This review is for a couple of dimmers I bought directly from TLC.
The Dimmers I'll be referring to are these;
- 2 Gang 2 Way 400W IQMaster Remote Touch Dimmer Switch (VLIQ1402). Bought two of these.
- 2 Gang 2 Way Slave Dimmer (VLIQS002). Bought two of these also.
Mains System Voltage: 240v
Mains Frequency: 50Hz
Load for the four individual dimmers;
- 100W (incandescent bulb)
- 100W (incandescent bulb)
- 400W (rope light - incandescent bulbs)
- 100W (5 x MR16 - 20W Halogen)
For the benefit of the readers, I have copied below the technical data sheets as listed on the TLC website
iQ - Intelligent Remote/Touch Dimmer SwitchesEmploy the latest, state of the art, microcontroller based electronic circuitry and use current sensing to compute the load conditions. These products show progressive reaction to overload conditions, depending on the extent of overload as shown in the table below. iQ Intelligent Dimmer Switches are NOT suitable for use with Fluorescent Loads, including Energy Saving Lamps.
iQIntelligent Remote/Touch Dimmer Switches incorporate the following advanced features
Suitable for dimming Low Voltage Halogen lamps via good quality, fully dimmable electronic transformers.
Soft Start, which gradually increases the light output from the load over 1 to 3 seconds after switch on. The Soft
Start feature is also particularly beneficial when used to dim Mains Voltage Tungsten Halogen lamps which have inherent very high inrush current at switch on.
Case Approximate load Power output to load when dimmer control is on the dimmer as set to maximum a percentage of its maximum rating1 Up to 125 Load will receive maximum power continuously.
2 >125 to 150 Output to load will be reduced to 50% of the maximum after a delay of approximately 20 seconds after switch on.
3 >150 to 200 Output to load will be reduced to the minimum setting of the dimmer after a delay of approximately 20 seconds after switch on.
4 >200 Output will be disabled (load will be switched off) almost instantaneously after switch on.
iQ Dimmers:Fused GLS Tungsten Filament lamps to BS161, rated at 230/240V. Dimmable wire wound or electronic Low Voltage Transformers of good quality.
Note: Transformer must be suitable for dimming using phase delay (leading edge) and NOT only phase cut (trailing edge) type of dimmers.
Warning: These dimmer switches are not suitable for use with Fluorescent Lamps or Energy Saving Lamps.
Well, looking at the above specs it's difficult not to be tempted to go for these dimmers! They are practically indestructible thanks to their overload functions, besides their soft start feature which will prolong bulb life.
I did install them however I'm very disappointed and I'm afraid I'll be looking to purchase something else, something better which works well, obviously!
Here is why I'm disappointed:
1) Dimmers get very warm when in use. This may be normal BUT all electronic components will have their working life greatly reduced when working close to their maximum temperature.
2) Dimmers are also warm when not in use. This should not be the case, since the load seems to be fully switched off. This can indicate that either a small amount of power is still being fed to the load or else the dimmer itself is consuming power when not used (the later is normal however it depends how much is the idle power!), both undesirable when my aim is to reduce power consumption.
3) Dimmers are almost all the time reacting to overload when in use. I'm suspecting this, simply because the lamps do not light more then 50%! This should not be the case! There is simply NO overload as can be seen from the loads which I described above which are all within the product specifications. On replacing the dimmer switches with normal switches, the lamps light up without problems. I even tested the circuit with a clamp meter to check for any wiring faults / short circuits and could find none! Once I reset the dimmers, they may work OK for some time and then we're back to an overload situation with just 50% of the available light.
4) Need to switch off the mains supply for the dimmers to reset. Although the specifications read that the switches will reset themselves automatically, they simply DO NOT. I have to turn off the main supply and restore back the power for the reset to work.
Something I did notice last Summer was that when I switched on the AC in the room where I have the dimmers installed, the overload situation disappeared, Yes problem solved! The room temperature was less than 20°C and it seems that this helps the dimmers in keeping them cool and therefore fully functional! To be honest, this is not acceptable because I can't keep the room cool for the dimmers to work!
Hope this review will help others in determining whether this product is a good for them or not!