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Old 09-17-2021, 12:39 PM   #1
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Dimming LEDs?

In the process of replacing all our regular bulbs with LEDS.

Without exception, each replacement LED is brighter, meaning more lumens - not meaning a "whiter" light.

Is there any way to dim them, semi-permanently? I'm not suggesting adding dimmer switches everywhere. I'm thinking of painting out half of the individual LED chips with opaque nail polish or something similar. Hopefully that will produce a light that is half as bright.

Any worry about short circuiting? Over-heating? Is there a better/simpler way to accomplish what I am hoping to do?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 09-17-2021, 02:26 PM   #2
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Don’t think I would paint anything out.

Quite honestly, I think I would try to find lumen data on the LED’s your buying - short of that, matching wattage equivalency between the incandescent bulbs and the LED’s.
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Old 09-17-2021, 02:43 PM   #3
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I'm going to LEDs also... I try to make sure the I gat "Warm white" when I buy them because those more closely simulate the old incandescent bulbs.

Some folks have put resisters in the power line of their fixtures, but I'm not savvy enough to tell you how much resistance to use... The formula for dropping voltage is... P = I^2_R
What this means is that power (represented by P) is equal to the current (Represented by I) in amps flowing through the circuit, which is squared and multiplied by the resistor value (Represented in R) in ohms. (That's too much like revers engineering to me, so I avoid it...)

I heard about someone who used white heat shrink tubing over their bulbs, so there's that... (Just make sure you use the white and not the black or red...)

I need replacement type 93 bulbs that a are the big glass ones and the ones I've already replaced and painted, have taken the paint but the texture is not even...

But, keep us posted on what you find...
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Old 09-18-2021, 06:04 AM   #4
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Having the same issue also.

I replaced most of the ceiling LED lights when I rebuilt my 5ver.

As LEDs put out very little heat I was thinking of cutting some thin translucent plastic or even paper and fitting them inside the covers.
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:29 AM   #5
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Some LED's are dimmable, some are not!
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:28 PM   #6
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I just upgraded all our ceiling fixtures to dimmable LEDs a few months ago. I could not find a 3-switch assembly or a matching switch for the living room/kitchen lights, so I installed a knob-type dimmer in an inconspicuous spot. I replaced the existing switch in the bedroom with a combination dimmer switch. It's great to have full brightness for cooking, cleaning, and maintenance stuff, and have things somewhat dimmer the rest of the time.

Also, they are both PWM dimmers, so when the lights are dimmed they use less power. Since we dry camp about half the time, this is a consideration for us.

We used 4K bulbs in front and 3K bulbs in back. All in all, a *big* improvement over the 5K bulbs the PO had installed in the halogen fixtures.
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:34 PM   #7
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I replaced all 60 of my ceiling lights with LED panels. I found out that my OEM dimming units worked OK with the LED's although they didn't dim quite as far. Also every fixture was wired correctly.
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:54 PM   #8
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I have some experience with upgrading to LEDs. I had two issues:
1. Too much light... too bright.
2. My GM Truck has ability to check for burned out bulbs. For example, if a turn-signal light is out it will report it in the dash.

I have fixed #1 with a Color Correction Filter Sheet. I ordered this off Amazon and changed the color to 'warm' light. LEDs can make a bedroom look like a Hospital Room, I cut this to fit the inside of the dome and now the bedroom lights are very comfortable.

I fixed #2 with a Curt LED Trailer Light Adapter

The electrical resistance of an LED is so much lower, my truck kept thinking lights were out when they were just fine... it caused the lights to strobe and the dash to flash errors. This adapter changed what the truck saw and everything works like before. Here's the link:

I've traded in that camper but still need the adapter for a utility trailer I use. I also still use the color temperature sheets. The warm lighting is so much better. There are LED lights directly above our head in the bedroom. We could not use the bedroom lights without sunglasses. Now we prefer those lights to the others.
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Old 09-18-2021, 06:45 PM   #9
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FWIW - 2700k is pretty close to the color output of an a regular tungsten incandescent light like we are all accustomed to from the old days.

3000k get whiter, and for me bluer.

The color output and the wattage are two different things. Note my previous comments in post #2 above about matching wattage.
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Old 09-18-2021, 06:47 PM   #10
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As stated before, if the fixtures you are putting the bulbs in are dimmable, you can buy dimmable LED bulbs. If not, you need to buy lower kelvin rated bulbs to get more of a warm light vs a bright white. Go to 2000k or as close as you can - those will imitate the warmer glow of incandescent bulbs & not be so bright. Keep the higher kelvin rated bulbs for task areas.
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:31 PM   #11
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Non-dimmable 120vac LED for home will turn into a strobe if used with Motion or Day/night sensors (sometimes takes 15-60-minutes?)..
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:34 PM   #12
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I would try cutting plastic milk jugs for lens inserts to try dimming? Me, I like the bright DAYLIGHT, Lumens still borderline for reading to me?
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:48 PM   #13
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YEARS back, as fluorescents changed and DAYLIGHT OPTIONS became available, they also had much better LUMENS and less energy, and (variety of reasons) installed some in halls and a few offices. Negative First response from occupants on both, but after 3-7-days, almost all grew to LOVE the Daylight, and came to tell me so... Office occupants said "easier to read/ less eye strain/ not as tired at shift change"; halls people commented "Cleaner/ brighter, cheerier looking vs dark/ dreary/ shadowy/ dirty looking"... all this in a 1957 construction building
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:57 AM   #14
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There are 3 lighting metrics to consider with new bulbs or fixtures. Cost is always still there, but I can tell you new LED fixtures work better than retrofit bulbs. Sometimes that costs more and sometimes it doesn't.

Lumen output; is how much light. That ones pretty simple, never depend on watts or listed wattage equivalents.

Color (technically Correlated Color Temperature or CCT); as mentioned above 2700 'kelvin' is warm, most folks like 3000-3500 in homes. Daylight is 5000-10000k and reads as blue to most in USA. (In some tropical countries +4500k is standard.) In the end, room colors and personal preferences will determine far more than technical specs.

Color Quality has not yet been mentioned. CRI (insert nerdy rant) is supposed to be a percentage of how well all colors show. Incandescent rates 99-100. 85 or better is good for general lighting? Avoid anything below 75!

The color filters mentioned are a great way to cheaply and 'permanently' change the color. There are hundreds of colors by many manufacturers. is my fav! They also make 'neutral density' ones that dim the light without changing the color. Any filter will reduce the output some, how much varies dramatically! You can also stack them up to increase their effects. As they are made from mylar sheets they are pretty durable and don't melt with most LEDs. If they get too hot the color burns out first, then they brown and get nasty.

All that said, I firmly in dimmers for virtually all lights. Not tail lights or storage areas, but certainly all interior lights. With 40 years in architectural and theatrical lighting I think I can claim some expertise.
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