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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?



9 years ago

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

. 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.

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

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.


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

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

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

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