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How do I make a dimmer for my christmas lights? Answered

I have some x-mas lights(the incandescent kind, not LEDs) hanging on the ceiling in my bedroom but they are a little too bright sometimes, so I thought it would be fun to attach some sort of dimmer switch to them. Do I need anything special or can I just hook up any old potentiometer I can find in my junk bin?

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Berkin
Berkin

12 years ago

I'm guessing it has to do with high-voltage potentiometers...

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Reply 12 years ago

. A properly sized pot (high-power pots are often called rheostats) will do the job very well, but will generate a lot of heat (wasteful and possibly dangerous) when the lights are dimmed.

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Reply 12 years ago

. Yes I did. And the exploding cap, too. Both are very interesting, but nothing I haven't done accidentally more than once. heehee

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Berkin
Berkin

Reply 12 years ago

Hehe.

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lemonie
lemonie

12 years ago

Like NachoMahma said "no", you can't hook-up any old potentiometer. What will happen is either nothing until you turn the knob, and then the pot' will burn out (possibly quite violently), or the pot' will burn out immediately (possibly quite violently). If this is a mains operated set of lights I'd also recommend finding a mains dimmer switch.

L

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cannedham160
cannedham160

Reply 12 years ago

what is a "mains operated set of lights"?

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Reply 12 years ago

. Assuming they do run on mains, that should be exactly what he needs.

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Reply 12 years ago

> what is a "mains operated set of lights"? . Plugs into the wall receptacle. Operates on 110VAC (US) or 220VAC (most other places).

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11010010110
11010010110

12 years ago

wall dimmer is ok if there are no electronics (only the red ant bulb)

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

12 years ago

. A pot will generate a lot of heat. I suggest using a wall switch dimmer.