'). They were Philips brand bulbs on display at Home Depot and I could dim them to candlelight levels. They produced a very nice color temperature at low output and didn't flicker even a tiny bit. Might get some for our bathroom sconces (when the incandescent bulbs finally burn out).



#5 wkearney99

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:08 PM

I totally get your "ghostly pallor" comment.  We have some LEDs on boat that are just odd when dimmed.  Mainly because it's an old-school dimmer, not really setup properly for LEDs.  But that's a different issue.  There's just something off about them dimmed.

 

I despise the look of CFLs.  Full stop.  I'd rather deal with pitch torches than the light those put out.


I do have some LED 'Edison' bulbs on an outdoor fireplace and was pleasantly surprised how nice the look (and respond to being dimmed).  Can't recall the brand, but very likely came from Home Despot also.

As for low dimming, yeah, some LEDs just can't dim to 'candlelight' levels.  Lutron's database covers both the electrical dimming range AND the perceived range.  A great many really only handle 20% to 90% when used on dimmers.  That's right, not a full 100% when through a dimmer.  As in, set up two circuits in a room, one switched and the other dimmed.  Even maxed the dimmer-controlled one won't produce the same amount as the one on an on/off switch.  Lutron's in-person training really covers a lot of this.  Definitely worth it, but now I'm even less enthused about switching anything to LED.



#6 rockinarmadillo

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 11:55 AM

I have more than 70 4-inch cans in my house.   All have LED trims.   I went to HD and Lowes and bought one of each can they carry.   I also asked my electrician for some from his supplier.   I ended up with around 10 different options.   I tested them all and selected 2.   (one for flat ceiling and another for sloped ceilings)   I looked at color, glare, and dimming capability in my selection.   

 

I have mostly Simply Automated dimmers that dim down to very low levels.   The only problem I have experienced is occasional flicker when another UPB module is transmitting on the power line.   This only occurs when the dimmers are at certain levels.   If I avoid those levels of dimming, I avoid the flicker.



#7 wkearney99

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:34 PM

When you run into dimming level flicker it's best to set the low threshold just above that.  This way you never see it, even if you manually or programmatically set a dim percentage lower than that.  That's how it works on Ra2 Lutron dimmers.  Let the user 'think' they're dialing it down but don't go below what the bulb can actually support.



#8 snmhanson

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:05 PM

Thanks for the replies to my post.  Sorry I didn't get back to this earlier - we have been moving into the house so the last few days have been pretty crazy.  I did confirm that the LEDs to say that they are dimmable.  So, sounds like my options are to set the low threshold above the flicker point, experiment with different bulbs, or go back to incandescent bulbs,

 

Does anyone know, if I find a LED that works on one circuit, would it most likely work on another circuit that utilizes the same dimmer and same recessed fixture - even if it contains more or less fixtures?  Also, my electrician designed our electrical system based on using LED bulbs.  If I switch to incandescent bulbs will I risk overloading the circuits?

 

Thanks again for the help and input.  Dealing with dimming LEDs has been an eye-opening road for me.

 

Matt



#9 wkearney99

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:17 PM

I did confirm that the LEDs to say that they are dimmable. 

 

According to what?  The packaging or by calling Lutron to ask?  Because if it's the packaging or the LED vendor... I'd still call Lutron.

 

Does anyone know, if I find a LED that works on one circuit, would it most likely work on another circuit that utilizes the same dimmer and same recessed fixture - even if it contains more or less fixtures?  Also, my electrician designed our electrical system based on using LED bulbs.  If I switch to incandescent bulbs will I risk overloading the circuits?

 

Thanks again for the help and input.  Dealing with dimming LEDs has been an eye-opening road for me.


I share your eye-opening experience.  Yes, some LEDs are THAT bad.  Yes, using the low threshold will help.

As for circuit loads, well, it depends.  You can use the Ra2 Essentials software to plug in what wattages you've got attached to see how they tally up.  



#10 Neurorad

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:22 PM

I also hate CFLs, and generally avoided them.

I stuck with incandescents. EXCEPT for the great room ceiling. Used SORAA LED floods for those 6 x 6" downlights that I don't want to ever replace. 95+ CRI, and they dim well.




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