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  1. #1
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    Default Homemade AC light dimmer

    I want a dimmer to dim about 300-500 watts of incandescent lighting, and I think I could probably make something a lot cheaper than I could buy it. Is there any reason why I shouldn't just buy a dimmer switch, a wall box, and a face plate from the hardware store, then cut an extension cord in half and wire it into the switch?

    In case it's not obvious, this is to be an inline dimmer, not an in-wall dimmer.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer


  3. #3
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    One thing to watch Joshua, is the heat dissipation. While most of the dimmers as shown are supposed to be good for 600 watts, I wonder if they could really control that much. There are some losses in a dimmer, and those losses would manifest themselves as producing heat. I wonder if a metal box would be a better idea, and if during operation if the dimmer became too warm, perhaps an aluminum heatsink Image Detail for - Heat from dimmers - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical ...

    would be a good idea.. You may be good to go as is, but I would check on the heat after a while before I threw this down on a carpeted floor.

    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    The prices for items they were showing in your post have probably changed since 2005.

    I've got a couple of these, one I use regularly on a floor lamp that's hard to get to the switch (behind a chair). It's probably 10 years old and still dimming. It is just 300 watt max though and might not do what you want. I also see HD is out of stock but others have them also.

    Lutron is a good name in dimmers. We've used them for years with fairly good results.

    Google this dimmer:
    Model # TT-300H-WH
    Last edited by Steave; 08-20-2012 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Adding info
    I've got a cutting torch and a welder sooo YEAH it'll fit!!

  5. #5
    Super Member grsthegreat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    Personally i dont see why not. as long as its in a plastic box with a 2 hour rating, i cant see why it would matter.

    sure would be mighty ugly though. I see some on ebay for $5, but there just hi/low/off
    currently own
    2011 Kioti DK45SE HST CAB tractor/loader, Jimna 6" - 3 point wood chipper, 60" JD Brush Hog, JD 60" Rototiller, 3 point post hole digger with hydraulic assist, 3 point spring tooth rake, Fimco 55 gallon weed sprayer with 12 foot boom, 3 point hydraulic wood splitter (home built)
    Quick Attach 79" loader mount snowblower & rear powerpack
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by grsthegreat View Post
    Personally i dont see why not. as long as its in a plastic box with a 2 hour rating, i cant see why it would matter. sure would be mighty ugly though. I see some on ebay for $5, but there just hi/low/off
    Ugly don't matter for this particular application. And the cheapest 3-prong dimmer I could find was $50. This project is looking to shape up under $20. If you know of a pre-made project that can do it cheaper, I sure would rather buy something than make something!

  7. #7
    Super Member grsthegreat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    Ugly don't matter for this particular application. And the cheapest 3-prong dimmer I could find was $50. This project is looking to shape up under $20. If you know of a pre-made project that can do it cheaper, I sure would rather buy something than make something!
    ive never seen an inline 3 prong dimmer for lamp cord. they only take the flat 2 wire cords.

    the flat style run $9 .
    currently own
    2011 Kioti DK45SE HST CAB tractor/loader, Jimna 6" - 3 point wood chipper, 60" JD Brush Hog, JD 60" Rototiller, 3 point post hole digger with hydraulic assist, 3 point spring tooth rake, Fimco 55 gallon weed sprayer with 12 foot boom, 3 point hydraulic wood splitter (home built)
    Quick Attach 79" loader mount snowblower & rear powerpack
    Quick Attach 84" Snow Blade
    Quick Attach 42" pallet forks

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    Most of the inline dimmers are made to handle small loads of a single lamp. I'd say you're on the right track by building you one if you need to control over 300 watts.
    I've got a cutting torch and a welder sooo YEAH it'll fit!!

  9. #9
    Elite Member Redneck in training's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    I would put one vote for metal box. Reason being that you could install clamp fitting to hold the cable.
    Electrical - Electrical Boxes, Conduit & Fittings - Conduit Fittings*at The Home Depot

    Here few ready made:
    Amazon.com: Westek 6089B 500W Full Range Foot Control Dimmer, Black: Home Improvement

    http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a...-DIMMER/1.html

    http://www.discountdimmers.com/index...cPath=1_27_130

    Google 500W in cord dimmer

    Any dimmer will work for incadesent but you need special dimmer for anything with transformer (such as low voltage halogen). Dimmers for transformers have symetrical output. Asymetrical output will burn the transformer due to DC component.

  10. #10
    Super Member grsthegreat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade AC light dimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck in training View Post
    I would put one vote for metal box. Reason being that you could install clamp fitting to hold the cable.
    Electrical - Electrical Boxes, Conduit & Fittings - Conduit Fittings*at The Home Depot

    Here few ready made:
    Amazon.com: Westek 6089B 500W Full Range Foot Control Dimmer, Black: Home Improvement

    500W DIMMER | AllElectronics.com

    http://www.discountdimmers.com/index...cPath=1_27_130

    Google 500W in cord dimmer

    Any dimmer will work for incadesent but you need special dimmer for anything with transformer (such as low voltage halogen). Dimmers for transformers have symetrical output. Asymetrical output will burn the transformer due to DC component.
    HE STATED he wanted it for a 3 prong plug.
    currently own
    2011 Kioti DK45SE HST CAB tractor/loader, Jimna 6" - 3 point wood chipper, 60" JD Brush Hog, JD 60" Rototiller, 3 point post hole digger with hydraulic assist, 3 point spring tooth rake, Fimco 55 gallon weed sprayer with 12 foot boom, 3 point hydraulic wood splitter (home built)
    Quick Attach 79" loader mount snowblower & rear powerpack
    Quick Attach 84" Snow Blade
    Quick Attach 42" pallet forks

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