Dimmer is a special kind of electrical swich able to gradually adjust the brightness of a light source rather than merely turning it on and off abruptly. There ware numerous dimmer technologies over the ages, but TRIAC dimmers become predominant form since the introduction of these components in early '70-ties. These days, with the next e-revolution at sight - home automation - dimmers are becomming ever more user-friendly and intelligent.
IR + touch
The device presented on these pages reacts to infra red (IR) commands sent by the user via a standard TV or similar IR remote control. This way, it is not necessary to get up in order to adjust the lighting. Although couch potatoes might find it wonderfull, this device is in fact much more useful to persons who are for one reason or another unable to get up or find it hard - for example elderly grandmas and grandpas, those who are sick etc.
So how does the IR touch dimmer do what it does? On receiving IR light pulses, it captures the emitted code and compares it with the previously memorised code database. If match is achieved, it performs the appropriate function, as was assigned by the user.
In addition to IR commands, this device san be operated by touching a sensitive surface on its housing. Since there are no moving parts inside, touch sensors are much more durable and reliable than old style mechanical switches.
LED bulbs and Compact Fluorescent Tubes
As the technology progresses, good-old incandescent light bulbs get progressively replaced by more efficient light sources. Firstly CFL (compact fluorescent) tubes come to market in nineties, while at present state of the art LED light sources started dominating the top shelf lighting applications. Unfortunately, these new "bulbs" are by default not compatible with traditional TRIAC phase dimming. But IR touch dimmer was built so that it can control novelty light sources in On/Off fashion, without causing any harm to them.
Should the user intend to use a light bulb other than the traditional incandescent one with their IR touch dimmer, they are strongly advised to turn off dimming commands. This is in fact simpler than it sounds - all one has to do is to program less than three separate IR commands into the dimmer. This way, only On/Off and Timer functions will be enabled by the dimmer logic and fancy light bulb will happily live on.
It is worth noting that novel light sources are usually much more expensive than old style incandescent bulbs. This is caused by their more sofisticated internal design - in contrast to incandescent bulbs which contain practically a single hot wire filament and quantum vacuum, new bulbs as a rule incorporate high voltage semiconductor components and a bunch of other unique bits and pieces. Sadly, that also makes them much more susceptable to overvoltage and power surge damages. But fortunately IR touch dimmer comes with several protective mechanisms inside so that it can very efficiently guard the precious light bulbs from everyday duty hazards.