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What is a Trailing Edge Dimmer?

7 February 2022

Light it right…
Tom Raffield Leven Pendant

Delving into the world of electrics can be confusing, especially if you’ve never encountered electrical systems prior to a renovation or house build project. We’ve created a handy ‘trailing edge dimmer’ information pack, hopefully answering any queries you have about installing your newest Tom Raffield design.

Trailing Edge vs. Leading Edge

There are two types of dimmer systems that you can have in your home – trailing edge and leading edge. All of our bulbs and ceiling kits are suitable for trailing edge dimmers only.

Trailing edge dimmers are usually found within more modern homes and lighting systems. Trailing edge has several advantages, including less electrical interference and ‘buzzing’ which ultimately gives you more control and silent running. The main benefit of using a trailing edge dimmer is that they are able to handle lower wattage loads, therefore meaning that they are far more suitable for illuminating LED bulbs. This means that you don’t have to sacrifice ambience in your home by reaching the high minimum wattage of a leading-edge dimmer.

Leading edge systems were originally used for dimming incandescent and halogen bulbs, meaning they will have a ‘high’ minimum load, making them less suitable for low energy LED bulbs.

Before you begin...

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering your next lighting installation.

  • If your dimmer system is older, or hasn’t been replaced for some time, it could be leading edge. Be sure to check what system you have in place and change to modern trailing edge if necessary.
  • If you opt to use a ceiling kit that wasn’t purchased via our website, you must check that it allows for dimming on a trailing edge system. (All bulbs and accessories found here are suitable for trailing edge).
  • Chose bulbs from well-known and trusted brands, such as Tala or Crompton, as they will frequently test features and will be compatible with a wider range of dimmers.
  • Check the minimum and maximum loads of your dimming system, and the combined wattage of all lights that will be used in the circuit.
Tom Raffield Arame Pendant

For trailing edge circuits, when using LED bulbs, the maximum wattage is 10% of your circuits maximum load. For example, if your trailing edge dimmer system’s maximum load is 300W for incandescent bulbs, it would be 30W when using LEDs. This can be spread across multiple lights on one circuit.

If you are installing a trailing edge dimmer, you will need to work out how many lights be on each circuit and install a suitable system.

If you are in doubt about the compatibility of products or how to make changes to your electrical circuits within your home, then we advise talking to a qualified electrician. 

Posted: 07.02.22

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