GE 12724 Dimmer Problems / Something better for LED?


(Allan) #1

I have a ceiling fan that has three Cree 40w LED bulbs (home depot 3 pack). I had a Leviton LED dimmer on it that has a minimum adjustment knob inside. I was able to adjust it to the minimum position getting the bulbs pretty low. There was no flicker and no issues at all…they worked really well. I decided to switch over to a GE 12724 and move the Leviton dimmer to a bedroom that has the same bulbs. Whats I’ve found:

  • Sometimes (1 out of every 7 or 8) when I switch the switch on manually it doesn’t do anything. The blue indicator light turns off which tells me the lights should be on, but the LED’s dont turn on. Holding the paddle up or down has no effect. If you click it off the indicator turns back on (indicating they are off) then turn it back on and they work the second time.

  • The bulbs work fine from around 30% to 100%. Dim properly. Between about 20 - 30% they will randomly flicker. Below 20% they jump up to what they look like at 60%. Percentages are verified through SmartThings

  • The bulbs will not dim nearly as low as with the Leviton manual dimmer. On a scale form 1 to 10 the Leviton could get down to a 1 while the lowest without flickering on the GE is around a 3 or 4. The high point is the same with both.

Anyone have these issues? Is there a better switch I should be using? I want to put in about 6 dimmers and two regular switches but if I’m having this issue with just one I don’t want to go much further with GE.

-Allan


(Lee Florack) #2

I have one GE 1724 controlling two in-ceiling LED lights. It works fine but, as you say, if you try to dim below the 10% level, it generally won’t work. Even at 10%, the lights will flicker - and as you point out, may not even start at that level. Starting and running at 12-15% will result in a stable, start-able, non-flickering bulb. I have about (15) GE Link bulbs (LED’s too) that are fine at 10% all the time. Again, below that, they are not stable. I don’t have the jumping to 60% issue that you described above.


(Ray) #3

Totally agree with @lflorack . I don’t leave my dimmer in the off position below 10%. Especially controlling LED bulbs. Linear, leviton or Dragon Tech seem to be better but that’s also depend on your bulbs as well so it’s a tricky combo.


(Fastcarve) #4

I have some of the GEs and some Cooper Aspire. The Cooper Aspire seem to be very good with the low light settings. If the dimming is low, when you first turn them on they will bump the lights to a higher level then bring them down to the lower setting. This addresses the lights that don’t like to turn on a low dimming levels.

My complaint with the Cooper Aspire is they are not good (in my opinion) in a 3-way setup due to how they talk to each other and how they can get out of sync with Smartthings. As a single switch they are awesome and they immediately update Smarttings with their status.

Going forward, I’m using the Coopers for single switch locations, and GE for 3-ways or for rarely used switches.

It is worth noting that I do get some buzzing from both brands when used with Cree LED bulbs. It seems to be a little random where some of the bulbs buzz and some don’t despite being the same brand and model.


#5

For the Aspire were you using the RF or Non-RF accessory switch? Getting ready to order some switches for LED’s and was considering the Aspire including some dimmers, switches and 3-ways applications.


(Fastcarve) #6

I’m using the RF accessory switch.


(Jordan) #7

i had buzzing with cree leds on the GE dimmers too - i ended up returning them and going with philips warm glow leds and haven’t regretted that…they seem to work pretty well with these dimmers and look a little better too.


#8

I’ve had lots of buzzing problems with the 12724 dimmer - both filament buzz from halogen lights as well as LED buzzing with Hyperikon and Philips bulbs. I’ve recently ordered a Cooper RF9540 and a Leviton VRMX1 that I’m going to try to see if they make a difference.


(Lee Florack) #9

Hmm. Interesting. My GE 12724 doesn’t buzz at all with my LED can lights.


(James) #10

There are two factors.

Factor 1 is the Dimmer itself and it’s lowest load limit. Even with GE Dimmers these specifications are different depending on models (If your GE Dimmer doesn’t have a Neutral Wire Connection you will have the most issues).

Factor 2 are the LED lights themselves. Even with CREE bulbs this changes from model to model and even within the same models as they had issues with internal components and switched to different types of circuits. Some LED lights work better than others.

The way to think about this is how much total LOAD the light circuit has. The lower that LOAD (although good for energy savings) the worse these dimmers perform with LED/CFL lights. You can either buy higher LOAD/WATT bulbs or install something with the lights that product a higher load. (switching one LED out for an Incandescent will work). If you do this you will find the issue will go away.

Again GE vs Leviton vs any other brand will have varying results. No perfect answer.


(Allan) #11

Thanks for everyone’s replies. I have no buzzing at all, just the weird jumping/flickering if too low. The not turning on thing is a big annoyance also.

@jgravert - I would agree with you on your first point but both the Leviton (non-smart) and the GE had neutrals. I would think if the Leviton could dim to a very low level without any buzz/flicker at all then the GE could too. I.e. with the Leviton at it’s lowest setting I still had no flicker. With the GE at a higher minimum I do. That doesn’t seem right.

@edanuff - Thanks for the VRMX1 mention. I just checked them out and they had this listed in the description: “features user pre-sets for powering on and minimum brightness.” That I think would help a lot so I may try one out in place of the existing GE and see if it makes a difference. Don’t care much for the look but if it works then it works. And if it doesn’t make a difference maybe I’ll switch to a different LED.

-Allan


(Chris ) #12

I have flickering with my GE 12724 and my recessed outdoor lights whenever I go down below 35 to 40%. I know it’s not due to insufficient load because for the last week or so I had 6 lights on the switch and it never happened. I added the 7th and final light yesterday and that’s when it started. I thought it could be a bad led so I swapped the one I put in yesterday and it still did it so I pulled another light from a different location and it stopped so it’s not the can or the wiring either. Its strange, with 6 lights at 20% it’s fine but with 7 it flickers like a bastard at 30. I’m hesitant to blame the switch because I have another GE 12724 that only controls a single led porch light, different brand light, and can dim that to 5% with no flicker.


(Allan) #13

I still haven’t done anything with the lights or switch. Kinda just been dealing with them being a PITA. The not turning on thing has gotten worse, now its about 1 out of ever 4 times and does it when turning on manually and through SmartThings. I have another GE dimmer…going to at least swap the one out and see if I just happen to get a bad one. Otherwise will get a VRMX1 and try that.


(Chris ) #14

I’m going to try putting a different led in one of the cans. I know some led’s are sensitive when dimmed at certain levels\ frequencies but seems odd to me that with 6 lights I can set it anywhere from 10 to 100% with no flicker but with 7 if I go under 40% it’s like I’m having flashbacks.


(Chris ) #15

I replaced one of the led’s with a different brand (cree) and now there are 7 on the switch and no flickering. Six of them , all in the soffit, are Feit and the one in my vestibule is the cree. My electrician neighbor says they deal with this kind of flaky led behaviour all the time.


(Allan) #16

So just to check I bought another GE 12724 and put it up in the bedroom, again connected to Cree lights. Exact same issue…when set between 20 and 30% they will randomly flicker , when below 20% they jump up to around 50 - 60%. And the dimmer itself emits a slight hum when on.

So I bought some Philips “Warm Glow” LED’s and most of the issues go away. I can dim them down to 3%, at 1 or 2% some bulbs are on and some are off. There is no flicker at lower dimmer settings either. And when I turn them on they turn on every time! Not randomly every fourth or so time. Still have a slight amount of hum from the dimmer but it’s not noticeable unless you are a couple feet from it. I still don’t know whether to blame the GE dimmer or Cree bulbs but I have to side more against the bulbs now. The Philips looks nicer anyway with there “sparkle” distribution as opposed to the Cree almost focused light. Gonna buy more Philips bulbs and a couple more GE dimmers. Also maybe some GE Reveal LED’s as I just like the light from those better in places like the kitchen…hopefully they work with the dimmers also. Would be nice to settle on two brands of bulbs for everything instead of a mish mosh of stuff and GE for all the switches/dimmers.

-Allan