do i really need a fancy dimmer switch?

maggiemaFebruary 4, 2011

I am about to in stall two 30" Robern MTFLGCH dimable florescent lights on either side of my Robern medicine cabinet, but the manufacturer's installation guide calls for a Letoilier ZP600EB dimmer switch, which is going to cost about $125.00 (ouch!). Is there a genuine need for this added expense, or might there be a comparable option that is less expensive?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brickeyee

Dimming florescent lights requires a matched dimmer and ballast.

There is not a lot of sales volume for either, running the cost up.

A conventional triac dimmer is very unlikely to work, and may destroy an electronic ballast in short order.
It will cause a real magnetic ballast to overheat and catch on fire.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maggiema

Hi Brickeyee,
I am grateful for your information because I had no idea that these light bulbs weren't conventional. They will be installed by a professional electrician, and he would most likely know how to handle, or know from reading the installation guide. It's always reassuring to get feedback from this forum. Thanks! Is there anyone else who can provide additional info?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 7:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_kaiser_gw

I looked up the datasheet for the Lightolier dimmer you mentioned and it says it's designed to work with an Advance Mark 10 ballast (Advance is a brand name, now owed by Philips). According to Phillips, Mark 10 ballasts are compatible with controls manufactured by a host of companies (see the link).

My suggestion is to confirm the ballast used in your medicine cabinet and then pick a control that works with that ballast.

Installing a dimmer isn't that complicated. Most come with pretty complete directions but if you haven't done any electrical work, you might be better off hiring an electrician.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mark 10 Ballast

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
petey_racer

My only comment is you likely dropped close to $1500 for this medicine cabinet and lights, and you are "ouching" over another $125 for the proper dimmer????

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maggiema

Thanks Mike
Your suggestion is really helpful. I will definitely research further and check out the link you suggested.
And Petey, you are almost right. I spent about $900.00 for both and it nearly killed me. I am going to do the right thing to properly install, but any thing saved along the way is a win. Good taste is a curse, but I'm not foolish enough to pay any more than necessary. I just figured that a dimmer switch would cost way less than $125.00, but I was wrong.
Thanks guys, I really appreciated the help!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brickeyee

"I had no idea that these light bulbs weren't conventional. "

They are not incandescent, and that requires a special dimmer to operate with a ballast designed for dimming florescent lights.

Regular dimmers chop the voltage going to the light, reducing the power and making the light dim.

This process does not work with florescent lights.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:02PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
new wiring project
I have a water damaged room I will soon be renovating....
CharlesInVT
Ceiling fan wiring
I have a new ceiling fan with a light. The fan has...
jjp2121
Re-wiring range to service spa
what connectors are appropriate for joining 6-3 NMB...
justsomeotherdude
ceiling fan, fan works but lights do not
I have 2 kids and one threw a toy that hit one of the...
katy_bug
Please Critique Low-Volt (Home Automation) Plan/Proposal
GW/Houzz Community, As always, I want to thank this...
Andrew K.
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™