Introduction: Making a DIY Dimmer Unit for Light Shows

Picture of Making a DIY Dimmer Unit for Light Shows

I needed to control the light level of a few flood lights to light a small scale theatrical event in a church. I wanted to buy myself a nice lighting rig, but the budget didn't allow that. So I made my own out of domestic electrical components.

Materials:
- 1piece of scrap wood.
- 1 junction box.
- 1 double gang dimmer switch with push and twist knobs.
- some wire (pinched from an extension reel that is slightly shorter than the original 30 meters!)
- 1 plug
- 2 single trailing sockets
- White correction paint.
- Black marker.

Step 1: Working Out the Wiring.

Picture of Working Out the Wiring.

I wanted to have one input to two independently dim-able outputs.

To do this I used a junction box to split the feed, and taking a loop off of each live to the dimmer switches, as the switches need to sit in the live feed. I could have done this in the back of the dimmer box, but because my Blue wire is so thick, there wasn't much room for the dimmer switches!

The dimmer switches are rated at 250W and the Cable at 300W, so figured it should be fairly safe with the 150W floods that I was using. (I did try it with a pair of 500W floods, but these soon maxed out the switches and sent them into a protective shut-off mode)

Once I had worked out how the wiring was going to work I simply screwed it to the wooden scrap. In fact I first had about four dimmer sets, 2 doubles and 2 singles screwed to the same bit of wood.  I later sawed between the dimmer blocks so that I could use them independently.

Step 2: Labeling - and All Done

Picture of Labeling - and All Done

Finally I plugged a lamp into each output and made sure that I had got my top and bottom sockets identified, then I labelled everything to take the guesswork out of the equation next time I used them.

I also added reference marks for high and low on the dimmer so I could pre-set the brightness before switching them on.

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