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Trouble with Electric Circut Answered

I am trying to make a proofing box for bread making, and have run into a small snag. When I try to adjust the electricity going to the light bulbs in the box with my dimmer switch nothing happens, also when I try to turn the light bulbs off with the rheostat it trips my circuit breaker. I am using 4 7watt 120volt bulbs arranger in a parallel circuit, which are connected to a 600watt dimmer switch. If anyone knows what I am doing wrong I would appreciate the help.

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NachoMahma

10 years ago

. The switch/dimmer goes in series with the load, not parallel.

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NachoMahmaSedgewick17

Reply 10 years ago

. And the lamps need to be in parallel. Confusing, huh? . OK, connect the hot wire from the wall to one side of the dimmer. Connect the other side of the dimmer to one leg of each lamp. Connect the other legs of the lamps to the neutral from the wall.

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Sedgewick17NachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

Okay, I did what you said and it has stopped tripping the breaker. However, I still cannot dim the lights. Any ideas?

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NachoMahmaSedgewick17

Reply 10 years ago

. You have a 28W load on a 600W dimmer. Add more lights (150-200W ought to be enough). If that doesn't work, I suspect you've blown the dimmer. Or get a dimmer rated for fewer watts

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Sedgewick17NachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

Can you recomend a dimmer switch I should buy, or of a way to modify the one I already have?

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11010010110Sedgewick17

Reply 10 years ago

does it work when you connect it to mains in series with high watt incandescent or halogen bulb ? if yes the load of 4 small lights is too small if no the dimmer is bad

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NachoMahmaSedgewick17

Reply 10 years ago

. A quick search shows that 600W is the standard size for dimmers. . Any dimmer should "work." Even if the load is not great enough for the dimmer to function properly, you should still have some operation, even if it's pretty much on/off. If you are getting no reaction, I suspect the dimmer is bad. Try it with a 100W incandescent light bulb.

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Sedgewick17NachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

I just did a few tests with the dimmer, and it is definitely bad. Thanks for everyone’s help!

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NachoMahmaNachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

. It's been a while since I worked with dimmers. I can't remember if the dimmer needs to be wired with one particular side hot or not. If so, it should be marked on the dimmer somewhere or check the docs that came with it.

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Tool Using AnimalNachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

I check the docs on his dimmer, it doesn't seem to be polarized. My dinning room chandelier is 6X7watts and is connected to a 600 watt dimmer, so I don't think that's his problem. Jury rig another simple circuit, dimmer + 60watt light and make sure the dimmer is good.

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NachoMahmaTool Using Animal

Reply 10 years ago

> 6X7watts and is connected to a 600 watt dimmer . OK. I guess we can throw that theory out. . . Sounding more and more like a bad dimmer. Or wiring.

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Tool Using Animal

10 years ago

Hey Sedgewick, thank you, when I was trying to help you, I filled out a survey at the Lutron site, yesterday a complimentary sample of a Lutron eco-dim dimmer showed up on my doorstep. pretty sweet, that's a $25 dollar item.

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Goodhart

10 years ago

As has been already noted, the dimmer switch can't be wired "in parallel", for the same reason you wouldn't wire an on / off switch that way....when the resistance of the dimmer approaches 0, you have a short (thus the breaker problem).

When you say nothing happens in the one scenario, do you mean the lights do not dim? If so, I can't see any way that the dimmer "shouldn't work unless it has it's own set of problems (bad/fried dimmer)

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Sedgewick17

10 years ago

Yea, it is a mess of wires:).Here is a picture of the bulbs I am using. They are 7 watt filament bulbs and add up to 28 watts. Everything seems to work except the dimmer switch which is brand new.

bulbs.JPG
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Sedgewick17gmoon

Reply 10 years ago

Imput voltage = 120VAC
Light bulbs = 7watts 120VAC
Dimmer switch= 600watts 120VAC single pole

scematic.bmp
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gmoonSedgewick17

Reply 10 years ago

When everything's in parallel like this the dimmer will have no effect on the lights. But it will but trip the breaker, as you've seen... Follow uncle Nacho's advice...

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Tool Using Animal

10 years ago

It is hard to tell what is going on in that pic, it shouldn't much matter if the lights are in series of parallel, but the dimmer should be in series with the load.

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Sedgewick17Tool Using Animal

Reply 10 years ago

I tried to place the dimmer switch in series with the load, but had the same trouble.

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caitlinsdad

10 years ago

That looks like a mess of wires and I guess you are playing around with house current. I think usually dimmer switches are used on house lighting that are those 65watt reflector type bulbs. You can't use flourescents or CFL bulbs with a normal dimmer switch. The switch should be in your circuit attenuating and switching off the "hot" black wire. It looks weird on how it is wired up. It should be in series and not jumpering off of a wire in parallel or creating some other short. Make a simple lamp circuit to plug in. Then replace it with a dimmer switch to see if it works. Be safe. Good luck.