10v Dimming

10v lighting and dimming

0-10V Lighting Controls

If you are confused with 0-10V lighting control, you are not alone. What a mess. I have seen too many great projects adversely affected by the use of 0-10V. Let me explain.

0-10V is a control protocol for dimming lights. Originally, all lights were incandescent, and dimming occurred through resistance and later through circuitry using the triac IC. With the push for more energy-efficient lighting, fluorescent fixtures became the standard for offices and many commercial buildings. The problem was that you could not dim them. The solution was a dimmable fluorescent fixture that used 0-10V for control. These lights never dimmed smoothly or all the way down to zero, but at least you had some dimming. The problems began when LED lighting was introduced as a house lighting solution. Architects and lighting manufacturers only knew 0-10V, while the theatrical lighting industry had moved on to DMX control. DMX allows smooth dimming for 0 to 100%.

Consider a modern school’s theater with DMX control for the stage lighting and separate controls for the house lights, which jump from off to 20% when you turn them on, then jump in intervals as you turn them up, and the same on the way down, which is not a good look. So, clients started asking for DMX control. The solution came in the form of a DMX to 0-10V convertor.  Now, all lighting can be controlled from one device. But, this did not fix the dimming problem since 0-10V was still the main control, and the dimming remained erratic.

Today, 0-10V has greatly improved and is an acceptable solution for an office or commercial building, but never ever accept it for a facility used for performance. Almost every fixture built today with 0-10V also offers DMX as an option. Many will insist that 0-10V with the DMX adaptor is fully dimmable but don’t trust them. DMX is a smooth dimming solution that does not cost a penny more than 0-10V.

Thanks for reading!

Click here to learn about Springtree’s Architectural Lighting System with smooth 0-100% DMX dimming.