When working with power electronics, quite often the right piece of test equipment is an old-fashioned incandescent lamp. They make good ballast resistors and dummy loads for a variety of devices. A 100W bulb starts at about 10Ω when cold and works its way up to about 150Ω, so they even adapt well to a wide range of voltages. Plus, they are cheap, available in a several values, and generally do not explode on failure.
As I have been designing a little power supply myself of late, I decided to make myself a little box to hold a pair of light bulbs wired to standard 5-way binding posts. For some reason, I decided to make something nice, and to try to improve my woodworking skills at the same time.
I am a fan of all things steampunk, and so I decided to try to make something with a similar old-time feel.
Step 1: Electrical Parts
I started by finding the essential electrical parts. I found the small porcelain light bulb sockets at Home Depot, and I picked up the standard 5-way binding posts from Radio Shack. I have to admit that I was very tempted to use knurled brass thumb nuts instead of modern binding posts, but since this device is also meant to be useful, it has to accept banana jacks, and so I resigned myself to having a little bit of plastic.
My original plan was to simply mount all these parts to a board and get back to work on my power supply. The problem was that the binding posts expect rear connections. The light sockets are more flexible, but they do allow rear wiring.
I quickly came to the conclusion that I would need a box.