1967 Zinsco Dimmer Advice

Daniel711

Member
Hey all-

I've been a constant lurker, but new participator.

I started a job at an old church a few months back and am stuck with the stage/house lighting system. It is truthfully adequate for what we do (especially as we are slowly swapping out everything with LEDs), but there is one broken stage light dimmer and one broken house light dimmer.

In a perfect world, these would just get fixed, but I'm constantly striking out on repair people. I also know that Zinsco has a poor track record with multiple recalls and I can't find any info on our current dimmer packs.

Below is the picture for the stage lighting dimmer pack, there is a serrate one for the house lighting that infused motors so that they can be dimmed from throughout the room.

So I guess I'm hoping for some recommendations for the next step. Should I keep looking for a antique stage lighting repair man? Give up and replace the packs with something more modern? Any advice is welcome.

Thanks
 

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JD

Well-Known Member
They appear to be autotransformer dimmers, so parts are going to be a nightmare. Outside of linkage, the major failure point on these dimmers are the brushes, which wear down over time, and eventually don't even make contact. The transformers themselves were probably built for them by another company, so you want to find the name and model number off the plate on them. Caution! These racks operate with open conductors carrying high current, so only qualified electrical personal should open them up. Finding an "old timer" to actually do the repair will be difficult, although there are a bunch of us on this forum. Even if you are able to obtain them, replacing the brushes is not just a matter slapping a new set on. The slider surface of the windings needs to be polished and cleaned. The alignment of the spinner plate and seating of the brushes needs to be checked. Once completed, they are amazingly durable, although by their nature VERY primitive.
The other alternative is to replace the unit with a modern dimmer pack, which will only take up 1/100 the room, and will allow you to use a modern board. Just hate to see the old stuff go! (too nostalgic!)
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Ditto Steve at Lite-Trol, he fixes WL and Luxtrol AT dimmers frequently.

I suspect it might be expensive to fly somebody out from NY though, so be prepared to do it yourself, though I'm sure Steve could help with pointers.
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
These are some electrical devices - not electronic. A good electrician with a little help on sourcing parts should be able to replace brushes and any parts. Maybe call an electric motor repair place - their kind of stuff.

Talk to Steve though. He is great and might help you source parts.
 

Daniel711

Member
Thanks for the help guys! I'll be contacting Steve.

I'll keep you in the loop as to what we do.

I think you're right on the style of dimmer (I looked up pictures), especially as our houselights have a motor that dims them up and down and was was thinking that the dimmers weren't Zinsco as I couldn't find any information on them whatsoever, but I'll track down some info about Ward-Leonard.
 

Jim20

Member
I was reading this post and wondered how it turned out? I know the post is a few years old, but if anyone is still watching, did the system ever get fixed?
 

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