Multiple Circuit Dimmers.

willtvJune 22, 2010

I'm finalizing my kitchen lighting plan and am looking for a dimmer that can handle 3 circuits independently.

Let me clarify.

The lighting plan calls for ambient lighting, countertop lighting and under cabinet lighting. I'd like to be able to control these circuits individually. So, Instead of having 3 dimmers on the wall, I'm looking for a single dimmer that can control each of these circuits independently. Is there such a device? And if not what's my next best soloution?

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The best answer depends on your budget and future needs.

What you are asking for is a keypad at your main control station(s) with the dimmers either hidden away or strategically placed. The light over the sink should have a dimmer control at your finger tips if possible. The other lighting can be controlled from wherever most convenient.

If you want to be able to expand into other rooms then Lutron Radio RA2 is a great choice as it can do just the one room as well as the whole house. It's possible to get a keypad and a few dimmers without the main repeater and push button program them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Radio RA2

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 11:48PM
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You're essentially looking at home automation solutions.

Take a look at dim4fun's suggestion or insteon (

Here is a link that might be useful: smarthome

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 1:32AM
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Lutron makes a Meastro dimmer that can handle two independent 300w circits. Saves you one switch but much cheaper than the above option.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 2:18AM
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Thanks for the links and info.

While the Insteon and RA2 systems will certainly do the job, they seem like overkill for my application. Also I'm not fond of the idea of hiding the remote dimmers

The Lutron Maestro dimmer looks like a good fix. With it I can gang the ambient and countertop circuits on one dimmer and the light over the sink and the under cabinet lights on another.

Will the Maestro work with MR16 low voltage 3" cans?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Combination (stacked) devices should be a last ditch effort to solve a problem and not the first idea. Combination devices will always limit you in some way. The dual dimmers are limited in wattage and load type options and once you build in a box that can't accomodate anything else then you are stuck.

Be careful to match your light sources with compatible dimmers.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:35AM
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Two of the circuits in my plan will be comprised of 6 50W MR16 low voltage fixtures. This will bring each circuit to 300W which is the rated limit for these stacked dimmers.

Is this going to be a problem and if so where do people hide the remote dimmers in a RA2 or Insteon installation?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:01PM
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The dual dimmers are incandescent/halogen only. You need a dimmer rated for magnetic low voltage. Actually, you need to check. Some of the offshore recessed fixtures can have electronic transformers in them which require dimmers rated for electronic low voltage loads. What brand of fixtures are they?

The dimmers are typically grouped into closets since most homes have a few of these. Large homes often have equipment rooms where the much of the lighting control system lives. A walk in pantry is often a good place for kitchen area controls. (dimmers)

Here is a link that might be useful: Dimming basics

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:56PM
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The fixtures are coming from There's a link below. They use a magnetic transformer and claim that a standard dimmer can be used. Each fixture contains its own transformer to step down the voltage so while line voltage runs to the fixture the transformer reduces the voltage to 12V for the MR16 lamp. So it would seem to follow that a standard dimmer should work.

As far as the RA2 or Insteon systems go, I would really rather not have to cut holes into the back of my new cabinets in order to hide remote dimmers. There is no pantry or closet nearby although it may be possible to place them on a wall behind a picture or some other decoration.

Thanks for your expertise. I'll take a look at your link

Here is a link that might be useful: Contractor Lighting

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 8:31PM
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A regular incandescent dimmer can appear to work with MLV but usually with excessive noise till either the transformer or the dimmer die prematurely. The meltdown of the transformer can be dangerous.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 8:59PM
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It looks like I'll be going with individual Maestro MLV dimmers. I'll most likely gang two at the sink to handle the light over the sink and the undercabs and gang two more at the kitchen entrance to handle the ambient and countertop lighting.

Thanks to all for your help.

When the kitchen's finished, sometime in late Auguat, I'll post some pix.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:51PM
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