I have (4) 50w halogen lights in a basement bedroom that I would like to use a dimmer. Can I use a incandescent dimmer instead?It is rated at 600watt or should I purchase a halogen dimmer.
These are halogen lamps that screw into an ordinary lamp base (just like a regular light bulb)? If so, yes you can use an ordinary incandescent dimmer.
Be aware that dimming a halogen light - shortens its life.
I forget the reason(s) why this is so - but when I read about this - I was very surprised - so it stuck with me... you can read about the reason(s) on the web probably.
Anyway - I believe you can also purchase some 'dimable' halogen lights. How this works - not quite sure...
Of course - all halogen lights are 'dimable.' You just shorten the bulbs life span, and won't get the stated hours.
If you dim an incandescent - you increase the bulbs life span...
Lutron, the worlds largest lighting control company has this on their FAQ list.
DOES DIMMING AFFECT HALOGEN LAMP LIFE ?
Yes, dimming increases incandescent lamp life. Halogen lamps are incandescent lamps with a tungsten filament. Lutron's pilot test data suggests that halogen lamps will have an expected lamp life similar to other incandescent lamps when dimmed. As an example, one type of halogen lamp with a rated life of 2000 hours dimmed to 80 volts has a life extension of at least 5 times. Lutron is continuing testing with various halogen lamps.
What you need to know to choose a dimmer is whether or not your fixtures are 120 volt or 12 volt and if 12 volt whether or not the transformer is magnetic or electronic.
Here is a link that might be useful: Dimming basics
Halogen lamps are just another incandescent light source, and as such, can be dimmed with any dimmer, preferable a good quality one.
When dimming halogen, you will attain much greater lamp life, as with any incandescent light source.
However, if you dim them constantly,you will reduce this lamp life.
To overcome this drawback, you should turn the lamp up to full power for 4-5 minutes very once and awhile. The advice we give out is "when you clean your house, clean your bulb"
By turning up your lamp. you increase the heat within the lamp, and this causes the condensed metal off the filament which deposits onto the lamp face to evaporate and return to the filament
When you use mains voltage halogen bulbs, you can use them with any dimmer.
When you use low-voltage halogen, there is a transformer somewhere in the circuit. In that case you need to know which type of transformer and you need a dimmer for capacitive loads (most electronic transformers, but not all) or for inductive loads (heavier copper transformers). Otherwise you can blow the transformer or the dimmer.
As the previous post mentions, you should use them at maximum brightness every once in a while.