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Old 04-09-2015, 11:21 AM   #1
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Adding dimmer to LEDs

Those interior LEDs are nice, efficient and so bright. Is there a low voltage dimmer mod that would replace that toggle switch for a little mood lighting?
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:05 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by redcedar View Post
Those interior LEDs are nice, efficient and so bright. Is there a low voltage dimmer mod that would replace that toggle switch for a little mood lighting?
As I stated in another thread, you may want to use a hardwired led dimmer, but if the switch is in the fixture itself, you have have to get crafty using a dremel so that only the button sticks out.

Single Channel LED Dimmer Controller - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

This is what I am using on my leds.

Otherwise, if you wanted to go the route of getting a remote, you may want something like this:

Infrared Remote Control w/ LED Dimmer for LED Light Stripe - White - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

I can't recommend the second option, as I have yet to try it myself, but it is something I am contemplating for a future led strip I want to install underneath the trailer for external mood lighting at night, but also to help when setting up at night.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfguay2 View Post
As I stated in another thread, you may want to use a hardwired led dimmer, but if the switch is in the fixture itself, you have have to get crafty using a dremel so that only the button sticks out.

Single Channel LED Dimmer Controller - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

This is what I am using on my leds.

Otherwise, if you wanted to go the route of getting a remote, you may want something like this:

Infrared Remote Control w/ LED Dimmer for LED Light Stripe - White - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

I can't recommend the second option, as I have yet to try it myself, but it is something I am contemplating for a future led strip I want to install underneath the trailer for external mood lighting at night, but also to help when setting up at night.
How did/do you wire that dimmer? I have one, and I tried to wire it, but I couldn't get it to work. I'm trying to wire it into my control panel for my outside LED strip (factory). I was trying to just replace the existing 2-way rocker switch, but I could never get it to work.

IIRC, I was having trouble with the ground side (-). It's been a long time, so I don't remember what I tried, but I tried MANY configurations and couldn't get it to work. I think I finally resigned myself to bench test the switch to make sure that wasn't the problem, but don't remember if I ever got around to it...
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:18 PM   #4
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What about this unit?
Low Voltage Dimmer 0-10 Volt DC
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:13 PM   #5
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How did/do you wire that dimmer? I have one, and I tried to wire it, but I couldn't get it to work. I'm trying to wire it into my control panel for my outside LED strip (factory). I was trying to just replace the existing 2-way rocker switch, but I could never get it to work.

IIRC, I was having trouble with the ground side (-). It's been a long time, so I don't remember what I tried, but I tried MANY configurations and couldn't get it to work. I think I finally resigned myself to bench test the switch to make sure that wasn't the problem, but don't remember if I ever got around to it...
When you had it wired, were you getting the strip to light up but not dim? The labels on the dimmer are plenty self explanatory, and you would wire the strip directly instead of the switch to try it out. It it was lighting up but not dimming,
that means that there was 12v going to the strip, and that the light strip may not actually be led. You see, leds need a Pulse Width modulation to dim, at a constant voltage, whereas incandescent or halogen bulb can dim on a lower voltage. If you put any of the 12v halogen on such a led dimmer, it would keep lighting up without dimming.

Can you try the dimmer with another 12v led you may have lying around?
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:55 AM   #6
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Many LED's are voltage sensitive.. so dimmers may not always work...
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jfguay2 View Post
When you had it wired, were you getting the strip to light up but not dim? The labels on the dimmer are plenty self explanatory, and you would wire the strip directly instead of the switch to try it out. It it was lighting up but not dimming,
that means that there was 12v going to the strip, and that the light strip may not actually be led. You see, leds need a Pulse Width modulation to dim, at a constant voltage, whereas incandescent or halogen bulb can dim on a lower voltage. If you put any of the 12v halogen on such a led dimmer, it would keep lighting up without dimming.

Can you try the dimmer with another 12v led you may have lying around?
Keep in mind it's been a while, so I don't necessarily remember all the details...

Now that I think about it, I was able to successfully bench test the switch with another light (a cheap led flood strip I had laying around).

The circuit I'm working with also contains the step light (incandescent bulb) but I think I had the bulb removed at the time because I knew I didn't want it in the circuit. The wires from the LED (standard red/black) go into the side of the trailer from the outside and are sealed up. This is a Jayco factory LED awning strip. I imagine they (the red and black from the LED strip) go to the fuse panel, then are wired using black and white coach wiring back out to the rocker switch in the control panel, but I haven't verified that.

For usage sake I want the dimmer to be installed in the control center, and I didn't want to have to fish wires back to the fuse panel, or the LED itself, so I was trying to just put it in the circuit in place of the factory rocker panel. Seems simple enough. But I'm thinking the rocker switch only interrupts one side of the circuit. For PWM, you need Pos and Neg (hot & ground) going in and out of the dimmer switch; if the factory switch only interrupts one side, I don't have the + and - I need for PWM (what allows the dimming) in this circuit.

So for my next attempt I was going to use my neighbor's suggestion and just use the common ground available all over the control center wiring (white wires) for the neg side (both ports) of the switch and run the black wire in and out of the dimmer's + ports (simple replacement of the rocker in the circuit). Everything in that control center is 12V, so I figure I just have to get the wiring configuration right. I just haven't had time to tinker with it.

I don't have but about $5 in it, so if it doesn't work, oh well. The factory LED is just really bright in a dimly lit or dark campsite, like so obtrusively bright, I hardly ever use it.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:43 AM   #8
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Good ideas. It looks like keeping it small and unobtrusive is gonna be the real challenge. I often hear others complain about these lights. It seems like there is a demand for a simple affordable aftermarket dimmable unit for those of us who shy from the soldering iron.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
I imagine they (the red and black from the LED strip) go to the fuse panel, then are wired using black and white coach wiring back out to the rocker switch in the control panel, but I haven't verified that.
If you can't identify the physical wires coming from the strip at the switch, the strips may have been connected with the circuit you refer to closer to the actual strip itself. You are right that the dimmer need a negative and positive power input, and the switch most likely only interrupts one of the two. Fetching the missing negative from the other circuits close by certainly is a good idea. This is what I did recently when I wired a remote RF switch for my slideout.

IF the missing negative connection from the circuit has been made downstream, meaning in a location where you might not have access to, you may have to think of different options. If you have the space, think about installing one of these wireless dimming remote dimmer I suggested in a previous post.

Cheers,
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:15 PM   #10
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I just ordered one of these for my outdoor led light strip.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And a few of these to install in the interior led light fixture. I plan on attaching the remotes to the inside of my power center door. I am hoping that they operate on different frequencys. Will find out when they get here, but at $2.95 each, it was worth the gamble.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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