Alright, so I have a dimmer in the kitchen, and I installed a shiny new Cree LED lightbulb that says on the package it is compatible with “most” dimmers.
It lights up just fine, but there’s a high frequency buzzing sound.
Now, thinking about how this thing must work, LEDs need DC power.
So the simplest setup I could think of was that they use a series of diodes (bridge rectifier) to make the 120 Volt 60 Hz wall current all positive.
Then, they take that 60 Hz signal and smooth it out with a capacitor and an inductor. Apparently, there are Capacitor-inductor high pass filters, wiki names a “T filter”, though I assume there are other arrangements listed in the back of an EE textbook. The reason for a capacitor - inductor filter instead of a capacitor -resistor filter is that resistors waste energy, which is bad if you want an efficient lightbulb.
They tuned the filter to get rid of that 60 Hz waveform, leaving a nice smooth signal at whatever the RMS voltage is. Then, they probably have all the LEDs in series so they don’t have to lower the voltage to the 3 volts or so the LEDs run on.
Now, the wall switch has a variable resistor somehow connected to a power control transistor - maybe an OP amp and an oscillator in there? This is going to output a signal that is not 60 Hz, because the power is getting chopped at some higher frequency.
This signal is what is getting through into the LED lightbulb, and the buzzing sound is from the coils in the lightbulb’s inductor vibrating.
Is this a reasonable guess as to how the electronics really work and why it makes a noise? Next week, I’m going to take apart a broken LED lightbulb to find out what the actual circuitry looks like, and I guess I’ll have to yank that dimmer as well.
Still, for the electronics experts on these forums (I know there are several), is this a plausible explanation?