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The LED Authority

Ballasts and Dimmers - What do I need to know?
Not all dimmers and ballasts can get along together.
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Lighting Basics

Ballasts and Dimmers - What do I need to know?

Most demand for combining dimming systems with ballasted lamps falls in the linear fluorescent category. Fluorescent lamps cannot be simply added to the same type of dimming switches as incandescent or halogen lamps. In order for a fluorescent lamp to continue to function properly, the cathodes must be heated to a minimum level in order to maintain an arc in the tube. Using a fluorescent lamp on an incandescent dimming switch, the reduction of power would lead to a reduction in cathode temperature, and therefore a loss of arc.

Therefore, the best setups for dimming linear fluorescents are usually installed as a complete system designed to work together, from the fixtures to the lamps. Dimming systems are currently available for both magnetic and electronic ballasts, but due to legislation that has effectively banned most magnetic ballasts strongly recommends using an electronic ballast-based system.

If you would like more information regarding dimmable setups for ballasted lamps, one of our lighting specialists can help you. You can contact a lighting specialist at 888-455-2800 or by emailing